My good friend, Ken Weene, has left us a short story, meant to entertain, but also to make us think. It always amaze me in how few words a tale can be told, and Ken is a master at it. Read it for your self and I would be very interested in knowing what you think.
by Kenneth Weene
What did we know of him? He had been an officer in His Majesty military—navy, marines, or army, the story did not say. We also don’t know what he thought of his sovereign’s madness, the regency, or the great affairs of state that took place across the Atlantic. Indeed, we know only his first name, Reginald, his rank Lieutenant, and his manner of death, hanging.
At a personal level, we know he smoked a pipe; the smell wafted through our house. From my knowledge of tobacco, it was an English blend. Well, that made sense.
He couldn’t have been a personage of great significance; this young man set ashore on Long Island to spy on American defenses. Scions of important families were finding glory waging war in Europe and dreaming of becoming the next Nelson as their ships of the line encircled France.
Still, he was well bred, mannered. He would open the door for my wife when she came home, arms laden with packages, from shopping. And he seemed to enjoy children; joining in the games I played with them in my consulting rooms.
“I need a six,” a boy would say, and out would come the dice: 1 and 5. “I need eleven:” 6 and 5. Over and over until there could be no question of luck or chance.
Our dogs knew Reginald was there. Could they hear what we could not? Suddenly, they would run to a spot and stand; their posture the same as when we would call them for a treat. Perhaps he offered ghostly Milk Bones; at least there were no crumbs.
It had been almost two hundred years. What had kept the poor soul tied to our house? Didn’t he have a better place—not to live, surely I couldn’t think of him living there. Yet, it seemed he did. He inhabiting our space and we his; overlapping yet not. Parallel worlds one might say.
We got into the habit of speaking to him. “Good morning, Reginald.” “Have a good night.” Of course, “Thank you,” and “How are you today?”
I took sick, a nasty cold. I worried about giving it to my wife and our son. Then it occurred to me to worry about Reginald as well. Do ghosts get sick?
Homesick? Love sick? Assuredly, our guest must have felt alone. I conjured a young woman for his companion knowing full well that she did not exist.
“Her name is Emily,” I explained to the empty room. “She’s from Bristol. Quite the looker although I fear she did suffer the pox and has some scars. Not enough to mar her beauty, just to make her…” I searched for the word. “Real” didn’t seem quite right, not in that context.
“Interesting.” Yes, that was a good choice.
“She’s an orphan,” I went on. “In service to a Duchess, but not happy. Far too lonely. Hoping to find somebody to care for her.” That was enough. Let her tell him the rest.
Can a ghost fall in love with a fictional character? Why not? Once our desire is piqued, once the need is aroused, falling in love is easy.
That evening, when I left my office, I closed the door. Usually, I left it open, believing as I do that the circulation of air is a good thing, healthier than allowing a room to go stale. But that night I wanted to give them privacy.
Our resident ghost, Reginald, the British spy, and Emily, the girl of my imagining: two souls deserving of happiness. If anything can cross the stargate between two worlds assuredly that passage will be fueled by love.
About the Author
Sometimes Ken Weene writes to exorcise demons. Sometimes he writes because the characters in his head demand to be heard. Sometimes he writes because he thinks what he have to say might amuse or even on occasion inform. Mostly, however, he writes because it is a cheaper addiction than drugs, an easier exercise than going to the gym, and a more sociable outlet than sitting at McDonald's drinking coffee with other old farts: in brief because it keeps him just a bit younger and more alive.
Ken�s stories and poetry have appeared in numerous publications. He has published five full length books and three shorter e-books. More about Ken can be found at his website http://www.kennethweene.com and his books, which are based on his quirky view of the human experience, can be purchased on Amazon throughout the world.
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