The Ghost of Christmas Past:
A FREE Christmas Story from Tracy Lane, author of Paranormal Properties
Jake was shopping for last minute presents when he felt a fine mist in the air. He groaned, turning around from a display of striped ties for his Dad and whispered, “Frank, quit doing that!”
Frank chuckled, a dry and papery thing. The store was crowded and the Christmas carols playing overhead were loud enough that Jake didn’t think anybody had heard him lecture Frank!
“I can’t quit doing that, pal. I’m a ghost, remember!”
Jake shook his head and mumbled, “How could I ever forget?”
Jake loved Frank, but he could get annoying at times, popping in and out like that. Jake looked around, made sure nobody was watching and held up two equally boring ties. “Which one do you think Dad would like best?”
Frank didn’t even hesitate. “Neither, Jake. And why are you in this busy shopping mall on Christmas Eve, anyway? Shouldn’t you be home with your parents?”
Jake shook his head. “I have to get them presents, Frank. Didn’t they have Christmas back in the Stone Ages where you come from?”
Jake looked at Frank’s ever present white zoot suit and giant white fedora. The old ghost was perpetually trapped in the 50s, where he came from. “As a matter of fact, Jake, back when I was alive we didn’t spend Christmas Eve buying tacky ties for each other. We sat around the fire, singing songs and telling stories and enjoying one another. That’s what Christmas is really about, Jake.”
Jake chuckled. “Yeah, okay, so I guess tomorrow I should just hand Dad an empty box and tell him his gift is me sitting around listening to his stupid stories all day?”
Bad ghost advice or not, Jake put back both ties.
Frank beamed. “Actually, Jake, that’s a really great idea!”
Jake looked up into Frank’s ghostly eyes. They were so real, so present, Jake could see the lashes as Frank blinked. “I was kidding, Big Guy.”
Frank scowled. “Listen, if you really want to make your parents happy, follow me.”
Jake beamed. As a ghost, Frank could see other ghosts, obviously. As Jake’s parents were ghost hunters and stars of the weekly cable TV show, Paranormal Properties, they really would appreciate Jake bringing them a good haunting for Christmas, courtesy of Frank.
“Well why didn’t you say so?” Jake said, a little louder as he brushed past the throng of last minute Christmas shoppers clogging the store entrance. “Lead on, my good man.”
Frank grinned mysteriously and walked through the crowd, disappearing into a fine ball of cool, moist mist every time a shopper ran into him or he simply wanted to avoid another shop-a-holic weighed down with bags from the Dusk Mall.
Eventually Jake followed Frank to the bike rack outside the movie theater, bustling with long lines even at this late hour. “Look at all these people,” Frank muttered, shaking his head as Jake unlocked his bike. “Doesn’t anyone spend time with family anymore?!”
Jake nodded toward a family of four, squabbling over which movie to see as they stood in line. “They look like a happy family!”
“Come on, kid,” Frank sighed, leading the way as Jake rode his low to the ground mongoose next to him.
“Where are you taking me anyway?” Jake asked as they inched out of town, away from the blinking Christmas lights and holiday cheer that filled downtown Dusk, North Carolina; third most haunted city in the United States.