Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Grandfather and the Story of Us

I’m used to Grandma’s cackle. The cackle and silvery white hair give her an eerie presence. Mum says she can’t recall grandma’s hair being a different colour. Every time I remember that, it unnerves me. That I’m apparently a reincarnation of my aunt does not help matters. I’d heard the story of ‘us’ like a thousand times. It’s worse than déjà vu. Familiarity took the prickliness of fear away from the back of my neck, which was always tense by the way. What remains is loneliness and yearning for a love that only comes alive in the dark. For Grandma that is.

I was only five when Grandma first told me our story. She had a nightmare on the eve of Halloween. Grandma’s three eldest children climbed out of the family car covered in blood. They waved to her, quietly mouthing ‘goodbye’ as they walked away. She saw a bloodied kitchen knife stuck into the passenger seat in the back like a trophy on display. Grandma was not in the car and her youngest was holding her hand. Grandfather was nowhere to be found. She opened her eyes on Halloween and forgot all about it, putting it down to penance for cheese indulgence the night before.

Later that morning, Grandfather wanted a few things from the new local store in town. The kids so eager to check it out, begged their father for a ride. “Please dad, we’ll be quiet so you can drive really safe, ple-ease!” Grandma sighed as she put the bib on little May. Those kids wrote the book on emotional blackmail. A few hurried goodbyes and they were gone.

An hour and a half later, grandma heard the sound of a car in the drive. She thought they were late because they had gone out of town. She looked up and came face to face with two policemen. Before she could find the words, one of them spoke up.“I'm sorry, Mrs Jackson…"

Grandma wailed. Mum said that was when Grandma’s hair turned white.

Halloween is great at our house. You can see Grandma doing the waltz with grandfather. There’s always a glass of wine for him. He splashes it on the white curtains to let us know he’s there. I bullied May when we were younger. Now she’s making up for lost time. I love you, mum. 

©Adura Ojo October 27, 2011
399 MPA

It's prose this week, folks! Written for the RFW challenge. This week's theme is Haunting! Come join us.