Entry 25: Mischa’s Message: Tuesday August 2
I didn’t go to the state hospital today to see Tommy. Something happened last night that unnerved me and I have stayed in bed much of the day today. I figure if I don’t get out of bed, then I can’t see ghosts…unless they start coming to my bedside.
It was late. I had fallen asleep on the couch watching TV. I don’t know how long I’d been dozing, but I awoke to the sound of Penny barking outside on the porch.
I got up from the couch and shook myself awake. I could hear the excited “yap” of her barks right outside the door. The sound she was making wasn’t one of alarm or trying to warn of intruders, but sounded more like the kind of noise a dog makes when it’s excited to see someone.
“Donna,” I thought. She had come home. But I looked at the clock. It was two AM. She wouldn’t be arriving in the middle of the night. But who else could it be? So it was with excitement that I threw open the door ready to smile.
But I didn’t smile. Instead my mouth hung open, disbelieving the scene before my eyes. Penny was on the porch barking at someone who stood right at the foot of the walk. The dog then looked back at me, her tail wagging.
The person who stood in the yard wasn’t a stranger to Penny apparently, and she sure wasn’t a stranger to me either. I instantly recognized the long blonde hair, the yellow Easter dress, and the ‘going to church’ bonnet that usually hid her face. I’d stared at her picture enough times wondering what kind of girl she really had been. And now here she was, maybe not in the flesh, but she was right in front of me. The glow of the moon not reflecting off her, but shining right through form.
“Mischa,” I spoke, low under my breath, as if I didn’t want to believe it was her. I half expected her to smile or something, but she didn’t. Instead, she raised her arm and pointed at the church. Penny barked once more and came to my side, pacing excitedly as if to say ‘come on, let’s go.’
I couldn’t take my eyes off the ghostly apparition. Her arm outstretched and pointing, she was silent, and the only touch of emotion on her face seemed to be that of worry.
“Is there something in the church you want me to see?”
The girl silently nodded her head.
The apparition, or spirit, or whatever it was, lowered it’s arm and began to walk across the ground towards the church. Penny and I followed, but I have to say we didn’t follow too closely.
Halfway across the lot, she faded. Like the afterimage on a television screen, she slowly faded away until she was no longer there. This would have freaked out most people to the point where they wouldn’t have gone into that church for nothing, and though the experience was unnerving for me, still I followed. I know, just as I have always known, Mischa is not out to hurt me. She’s not a violent poltergeist or a spirit wishing evil to befall the living. She just wants me to help her.
I unlocked the church door. Penny sat down on her haunches at the entrance like a guardian and I slipped inside. I hit the light switch on the wall, bringing light into the vestibule. I could see nothing was there. I seemed to be alone in the building.
“Mischa,” I called. The church was silent. “Where do you want me to go?”
There was a noise upstairs, one I had heard many times before, the sound of a young girl’s giggle and running feet traipsing across the floor above me. I went up the stairs, taking the steps two at a time. I knew what I would see when I got to the top: Mischa sprinting down the hall laughing joyfully as a young boy pursued her just as gleeful. They disappeared around the corner, but I knew where they were going.
I ran down the hall quickly, and bounded around the corner. I stepped into the room I knew they’d gone into and flipped on the lights.
Like times before this one, giggles came from behind the closet door. I put my hand on the knob and slowly opened the door on its hinges. The giggles stopped. The closet was empty. No one or nothing was there. I don’t know what I’d expected to find, after all the anklet was in my pocket where I kept it these days. I stood there peering in the closet, wondering why she’d led me here just to show me an empty space I’d seen before, when a grating sound came from behind me. A sound like that of nails scratching across a chalkboard.
I slowly turned, and there on a chalkboard that hung upon a wall, words were forming as if directed by an unseen hand. I could see the chalk move across the surface, seemingly by itself.
NOT MINE, the words read.
“Not yours? What is not yours?”
The chalk moved across the board. NO BABY.
Could this be right? Mischa hadn’t been pregnant when she disappeared? And what wasn’t hers? The anklet? I pulled the anklet out of my pocket, and there she was, finally materializing in front of the chalkboard, the piece of white chalk held in her hand.
I held the anklet out to her in an effort to give it back, but she turned to the board and began to write again.
HELP ME, she wrote. The chalk made a jagged line from her last letter, as if she had something else to add but hadn’t the strength. Her image began to quiver, reminding me of a radio station that was now getting switched off its channel. She faded away into nothing, marked by the sound of the chalk hitting the floor to rest where she’d stood.
“Mischa,” I called out, but I knew she was gone. Her visit this night was over, leaving me with more questions than answers. I put the anklet back in my pocket and returned downstairs. I turned off the lights in the vestibule and went outside, quietly closing the door behind me. Penny got up from her spot at the entrance and wagged her tail. I patted her head and she barked once, as if it were a question.
“Yes I know,” I said. “I wish she would stay longer, too.”
Together we went back home, and this time, to my surprise, Penny came in the house when I offered. She slept at my bedside as I lay down to try and get some sleep. But sleep didn’t come easy. All I could think of was that last chalkboard message, HELP ME, and the jagged line the chalk had made as she had tried to write more before fading away. HELP ME..
“I’m trying,” I whispered softly to the night.
I really wanted to go see Tommy Blaine at the state hospital today but I was so exhausted. It was as if my ghostly encounter last night had drained all the energy out of me. Thoughts flitted through my head, but my body was just too tired. I did finally get out of bed to let Penny out, and get her something to eat, but I stayed in the rest of the morning.
After lunch, I managed to go back over to Resurrection church and went upstairs to the room of the ghostly visitation the night before. The chalkboard was there, but the message was gone. It was as if there had never been anything written there.
I went back to the house and the first thing I wanted to do was call Donna. I needed to hear her voice, but something held me back from calling her mom’s. Maybe it was what her dad said about giving it some time, or maybe it was something within myself that said this thing with Mischa needed to be resolved before I could get my wife back. Maybe the girl’s ghost had planned it this way, knowing with Donna gone from the house I would be more focused on what she wanted from me.
Tomorrow I will go see Tommy. I have to tell him what has been happening. Maybe he has answers. Maybe he can help. And then again maybe he’s just crazy as they say.
+ + + + + + + + +
“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.
Original text copyright 2007.
10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.