What Would You Believe?

A short unbound story. Write the story with us.

“So there was this ghost in the lab,” Sam started.

“Ghost? Ghosts don’t exist.” Kylie interrupted.

“Of course they do!” Sam scrunched her eyebrows. “I know it because I saw one. Not just saw, but interacted with one.”

“Then how come no one else saw it except you? Can’t believe you,” Kylie said.

“Well that’s because the ghost hasn’t shown herself to anyone but me, Silly. And there could be people who know about it. They might be dead, or just pretending to not know for the fear of society and people like you.” Sam reasoned. She has an explanation for everything she says; however far-fetched, that’s Sam for you. And that’s one of the reasons I find it pretty interesting to hang out with her.

We were lounging at our ‘clubhouse’, as Sam liked to call it. It was an old shed near an old building that those folks probably used as either a garden shed or an emergency kitchen. It was Sam’s discovery — she was all for sneaking in, exploring and stuff, and her idea to use this as a hangout. The shed was unused, old and hidden — enough to pick Sam’s interest, and quite convenient with some provisions like shelves, crates and a sink. With Kylie’s organizational skills, we cleaned it up and made it a little livable. It was my idea to store some stationary and games. Since then, we always came here for random chit chat or time-pass whenever any of us was bored. And yes. Sam called it the ‘clubhouse’.

“Oh, both of you stop arguing for once and, Sam, get on with it already!” I was already annoyed with the interruptions and straying away from the topic. It’s always like this with Kylie and Sam together. Both of them are pretty cool, though in completely opposite ways. Let’s say, if Kylie is a non-fiction ‘How-to’ book without any pictures and all words, Sam is a supernatural science fiction comic with lots of pop-ups. She can say the randomest things with utter conviction in a matter-of-fact way, and she can give an explanation for it too, that sometimes you are left confused — whether to believe or not. Sometimes you wonder how both of them even got together, but then after spending years with them, you realize it fits. Sam provides Kylie with lots of fun and excitement and Kylie takes care of them both seeing to it that her schemes don’t get them into trouble. I sometimes hang out with them when all three of us are in town together.

Sam finally started her tale, “So I was alone at the lab one day and there was a disturbance at the ARC. The lab was old; a newer one was reconstructed recently. The old one is used only for storing documents and as an office. So I was working on the computer and there’s some noise at the old ARC. I went there to check it out, it had burned a few months ago and it was kinda cold close to the machine. There was still some dust and soot as usual though. Then I heard someone’s voice, it was female. We talked. She said she’d died sometime before the new lab was constructed. She had come to the lab for the first time and that became her last. She said she suffocated and that there was smoke everywhere when she’d died. And then there’s this rumor from some time ago that the new lab was constructed because of some faulty in-ventilation and bad safety arrangements and stuff. Another hint: our department head and the head of the neighboring department passed away within hours of each others’ deaths. Put two and two together!” She finished with a smug grin on her face.

Kylie burst out laughing. “Sam! That was one of your best ever! Clever inclusion of the deaths and all! You are actually getting better Sam.” Sam stared with a huge question mark on her face — here I am telling you something that’s totally cool, and you are talking about…? “Better at what?” she asked. “At being you. You know. Your theories don’t seem as weird or far-fetched as before.” Kylie replied.

Sam just shrugged, “Whatever,” and then turned to me, “What do you think, Tyler?” I really liked her stories. They were entertaining at least, if not true.

I said “It’s good, except for the ghost part, you know.” That got me a punch and a yelling of “That was the point dumbass!

And then she announced, “This proves it — that ghosts and spirits do exist. They live on the same planet as us, and they can show themselves only to those whom they choose. Or those who discover them accidentally.” Sam ends her tales with an announcement of some kind: a moral, or a theory, or a conclusion of sorts.

Kylie complained that she was hungry. My stomach was growling too. We’d been here since after lunch and it was dusk already. I suggested, “Maybe we should store some food as well here. We’ve been spending more time in here lately; it makes sense.”

Sam immediately raised her hand and shouted, “Motion seconded! Majority wins! Let’s get food!” Kylie and I rolled our eyes. Count on Sam for the dramatics.

“Okay, let’s get stuff that stays longer: biscuits, chips, you know, packed stuff,” Kylie said.

Sam’s eyes lit up. “Hey! Let’s get an ice-box. That would be great.” Kylie sighed.

I explained, “Sam, it would be very hard to maintain an ice-box. Even if you thought of a refrigerator, that would require electricity. So let’s just get food here every time we come.”

“That makes sense,” Kylie nodded, “we can get anything we want!” Sam was disappointed, but let it go.

“All right, guys! So how would you react if you came across a ghost? Tyler, you go first!” Sam started again. Sometimes I think Sam could make an excellent TV person. But I doubt that’ll happen at all, thanks to her topics of interest and her appearance.

“Uhh, let’s see, a ghost huh. Hmm… I’d probably kick a football to see if it goes through or not. I don’t know.” I said. I really don’t know. Or care. A ghost.

“Not funny, Tyler. It might just come around to haunt you. You better be careful. So what about youm Kylie?” She turned towards Kylie.

“Sam, ghosts do not exist. All the fuss around it is just some weird happenings in the electromagnetic waves or air currents in some places, and people making things up. Just like the deal with God. Remember when you argued with that old lady near Billy’s?” Kylie just doesn’t give up on Sam.

“C’mon Kylie! Just say you actually do meet one. Besides, ghosts are completely different from God. God is man-made. Ghosts are remnants of people who did exist and have died.” Sam is not one to give up either.

“See! people who did exist — once upon a time. Not now!” Kylie argued.

Sigh! Here they go into one of their arguments again.

“Ha! Now I know. Kylie, you are afraid of ghosts. You-”

Afraid?! Sam, I honestly do not believe in them.”

“Kylie, it’s okay. I think if you are good to them, they won’t do anything to you. They were humans once upon a time too…”

This was Sam trying to counsel, when Kylie cut her off, “All right Sam! Enough. I’d probably not even notice it even if it was standing right in front me. OK?”

Sam gave a knowing smile. “Okay! Let’s go to Billy’s! I’m hungry too!” Sam said. So we all got up and out of the shed.

Billy’s was a pizza place in the next street we frequented ever since we were allowed to go out alone. We knew the old man as well as his son Will, and they sometimes had some knick-knacks waiting for us. We greeted them and ordered some sandwiches. Today Will had a ball for me. He found it outside and no one had come to claim it for a few days. We ate our sandwiches and I was tossing the ball in my hand as we left the place. It was getting dark and we started to head back to our homes.

Sam suddenly brightened up and smiled wide and said, “Hello!” The suddenness startled me and I somehow ended up throwing the ball in front of me. It went as it was supposed to up to about a foot ahead of us when it looped the loop and continued on. I kept staring at the ball. Kylie was confused; she turned towards Sam when she shouted, asking what the matter was. And in a few seconds, Sam was normal, probably a little disappointed and Kylie was as puzzled as ever. And I had turned into stone, still staring at the ball. After a while, Kylie demanded to know what was going on. I couldn’t speak; I was still too shocked.

Sam explained, “I thought I saw a grey person smiling at me; she seemed familiar, but then she vanished before I could even see her properly.”

Thank you, @LauraNoema for your inputs and editing.

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