The rain fell in big, fat drops outside my bedroom window. I stretched and rolled over, convinced that my headache would never end. My head had been pounding most of the day and although my curiosity compelled me to stay up and wait for my next ghost, listening to the sound of the rain tap lightly against the window was lulling me into a drowsy state. Since sleep would likely be the only reprieve from the throbbing in my head, I didn’t fight it.
The soft patter of footsteps in the hallway brought my focus back to the bedroom and away from the dream I’d been having of sitting on the beach digging my toes in the sand. I groaned. Anyone else may have feared the possibility of an intruder but I didn’t have to open my eyes to know what lurked outside my bedroom door – a ghost.
“Go away,” I complained. I flopped onto my stomach and pulled the pillow over my head as the sound of footsteps grew closer.
When I dared to peek out from my makeshift hiding place, I realized that my ghost was having fun turning my reading lamp on and off.
“Stop that,” I said, less than amused by the antics.
“Naughty, naughty, get out of bed,” said a voice so strong that I tossed aside the pillow just to confirm that she was indeed one of the dead.
A plump woman in her late forties stood at the foot of my bed with her hands on her hips. I sat up to get a better look. I was pretty sure she was one of them but her presence was so much brighter and solid that I could barely see through her like I could the others. I rubbed my eyes, deciding that I must still be dreaming.
“Do you plan to stay in bed all day, you lazy good-for-nothing? There is work to be done.”
“Work?” I said. “It’s night and I’m tired. Plus, I don’t feel well. Can this wait until tomorrow?”
“Complain, complain. Get your lazy butt out of this bed or I will see to it that your punishment will be remembered.”
“Who do you think you are ordering me around like that?”
Suddenly the blanket and sheets vanished, pulled onto the floor by some unseen force. I gasped and jumped out of bed standing on shaky legs.
“We must prepare for the banquet this evening. No time to waste. Everything must be perfect or you will be out of work and I will see to it that you never work again.”
I shuddered. I didn’t dare ask how she meant to do that. So far, I found this ghost to be the most annoying and obtrusive, not to mention, just plain rude.
“Off to the kitchen with you then.”
I gave my bed one final wistful look as I rubbed my aching head and made my way down the main staircase and into the kitchen as I’d been ordered. I was already counting down twenty minutes in my head until this spirit lost her mojo and went back to where she came from.
I flipped on a switch bathing the kitchen in fluorescent light. I felt a little silly standing there in my nightgown in the middle of the night. I waited for further instruction from my ghost but there was no sign of Madame Bossy Pants. I was about to give up and go back to bed when there was a loud clanging sound of pots and pans on the other side of the kitchen. A dish flew through the air and smashed into the wall behind me, just missing my head by about an inch. I shrieked.
“There you are. Doing nothing again! Get to it. We don’t have all day.”
“But I don’t work here,” I whined, bracing myself for another flying plate. “I live here.”
The woman materialized in front of me again, hovering several inches off the floor. She studied me a moment and I wondered if the truth was finally starting to sink in.
“It’s all wrong,” she shouted as she gave up on me and started circling the room. “This is terrible and it’s all your fault.”
Three more plates flew toward me in quick succession but by some fate I was able to dodge them.
“If you calm down, perhaps we can work it out?”
“I’m ruined and it’s all because of you.”
“What did I do?”
“If you could be on time just once and do what I ask of you like all the other servants then none of this would have happened.”
“You must be Daisy.”
I remembered my grandfather telling me a story about her that had been passed down to him but I couldn’t remember the details. I had been a little girl at the time and as far as I had known, Daisy was someone my grandfather had made up. The only part of the story that stuck in my mind was how others had feared the woman. Now I understood why.
The dishes came faster now. I sank down against the back of the island counter hoping to find protection as fragments of porcelain rained down around me. Great, now I was going to have to go shopping for dishes.
Was Daisy insane, I wondered? The other ghosts had known I wasn’t one of them but Daisy was too wrapped up in vengeance to acknowledge that I wasn’t the source of her misery. According to the clock on the wall, Daisy was exceeding her twenty minute time limit as well. Just my luck that the craziest ghost would also be the strongest.
When the assault on my crockery finally subsided, I dared to peek around the corner. Daisy stood with her hands covering her face, a diminished version of the bright entity that she’d been earlier.
“It’s over,” she said softly as I stood up to face her. I took two careful steps in her direction. “It’s all over.”
“What happened, Daisy?”
In a puff of smoke, Daisy vanished and despite my efforts to remain calm, the sudden reaction made me jump a little. It was as if someone had taken a big breath and blown out a candle. I called her name a couple of times but eventually I gave up. Daisy was gone.
“Well, that was the oddest encounter yet,” I said turning in a circle to assess the damage she’d left behind. I had a lot of cleaning to do in the morning thanks to this ghost but for now, my bed still waited where I would find warmth and comfort and hopefully a reprieve from the ever growing headache. After meeting Daisy, however, I very much doubted my dreams would be peaceful.
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