When I was younger, we moved into the house-- a rental-- painted the living room walls burnt orange, and unpacked. On the third night in the house, my sister and I were watching TV in the family room when all of a sudden the room got cold. Very cold. It was the middle of July and although the windows were open to catch any late night breezes, the air usually remained humid, hot and sticky with no breeze. Several nights later, I was lying in bed when a THUMP came from my closet. Thinking my guitar fell over, I pulled open the closet door but the guitar wasn’t there. Nothing had been disturbed. Shrugging, I went back to bed. Late that night, I heard a noise that woke me. Someone was crying. Thinking it might be either my mom or my sister, I tiptoed out of bed to check on them. Both were sound asleep in their respective bedrooms. I must’ve heard a cat meowing outside.
I went back to sleep. In the morning, the closet door hung open. Strange. I know I shut it because my bedroom was small and with the closet door open there wasn’t much room between the bed and the door.
“Mom!” I yelled down the hall. “My closet door keeps coming open on its own.”
Mom came into my room to inspect the door. She opened it, she closed it-- she swung it to and fro. “Seems okay to me. Maybe it needs to be leveled or something.”
Soon, my sister and I were sitting on my bed laughing about something when a THUMP came from the closet.
Her eyes widened in fear. “What’s that?” she asked.
“I don’t know-- it keeps banging for some reason.” I got off the bed to open the closet door.
“No, don’t open it!” she screamed.
“Why not?” I asked. I opened the door and all was quiet within. I shrugged. “See? Nothing.”
“It’s a ghost,” she whispered.
“A ghost? Why do you think that?”
“It’s knocking to get out; you better leave your closet door open from now on.”
“Okay, but the ghost is going to be mad if you don’t let it out.”
That night I wondered about that noise. Just to be on the safe side, I opened the closet door. But I was afraid something might come out of it, so I shut it again. I heard the banging in the night but I held my pillow over my ears to drown it out. Eventually, I got some sleep.
All was quiet the next night, and the following one. On the third night, I began to relax thinking it was the house settling or pipes creaking. I fell asleep, but when I woke up in the middle of the night, I spied a woman in an old-fashioned yellow gown trimmed with lace at the cuffs and collar drift out of the closet toward me. She smiled so I wasn’t afraid. She laid cool hands on my forehead and whispered to me: “Call your mother.”
“Mom!” I called. The lady smiled nodding her head at me. “Mom!” I called again. The lady drifted back into the closet when my mom came running in.
“What is it? What’s wrong?”
My sister, who was right behind her, stared at me. “Is it the ghost?”
“She’s here-- in there, dressed in yellow.” Mom yanked the closet door open but it was empty. I moaned and mom rushed over to me. She put her hand on my forehead, much like the lady in yellow did. “You’re burning up.” She glanced at my sister. “Go and get the thermometer-- now.”
As soon as my temperature had been taken, Mom read it aloud. “103 degrees and climbing.” By now I was half in and out of consciousness. I remember mom picking me up, a car ride, and being wheeled into the ER.
I woke up in the morning feeling better. My sister smiled-- she was sitting by my bed. “You almost died, you know. You had a high fever and an infection of some sort. We’re lucky you saw that ghost.”
“And you were dehydrated from the fever,” Mom said coming into the room laying a hand on my forehead. “Better. Ready to go home?”
I was reluctant to sleep in my bedroom. I opened the closet to check inside before I hopped into bed. No yellow lady. Mom came in to kiss me goodnight.
“Did I really see a lady dressed in yellow?” I asked.
“It was the fever-- it made you delirious,” Mom said. I nodded.
Two days later I was looking for something to wear in my closet when I spotted some fabric on the shelf tucked way in back behind a box. I pulled it out and unfolded it.
“Mom!” I yelled. Both mom and my sister came running. “Look at this; I found it in the closet behind a box.”
“It’s a yellow gown,” my sister whispered. “With lace at the collar and cuffs.”
“It’s hers,” I said. “The lady in yellow left it for me so I’d know she was here.”
“It’s dusty and torn-- it looks old, like an antique,” Mom said. “Put it back where you found it.”
With reluctance, I folded it and pushed it back on the shelf, and went to bed.
In the morning, I decided to take the dress to the dry cleaners. Maybe I could wear it for Halloween. But when I opened the closet and rummaged around on the shelf, I couldn’t find it. I got a chair to stand on and moved everything from the shelf. No dress. I searched the floor of the closet. Nothing. The dress was gone, back where it had come from. The ghost lady had her yellow gown once again.
Kathleen S. Allen: YA Author:
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