Bounce, Part 1 of 2- a ghost story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
The first part of a short ghost story I have written.

Submitted: March 11, 2014

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Submitted: March 11, 2014

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  Bounce

 

Elizabeth could never have imagined that the sound of a bouncing basketball could so horrify her. Why was the din so harrowing? Why was it capable of inducing a near-nauseous reaction in her? It was, of course, because she was alone in the house when it happened. Or rather, that she had believed so.

 

Bounce- Elizabeth’s heart thumped- the unmistakable sound of that inflatable rubber sphere colliding with the laminated wood floor, she had tired of telling her son’s not to play with the basketball indoors.

 

But her sons were at school.

 

She sat upright. It was a foggy November afternoon, she had just settled down on her favourite armchair; a mug of coffee cupped in her hands and the daily newspaper opened on her lap. From there she gazed periodically at the scenic New England view, visible in all its glory, in all its dashing colours through the full length window to her left. Fifteen minutes ago she had dropped her two children off at their afternoon Kindergarten class. The boys were often mistaken for twins, there was in fact eleven months of a difference between them. Elizabeth lamented how tall they were getting, not to mention how rough and clumsy they had become. Many a household item had been broken beyond repair as a result of their horseplay, for a millisecond she had drew breath to shout their names, to admonish them at the first bounce of the basketball, forgetting momentarily that they weren’t home. Another millisecond later, her blood ran cold.

 

Bounce.

 

Again came the same sound.

 

Bounce…

Bounce.

 

She scrambled upright. Her first assumption was that the ball may have fallen off a shelf or some other surface in the boy’s room, but she soon established that the sound was directly above her. It was coming from the bathroom, and that was nowhere near their bedroom. Elizabeth’s face paled. Bounce, bounce, bounce, the din returned- this time with added fury, and then she knew this was no simple matter of a ball toppling onto a floor. Someone was bouncing that ball, and they were doing so with increasing fervour.

 

Then came perfect silence, welcome silence. Suspicious silence.

 

Elizabeth leapt up, she had to fetch her husband. He worked just a few hundred yards away at their local post office, she didn’t notice that she wasn’t wearing shoes or that she was still holding her mug of coffee. She put her free hand on the doorknob, felt Autumn’s cool air rush against her face, and put one foot forward.

 

And then was frozen in her tracks.

 

She stood in limbo between her beloved home and the outside world as bouncing became thumping, the sound was detestable. The ball was tumbling down the stairs. Elizabeth gripped the door frame as the basketball slammed against the wall at the bottom of the staircase and came to rest in the hallway, and there it lay, as still as stone.

 

Once outside she fought to catch her breath. Enveloped by the safety and comfort of no longer being in a confined spot, relief quickly came, but with it so did something else- reason. Elizabeth looked at her socks while she staggered towards the post office, the ground was damp from last night’s rainfall. She stopped walking and pushed her hair back in frustration, now she was able to think more clearly. Her husband wouldn’t appreciate her arriving in his workplace with no shoes on, coffee still in hand, though most of the contents had spilled out over the sides as she dashed down the garden path. He was shallow, he cared what others thought of him, he admitted it himself. But now that she thought of it, she knew that she too would be far from impressed if the roles were reversed, if he showed up at her workplace in such a state.

 

Perhaps she had been too quick to panic. Maybe the basketball simply had fallen, after all, and bounced by itself, as a ball naturally would. Then why did it all feel so sinister? So malevolent? Could it have been an intruder? Not in this part of town, surely. As sleepy as the place was, it had its undeniable benefits; people looked out for each other, there was a neighbourly air about the place, Elizabeth and her family had never felt safer.

 

She lingered on the spot and wondered what to do. Whether to walk on or turn back. Walk on? Or turn back? She spun on her heel. She would go back, she decided, but only to fetch her shoes and coat. Then she would go back out and fetch her husband.

 

Elizabeth let out a low, startled gasp as she reached the garden path again, there the basketball rolled slowly towards her, slowing to a stop at her feet. The glass on the front door had been shattered. The ball had, by the looks of it, been thrown through it. Shards of glass lay all over the front step. She walked backwards, keeping her eye on the ball, and finally broke into a run.

 

“Joe! It’s…something’s happened”. Elizabeth practically flung herself at the glass window that divided her husband from the general public, the post office was mercifully empty apart from two of his fellow postal clerks. Joe jumped to his feet, his colleagues stared. “What’s going on?” Joe demanded to know, he feared the worst. Something must have happened to one of the children, he was sure of it. “It’s...the kids are fine…” Elizabeth started, she possessed an uncanny ability of reading her husband’s thoughts before he had the chance to speak them. “Someone’s in the house” she told him, “come home”, and with that she fled the small building, still shoeless.

 

“I’m calling the police” Joe informed Elizabeth as he caught up with his wife, he fumbled in his pocket for his phone. Elizabeth stopped abruptly. “It’s not an intruder, Joe”, she placed a stern hand on his chest. His heart was beating as fast as her own. She shook her head impatiently. “It’s not an intruder, it’s…it’s a-” she stopped mid speech, they had arrived at the bottom of their driveway;

 

The ball was gone. There was no glass on the step. The door was in perfect condition.

Everything looked as it always had.

 

“I…how? How?” Elizabeth stuttered. Her husband glared at her, awaiting explanation…

 

.....


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