Wicked Wednesday – A Ghostly Treat for Halloween

Since Saturday, we’ve been posting scary stories during our first ever Ghost Story Blog Tour! Today – Halloween – it’s my day to give you my Ghost Story! Please drop by and read all the blogs and get yourself into the Halloween spirit with some awesome stories from all my friends.

Here’s where you can check out the other Ghost Stories on the blog tour:

Saturday, October 27: Berta Platas, author of Cinderella Lopez.
Sunday, October 28: Mary Castillo, author of Switchcraft.
Monday, October 29: Sofia Quintero, author of Divas Don’t Yield.
Tuesday, October 30: Kathy Cano-Murillo, author of Love Shine (it pubs 2009!)
Wednesday, October 31: Caridad Pineiro, author of South Beach Chicas Catch Their Man.

Here’s my contribution to the Ghostly Blog Tour!

Whispers in the Night

The harvest moon hung low in the horizon, so large and imposing it seemed almost otherworldly. The moon’s reflection shimmered on the calm waters of the cove and a chill filled the autumn air as Esperanza stood on the small dock with Brad.

From behind them came the hoo-hoo of an owl, followed by the rustle of something unknown in the brush beside the waters. A shiver racked down Esperanza’s spine. She glanced back at the horseshoe-shaped cul-de-sac where their cabin was located, but all she saw were the shadows of the pines surrounding the seven cabins nestled along the edge of the woods.

“Cold?” Brad asked from behind her and tightened his hold, bringing his front flush to her back.

“Not really,” she said and laid her hands over his arms where they rested at her waist. As he bent down and nuzzled the side of her face, his warmth chased away the chill. When he nipped the skin on her neck with his teeth, a different kind of shudder traveled along her body.

He licked the bite and she shifted her head to give him access, but teasingly protested his liberties. “Don’t tell me you spirited me away to this remote cabin just to have your way with me.”

He chuckled, a deep rumble that vibrated against her back . “I must be doing something wrong if you still have to ask that question.”

Smiling, she turned in his arms, thinking that so far he had done everything quite right. From the surprise call on Friday night to a delightful day at a quaint seaside town and dinner at an five star restaurant a short time earlier, everything had been perfect.

So why was she so uneasy? she thought as she laid her lips against his and tried to give herself over to the romance he had so deliciously orchestrated up to that point.

Was it because this was their first time away together? Was it because she had spent the entire week arguing over one clause in a licensing agreement with opposing counsel and knew that additional battles waited for her on Monday morning? Or was it that she was sabotaging this relationship much as she had so many others, not that Brad seemed to be going anywhere, she thought as he opened his mouth and answered her kiss.

“Relax,” he urged, apparently sensing her tension and attempting to dispel it.

“I’m trying,” she teased and allowed thoughts of everything else to leave her mind until the only things in her brain were the feel of Brad’s amazing kiss and the press of his hard body against hers. Long minutes passed as they stood on the dock, kissing until they were both breathing heavily and needed more.

“It’s been kind of cold all day. How about a nice bath to warm up?” he asked.

Esperanza imagined Brad in the bath beside her. That thought alone was enough to warm her, but she didn’t refuse the offer. A bath might dispel the tension she had been feeling since arriving at the cabins.

“It sounds heavenly.”

Only she didn’t feel heavenly as they approached the cul-de-sac and their cabin. If anything, the unease she had felt on the dock grew and the chill returned to her body with a vengeance. By the time they entered the cabin, the tension was back as well.

Brad sensed it. When he walked to the small island by the kitchen where a gaily wrapped basket held an assortment of bath oils and soaps, he tentatively fingered the curly ribbon on the package as he asked, “Do you want to reconsider?”

Did she? she asked herself, but the answer came almost immediately.

“No, I don’t.” She strode over to where he stood and examined the basket. It contained a number of items made with local products by the owner of the cabin. Considering the exotic blends, it occurred to her that the woman had to be an herbalist of some sort. She quickly selected a bath oil intended to relieve stress and wiggled it in the air.

“Last one in the tub — ”

“Gets to scrub my back,” he said, bolting past her to the bathroom with the deep claw-footed tub she had spotted earlier in the day.

By the time she followed him in, he had the hot water running and when she stepped to the edge of the tub, he held out his hand for the oil she had selected.

She handed him the bottle and he poured its contents into the rush of water. The steam from the hot water soon carried the fragrance of the bath oil into the air, spicing it with the enticing aroma of lavender, rosemary and eucalyptus.

With a deep sniff, he said, “Plant rosemary by the front gate and lavender for luck, my mother always said.”

“A family tradition?” she inquired, but he shrugged and said nothing else. He just turned, laid his hand on the pull for the zipper of her fleece jacket and tugged on it.

She lifted a brow as he lowered it and then reached beneath the jacket and pushed it off her shoulders. “Impatient?”

“You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting for this,” he said, the tones of his voice low and husky, strumming alive desire. Combined with the intoxicating aromas filling the air, she felt nearly lightheaded.

“I’ve been waiting as well,” she admitted, thinking of the many weeks they had been playing the man-woman game and thankful she had agreed to this trip with him.

With a wicked grin that promised heaven and the intense glimmer of desire in his dark, nearly black eyes, he said. “Then let’s not waste another second.”


The low chant weaved through her brain like pumpkin vines along soft summer soil. The insistent sound tangled itself in her subconscious until with a vicious jerk, it pulled her to wakefulness.

Esperanza lay in bed, eyes adjusting to the darkness of the bedroom. She sucked in a shaky breath, aware of something odd, and smelled the lingering scents from their bath.

Lavender. Eucalyptus. Rosemary.

“Plant rosemary by the garden gate and lavender for luck,” she recalled before the insistent beat of the voices demanded attention. Disquiet flared to life within her, dispelling any remnants of the earlier pleasure she had experienced in Brad’s arms. Her body rigid against the soft sheets, Esperanza struggled to make sense of the rhythmic chant of the voices, but failed miserably.

The chant grew steadily stronger the longer she just lay there, trying to convince herself that she was asleep. That the voices were just part of her dreams.

But she wasn’t asleep, she thought, too aware of the physical world around her for this to be a dream.

The warmth of Brad’s skin rubbed against her side where he lay on the bed. As he shifted in sleep, the rough hairs on his leg brushed against her softer skin and a barely perceptible snore became audible for a moment beneath the strengthening susurrus of the phantom voices.

Esperanza told herself once again that she had to be asleep, but as she turned her head, she clearly saw the interior of the rented cabin. New England-style furniture boasted home-made cushions in bright blue and cranberry colors upon which bright rays of moonlight fell through the large window that faced the cove.

The cheeriness of the colors mocked the sense of dread growing within her as she closed her eyes, trying to convince herself that she was in the midst of a dream.

But the insistent voices droned on like those of supplicants at mass, only these voices brought misgiving rather than solace.

She finally acknowledged that she was awake and willed herself to slumber. Urged the rapidly increasing beat of her heart to slow, but sleep eluded her as the chant continued, seemingly taunting her for her foolishness.

She couldn’t ignore them, she realized.

She couldn’t escape.

Opening her eyes, a movement above her snagged her attention — a small orb of light grew before her eyes. Almost transparent except for the shimmer of colors along the edges of the orb. Pale reds and silvers shifting as the orb rose higher until it hovered near the rafters of the cabin, seeming to dance above her in time to the rhythmic call of her spectral chorus.

Suddenly, like a soap bubble bursting in the wind, the orb disappeared, leaving behind in its place the figure of a man.

He hung from the rafters, his face in shadow. The white of his collar bright in the night, stark against the black of his clothing as he slowly swung back and forth, back and forth, from one of the wooden beams.

She screwed her eyes tight and held her breath, telling herself yet again that this had to be a nightmare. A product of too much lobster and wine at the seaside inn where they had eaten hours before.

A horrible nightmare, she told herself, and grabbed the golden crucifix she wore around her neck. Hand clenched so tightly around the cross that the edges cut into her palm, she intoned a long lost prayer dredged up from her memory.

“Con Dios me acuesto, con Dios me levanto . . .”

Softly she murmured the prayer, remembering how her mother would sit beside her bed for the nighttime ritual, but the sense of dread grew, running rampant through her body. Warning her to leave this place before it was too late.

Before she, too, was dead like the figure that was still swinging from the rafters when she braved a look upward.

She sat up, wondering why it was that Brad didn’t hear them. Or maybe he did and was ignoring the chant.

But Esperanza couldn’t ignore them as the voices rose up, higher and wilder. Taunting.

Did she hear them say, “Plant rosemary buy the garden gate. Lavendar for luck.”

Was that the reason Brad slept on? Had he chosen this quaint little cabin in the woods purposefully? she thought and then realized how insane this was all beginning to sound.

She lay back down and drew in a calming breath tinged with the scents from their bath. Held it and then took in another, trying to will away the rhythmic chant of what she now believed to be a Black Mass.

Her children’s prayer slipped from her lips, louder and more insistent and still the fear remained. If anything, as time elapsed, her belief that they would never leave it alive again grew.

She was certain of that now.

The voices were part of some greater evil that intended them harm.

As she finally dared another look up at the ceiling, she realized the hanged man was gone.

She considered for only a moment that maybe he had come to warn them. To urge them to leave before they met his fate.

With a hard shove to her lover’s shoulder, she woke him.

“We have to go,” she commanded, not even waiting for Brad to be fully awake before she was flying around the room, gathering her things into her overnight bag. The voices ever insistent and almost jeering as her lover raised himself on one elbow and stared at her with his sleepy gaze.

“What are you talking about?” he asked, rubbing his eyes before slipping a glance at his watch. “It’s nearly three in the morning.”

Three o’clock. The witching hour, she thought just a second before grabbing her jeans and pulling them on.

“We have to go. Home. Now. We can’t stay here.”

With each word she put on another piece of clothing while Brad stared at her, his gaze confused.

“It’s three in the morning,” he repeated and she heard the unspoken thoughts in his words. It’s three and we’ve got a four hour drive home and we’re supposed to stay here one more night and have a romantic weekend which you are so totally ruining with this crazy behavior.

But even as she understood his upset, she also continued to hear the voices in her brain. Louder and yet the words were still indistinct. Despite that, the threat in those words was as certain as anything she had ever experienced.

She wondered why he still didn’t hear them. How he could be so calm when her heart was pounding in her chest and fear had painfully knotted her stomach.

“We’re going home. I’ll be waiting in the car.”

She grabbed her overnight bag and his keys as they rested next to his wallet and the empty condom wrapper on the night stand beside the bed, leaving him no choice.

As she headed out the door, she caught a glimpse of his naked body as he eased from bed and prepared to honor her request. She might as well take a good look because after tonight, she doubted good ol’ Brad would want to spend another second with her crazy Cuban ass.

Outside, she raced to the car and locked herself in, grabbed her crucifix again and rocked back and forth in the seat. Waited for Brad, aware that whatever had been in the cabin was now all around them. Angry and determined to keep them if it could.

Minutes dragged by seeming like hours in the brisk cold of the autumn night, before Brad sauntered out of the cabin, his overnight bag in his hand. His bewilderment clear on his face and yet he said nothing. Asked no questions as she popped the lock on the car and he sat behind the wheel. Began the long ride back to New York City in the middle of the night.

As he pulled out of the cul-de-sac and onto the winding tree-lined road leading back to the turnpike, she sensed the evil gathering strength. Heard the anger in the voices still droning all around her.

She imagined words in a rhythm with that repeating in her head.

Can’t let them go. Must make them stay. Can’t let them go. Must make them stay.

We are going, she told the voices and in response, she sensed a presence following them. Felt its determination as Brad pulled away from the cabins.

Esperanza stared behind the car, knowing it was there. Imagining a giant beast chasing them, loping behind the vehicle. Long strides keeping its spectral being close.

She prayed they could escape it.

As she continued to gaze at the road behind them and the distance grew between them and the cabins, the sense of evil dissipated until suddenly, the chant stopped. It was as if the beast, like a dog on a chain, had reached the end of some metaphysical barrier beyond which it could not travel.

With a sigh, she finally faced forward and when she did, she encountered Brad’s inquiring gaze.

“You’re going to think I’m crazy,” she said.

“So try me.”

She did, confessing to every crazy heart-pounding moment since honesty had always been something they both had prided themselves on during their relationship.

When she finished, she shook her head and looked away. At his silence she once again said, “You think I’m crazy.”

In the dim light of the car interior, Brad unerringly found her hand and gave a reassuring squeeze. “I think you should meet my mother.”


The hem of her wedding gown brushed past the small bushes growing by the white garden gate, rousing the piney perfume of rosemary, followed by the sweeter scent of lavender.

As she pulled the train of the gown beyond the simple picket fence, she caught Brad’s hungry gaze as he waited for her up at the altar which had been set up beneath a rose-laden arbor in his mother’s garden.

His mother, a healer with psychic abilities, stood in the front row opposite Esperanza’s parents as the string quartet began Pachabel’s Canon and she walked down the aisle.

Nearly a nine months ago she had thought her relationship with Brad was over, only on that night he had driven her to his parents’ home in Westchester instead of New York City. In the welcoming confines of his home, his mother had immediately understood what had happened.

Even more importantly, Brad had understood.

In the time since then, she’d come to know more about him and his unusual family. Luckily, she hadn’t had any other nocturnal visitations. . . other than Brad’s welcome ones into her bed.

He had wanted her to investigate the cabins. Determine if whatever had occurred had some connection to a real event in the past, but she had decided she didn’t want to know. It was enough for her that both Brad and his mom accepted that what she had experienced that night had been real.

Much as she knew that what she and Brad now shared was real and meant to last a lifetime, she thought as she took the final few steps up the aisle and met Brad beneath the arbor hanging with thick blossoms of red and white.

Roses for love, rosemary by the garden gate and lavender for luck.

For today at least, the only spirits around then were good ones, she thought as she slipped her hand into Brad’s and prepared to start the rest of her life.

ghost1.jpgWant to read about the real life events that inspired my ghost story? Then check out these two earlier blogs:

My trip to Mystic, CT
Our encounter with some spirit orbs

And don’t forget to check out the other Ghost Stories on the blog tour:

Saturday, October 27: Berta Platas, author of Cinderella Lopez.
Sunday, October 28: Mary Castillo, author of Switchcraft.
Monday, October 29: Sofia Quintero, author of Divas Don’t Yield.
Tuesday, October 30: Kathy Cano-Murillo, author of Love Shine (it pubs 2009!)

7 thoughts on “Wicked Wednesday – A Ghostly Treat for Halloween”

  1. That was so scary! I read it Halloween night and took until today to comment, but I totally loved it, especially the end! So cool his mom was psychic, so he must have understood the loca he fell in love with. Even spookier to know it was based on a real event! Kudos, chica!

  2. oh my gosh, it is halloween night and everyone is in bed and i just read this! i willhave a hard time sleeping, it was so real!!! it ended so sweet,i love that! thank you again for joining in the fun of this project. i can hardly wait to do it again!
    kathy 🙂

    p.s. you rock!

  3. Caridad,

    I’ve enjoyed taking the “tour,” but your
    tale is too real for words! I remember
    reading the Mystic blog when you first
    ran it. It is even more frightening today
    than when I first read it! If I were you,
    I would never go back to that area!!!
    P.S. I enjoyed reading the stories by
    your fellow authors on the tour!
    P.P.S. My mother’s name was Mary Castillo, but she insisted that we make
    sure to put in her middle name which
    was Louise.

    Pat Cochran

  4. SOmething similar happened to Ryan and I in Carmel. We rented a cute little cottage and immediately sensed that we weren’t alone. My little guy would start talking to whatever it was (my feeling was a child spirit). Anyway, on our last night there was this banging all around the cottage. We looked for racoons, intruders but it seemed the sound was all around the house. THe next morning it felt like our little friend didn’t want us to leave. But we bid it farewell and plan never to stay there again!

    Great story!

    Mary C.

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