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Short Story - The Seer

Updated on March 5, 2013
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The Seer


There. She saw it again!

The small table overlooking the lake was her favorite spot and she often took her lunch there. She could hear the murmuring wash of the waves, quietly kissing the shore, and off to her left were the mallards, feeding serenely. Overheard, a pair of jays hopped from limb to limb, hoping for a handout.

She missed Paul, and wondered why he had not come around. She supposed that he was busy with the shop, and in the economic crisis, he was probably trying to drum up business. She smiled at the thought. Paul could sell sand in the Sahara, so his business would survive anything. But she still missed him.

The male jay, with his brighter colors, dropped off the limb and landed lightly at the far end of the table, his head cocked to one side and watching her intently. She broke a piece of bread off her sandwich and started to toss it to him, but then stopped. Instead, she held it in her fingers, and extended it in his direction. He hesitated only a moment, and then took two hops, deftly taking the crumb from her fingers. He stared at her for a long minute and then flew back to the limb overhead. He offered the snack to his mate, and as she smiled in delight at his generosity, she suddenly saw it again.

Out of the corner of her eye, she distinctly saw a figure, a man, briskly walking by. But when she turned to look, he was gone, and she was alone under the trees. Then she felt the same odd sensation…a warm breeze, and, as always, it had the city smells of car exhausts, steamed hot dogs, and pizza ovens

In a panic, Janet Dodd came to her feet, and the jay swerved on his return descent to her table, darting to his left and then back to the safety of the tree limb, where he perched next to his mate, and eyed the table.

The first few times, she had dismissed it as mere imagination, but the shadows and fleeting glimpses of movement had persisted, and more than that, each time there was the blast of unmistakable, warm city air, as if she had opened a door somewhere. But this time it was more than a fleeting movement. This time it had the distinct shape of a man, and it was real.

Or was it?

Perhaps it was this place. She had moved into the bungalow on the hill two, no…three weeks ago, to recuperate from the accident, and she had seen the first furtive shadow, almost immediately. “Perhaps it is just this place,” she told herself, “Perhaps I simply need to go home to Paul and the city.”

She picked up her small lunch and began to make her way back up the path to the bungalow. Behind her, the jay called plaintively, and she hesitated, smiling at his impertinence. Sighing, she dug the remains of her sandwich out of the lunch bag and turned back to the table, intending to leave it for her jay friends. She had just placed it on the table when something caught her eye to her left. She turned, and a small child was looking at her curiously. She was about to speak when a harried looking young woman appeared and silently scooped the little girl up, never so much as giving Janet a glance. Then both simply faded away, and she was alone again.

Now thoroughly frightened, she hurried up the path. The serenity of leaf dappled sunlight on the woodland floor, and the puffy clouds adorning a serene blue sky spoke of safety and comfort, but she knew something was terribly wrong.

At last, the woodland tree line gave way to the meadow, and on the far side, she could see the cluster of bungalows, and safety. She realized that she had been running, so she slowed to a walk. She was scarcely fifty yards from home when a running cottontail swept in front of her, followed closely by a silently barking beagle, and a small boy, running barefoot. Then, just as suddenly as they had appeared, they were gone.

She felt better once she reached the safety of her bungalow, and put on a pot of tea. She closed all the blinds and put on some music. There were a few dishes, so she washed them, grateful for the soothing work. She had just finished drying when the knock sounded at the door. She wiped her hands, and waited. The knock came again, and she crossed to the door, hesitated for a moment, and reached for the knob.

Mary Marply lived next door and was in her seventies. She held a plate covered with a cloth, and the delicious smell of fresh baked cookies wafted out from underneath.

“Hello, my dear! I thought I’d pop over and trade a cookie for a nice cup of your tea.”

She peered at Janet closely, and a small frown appeared.

“Are you well? You look a bit peaked. I can come back another time.”

“No, no! Please, come in. I’m…I’m a bit confused, that’s all. I’ll explain.”

For the next hour, Janet poured tea and explained the visions, as Mary Marply listened silently, nodding now and again. At last, Janet finished, and sat silently, waiting for the older woman to comment.

“You have been given a gift, my dear. You have been granted the ability to see into another world. You are seeing the spirits of those who are not here with us. You are a seer.”

Janet sighed. “Well, I’m not so sure I want such a gift. I don’t like seeing ghosts. I’ve always been terrified of ghosts.”

Mary laughed, and it reminded Janet of the merry sound of small silver bells. She smiled in spite of herself.

Mary leaned over and patted her hand. “You needn’t be frightened, my dear. They’re not ghosts at all. They’re very much alive, but not of this world."

She paused, taking a sip of tea. "You see, my dear, you and I are the ghosts. I thought you knew.”

...

This story is now a Podcast!



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    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Cat!

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 4 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi Will,

      Wonderful descriptive details , especially the begging jays! You've such a gift for storytelling and stimulating the imagination for a multi-sensory experience. Each bit you write is a treat for me! Thanks :)

      -cat

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you Bobbi.

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 5 years ago from Florida

      We all feel that way sometimes---you just find a computer Geek that knows how to publish on Kindle Fire and take off.

      Good Luck in whatever you do. Just do not stop writing.

      Your Friend,

      Bobbi Purvis

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Bobbi!

      I can write a little, but I am baffled by the publishing process! I need a keeper.

      ^_^

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 5 years ago from Florida

      WillStar,

      Another brilliant story from your magnificent imagination spun into the windmills of my mind.

      It has been raining for days here in Florida---and I thought---I need to read a Will Starr story, and there it was in front of me when I logged on.

      My Fiction Angel is watching over me.

      Great Job and please tell me you are writing a book or have a book published.

      Your Hub Friend,

      Bobbi Purvis

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you kindly, Audrey!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, Garifalia, and thank you.

      I simply posted the picture and HubPages did the rest.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      What a great story! Sharing this one everywhere!

    • profile image

      Garifalia 5 years ago

      Of course it's Awesome; from that gorgeous picture to the last word. How did you get the picture to come out that big?

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, J. Frank Dunkin, and thank you! I'll take a peek at your work!

    • J. Frank Dunkin profile image

      Joseph Franklin Dunkin Jr 5 years ago from Foley, Alabama

      Up, awesome and interesting. Especially liked the ending. Most of my short stories run 30 or 40 pages. Perhaps I should read more of your stories and learn the secret of brevity.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, A K Turner. I'll take a look.

    • A K Turner profile image

      Joseph A K Turner 5 years ago from West Yorkshire

      Good stuff, really enjoyed reading it, classic ghost story twist at the end (I also write ghost stories). The flow of some of your sentences, and your use of words rarely seen except for in a dictionary intrigues me. I'll keep reading, if you keep writing lool

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Sky, and have a great day.

    • Sky9106 profile image

      Sky9106 5 years ago from A beautiful place on earth.

      A beautiful story Willstar. Oh My word, maybe I need to again ask myself , if I am real, or maybe a living hologram.

      I catch myself writing about these kind of topic quite a lot lately.

      You put such a surprising twist at the end . You have a great imagination. I’ll be reading more, but slowly , because I do believe that the race is not to the swift.

      Blessings Willstarr.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, Stephanie Henkel,

      For several years, I lived in RV parks, in a self contained travel trailer, while working out of town. Now we have a motor home, and yes, we love it!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      Hi Will, Yes, I have the old car pics! :) do you RV? Maybe we'll see you on the road one day. We love it, too!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Stephanie!

      Aren't you the lady with the great old car pics?

      BTW, I love RV's.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      What a great surprise ending! I was sure that the birds were going to turn out to be supernatural in some way, then I made some other guesses -- but you managed to spring a totally unforeseen surprise at the very end - Loved it!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, Maria, and thank you for taking the time to read this!

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Bill,

      I "seer" that I am way at the low end of the comments, yet this story is at the high end of excellence, suspense and a quirky surprise ending!

      Voting UP & AB-- I have been missing your work, Maria!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Happy to mislead you, my dear!

      ^_*

    • Maggie-May profile image

      Nadine M AuCoin 5 years ago from the Island of Cape Breton to the Eastern Shores near Halifax, NS

      Fubulous Will, you had me hanging on to the edge of my seat with this one--I thought perhaps your main character had alzheimers, amnesia, was hallucinating, but nothing prepared me for the great impact of the conclusion! Awesome, and very interesting!!!!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Beth!

    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 5 years ago from Tennesee

      Cool story!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, Happyboomernurse!

      Thanks for suggesting it!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, Cyndi10, and thank you!

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      I see that a podcast is now being featured and as Hyphenbird and I imagined, the story sounds great when it's read aloud!

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Hi WillStarr, Great story! Very well done.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, festersporling1, and welcome to Will Starr's world!

      ^_^

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      You are quite welcome, Sueswan!

    • festersporling1 profile image

      Daniel Christian 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      I liked the short story a lot and look forward to reading more of your work. Voted up for me too.

    • profile image

      Sueswan 5 years ago

      Hi Will!

      Thank you for the compliment on my poetry.:-)

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, Shelley!

      Thank you for reading me, little sister!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, PDXKaraokeGuy, and thank you.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, Sueswan!

      You've been writing some great poetry lately!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, thelyricwriter!

      Glad you liked it.

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      Shelley 5 years ago

      wow oh wow. Great story with the ending being a complete surprise. Great work and thank you for giving us all a chance to read your stories.You are very very gifted.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      very entertaining read. I look forward to reading more! Voted up!

    • profile image

      Sueswan 5 years ago

      Love it Will. You are an awesome storyteller.

      Voted up, up and away!

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 5 years ago from West Virginia

      Will, lol, you never cease to amaze me by your endings. I try to keep an open mind reading each story and I can never guess the endings. Another first class story Will. votes up.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you for the kind comment, ubanichijioke!

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 5 years ago from Lagos

      I name you 'The master story teller'

      you re gifted and unique

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, Cogerson, and thanks for the visit!

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

      After reading a couple of your political hubs....I had to go to one of your excellent short stories....and you did not disappoint me....I love how you built up the story and how you revealed the trick....great ending...a very enjoyable hub....keep up the great work.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thanks, Diane!

    • profile image

      Diane 5 years ago

      JUST THE RIGHT TIME OF THE YEAR FOR A GOOD GHOST STORY!

      THANKS WILL!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      It works for me!

      ^_*

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 5 years ago from Texas

      Will - that's just too deep... but a cool idea!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, feenix,

      Since only certain people can see ghosts, maybe only certain ghosts can see people!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, homesteadbound, and I'm delighted to have you as a reader!

    • feenix profile image

      feenix 5 years ago

      Hello, Will,

      Well, you've done it again, my very talented friend. This is a terrific story and I found it quite thought-provoking.

      Darn you, Will. I'm going to be thinking about what Mary said for some time to come. This is one of those stories that one does not just read and forget.

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 5 years ago from Texas

      I am soooooo happy to be following you and having the pleasure of reading your work. What a great way to end the story. I loved it! voted up and awesome.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Tina!

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 5 years ago from Sweden

      Brilliant as usual! This story is perfect with just the right amount of details to sense the mood and the characters but the story also leave enough for the reader to imagine! And I must admit, I didn’t see the end coming either:) I never see the end in your stories, although I know there will be a twist! Thanks Will, for a fantastic read, you are too good!Voted up, awesome

      Tina

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Aficionada, and thank you too for pointing out my glaring error!

    • Aficionada profile image

      Aficionada 5 years ago from Indiana, USA

      Outstanding story, Will - it gives me the shivers! I just saw your e-mail and read this, and I'll get started on recording a podcast reading right away. Thanks for asking!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Movie Master!

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Terrific!!

      I knew there would be a twist, but never saw this coming, so expertly done!

      voting up/awesome

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, lilyfly!

      Happy to be followed by you!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, b. Malin, and thank you!

    • lilyfly profile image

      Lillian K. Staats 5 years ago from Wasilla, Alaska

      Oh, well played Sir!!! I could never be that closed -hand! See I knew I was following you.... very nice job here! lily

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 5 years ago

      Wow Will, that was Wonderful and a bit spooky, but Wonderful. Great twist to the ending. I voted it UP and Beautifully done.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, mckbirdbks,

      Aficionada is a great Podcast reader, so I've asked her if she's willing. We shall see.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Will. Your story has that compeling twist that your readers have grown to expect, but even though they have braced themselves for it it 'Get's them'. That's the sign of a true storyteller.

      And if the Podcast seer's are watching, this is a winner.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, always exploring, and thanks for reading me!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, breakfastpop!

      Thank you, my friend!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, gailalovesbijou, and thank you!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      That's what i love the most about your stories, the endings. I know it's going to be a surprise. Great writer!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 5 years ago

      Fantastic. I never expected the ending. Up and awesome. I love the way you write, I really do.

    • gailalovesbijou profile image

      gailalovesbijou 5 years ago from Wyomissing, PA

      This is so scary! The hair on my arms stood up when I read the ending. I love horror stories! Well done! Thank you! Voted up, awesome, and interesting.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, Debby,

      It was!

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 5 years ago

      Ah! was this your Halloween story for the month of October?

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, LuxmiH!

      I was challenged to try writing a ghostly story with a ghostly twist. This was my effort.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hey, Chris!

      One of these days, I'll run out and have to write a straight story.

    • LuxmiH profile image

      Luxmih Eve-Lyn Forbes 5 years ago from Fort Pierce, Florida

      Wow! The opening was so poetic it brought everything vividly to life.

      I was intrigued and then fearful as soon as I realized that she was seeing glimpses of people. I wondered if this was a Halloween story....

      I felt comforted by the reassurance of the nice neighbor and totally derailed by the ending. You had me from begining to end. I love that!

      Voted up and awsome.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, Cardisa, and you know how I love to get you going!

      ^_*

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, dahoglund, and who knows what a ghost might believe?

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, Ghaelach, and thanks for reading.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hey, Dex!

      If you're right, maybe I should charge admission!

      ^_^

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, FitnezzJim,

      Are we seers, or are we seen? Boo!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, drbj, and I'm happy you like it!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, ThomasRydder,

      There will be no chapter two...I know when to quit!

      ^_*

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, writeronline, and who knows what we really are.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Pamela99!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, Bob!

      Gotcha!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, attemptedhumour, and thank you for the great comment!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, Clairepeek!

      You are starting to see through me!

      ^_^

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      If I fooled you, nee, I'm happy!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, Lynn S. Murphy, and thank you!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, Rosemay50,

      I guess I'd better see if Aficionada wants to read another one!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi, Alastar Packer,

      I happily lead my friends astray!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, AliciaC! I'm glad you like it.

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      Chris Merritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      all I can do is laugh!

      I'm getting tired of saying AGAIN, Will Starr YOU GOT ME!!

      but, I don't know what else to write...because dog gone it!! YOU GOT ME!!'

      lol

      Chris

      :)

      and as always, I LOVED IT!

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      You had me going there for a while Will, and you always manage a nice surprise at the end.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Love the lakeside opening scene.With another midwest winter coming on makes me wish for a picnic.Then at the end I wonder-do ghosts know they are ghosts?Up, interesting and awesome.

    • profile image

      Ghaelach 5 years ago

      Hi Will.

      WOW.

      You can certainly write a gripping story, had me from start to finish. That was a super twist at the end.

      I thank you for sharing your talents with us.

      Take care and have nice day.

      LOL Ghaelach

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

      Will Starr! People frantically await and anticipate short stories from you! And this story, as well as the others, is the reason why. Another great one from the master teacher and distinguished professor of writing! Voted up, up and away!

    • FitnezzJim profile image

      FitnezzJim 5 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      This one had me thinking in the wrong direction all the way up to the end. But that ending, wow, it's all about perspective, and perhaps remembering that ... if we can see them, then they can see us.