Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Wednesday, December 8, 2021

A Sputterling Christmas Part Two

First, a little note: normally on Wednesdays I participate in Adela Durkee’s super fun 50 Word Challenge. But this week, due to time constraints, I have to beg off! But please zip over to see what she has done for this week. You’ll be glad you did!

And now to Part Two of Christmas with the Sputterlings! (If you missed Part One, it’s here!)

It was snowing.

So both Reggie and I had eschewed the great outdoors in favour of something warmer and more welcoming to old bones.
The front room and the fireplace.
Okay, yes, it was December, so such weather should be expected, but cold and damp is cold and damp, no matter how jolly the season.
Reggie was entertaining himself by whistling rising and falling notes. A sort of a do, ray, mi for birds.
Let’s face it, Julie Andrews, he’s not.
Between you and me, he was about two stanzas from joining that old birds home in the sky.
Where birds go up.
And never, ever come down.
Back to my story . . .
Something thumped on the stairs.
Now I know that you know my sister and I live in a haunted house. So strange noises or things that go bump (even in broad daylight) are not uncommon.
The first thump elicited no response from either Reggie or me.
But the second, third and fourth did.
And the fifth, sixth and seventh.
Reggie fluffed out his feathers. His usual reaction when something is happening that he doesn’t understand. I don’t know about you, but nothing shouts ‘I’m-dangerous-and-every-part-of-me-is-a-lethal-weapon’ better than a fat bird.
Me? I lowered my magazine.
Both of us were now ready for anything.
We stared at the doorway into the front hall. The place the sounds seemed to be coming from.
Norma appeared around the corner.
I let out the breath I didn’t know I’d been holding. “Norma, what are you doing?”
She moved further into the room.
Then pulled a gigantic, obviously heavy suitcase in behind her.
Immediately the noises were explained. Someone had been transporting something much too large down someplace much too steep.
I was suddenly thankful that I hadn’t heard more thumping and bumping. (*snort*)
I raised my eyebrows and looked at her expectantly.
She smiled at me. “I’m leaving,” she announced in the same chirpy, good-news voice she would have used to announce that she’d changed the toilet paper roll.
Yeah, I guess you’d have to know my sister.
“Leaving?” I stared at her. “Where are you going?”
“I’ve been invited for a visit!”
“O-kay. Who and where. And more importantly, for how long?” I’m sure you haven’t forgotten that the two of us were living in Norma’s house—she, because her name is on the deed, and me, by invitation and economy.
“I don’t know for how long.” Norma went for the last question. “Maybe forever!”
My head reared back. “But, but this is your house!”
“Yeah, well, if I don’t come back you can have it!”
“I can have it?”  I wasn’t sure I’d heard correctly. I gave Reggie a can-you-believe-what-we’re-hearing look, then pinched myself mentally and shook my head. I’d obviously been around him too much. I turned back to Norma. “Okay, you’d better start from the front and take me through your orbit again.”
She sighed and sat down on her suitcase. “Well, you know how sick I’ve been getting. Those fevers and all.”
“Umm . . . yeah. But the doctor thinks he’s got it figured out.”
“Well I was talking to her and she said—”
“Her?”
Norma raised her head and looked up toward the ceiling.
“Oh. Her!”
She nodded. “And she was telling me how no one ever gets sick over there.”
“Yeah. Well, Honey . . . they’re dead.”
She shrugged. “Whatever.” She went on, “And she told me I could come for a visit and see how I liked things.”
“A visit.” I blinked. Then looked around. “Are we on Candid Camera?”
She gave a very unladylike snort. “No! She asked me to come for a visit and I’m going to go!”
I got up. Some things you just have to do while standing. “Norma.” I put a hand on her shoulder. “You can’t go over there—and then come back.”
“Who says so?”
“Everyone!” I sputtered. “Norma! You can’t cross into the world of—spirits and then come back.”
“Pfff.” She waved a hand dismissively. “I can do what I like.”
I have to admit that this has been Norma’s mantra from day one and, for a moment, the thought crossed my mind that if anyone could do it, she could. But then reality returned. “Norma, you can’t do this!” I was getting a bit desperate. “It’s . . . almost Christmas!”
“Fine!” She got up and started back toward the hall, pulling her case behind her. “You never let me have any fun!” She disappeared through the doorway. “Since you moved in here, my life isn’t my own!” Her case followed her around the corner. “One day, I’m going to—” Her voice quit.
Frowning, I followed her into the hall. “Norma, try to see reason—” I stopped.
And stared.
Norma--and her enormous case--had disappeared.

5 comments:

  1. You should never, ever underestimate your sister's determination.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hmm, maybe her haunting friend has arranged a short visit. Guess we find out in part 3?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Are we heading to a spooky, spooky ending? Can't wait! Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

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