I think my parents understood that I could not sit at home and be a social outcast, so they gave me much more freedom than many girls my age. I could stay out late, and spend the night by friends, and I would have to say I was pretty responsible and didn't get into TOO much trouble. Once I was driving, I really liked to come home even though it was a long drive. I liked my own bed in my own room, even though the room, and the house, was haunted.
In the 150 or so years that the house had been standing, many people were born, lived their lives, and died there. Naturally they were happy to stay on. When we first moved in, the house had been empty for some years. Our arrival was treated as an affront to the deceased inhabitants, and they responded wickedly: things fell over, blew around, and caught fire. Old women were seen out of the corner of my sister and my eyes, wandering from room to room.
Gradually, with the help of noisy parties and constant use of the things in the house, the ghosts got accustomed to us. We were not afraid or overly spooked out, and treated our ghosts like senile old relatives who had to be tolerated. We never (as far as I know)had actual contact with a ghost in that house. They grew quiet, and haven't been seen or heard from lately.
Except for one. Every time I was out late, I would drive along our long, cherry-tree-lined driveway towards the gate, which was part way along and not yet in the lights of the house, with my heart sinking. I would pull up, (Bright lights!! Lights on in cabin of car!) and get out of the car. I would open the gate, and get back in the car. I ALWAYS looked in the backseat, but... Nothing would be there. Then I would drive forward, and get out to close the gate. As I drew the gate closed and put my hands through to catch the chain, there she would be. She would hold my hands and look at my face, smiling slightly, asking to come in.
I never let her in. A few times, I told her "No, Aunty. You go now." but I never had more to say than that. As I grew older, she became less intense, less "there". I have never forgotten her, though, and from time to time a visitor will be spooked down by the gate. (I'm gonna have to walk you out for WEEKS, eh Sharon?)
We found her picture and discovered who she was. The old lady, who went quite senile in her later years and used to go running through the village naked. Her ghost wears a cotton "duster" house dress. Her thin grey hair is pulled back in a loose bun on the back of her head, and her ghostly hands are knobbly and pale. I feel sorry for her, waiting to be let in to her home. I often wonder what would happen.....
A few months ago, I pulled up at the gate late at night again. My big boy Chas hopped out to open up, and I drove through. He closed the gate, and then turned and ran like fire back to the car. Slammed the door and spun around in the seat, staring back with wide eyes. I put my hand on his back, and waited a moment. He looked at me, quizzically, pale. "She's quite harmless, you know" I said, stroking his hair. He let out the breath he had been holding. And we held hands as we drove up the last stretch of driveway, into the light of the old house.
I will put your links up when I get home, other ghost story writers! If you are writing a ghost story today, let me know in comments.