Casey Murphy and Sherri Rigby

Sherri Rigby
“I Miss Her

Inspiration piece

A Traditional Ghost Story
By Casey Murphy

The three girls sat on the floor of the old repair shop in the dark, each holding their own flashlight. Rachel was sitting with her knees folded under her, while Nicole and Melissa sat with their legs crossed. Nicole drew circles in the dirt with her right hand, while her left arm rested on her knee, her hand propping up her head. Melissa was going on about something that had recently happened in her life. It was 2 AM.

“I couldn’t believe he seriously said that,” Melissa was saying, not even realizing that Nicole and Rachel had stopped listening fifteen minutes ago. They had already heard the story, but once she started, there was no stopping their talkative friend. “So I looked him square in the eye, leaned in, and said—“

“Why don’t you go shove it?” Nicole and Rachel said simultaneously. Silence surrounded them as Melissa stared, shocked. Rachel and Nicole caught each others eyes and started laughing. Once they started they couldn’t stop, and before long Nicole was rolling around on the dirty floor and Rachel was leaning forward, clutching her stomach. A crease formed in between Melissa’s eyes.

“Hilarious, guys,” she said, scorn in her voice. “Just hilarious.”

“I’m s-sorry,” Rachel said between hiccups of laughter.

“I’m not!” Nicole hooted.

After a few minutes the two girls calmed down. “No offense, Melissa,” Nicole said, rubbing tears from her eyes, “but we’re supposed to be ghost hunting, here. Not sitting around listening to you whine.”

Annoyance flashed in Melissa’s blue eyes like lightning flashes in the sky. “I’m sorry,” she said, full attitude in her voice. “I didn’t know I was whining. I thought I was just informing my two best friends of my day-to-day interactions with the world.”

“Well, you sure fooled me,” Nicole said.

Rachel could sense an argument on the horizon. “So, ghost hunting,” she cut in before Melissa could reply.

“Right,” Nicole said, returning to the real reason why they were there. “We’re looking for the ghost of Mary Shilling. My grandfather always told me stories about how when he worked in this shop years ago, before it was condemned, him and his coworkers always saw a figure of a woman walking around.”

“Well it could’ve been anyone,” Melissa cut in.

Nicole glared at her. “No, because no women worked in the factory and she was always dressed in period clothing. You know, Victorian style dresses, her hair done up like she was Marie Antoinette, that kind of stuff. They say it was the ghost of this woman, Mary Shilling, who used to live here before it was turned into a shop. No one knows why or how she died; just that she wanders around seeking revenge. Scared a lot of people away from the job.”

“Then why are we here?” Melissa asked.

“To find out if the rumors are true, idiot!”

“Hey! I was just asking—”

“What do we do?” Rachel asked.

Nicole frowned, placing a finger on her chin and tapping thoughtfully. “There wasn’t any real way of summoning her, if that’s what you’re asking. She just showed up. But I bet if we held a little séance we might pull her out of the shadows.” She cleared her throat and closed her eyes, placing her hands on her knees. After a second, Rachel also closed her eyes, but Melissa kept hers open, determined not to give Nicole the opportunity to make her jump.

“Oh, spirits of the night help us make contact with the ghost of Mary Shilling.”

The three sat in silence, listening.

“This is stupid,” Melissa muttered.

“Sh!” Nicole hissed. “Mary Shilling, if you are there, please give us a sign.”

Silence again. Then: BUMP.

The three girls jumped and Nicole and Rachel opened their eyes.

“Oh my god…” Nicole muttered.

“Good one, Nicole. How’d you manage to do that without making it obvious?” Melissa asked.

“That wasn’t me.”

“Uh-huh, sure—”

“It wasn’t!”

“Guys!” Rachel yelled. “Listen.”

They grew quiet again. Rachel strained her ears. She knew she heard something, but what?


They jumped again.

“See!” Nicole said, turning to Melissa. “It wasn’t me.”

“Then who…?”


The girls stood up. “Let’s go,” Melissa said her voice an octave higher than usual.

“And miss this?” Nicole asked. “No way!”

“I am not staying here and getting raped by a ghost—”

“Ghosts don’t rape, stupid. They haunt.”


“Did you hear that?” Rachel asked.

“What?” Melissa and Nicole replied.


The sound always seemed to happen while the two were bickering. Slowly she stepped away from her friends, listening closely, determined to find the source of the sound. Her feet carried her to a back room where the noise was getting louder.




With only the thin lights of their flashlights to guide them, the room filled with old wooden crates seemed scarier than it probably would’ve seemed in the daylight. Walking toward the back of the room, Rachel noticed a stack of yellow boxes, smaller than the crates that surrounded them. Every time they heard the BUMP, the stack would shake. The three stopped. Melissa gripped Nicole’s arm.

“Well, go see,” Nicole said, nudging Rachel. Looking over at her friend, Rachel knew she was on her own. With a deep breath she stepped forward.

The handle of the box was cold and rusted. She took a breath, praying that it wasn’t rusted shut.

“Wait!” Melissa said just before Rachel pulled the top box open. “Maybe you shouldn’t open it.”

“What? Why?” Nicole demanded.

“You don’t know what’s in there! Anything could be in there.”

“Yea, like a ghost.”

“Or a murderer.”

Nicole stared at Melissa. “Really? A murderer? I’m pretty sure no human being could fit in a box that small—”

“Fine, so maybe not a murderer, but what if it’s a plague. Or an ancient curse. It could be like Pandora’s Box—“

“Just open it!”

With one quick tug the air around Rachel was filled with the sound of fluttering wings. Melissa screamed. Rachel covered her face.

“Awesome!” Nicole shouted.

Peeking under her arms, Rachel slowly let them drop as she realized it was only moths. There had to be over a hundred and more were still spilling out of the box. They were also multicolored, and with every flap of their wings the color seemed to change. They began to fly around Rachel in a dance and she felt herself being lifted off the ground.
Finally, the box was empty and the moths flew out an open window. Rachel stepped back from the box back over to her friends.

“That was amazing,” Nicole said.

“Not a ghost, but it was pretty cool,” Rachel agreed.

They watched as the last few fluttered out the window into the night sky.

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