Love is…

Part I

Love is when you’ve been particularly neglectful in trimming your eyebrows and plucking them and the gap between the two eyebrows have unified and become one. Wayward hairs arch forward here and there, as if they are reaching to shake a passerby’s hand.

And somehow, your husband or wife, never seems to notice.


Love is when you get an unrelenting flu bug that knocks you flat into you bed and you stay there for hours without the ability to so much as raise your head. (In an annoying deal of a bad hand of the cards of fate, you got the one strain that was not contained in the flu shot you got months earlier.)

When the moment arises when you MUST use the washroom you push the pause button and hold it a little longer because it seems the effort will deplete what remains of your energy. Eventually though you rise, and stammer your way into the bathroom and do your business as quickly as possible as your bed is beckoning you to return to it.  In a swirling world of dizziness, you stumble back towards in the direction of your soft duvet, when your husband bursts into the room carrying in one hand a glass of water, and in the other one a bottle of Gatorade. You hear in rushed words that sound that they are said far away, even though he is close by, that he’s going out to get soup for you and crackers.

Back in your bed finally, he hands you the water and you take a few sips of it, and pops the Gatorade open as well. Once you’re safely snuggled in your bed, he rushes out of the room, turning the light off behind him with his cape flying behind him in his quest to locate soup and crackers.

You roll over on your side and mumble, my hero…

Part II: The Ghost Of Cybill

Part II

“Mom, where do you want me to put this?” Logan asks his mother as he wipes the warm water from the serving plate that he pulled from the dishwasher.

“Ju-just, put it-it on the shelf.” She says from the couch in the living room. Her head nods to Logan in a spastic twitch. It’s involuntary. It’s a tremor of sorts.

Amanda’s hand rattles as she reaches for the brown coffee cup in front of her. The cup sits on a pine coffee table they purchased from a garage sale some years ago.

“Hello, Amanda.” Jocklyn has arrived and sits beside her. He smirks at the fragile woman on the couch and watches as the cup she holds swings out and a black tar substance that resembles coffee rushes out of it. With a swoop! The dark black liquid splashes onto her pants.

Amanda bolts up from the couch, pulls at her pants because of the scolding liquid, and mumbles, “Goddammit!”

“Mom, are you ok?” Logan runs into the living room in terror as he watches his mother.

“Better be careful Amanda. Wouldn’t want anything to happen to you. After all, you have a boy to take care of.” Jocklyn taunts her.

Amanda gives a sideways glare to Jocklyn. Then she raises her eyes to her son and says, “No-no, honey. I’m alright-right.” She gently touches her son’s face. Logan’s wide eyes stare back at her with droplets of tears that have gathered in them. His face is longer than usual and he’s pasty white.

When Logan was a child his eyes were always wide with wonderment at something new: a new bike, a new sport, or a new instrument to play. Amanda doesn’t recall when she last saw him passionately amazed by something.

His gaze now is only one of bewilderment for his mother’s ever-increasing anxiety levels. From his perspective, it must seem like she’s falling to pieces for no good reason. The home they just purchased is big and spacious, requires a little work, but it was a great find for them as they had very little money.

They didn’t hear the stories about the house until after they purchased it.

Every penny she has is wrapped up in this house.

There’s no way out.

“Ammmmanda….” She flicks her head in the direction of the sound. “How old is your son?” His words seethe with slippery darkness.

“What?” She whispers to Jocklyn.

Her son hasn’t seen the ghost yet. Jocklyn has spent his time only terrifying her, but now the spirit’s question worries her.  Amanda’s shoulders push back defensively. The fragile woman who was there a few minutes ago has left. Her eyes flicker at the ghost in anger. Her jaw locks. Protectively, she stands in front of her son.

“How old is your son?” He roars at her while he pokes at a coffee table lamp with a wooden base and a beige shade. The lamp teeters, but it doesn’t fall.

“I have a rule, you know. I don’t hurt kids that are less than sixteen years old. But once he turns sixteen -” He scowls at Amanda without finishing the sentence.

Amanda grabs her son’s arm and pushes him backwards towards the kitchen.

“Mom! Mom! What are you doing?” Logan shouts at her.

“Honey, get behind me!” She says with a growl in her voice. She slowly backs up to the kitchen. Carefully, she watches Jocklyn who’s in front of her and tightly holds her son’s hand from behind her. Her position ensures that if Jocklyn intends to harm Logan, he’ll have to go through her first.

“Is he sixteen?” Jocklyn whispers to Amanda from across the room. He grabs a ceramic coaster from the table and throws it up in the air.

From behind Amanda, Logan screams, “Mom! Oh my god, Mom! What the hell is that?”

“At least in the end, your son will know you weren’t crazy.” Jocklyn’s words drip with venomous disgust at them.

He rotates his right arm back as if he’s a pitcher in a baseball game and hurls the coaster at Amanda and Logan.

“Mom! Mom!” Logan screams from behind her as he sinks down to the floor and covers his face.

A white outline of a spirit’s hand grabs the coaster just before it hits Amanda’s face. A woman’s voice sweetly says, “Honey, I’m home.”

“You!” Jocklyn screams at her. “I killed you!”

“Yup!” Cybill’s eyes stare down at her enemy. Her chin is punched out at him, challenging him.

“I can take you again!” He screams at her as he runs towards Cybill.

Cybill turns to face Amanda and says, “Get back!”

Amanda grabs Logan by the elbow and drags him to his feet forcing him further into the kitchen.

“Mom, Mom!” Logan whimpers at his mother. “We have two ghosts in our house!”

“Yes! The man has been tormenting me since we moved in! But that one,” Amanda says peering around the doorway of the kitchen while pointing at Cybill adds, “I’ve never seen her before!”

“This is my house!” Cybill’s voice thunders at Jocklyn. “GET OUT!”

Undeterred, Jocklyn continues charging at her.

But before he reaches Cybill, Amanda sees the outline of a baseball bat that swings up and it strikes Jocklyn across the right side of his face. The power behind the swing sends Jocklyn spinning and he plunges to the floor.

Jocklyn glances behind him and stares at Cybill. He huffs in disgust and says, “Oh, yes. The bat…”

Jocklyn jumps to his feet and in very slow deliberate strides, stares down at Cybill like a panther might do when they approach their prey. Once he’s in front of her, Jocklyn reaches for the bat.

His hands slip through it.  

Jocklyn’s mouth gapes at Cybill as he mumbles, “What the hell?”

“I told you already. This is my house.” Then she spins around, points at Amanda and Logan and finishes, “And those people, are under my protection!”

Jocklyn reaches over at a familiar item he’s threatened the mother with before – the lamp – and lifts it into the air.

Cybill stands before Jocklyn and without moving a muscle, forces the lamp back down with her mind.

“Oh,” she says to no one. Her lower lip slips down as her eyebrows raise and she continues, “I didn’t know I could do that.”

Jocklyn grabs the coffee table.

It won’t move.

Then he reaches for books and magazines.

Nothing shifts even an inch.

Cybill quietly says, “It’s time to go. Let these people live their lives.” She says half-turning to the two terrified people that stand behind her.  “It’s time to go home, Jocklyn.”

Just then a small hand slips into Jocklyn’s and a quiet, angelic voice says, “Daddy, let’s go home.”

Jocklyn’s eyes peer down at the child. His head bows forward as he begins to sob.

The child clasps Jocklyn’s hand tighter, pulls at his shirt with the other hand, and says, “Daddy, don’t cry. It will be alright. We’re together again.”

Jocklyn uncontrollably sobs as his shoulders shake back and forth. After a few seconds, he scoops the child up into his arms, and buries his face into her shoulder.

Cybill gently touches Jocklyn’s arm and says, “Grace will show you the way.”

Jocklyn nods at his one-time enemy and places his daughter down. With big eyes, and a huge smile, she leads her father through a wall and they disappear.

Cybill turns to face the new homeowners whose heads glance over at her with consternation from the kitchen.

“Don’t be afraid,” she says. “I won’t harm you.”

Suddenly aware that she’s holding her ghost-baseball bat she adds, “I can only fight ghosts with this. Not people.”

Amanda and Logan slowly slink towards Cybill. Amanda says, “I have so many questions.”

Cybill smiles and says, “There’s nothing you need to know – except the house is yours now. But, could I ask a favor?”

“Anything.” Amanda says with new found determination in her voice. There’s still an unintentional nod of her head. But slightly relieved Jocklyn is gone, it’s lessened.

“Get rid of the wallpaper in the kitchen. That stuff’s terrible!” Cybill says as she picks up her baseball bat and heads to the wall that Grace and Jocklyn disappeared through.

“Ok.” Amanda answers with a quiet laugh.

Cybill twirls around one last time. Her eyes sweep across the room as she takes in every moment she had: happy moments in childhood, struggles through her teenage years, losses of loved ones, every wish she had for the future in the house, and at the end of her life – the overwhelming pain that ended her.

With a final nod to life, and a shrug of her shoulders, Cybill smiles, and vanishes through the wall.

Part I: The House of Cybill Langlert

Leaves swayed against the ebony sky. The front door rattled and creaked with the wind. The front light to the house pulsed with a white glow before it descended back into darkness.  At some point that night, the light would never return again.

Untrimmed hedges surrounded the house. It provided the perfect cover for an intruder. Except the intruder wasn’t outside now – he lived within it. This was his home. The new owner, Cybill Langlert – was the intruder!

Cybill fidgeted in her bed.  She was annoyed the light never stayed on. Her decision to purchase the house a few months ago seemed like a good idea in the daylight; it was a steal with a rock-faced exterior, four big bedrooms, three bathrooms, real hardwood floors, and with dark cherry wood kitchen cabinets that were beginning to peel. The house for sure, was a fixer upper. But most of the hardwood could be restored with a little hard work. But the outdated wallpaper would definitely have to go.



Cybill raised her shoulders up from the mattress. A stabbing pain ricocheted through her neck by the jarring motion at which she had raised it. She took one moment to rub it and then…


Cybill leaped out of bed! She grabbed her baseball bat that she kept in the corner of her room and slowly opened the door. One eye peered around the corner into the darkness. Very slowly, she swung her whole head out to determine where the sound was coming from.

This house, since she purchased it, had done nothing but terrify her.  Originally, Cybill believed the house may need some work but it wouldn’t be that costly. She was handy with tools and had some knowledge of how to complete the renovations, thanks to her father and her ex-husband, who were both in construction.

But she soon realized it was a bargain for a reason. There were stories in town about the house. According to the town rumor mill a man once lived there by the name of Jocklyn Raydon who had committed some crimes: theft, robbery and murder.  But it wasn’t actually his house; he had simply moved in to the abandoned building and took up residence there. However, the police caught up with him on this land and Jocklyn refused to surrender.  A shoot-out in the house made a quick end to the miscreant.

The original building that stood here after Jocklyn’s death was torn down. The house Cybill lived in now, replaced it. But the new building was on the same land.  The home changed hands multiple times and there were rumors Jocklyn’s ghost, unwilling to surrender the home to the new owners, haunted it.

Stories told by the residents in town recounted common ghostly acts: a tossed dish across the room in the middle of the night, a doorknob that turned with no one on the other side of it, and lights that commonly flickered.

But it was the bigger things that he did. One man while on a ladder replacing a light bulb described how he felt it pushed. Some said it was just the wind. But others said it was Jocklyn’s ghost. The man suffered a broken leg. Hastily, he put the house on the market for sale after being tormented for months by other paranormal occurrences. The last owner who Cybill purchased the home from fell through a glass window. (Some in town said it was the ghost again.) The woman required multiple stitches to her face.

Oddly enough, if there were children in the house the ghost never harmed them. The ghost went to great lengths to ensure he never caused them distress. One child recalled how he woke one morning with earplugs in his ears. His mother deeply shaken by a night when windows were slammed every few hours, and framed photos along the staircase were knocked to the floor, didn’t understand how her son slept through it. That is – until the morning.

A compassionate ghost to children, he cared nothing for adults.

Cybill never believed the stories. An educated woman in law she belonged in the realm of reality, versus that of paranoid fantasy.

There was an explanation for everything.

Her feet wobbled along the uneven floorboards on the second level of her home. Just then, she glanced over. A window slowly was raised upwards. In front of the open window she made out the white outline of a figure with a malevolent grin who wore 1970’s bell bottom pants and a long-sleeved plaid shirt.

Cybill tightly clasped her baseball bat as sweat gathered on her temples. With it raised, she stood there, motionless.

The ghost’s eyebrows were bent downwards. His face twisted with rage. With a rush, he slammed the window down and shattered it. He screamed at Cybill, “Get out of my house!”

Glass sprayed everywhere across the hardwood floor! The wind blew the larger pieces and a clinking sound of it being dragged across the floorboards was heard.

Cybill stood there with her baseball bat raised and said, “No! This is my house! You leave!”

“Ahhhhhh!!!!” Jocklyn shouted as he charged at Cybill.

Cybill always stood her ground. She didn’t move. Some said it was because maybe she believed a ghost couldn’t harm her. Or, perhaps she believed mistakenly, Jocklyn couldn’t move her.

Cybill felt a rush of coldness. All of a sudden she was pushed backwards. She rolled at first easily down the steps of her home with bumps on her head and arm. But once on the bottom of the stairs, she lay there for a moment trying to make sense of what just happened.

A few seconds later, above her stood the white outline of a man in bell bottom pants and a plaid shirt. The baseball bat that she planned to use for protection, he raised it ever so slowly above her.

A cracking sound made her teeth grind together from the blow. Cybill’s eyes widened. She took long gasping breaths of air but it was never enough. Jocklyn’s ghost stood above her, smiling.

Like the light on her front porch that no longer flickered, Cybill descended into darkness.

But darkness does not remain forever.

And after some time, a light came on again.