Rachael's Tower

Submitted into Contest #221 in response to: Write a story where ghosts and the living coexist.... view prompt


Fiction Horror Romance

Bruce Clymer                                                                                                               word count =2,186

(707) 912 9226


Rachael’s Tower

     It’s hard to imagine that we were all so young once, and how the world stretched out before us with seemingly endless possibilities. My friends and I managed to rent an old house in the now famous wine destination town of Napa, California in the early 1970’s. The town wasn’t as famous then as it is now.

    The house was huge and out of place in the poor neighborhood of small closely packed dwellings. Two forty-foot date palm trees perfectly framed the front of the house as well as the very large, covered porch on which we would often sit. The house itself was two stories high, wood shingled, had lots of windows, and a large number of small bedrooms upstairs.  There were rumors it had been a house of ill repute sometime in the distant past, but no proof. The truth was that no one really knew why there were so many bedrooms, but it was great for us because the more people the house could accommodate, the cheaper the individual rent.

    A three-story wood shingled tower graced the large back yard. At the top of the tower was a room that had four windows facing each direction. The structure could have been a windmill or pump house at one time, but the blades were long gone, and no one knew what it was currently used for as the landlords had the door padlocked. Many wondered what was in the tower. Sometimes people thought they saw someone in one of the windows at the top, but it was mostly when they were in altered states of mind, which was fairly often due to the frequent parties. So, the sightings weren’t taken that seriously, and besides, the only access to the tower was a single door which was locked from the outside. No one at the house had the key, and the landlords rarely came by since we always managed to pay the rent on time.

    During the year we managed to stay there before being evicted, there were some epic parties thrown. It was at one of these parties, about two months in to our stay, that I first met Rachael. My initial encounter with her was undoubtedly influenced by the effects of beer and some killer weed I had just smoked, but nonetheless, she made powerful impression on me. The first thing I noticed about her was her long, dark, curly hair which stood in contrast to her almost porcelain white skin. However, as she got closer, it was her unusual bluish green eyes which seemed to be her most dominant feature. I suddenly felt lost in some type of mental fog, as my whole world seemed to narrow down to the vision of her in front of me. Time cane to a stop. I must have been staring at her for some time when a musical voice broke through my stoned stupor.

     “Charlie, you seem like you are in some kind of trance or is it just good weed?” She laughed.

      I was shocked out of my reverie and snapped back to the reality of the party going on around me. On her face was an amused smile, but I still didn’t know who she was.

     “Sorry for staring. Your right, it was powerful smoke” I chuckle. “Forgive me, but I don’t think I know you. How do you know my name?”

    “Oh Charlie, everyone knows your name around here. You are quite the legend you know.”

     “I am?” Was the only thing my drug dulled mind could think of to say. I was kicking myself internally.

     “Of course you are. It seems your nick names include Captain Cosmic and the Space Cowboy based on your love of getting stoned, and then talking about strange and unusual topics. Isn’t that right Charlie.” She teases me.

      She’s right about that, but I still don’t know who she is, and have never seen her before. “Well, mystery woman, you do know a few things about me, but I still don’t know you or your name. Are you new to town or do you know anyone here?”

      “Oh, my name is Rachael, and no I’m not new to town. In fact, I have been here for a long, long time. Longer than you can imagine, and I’ve got some stories to tell”

      I’m fascinated by this woman, and don’t know why, but I want to know more. “Rachael, I’m all ears. Let’s grab a beer and let’s find a quieter spot to talk”

     “Well, I picked you out of everyone here because of your reputation for liking the unusual.  I hope you’re ready for what I have to say because I do believe in honesty.”

    I assured her that I could handle whatever she wanted to say even though I was already starting to wonder what I had got myself into. So, we find a spot, in the backyard, by the tower where it is quieter, since the main party is in the house. She turns down the beer I offered but tells me the strangest story I had ever heard. I still have trouble wrapping my mind around it.

   Rachael starts off by telling me she is a ghost, and I can’t help but laugh. This has to be the most unusual woman I’ve ever met in my still young life. When my laughter calms down, she smiles and continues. It seemed like other ghost stories I had heard before. Her large family were the first occupants of the house a little over a hundred years ago and she had died on the property and now found herself bound to it. I’m wondering if this is all she has, so I ask her the obvious question about why she is so solid if indeed she is a ghost. She tells me that over the years, with a great deal of practice, she had learned how to project a shell, a manifestation, of herself. This I also find a little amusing, until she asks me to feel her pulse. I find nothing in the wrist or neck, and her body, although not cold, is cooler than one would expect.

     My amusement is dying quickly, and suddenly, I’m starting to feel some real fear. She sees it and holds my hands while telling me she means me no harm. She says she picked me to tell not only because I might be the most open to who she is, but also because she really liked me. It seemed that she could only maintain her projection for a limited time, and spent most of her existence in the spectral state people typically associate with ghosts. Therefore, she had observed a great deal about all who lived at the house, while being unseen herself. It seemed Rachael had concentrated her observations on me.

     She asked me, if I needed, or could handle, proof positive of who she was. I wasn’t sure, but with more reassurance from her, I agreed. So, while still holding one of my hands, she smiled and slowly faded into nothingness. My heart rate jumped, and even though I thought I could handle it, the reality proved more difficult than imagined. The shell of what I had considered possible or impossible was suddenly ripped away. There was nothing where her hand had touched mine. Luckily, she reappeared very quickly and hugged me as I slowly calmed down with her seemingly solid body holding mine.

      When I had recovered, and felt more myself, we continued to talk. I got a real feel for the loneliness and isolation she felt because of being stranded on the property. Rachael had only recently been able to perfect her manifestation enough to pass as a living human being. She finally felt it safe to appear at one of our parties where it would be easy to just blend in without a lot of questions. For her, it felt amazing to finally be able to interact with people after so many years of being invisible to the world. Evidently, she knew a lot about all who lived in the house or visited on a regular basis from her observations. Rachael knew more about me than anyone else because she said she liked me from when I first stepped over the threshold of the house.

      The Tower was her special place to be. At the top, she could look out and see what was going on at some distance from the house in all directions. It was the closest she could come to escaping the property and pretending she was part of the wider world. The fact that the landlords kept the door padlocked to prevent injury and liability, guaranteed her privacy in the top room.

    After our first meeting, we would meet on a daily basis for as long as she could maintain her solid form, which would be a few hours at most. Rachael and I collaborated on a cover story to explain who she was, where she came from, what she did, and to answer any other questions that might be asked about her. Luckily, most of those who lived or partied in the house, accepted her for who she appeared to be. She quickly became part of the culture of the house and eventually most considered her my girlfriend. As time went on, my feelings for her became more and more intense. Unbelievable, I was actually falling in love with a ghost.  

      I tried to bring the outside world to her as much as I could with books, newspapers, music, pictures, and any other thing I could do. One time, I arranged for a beach party in the back yard on a warm summer day. I brought in some sand, beach chairs, large umbrellas, beach balls, and even a recording of waves crashing. We set up a volley ball court and a small above ground plastic pool filled with cold water. People wore their swim suits and we played beach volley ball, sat around in the small pool, and played surf music to enhance the mood. Rachael loved it and stayed as long as she could maintain her form.

    My friends and roommates came to accept her, as one of us and she reveled in it. She seemed to have fallen as much in love with me, as I had with her. It was so strange and surreal that I was the only one who knew what she really was, and I couldn’t tell anyone else. Of course, all good things come to an end sooner or later. Given the way we partied and the previous warnings we had from our landlord and police, it was just a matter of time before we were kicked out of the house.

    Rachael and I knew it would happen, and we tried to get in as many good times and memories in before it did. Obviously we were both very sad about parting and our last day together was full of tears. We tried to formulate plans to try to meet up periodically after the eviction. The difficulty was, she couldn’t leave the property which would now be rented by others, and I couldn’t come on the property without trespassing.

     After being evicted, I would walk by the front of the property on previously arranged days. If possible and no one was looking, Rachael would appear as close to the sidewalk as she could, and we would talk. If we could get close enough to each other, we could kiss or hold hands for a short time. We did this for years whenever it could safely be arranged.

   I got on with my life, went to college, married, got a teaching job, had children, and grew old. During this time, I still would meet her when I could. I was growing older and older, yet she remained eternally young. Several times I found excuses to walk my wife or kids by the house so Rachael could see them. She was never jealous, and understood that I had to live my life. She was always glad for me while I secretly felt bad for her. She was bound to the property for eternity and denied any type of real life.

   As my life became more crowded and complicated due to work and other concerns, I visited less and less, but never stopped entirely. Eventually, my kids left the house, got married, and, had jobs in other places. I saw them less and less, and phone calls or internet were not the same. My dear wife died, my health took a turn, and my time was limited. I became the old man, I never thought I would become.

      Now, it is late night, and after sneaking on to the property, I am sitting against the Tower. Rachael is by my side. I reach for the pills that will release me, and swallow them down. Leaning my head against Rachael's shoulder, I wait, and hope the property will accept me.

October 21, 2023 22:55

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Shirley Medhurst
09:38 Nov 02, 2023

Welcome to REEDSY, Bruce, and thank you for this lovely wholesome romantic ghost story. The ending is perfect 😍 I did spot a couple of teeny errors, possibly typos e.g. “Your right, it was powerful smoke” - should be “you’re (you are) right” Another thought, but this is just personal, so feel free to disregard 😉: Some of the background info about the house e.g. the number of bedrooms or that it might have been “a house of ill repute sometime in the distant past” seem superfluous to the tale & so detract from the real story (for me) Overa...


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Myranda Marie
22:35 Oct 24, 2023

I love a good love story, but I do love good ghost story as well. Thanks for delivering both ! Great read! One tiny typo, fourth paragraph, "Time cane to a stop." ...I'm thinking it was meant to be came :)


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