Reggie's Story

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


Crime Fiction Friendship

Reginald absolutely hated it when Marie walked through him. She scatters his ethereal outline when she decides to enter the room while he is standing in the doorway. Doesn’t she realize it actually discombobulates my aura? I think she takes great glee in it!

“Dammit, Reggie, get out of my way!” Ghosts block my path all the time, she mumbles to herself.

The crystal pendants on the chandelier begin shaking. “Reggie, stop it. I don’t want crystals falling and denting the table. STOP!” Reggie heeds her shouting, although she can’t cause him harm. 

“Thanks, Reggie, for stopping. Yeah, I know you prefer to be called Reginald, but I like Reggie better. I’m making fried chicken for dinner for Roger and Cherische. I’m sorry I walked through you, but you were in the doorway!”

She wants everything her way. They spoiled her. I would have -

Marie interrupts. “I can hear you, Reggie, you are projecting again. The way I heard it told, YOU were the spoiled one. Anyway, someday you MUST tell me why you jumped and killed yourself! Right now, I have to cook, so scat. Please.”

She saw the air shimmer as I left the room, and I heard her clattering pans and chopping vegetables. 

The spot where my body had landed now had a flowering laurel hedge. The hedge was planted three months after my death to wipe my blood stain – a death stain - out of the ground.

“Mommie! Daddy and I stopped on the way home for some French fries.” Cherische had ketchup on her tiny lips and a drip on her light blue shirt.

Marie frowns slightly at the stain but grabs her five-year-old and swings her around the kitchen. “You had both be hungry when dinner is ready! I am making fried chicken!”

Reggie is in the hallway watching the family, smiling, remembering when this house was his and his mother made him fried chicken. There were no French fries then or fast-food restaurants, so he could only wonder what it was like to dip one in ketchup.

“I see you, Reginald,” Cherische calls out, and she sticks her tongue out at him.  When he chuckles, the humans hear a faint wind chime sound.

“Stop sticking out your tongue, Young Lady! It is not nice.”

“Mommie, Reggie doesn’t care; he’s a ghost!” Marie shakes her head no at Cherische, who shamefully lowers her head.

“I’m sorry, Reginald. I didn’t mean anything bad,” Cherische says to his faint outline. He is beside her instantly, whispering in her ear that it is okay. She feels his cool breath on her cheek.

Roger tucks her in for the night, having once again read her favorite bedtime book, Corduroy, and I park my ghostly derriere in the chair by the window. I watch over her at night, comforting her ethereally if she has a bad dream, flicking on the light if she needs to use the bathroom, and pulling up the covers to warm her. I do everything I remember my parents doing when I was little, and I know she feels my presence, and it makes her secure.

I’m a ghost, but not dead! A year and a half before Marie’s birth, I was otherwise occupied in my bedroom at the other end of the hall from hers. I was hiding, hoping to be rescued by Sam. 


“You can’t mean that Troy! Why did you do that? What will we do?”

I’m outside of their bedroom, listening to the argument.  Marie is horrified, and there is terror in her voice.

“Marie, just calm down. I will take care of this.”

“How? We don’t have that kind of money. You owe them twelve thousand dollars! Where will we get it?”

“I will borrow it from the firm and sell off some stock.”

“We are not cash liquid, Troy! You can’t get stock cashed out in four days, and the firm will never loan you money – they will want collateral, and we have none!” He hugged her tightly, looking over her shoulder, noticing the outline of Reggie. He pointed down the hallway, a gesture clearly meaning GET OUT!

Troy had a gambling problem and sold some of Marie’s inherited jewelry she gave him for safekeeping. Unscrupulous cad! 

The next morning, Marie did not see her husband off to work and drove their daughter to school herself. Since I knew Marie would sense me in the backseat, I tagged along inside the trunk.  

She dropped off Cherische and went to her sister’s house. Reggie was able to hear human conversations from short distances; he stayed near the window and listened as she cried, relaying the dilemma to her sister, Natalie. 

“But Hon, you don’t have that kind of money. I can ask Bill if he can loan you some, but we don’t have that large an amount.”

“No, I don’t want your money, I just needed to tell someone. I think we will have to run.”

“Now that is just dumb, Marie. You can’t hide from mobsters; they will find you. He has to get them to give him more time, and we will work on raising the money.”

When Troy got home, Marie confronted him, asking if he was able to get an extension to pay the mobsters. He looked frightened, which scared her even more. Seeing her shoulders tensed up and how she paced the room convinced me of how frightened she was. Uncontrollable tears pouring down her face swelled her eyes and turned her nose red.

“There is no more time, Marie. They are coming tomorrow. You have to run with Cherische. I will stall them until I know you are safely out of the area. I will keep them away from you.”


Do you want to know how I really died? 

A man named Sam was in love with my mother, Jennifer. He had no chance - she only loved my father. However, the problem was that it was not simply love for Sam; he was obsessed with my Mom. She had worked as a cocktail waitress at Sam's casino before meeting Dad. As the story goes, my parents took one look at each other and never looked back. They got married shortly afterward; she stopped working at the casino and became pregnant with me once she felt the marriage was solid.

Once I was born, Sam couldn’t stay away. He had to be in my Mom’s life and ensure she and her son were okay. He truly loved her. So, Sam began bringing baby gifts to Mom, and she couldn’t refuse. 

Mom and Sam had an underground relationship. Mom knew he was in love with her and that he had illegal transactions and dangerous friends. She had seen his temper flare at the casino and was determined not to cross him or put me or Dad in his sights. Therefore, she accepted all his gifts graciously, and some were quite expensive: a cherry wood crib, a cherry wood changing table, an ornate stroller, and a baby swing. 

Sam was gentle, quiet-spoken, and kind to Mom and me. He always came by when Dad was at work, and even as a baby, I could feel the tension in the air when this man came over; the air sweated and pulsed with Mom’s fear when he was in our house. Dad exhibited fury over the gifts when he got home at night, but it didn’t end the gifts, and they kept coming over the years. 

Mom never let Dad get rid of any of the things Sam brought her. 

His gifts for her were things Dad couldn’t afford: an emerald ring, a ruby and diamond tennis bracelet, and a diamond-studded watch. Once, it was a convertible T-bird.

I was fourteen when he brought over that peach of a car. It was teal green with a white leather interior; the car came with a driver stationed down the street because it was a stick shift, and Ma wasn’t great with those. Whenever Mom wanted to go anywhere, the car pulled up. The driver was insistent she be his passenger. 

When I was seventeen, I heard Dad accusing Mom of cheating on him. She screamed at Dad, hitting him on his chest and exhibiting her fury. Sam was deliberately driving a wedge between them, slowly dripping his evil between them.

When I was eighteen, old enough to enter the casino, I went to visit Sam. He invited me into his upstairs office, where I was astounded to see photos of me and one large painting of my mom!

“Where did you get that painting of my mom?” I demanded. He just smiled, said his cousin was an artist, and painted it from a photo as a gift. Okay, I thought, but why?


Aunt Natalie and Uncle Bill approached Troy, offering to second mortgage their house and loan him the entire bundle he owed the mob. Marie sat with her hands in her lap, praying he would accept. He did not. She slapped him, leaving a red hand mark. I went upstairs to sit in the window seat in the hallway by Cherische’s room. I watched as Marie kissed her sister goodbye on the porch and waved goodbye to them. She stood there for a long time, and Troy didn’t go get her; finally, she brought her daughter upstairs. 

“I see you, Reginald,” Marie whispered.

She must be really upset to call me Reginald. 

“I’m watching over you and Cherische. I know what Troy did and the danger you guys are in. I want to help but don’t know how. Except,”

“Except what, Reggie?”

“When I was eighteen, I buried money in the backyard. A benefactor gave it to me and assisted me. The fireproof box contains twenty-one thousand dollars.

She is staring at me, her mouth a gaping hole. She jumps up so quickly she moves right through me. OWWW! I scream, and she apologizes.

“I’m sorry, Reggie. I didn’t mean to pass through your form, are you okay?”

When I smile, she asks, “What do you mean you buried money? Why?”


Sam was a gangster and a liar. But he was also a proven friend.

“Look, kiddo, we need to protect your mom,” he told me.

“Protect…from what?”

“Her husband and his relatives.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Reginald, your father is the chief of an Irish gang in Chicago. The Italian mob is looking to kill him, including anyone who is in the way, maybe you or your mother,” Sam told me. “Your mother wouldn’t leave your dad and go with me. I think she was afraid of me, but it’s him and his connections she should be afraid of. We are going to bury this lockbox of money in your backyard. When he takes a drive up to the Windy City, you show your mom where it is and tell her I am waiting for her if she decides to make a break for it. I have proof you can show her of his gang ties.” 

He shoved photos across the desk to me. Photos of dead people, blood seeping from wounds, and bodies in the street, just like in the movies. It made me want to gag, but I manned up and stopped my retching.

I tell Sam that Dad sold some of her jewelry. “Sonofabitch, I will kill him!” Sam shouts. I back up to the wall. “I’m sorry, Son. I gave her those emeralds, rubies, and diamonds so she could pawn them if she ever needed money. He stole that from her, from the only woman I have loved.”


“Troy pawned some of your inherited jewelry; did you know that?  When Troy goes to work, you need to dig up the money box, then get Cherische and vamoose outta here!”

“But I need to pay the mobsters; that money will pay Troy’s debt,” she says, looking out the window.

“No. Troy isn’t who you think he is, Marie. Just like my dad.”

“What do you mean? And what about your dad?”

“My dad was an Irish mob boss, who didn’t protect my mom; she paid for it with her life.

Your husband is a thief and a gambling addict. Mom didn’t get a chance to take the money and run. Now, you can. The Mob is after Troy, and they will kill you and Cherische! Promise me you will do as I say.”

I led her to a hidden key and told her to open the desk, where she saw Troy’s gambling loss receipts, loan shark receipts, and pawn slips of her jewelry. 


I watched from my room when the row of cars sped up the drive. They shot out all the lower windows, and my dad returned gunfire from the dining room. I could hear my mother screaming. I heard Dad yell at her to go upstairs and hide. Footsteps pounded partially up the stairs; one final ear-splitting scream from my mother; my dad calling out ‘Jennifer’ - then more gunshots. And silence. She didn’t come upstairs.

The men in the row of autos chuckled as they climbed back into the cars. One said, “Got that sonofabitch, didn’t we!” Then a remark from another, “Yeah, and his stupid casino whore-wife. She bled out on the stairs.”


When Sam arrived, he found the murder scene and broke down, but then he knew he had to find me. He methodically went from room to room. The house has five bedrooms and two hallway closets, one of which has a hidden corridor into a bedroom. I used it as a secret passageway when playing. Sam opened the door, creeping through the passageway. He ended up in an empty bedroom, swearing loudly. Once he was back in my room, I showed myself, then heard a single gunshot and watched Sam keel over. 

A man in pointy caramel-colored shoes with a black suit and vest approached me, but I ran to the window, screaming ‘HELP.’

The mobster was super-fast and blocked my path of escape. He kept coming at me, so I threw heavy objects. He spoke in a foreign language, bellowing, angry. His gun was on the floor; as I leaped for it, he kicked me in the ribs so hard I couldn’t breathe. I was dragged by the ankles, trying to suck in some air. Then he got me under the shoulders, pushing me to the windowsill. I was fighting as much as I could with no air in my lungs, but he was too big and strong. 

He threw me over the sill.

That’s how I died. 

An Italian mobster waited in the house after my parents were gunned down. He killed me and Sam.  

Sam crossed over, but I was stuck, earthbound, it’s called. I am in this realm as the safeguard for Cherische and Marie.


“Reginald, it is time.”

I am standing at my old bedroom window. Turning, I see Phillip, a Being who brings spirits across the Bounds.

“Come, Reggie, your charges are okay, and this mission of yours is complete. A new one awaits beyond the Bounds.”

I nod and place my fading hand into Phillip’s hand; his is visible only to me. You would see nothing, the same as if you try to catch sight of the wind – not the effect of the wind, but the wind itself.



“Ah, that looks so much better. I hated that hedge.”  And the legend behind it, she thinks to herself. Cherische writes a check to the landscaper.

Cam, her husband of ten years, is directing the crew installing the pavers while her mother is inside showing the furniture movers where she wants each item placed.

Cherische sits on the wrought iron bench that faces Reggie’s bedroom window. Her fingers run over the inscription her mother had commissioned, Reginald’s Home.

There is a creek running next to the house where the hedge had been planted years ago to hide what was a sad and untimely death. Cherische listens to the music of the water and can hear some frogs quietly croaking while birds splash at the shallow end. Her eyes lose focus, and the air above the creek shimmers much like heat does in August. A ghostly outline flickers, then disappears. She notices something in the grass and runs over to it. 

A children’s book, the cover almost illegible from use, dog-eared pages throughout, lies face up on the turf.

Corduroy,” she shouts. “Cam, it’s my book! My bedtime storybook is here!” He jaunts over and puts his arm around her shoulders. “Daddy and Mommy read this to me all the time. I lost it. How could it be lying here now?” He shrugs. 

“Stranger Things, as people say,” Cam responds.

I gave it back, Marie; go outside and see, Reggie whispers in Marie’s ear. She hears a wind chime, feels his breath on her cheek, and watches from the porch.  “Reggie,” she breathes softly when she sees the book in her daughter’s hand. “Oh, Reggie. Thank you – for everything.”

October 28, 2023 03:25

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Judith Jerdé
21:04 Nov 16, 2023

Andrea, I agree with the comments about a sequel. Your story is so well scripted, I could’ve kept on reading. Although it had a nice ending And I enjoyed it very much!


Andrea Corwin
02:45 Nov 22, 2023

Oh, that is so kind of you; thank you!!


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Vid Weeks
14:26 Nov 02, 2023

Wow, that's quite a story. You fit a lot into it. Great depiction of the family dynamics and I enjoyed your treatment of the 'life' of a ghost. And any story with my favourite word - discombobulate - gets points.


Andrea Corwin
23:23 Nov 02, 2023

Thanks and glad you like that word too!😄


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Howard Halsall
09:35 Nov 02, 2023

That’s quite an epic, Andrea. Apart from your vivid descriptions of living with a ghost, which I found to be captivating and totally believable, I think you have the foundations of a much longer story. Have you considered extending the idea? I’d certainly love to read it…. Take care HH


Andrea Corwin
23:24 Nov 02, 2023

🙄 Howard, thanks your for your support and reading my stories! I will have to try and expand this one and let you know!😄


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