Bobbie wore her hair brown hair pinned back. Her charcoal colored dress was loose fitting around her petite structure and she looked even more drowned out by the black cardigan sweater belted around her waist.
“Do you know where you are?” I asked her.
Her hazel eyes wide, and a bit wild. Not because she could see me, or I her, but because she was scared and that was evident by the way she shivered.
“At the Durant,” she whispered back to me.
“The Durant,” I tried racking my brain, but I had no idea what she was talking about. She was confident in her response, so I decided to continue with the questioning.
“What are you running from? Can I maybe help you?”
I didn’t want to share with her quite yet that she was dead, as obviously she didn’t know. With the ability to hold a conversation with her she wasn’t residual energy either, she was intelligent, yet she was stuck in her time and possibly re-living her own demise. It was something that had to be handled delicately.
“Who’s with you?”
“Nobody,” she quickly answered.
“See, I don’t believe you because you were talking to someone about hiding something from someone else.”
Bobbie stared at me, obviously hoping I’d just go away.
“I promise I want to help you and I won’t hurt you.”
But Bobbie wasn’t having anything to do with my promises and when she stepped away, she disappeared.
“Let’s try this sleep thing again,” I muttered to myself as I climbed back into bed. Glancing over at Chuck who was sound asleep and snoring, I sighed loudly with some resentfulness and put the pillow over my head. It was all of just a few minutes later when I felt a touch on my arm.
“I’ve been trying to save money to go away,” Bobbie confessed to me after I got out of bed and sleepily made my way back to my home office where I wouldn’t disturb Chuck.
Bobbie’s eyes swelled with tears. “Anywhere, really. Anywhere I won’t be found. We won’t be found,” she corrected.
This time Bobbie wasn’t alone. She had a young boy with her, about 6 or 7 years of age. His hair was a mess of dark curls and his eyes cornflower blue. Every so often he would peek shyly around Bobbie with interest.
“He beats you both, doesn’t he? He beats you,” I repeated making it more a known statement rather than a question.
It was then that I realized what happened and why they were both stuck, but Bobbie decided to trust me enough to share the details.
Her husband was a high profiled union leader, with possible ties to some underground business dealings to boot. Gerald was born soon after their marriage, but with features that didn’t favor either of them, and her husband accused her of having an affair.
“He never believed Geri was his from the beginning, but he was. I never cheated. Never.”
I believed her. Bobbie never cheated, but her husband certainly had his share of girls.
“He thought I didn’t know. Women know,” Bobbie smirked.
Yes, women certainly knew the signs of cheating.
“And then I saw him go into the Flint Tavern Hotel with another woman. He was hand in hand with her, smiling and happy and I was done.”
Bobbie could turn her cheek on being cheated on, hit and abused, but she wasn’t fine with Geri being hit and abused. Her husband would give her grocery money and she would take a small part of the money and put it away each week. For several years she hid away the little amount of money she could in a potato chip can high on a shelf in her pantry.
He wanted her to come to a corporate celebration in Flint, Michigan at the Durant Hotel.
“He wanted his peers to see him as a family man,” Bobbie explained. “I packed the potato chip container with the money and when he was in a meeting Geri and I were going to find the train station and leave.”I looked at Bobbie hard because I had a strong feeling that we were nearing where I could help, and I was afraid of what her reaction would be once she had the realization.
“Bobbie, you didn’t make it to the train station, did you?”
“No,” she whispered. “He found the money and asked me what I was doing. I told him I was saving to buy him a nice birthday present, but he didn’t believe my lie.”
“Do you remember after that?”
Bobbie stayed silent for what felt like forever before answering.
“He killed us, didn’t he?” she flatly said as she absently tousled Geri’s curls.
I nodded grimly.
“Do you notice that my clothes are different than yours? And outside looks different? Our cars are different? This is 2017. What year do you think it is?”
Bobbie paled. “We’re….”
Bobbie and Gerald had been murdered in a fit of blinded rage by the very man who promised to take care of her until death, not cause death.
The next morning the dark circles were even darker around my eyes.
“You okay?” Chuck asked after noticing my exhaustion after a dozen yawns.
“Just tired,” I confessed. “And it’s all your fault.”
Chuck grabbed a cup of dog food and poured it into their bowls before answering. “My fault? Why my fault?” Chuck continued to do his chores as we chatted.
“You brought home a ghost,” I informed him.
Chuck turned on his heels and looked at me to see if I was serious. I was.
“Wait, how is this my fault again?”
“What did you buy recently?” I jested.
Chuck had no idea what I was referring to until I pointed to the chip tin.
“Oh my gosh, Kristy. I’m so sorry. Do we need to throw it away? We can if we need to. I don’t know if I even opened it. Did I open it?”
I laughed in response. “Honey, it’s not like a genie popped out of it. A spirit, or spirits actually, were attached to it and I took care of it all.”
Chuck looked relieved. “Well, I don’t know. I’m new to this world!”
He wasn’t new to this world at all, but I let it slide.
“I never thought that a chip tin would have a spirit attached to it. That’s a stupid thing to be attached to,” Chuck commented.
It wasn’t that Bobbie was emotionally attached to the tin, it was what she put in the tin that represented freedom to her, and ironically the freedom due to death didn’t even happen until Chuck’s purchase when I was able to help Bobbie and Geri cross over.
“You know, I don’t think I ever opened it. Maybe there’s money in it,” Chuck said spending a minute or two lifting off the rusted lid. “Nope. Nothing in there,” he sadly shared, shaking the tin upside down.
I’ve changed some names around, and purposely didn’t include the year because I’m hoping to do more research. Maybe even find their graves. Bobbie shared that she remembered a funeral so I have a feeling this was never called a murder, but an accident. Who knows if I can find enough information I’ll turn it into the police. I also still have the mystery of the man’s voice because although her son was with her, I heard a definite adult man’s voice.
So maybe we were supposed to buy the tin after all. Not just to put bird seed in it, but to set free two souls who’d been stuck, hiding from the heaven that they deserved to be in. Even so, I still love vintage finds and antique stores, but I’m hoping to take a break from bringing home the ghosts.