I glanced up to the sky and glared at the darkened clouds that concealed the full midnight moon, and the twinkled stars. The breeze died down, and a dense fog rolled in. The nocturnal animals went silent, and the temperature plunged. I cried out to my companions. “Where are you guys?” No answer.

I sat on the ground and took my phone out of my bag. The battery life had diminished and was almost dead. I studied the weather forecast before we took off; the weather report stated clear skies and sixty degrees. I was uncertain about what was going on. The phone died as I was about to text my husband. I reached into my backpack for a flashlight and pressed the on button, but the light did not turn on.

I never saw so much gloom. I rose and took a step forward and flipped over a tombstone, cracking my skull on a rock. I fluttered my eyes open, all around me a blur, my brain dazed, and myself confused. An icy hand wrapped around the nape of my neck –it must be one of my team members- and helped me roll over. I noticed the clouds had moved on and the moon, now in its three o’clock position.

Black hair danced on my left cheek. I shifted my head towards the person and glanced up at a woman. I had never seen her before. Her eyes sunken in, her skin translucent, and her hand was more than frigid, it was clammy. She wore a white wedding gown, and her lips bled down her chin and dripped unto me.

I screamed.

I snapped out of my nightmarish slumber to discover myself secure in my husband’s arms. I took a deep breath and exhaled a few times then sleep came.

The alarm went off at seven in the morning. I slid out of bed and stumbled my way to the bathroom. I took a warm shower. When I finished, I got dressed in my jeans and a short black sleeve shirt, then went to the kitchen and saw my husband had breakfast ready.

With my stomach full and hot coffee in hand, I dashed to my office and sat down at my computer. I turned it on, eager to go over the previous night’s footage from the local graveyard my paranormal team investigated. We streamed the event live over Facebook on May 3rd for Paranormal Day. We had people who commented that they noticed things, but we waited until the next day to review everything. Best to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed when you look for anything out of the norm.

You see, in a study by Pew Research Center, Michael Lipka, states one-in-five Americans believe they had seen or had been in presence of ghosts. He reports twenty-nine percent of the people in the United States thought they felt the touch of a spirit. In the same survey, six-in-ten people believed they had experienced one supernatural event in their lives. Chapman University did a study back in 2018 about fears and the paranormal. They stated fifty-eight percent of Americans believed in haunted places and spirits, up to eleven percent from 2016.

Ghosts are not all. Mufon reported in March, they received five-hundred and seventy-two reports of UFO activity for February, with the United States leading the way and with my state, Illinois, having twelve of those reports. Nuforc updated its website on April 18, with ninety-seven new reported sightings of UFO activity. A Chapman University study stated forty-one percent (up by fourteen percent from 2016) of Americans believed aliens had visited Earth in the past and thirty-five percent (up from ten percent from 2016) still visit today.

The same Chapman University survey claimed twenty-one percent (up from seven percent from 2016) of Americans believed in Bigfoot.

Many towns in every state, and in every part of the world, have an organization that explores some role of the paranormal. My team investigates all, from Bigfoot to aliens to things that go bump in the night. That is what we did last night; we investigated our local cemetery.

My coffee was lukewarm by now, and I took an enormous gulp. Every footage and audio I analyzed over were all the same, nothing… until a few minutes from the end of the last video. There she was, the woman from my nightmare. The image came from my Full Spectrum POV camera. The same sunken eyes, the translucent body, the blood dripped from her lips, which moved. Her arm raised, her index finger extended, and she pointed right at my camera.

I took another gulp of coffee. An image of the tombstone raced across my mind. The name engraved on the cement stone was Jaynie Kunkle. I zoomed in on the headstone, the same name. I did not know who this woman was, and there were no reports of such a ghost haunting the cemetery.

I turned the audio up on the headphones. I rewound the video over and over. I copied the portion of the sound and analyzed the voice through my EVP software by cleaning it up. That is when her voice came, loud and clear. “You’re. Next.”

I hollered for my husband before I remembered he took off for the grocery store. I finished my coffee. This was amazing, concrete proof of a spirit, but why was she pointing at me? Why am I next?

My eyes became heavy, my body numbed, chest pains, and shortness of breath, then darkness crept in.

I stood over my body, as it lay on the floor. The paramedics were struggling to save my life. A female did chest compressions, and the male had a bag-valve mask over my face. My husband stood next to my computer, tears rolled down his eyes, and his arms wrapped around himself to control his trembling.

Microsoft Word was up. I glided over and tapped on the keys I am here, Simon. He didn’t see it, and I typed it again.

I am here, Simon.

I am here, Simon.

I am here, Simon.

Simon must have heard the noise of the keys because he turned to the screen and then scanned the room. With a smirk on his face, he erased what I said and closed the document. He picked up my coffee mug and brought it close to him, and peered inside it before he took it to the kitchen. My husband turned the hot water on, pour dish soap into the mug, and washed it.

A male police officer arrived and peered at the cup and up at Simon, who froze at the sight of him. “Did she drink from that?”

Simon shook his head, and tears continued to roll down his face. “No, I did.” He held up the mug. “Would you like some?”

The police officer shook his head and placed his hand up. “No, sir.” The officer motion his hand to the door. “Please leave the room. There are two detectives outside wanting to talk to you.

I could not get to Simon to find out what they said. But why would he lie about the coffee cup?

The medical examiner declared me dead at noon. I overheard the paramedics whisper to each other; they believed I died sooner, but they had to try to bring me back. They placed my stiff body on a gurney and rolled me out to the ambulance.

My body arrived at the corner, and so did my spirit. He had my body cut open and took my heart and liver out. He peered inside my stomach and took tissues and blood samples. He picked up an electric saw and split the top of my skull off and picked out my brain. In his microphone, he stated my cause of death was a heart attack but would learn more when the samples came back.

I knew that wasn’t true. Simon had something to do with it. We ate the same breakfast and even fed each other, but he didn’t have any coffee. But why would he want me dead?

Next, I was at my burial. I can tell you this: it was no fun. My team was there with equipment tucked away in their purses and suits. I heard Sandra tell Ray. “It was no heart attack. She will let us know who did this to her.” Ray nodded to her.

That’s my team. They have my back, even when I am dead.

I had to let them know Simon did this, that somehow, he poisoned me. I could not stay there anymore and left. I was back at the apartment.

I rummaged through everything and found nothing. How did he kill me in a few hours? I floated to my small herb garden and discovered an unusual plant there, a perennial herb. Its attractive purple flowers can lure anyone with an eye for beauty to lean in closer. This was an Aconite plant identified as Monkshood, best recognized as Wolfsbane. Every part of this plant is deadly, but, when used properly, can help with joint and muscle pain.

I leaned in closer and examined parts of the plants missing, and a place where someone uprooted a plant. This is how he did it; he spiked my coffee.

I heard noises coming from inside, and I returned home. My team set up their equipment and brought out the ghost box. It took a few hours, but I mustered enough energy to let them know. “Simon… Wolfsbane.”

I saw Ray go out to the garden, and he took pictures. Then a door slammed. Simon arrived home, astonished to discover the team there. He ordered them out. After they left, he went outside to dig up the garden, and to get rid of the evidence.

I was furious and felt a strong tug. Next thing I noticed I was next to Jaynie Kunkle. I glanced to my left and looked at my grave. The bastard buried me next to her. She stared at me; her eyes no longer sunken in, but a dark brown, her hair a light shade of red. I found out an ancestor of Simon’s murdered her the night of their wedding in the 1700s. They found the man innocent. She said, “Until someone proves them guilty, we are stuck here.”

I am not worried; my team will find a way. They got it too, right?

Wait, you must have a gift. You can read this. Maybe you can solve the mystery of why my husband killed me, and why/how Jaynie Kunkle husband killed her. Can you help us? Please help set our spirits free.

Published by T.L. Hicks

Tracie Hicks is a Speculative Fiction. You can read her work at Coffee House Writers, where she is an editor. Tracie has an Associate of Arts degree in Communications from UoPX. Bachelor and Master of Arts degree in Creative Writing (focused on fiction and screenwriting) from SNHU. She wrapped up her education with an MFA in Creative Writing from SNHU. She is working on two books and one short story collection. You can read her work at

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