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Dangerousdave26

Walking the Path

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Throughout my life I have had several instances that have made me a believer in the concept of ghosts. This is the most interesting instance of them all.

Although it has been many years now since this event happened in my life, the memory of it is embedded in my brain. The names and places have not been changed to protect anyone. These events are how I remember them.

I was 21 years old when I went to work for my uncle’s family owned lawn and garden business. For the first several years I performed the function of the pick up and delivery driver; a prestigious position that allowed me to travel all over Mahoning and Trumbull Counties in Ohio picking up equipment for repair.

This was before the days of everyone having a cell phone and it was not uncommon for me to arrive at a customer’s house and find them not at home. This particular day I was headed to Poland, Ohio to pick up a customer’s mower. The house was located on Riverside Drive just a few hundred yards from one of Poland’s schools. It was a pleasant, sunny spring day. The kind of day that just makes a person want to be outside after a long winter.

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I arrived at the house and walked up to the front door which was located on the right side of the front porch. The door was wooden with about an 8” x 8” square window in it. The window was, as I remember, covered by a curtain on the inside and was very high up on the door. High enough that at my 5’9” height I could not have viewed inside the window without standing on my tip toes.

I knocked on the door and waited for a response. When no response came I knocked again. I always hated going back empty handed as it was a wasted trip. After waiting what seem like an acceptable amount of time I turned to leave.

As I turned I caught the glimpse of the curtain moving and saw someone peeking out the door. At seeing this I turned around as the face disappeared behind the curtain. Again I waited. This time the wait seemed to last even longer before the door opened. When the door opened far enough I could see a very tall man of at least 6 feet. He was quite old, very thin and had a bald head. He looked at me for a short while but said nothing. I took the lead and introduced myself and told him I was there to pick up his mower for its spring tune up. At first he did not respond and I was concerned that he had no idea what I was telling him. He seemed genuinely lost and I had pity for him because of his age. I was ready to tell him that I would come back at a later date, as I figured someone else would be home to grant me access to the mower.

Just as I started to speak he said, “I will have to get the key”. He closed the door and disappeared for again what seemed like a long time. Upon returning he started to step outside and I told him that I could get it. He said it was in the shed out back. From the moment he came out the door I did not like it. He was very old and very frail. I did not want him to get hurt so I walked as close as I could as we made our way to the backyard and the shed. We walked in front of the house heading to the right side. There was an old wrought iron fence blocking access to the yard. I opened the gate and he passed into the backyard. The backyard was a garden and it sunk several feet down. It had a stream that came in from the one side of the property and passed through the garden. There was a path that leads around the outer edge of the garden. We walked the path but his pace was very slow. He still seemed to be slightly lost or at least in awe of what he saw. I questioned in my mind how long had it been since he had been out of the house.

I did not like this one bit. For no other reason than I was afraid he was going to fall the whole time.

We made our way around the path and crossed over the stream. Then we started up the hill, past the garden, to the shed on the top. When we arrived at the shed he gave me the key and I opened the door. I retrieved the mower and a thought came into my mind. Now how am I going to get this and him back down that hill without having a problem?

I lead the way down the hill trying to stay close enough to him that I could catch him if he fell. He still seem lost and in a daze walking very slowly.

We arrived back at the house and once he was inside I loaded the mower up and away I went.

In those days when the job was done returning it was a bit simpler. This was a good customer so all I had to do was drop it off. It was not necessary to leave a bill or collect any payment. I arrived at the house and again followed the same normal procedure. The first thing I did was unload the mower off of the truck. I then went to the door, knocked and waited for the response. When there was no response I was relieved because now I did not have to watch over him as I returned the mower to the shed. I took it to the shed and left it under the awning.

This was during my first year of working for the company.

Now it is year two.

Around the same time of year on my list of pickups was the same customer. I wish I could remember their name but it has been lost to my mind while all other details have stayed. I was not looking forward to the trip knowing that I might have to watch over the older gentleman again. I had no dislike for him. I just did not want to be responsible for any injury that might befall him. It turned out that I did not have any concerns to worry about. When I arrived at the house the mower was sitting by the attached garage. It was a simple pick up and away we go.

A few weeks later the mower is prepared for the upcoming year and I returned to the house.

This time, when I arrived at the house, I was greeted by a woman who looked to be in her early 40’s. She greeted me very pleasantly and after a short discussion she left to get the key to the shed. Upon returning she said I will show you where it goes. I said there was no need because I was the person who picked it up and dropped it off last year. At that she got a questioning expression on her face. “Oh”, she said, “I have been meaning to ask how you got it. Last year I went up on the hill and there it was outside the shed and a few weeks later I got the bill.”

I said, “An older gentleman answered the door and he took me up to the shed to get the mower.” To that she got a puzzled look on her face. I described him to her as a very tall man who was bald, thin and seemed very frail. The puzzled look did not leave her face.

Her next statement I will never forget until the day I can remember no more.

“Well, it sounds like you are describing my Father, but he’s been dead for 10 years. I live here alone.”

There was a long moment of silence between us. Then I took the mower up to the shed.

We said no more to each other. Both of us were in shock.

I left and we were never contacted by that customer again.

In this tale there is no dramatization. Everything is how I remember it. The older gentleman seemed as real to me as anyone else has in my life. At the time, I thought him to be no more than an aged citizen, but there was no lie in her eyes or in her voice. She lived alone. There was no other person in the house to have guided me up the path and her father had been dead for 10 years.

This tale is copyrighted by Dangerousdave26. All rights are reserved. You may not reproduce this work or publish it elsewhere without consent.

Special Thanks to my Wife who proof read and edited this tale. Without her help this work might have been unbearable to read. Still I am not a writer so forgive me for boring you to tears if that is what has just happened.

Stay tuned to this blog for the next tale. Fear in the night.

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Categories
Non Fiction , Ghost Stories

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