When I decided to open my eyes, I did not really believe that Jack’s ghost would be sitting beside me. It was the stress, my bump on the head during the accident, or something else working on me that made me remember Jack and how he had been killed. Reassuring myself I wasn’t losing my sanity, my eyes opened hesitantly. I gave a sigh of relief the ghost wasn’t sitting beside me.
Then I realized Jack was in front of me dancing as though a live band was playing bluegrass music. I didn’t hear a band, and I didn’t hear Jack’s feet as they tapped around on the mine floor. As a matter of fact, he was floating around even though his feet were doing the best flat-footin’ ever witnessed by me.
There was definitely no indication that he had ever been crushed by a continuous miner, and he hadn’t aged a day since the last time I saw him more than twenty-six years ago.
I stood and Jack stopped dancing. “Can you hear me, Jack?” I asked.
If he heard me, I didn’t hear his reply. He did try to answer though, so
he must have heard me. I think he understood that we couldn’t verbally communicate, so he shook his head in the affirmative causing his shoulder length red hair to move about him.
All smiles, he reached out to shake my hand. I didn’t know anything about ghosts, so I attempted to return the hand shake. Jack made a disappointed expression as his hand traveled through my outstretched hand.
He appeared to concentrate for a moment as he focused on his hand.
He reached again to shake. I obliged and felt the grasp of something like ice, cold but dry.
After quickly retracting my hand, I replaced my glove for warmth.
“Jack, how is this possible you are here and I see you?”
He shrugged his shoulders in response.
“Were you here the day Charlie died?” I asked. “Was it you that made the hammer hit the switch?”
Jack shook his head, yes.
In disbelief that I was actually communicating with a spirit, I asked,
“Are you stuck in this mine? Can’t you pass into the great beyond? Why are you here?” And being too anxious to make a connection with the ghost, I blurted out, “Jack, your daughter is a doctor.”
I looked at Jack and realized I may have said too much, too soon. His glow dimmed reflecting his sad expression. He began to drift away.
It wasn’t my intention to depress the ghost, and I definitely didn’t want him to leave either. “Jack, come back,” I pleaded. He was gone.
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