By Rebecca Roland, author of Shards of History.
A few years ago, I went on a ghost tour in Old Town in Albuquerque. All of the stories I heard that night fascinated me, but one in particular stuck with me.
On the night that I went on the ghost tour, it was late summer, mostly warm with just a hint of chill in the air letting us know that fall was on its way. We met at the main square, a place that was usually bustling with tourists during the day, but at night was almost entirely deserted. It felt like a good night to go searching for ghosts.
Our first stop on the ghost tour was at a restaurant. Many of the old adobe buildings in Old Town used to be houses. People were born in those houses, lived in them, and died in them. This particular building is over a hundred years old.
We stood outside one of the large windows of the restaurant as the tour guide told us about the building and one of the spirits that haunts it. Through the window I could see a tiled foyer and a staircase leading up. The restaurant was closed, and the inside of the building empty and lit by security lights.
One of the people who lived in the building a long time ago was a little girl named Victoria. She was eight years old when she contracted tuberculosis and died. Her spirit is one of several said to haunt the restaurant. Sometimes she even showed herself through the very window we stood in front of. She was always seen wearing a dress and a smile.
One night as the tour guide, his back to the window, spoke to a group, he noticed that everybody's attention suddenly riveted on something inside the foyer. Some of the people smiled, and he assumed that Victoria had shown herself as she sometimes does. Then the entire group screamed and hurried to get away from the window. Later, when everybody had calmed down, the tour guide found out what had happened.
Victoria had walked down the foyer towards the window, smiling. She stopped right at the window, her head and the top of her shoulders just visible. At this point, some of the people on the tour thought she was a living girl, and her appearance either a coincidental part of the tour, or a set-up on the part of the tour. Then, as her head stayed still, her body scrambled in an arc until it was upside down and clinging to the window. Then she scrabbled up and out of the sight like a spider, smiling all the while.
Rebecca Roland lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she writes primarily fantasy and horror. Her short fiction has appeared in Everyday Fiction, Uncle John’s Flush Fiction and in Stupefying Stories, and she is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. When she’s not writing, she’s usually spending time with her family, torturing patients as a physical therapist, or eating way too much chocolate.
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