|Contest entry, written for:
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Interview with Grandma
Michael: Did you have to wear that old housecoat to this interview, Grandma?
Grandma: Oh Michael, you know I always wear this thing nowadays. And it’s not like you can take any photographs to go with the interview, now can you?
Michael: No, I guess not. You never show up in photos. Which reminds me, do you even have a reflection?
Grandma: Just because I’ve been dead for thirty years doesn’t mean I’m a vampire, Michael. You’ve been reading too many stories on that electric book thing of yours.
Michael: It’s a computer, Grandma. I told you about it.
Grandma: Well, we never had those in my day.
Michael: I know, I know. You keep reminding me. Is it okay if we get on with the interview?
Grandma: Impatient as always. Just like your father. Can we do it right here on the porch? After all, it’s such a beautiful day, don’t you think?
Michael: Yes, Grandma. We can stay here. Besides, the house is so old, and drafty. And it makes strange noises. The porch is better.
Grandma: Those noises come from us, Michael. They’re only strange to you.
Michael: And also to Sharon and the kids, Grandma. I really wish you would hold it down sometimes.
Grandma: If you cram thousands of dead souls into a house, there’s bound to be some noise. And besides, not everyone who’s here died when they were old. The dead children never stop playing.
Michael: So tell me about this house. What’s the story with all the dead people?
Grandma: It came as a surprise to me. When I died, I seemed to wake up here. At first I didn’t know what had happened. But it wasn’t hard to figure out. I guess you living people would call this, The Other Side.
Michael: What gave it away?
Grandma: Everywhere I look I can see the people who have passed over, into this house. You have to go somewhere Michael, and I came here, along with thousands of others.
Michael: How can thousands of souls fit in a house?
Grandma: Things don't work the same on this side, Michael. It doesn't feel crowded at all. And besides, we have the backyard!
Michael: Very funny, Grandma. So why did you come here?
Grandma: I think it’s because I love to be with others, and I love the outdoors. Isn’t it wonderful here? Look, there’s a cardinal! And another over there!
Michael: I put the birdseed out like you wanted.
Grandma: Yes Michael, we don’t know what we’d do without you.
Michael: I try, Grandma. I spend a lot of time fixing this old house up. Later on today I’m going to fix the creaky stairs.
Grandma: Well don’t make too much noise, Michael. Some of us like our rest to be in peace.
Michael: Look who’s talking.
Grandma: You know, your own family makes noise of it’s own. Especially the kids. Seriously Michael, sometimes the commotion of the living is enough to wake the dead!
Michael: They don’t know you’re here. Why am I the only one who can see you?
Grandma: The dead soul decides who sees them and when. That’s why you can’t see all the others all the time, just the ones who want to be seen.
Michael: Why do the others even show themselves to me at all?
Grandma: Because they know you, Michael. You’ve become sort of a caretaker to us. They trust you and appreciate the fact that you do the upkeep around here. And feed the birds, of course.
Michael: So when people die, they come to an old worn out wooden mansion, out here in the forest. Is that how it works?
Grandma: The souls go where they want. I’m sure some are elsewhere, but many of us find this place just perfect.
Michael: But we buried you at the cemetery. Why aren’t you there?
Grandma: I am, sweetheart. I’m there. And I’m here. The afterlife works in ways that must seem very mysterious to you.
Michael: That’s an understatement, Grandma. So is this Heaven?
Grandma: Sometimes. Don’t you think so too? Look how marvelous this is. The trees, the shrubs, the breeze, the smells. Heavenly.
Michael: You can smell?
Grandma: Surprisingly, yes. And it’s one of the most wonderful senses to have. Especially when the flowers you planted come into bloom.
Michael: And can you actually feel the breeze?
Grandma: Well, I’m not sure. Sometimes I think I can. I do see the branches swaying. But you probably notice that my hair doesn’t blow around.
Michael: I feel a cool puff against my cheek when you kiss me. What's with that?
Grandma: That’s love you’re feeling, Michael. I will always have that for you, and you will always feel that when I’m near.
Michael: I love you too, Grandma. And I’m glad I still get to see you.
Grandma: Me too, Michael. So can we be done with the interview? Besides, anyone interested can just read that story you wrote. What’s it called again?
Michael: The Empty House. I wrote it for Halloween last year.
Grandma: It’s not very scary.
Michael: Not all ghost stories are scary.
Grandma: I’m glad to hear that, Michael. Because the souls that live here don’t feel very scary. We feel just like we always felt.
Michael: You mean alive?
Grandma: Not exactly. But we still like the things we used to. In fact, I’ll show you. Let’s go into the kitchen. You can make yourself a cup of coffee. I just love the smell of coffee! And I’ll teach you how to bake my special walnut cookies.
Michael: That sounds good, Grandma. You know I could never resist your walnut cookies.
Grandma: Wonderful! You know, the cookies are very special and very secret.
Michael: How’s that, Grandma?
Grandma: Well after all, Michael, I took the recipe with me to the grave, didn’t I?