People weather a storm together.
| “We're in here for the duration,” said Tom.
“Let's just hope the lights don't go out,” said Sam.
The worst storm in fifty years was blowing outside and twenty people were stuck in the town bar that doubled as a Chinese buffet. It wasn't that they hadn't known about the storm, but they'd taken their chances and the storm blew in faster than they'd reckoned on.
“There's no going home tonight. No one's driving from here in these conditions,” said the bar owner, Ted.
Just then, the power went out.
“Happens every year,” said Tom. “We're usually at home for it.”
Disembodied voices could be heard in the dark.
“What are we going to do?”
“Let's tell ghost stories.”
“Let's not tell ghost stories, but let's tell regular stories.”
“I haven't got a story to tell, but I can sing a song.
Little child, be not afraid
The rain pounds harsh against the glass
Like an unwanted stranger
There is no danger
I am here tonight
Little child, Be not afraid
Though thunder explodes
And lightning flash
Illuminates your tear stained face
I am here tonight”
“Here's a story. A German fellow was farming land in an English township and his dog bothered his neighbours sheep. The neighbour shot the dog and so the German, in German, challenged the Englishman to a duel. The Englishman didn't understand. The German slapped his face, so the Englishman – who had shot the dog – charged the German with common assault.”
“Did you hear about how New Brunswick got power? An engineer from out of town designed the dam. There were kickbacks during construction, with improper sand and not enough cement used. A storm washed out the dam and the town blamed the engineer although he didn't take a kickback. The engineer fled for California and died two years later.”
“Wait a minute everyone,” said a familiar voice. “I'm the singer and I lost my cell phone over there, where I was singing, then I walked to here where I am now. Does anyone have my phone? Can you feel it around you?”
Some people lit their lighters and looked around. There was no shout of victory.
“Okay then, here's what we'll do. In the morning when we can see again, let's find my phone.”
There was a long silence with the storm raging outside.
"Maybe the ghost got it," said Ted.
“Yeah, right,” said a voice from the darkness.
"I thought we said no ghost stories tonight," said someone else.
"Well," said Ted, "things go missing here sometimes and when that happens, or when things break, we blame the ghost."
“Here's a story,” said another voice. “Joe and Art got a job on board Captain Smith's boat that was hauling lumber from Halifax to South America. Off Key West, they ran into a storm and the Captain shouted “Let go of the spanker!” That's one of the sails, and releasing it could keep the ship's bow with the waves. Joe misunderstood and yelled to Art, “Let go of the anchor!” Art did. It was all the Captain could do to keep the boat afloat in the storm. When they reached port in South America, the Captain said to Joe and Art, “You're returning as passengers, not as crew.””
The twenty people continued through the night in the pitch black that way, using the few lighters to light the path to the washroom. They had no candles and no flashlights.
Suddenly, there was a pounding at the door.
With a lighter lit, former soldier Tom made his way to the door. He opened the door and the wind grabbed it from him, there was nobody there. Tom went out into the storm to grasp the door to pull it shut against the wind.
“Good thing we said no ghost stories tonight,” said one of the voices from the dark room.
“I've got a story,” said a trembling voice. “It will make us feel better. The French and the British were fighting for control of Nova Scotia and the Mi'kmaq helped the French. The British held towns like Halifax inside protective palisades. The French captured people who wandered outside the palisade and held them in Quebec City. It took two years for the Halifax Council to agree to pay 66 pounds per person and to pay for their transportation, for them to be returned to Halifax.”
They heard the booming pounding at the door again.
“That's not the wind,” said a quiet voice.
“I'll look with you,” said Sam. People could see by the dim light of the lighter he held that he had removed his tie and unbottoned his collar.
Sam and Tom opened the door again, both of them holding the door so the wind wouldn't slam it against the bar's exterior. Again, there was nobody visible in the storm. With much effort, they shut and bolted the door.
“Enough stories,” said the singer. “Let's go to sleep.”
The storm raged outside and nobody slept. The pounding came to the door once more and nobody answered. When anyone tried to use a lighter to see into the room, the lighter blew out.
There was a regular tapping sound on one of the tables.
"Stop that sound," said Sam.
"I don't think anyone's making the sound," said Ted. "Folks, I think our ghost is excited by all the company tonight."
The tapping continued through the night. Finally, the sun rose and the wind started dying down. The rain stopped.
Susie was looking for her cell phone. “Has anybody seen my phone?” she asked .
"Did the ghost move it?" asked Susie.
"That's what it looks like to me," said Ted.
People started leaving the bar since it was safe enough to drive home in the dying wind. Susie the singer conceded defeat to the infamous ghost and left her cell phone behind.