Liz brushed the short black hair out of her face.
“I remember seeing my grandfather for the first time when I was small. I must have been five or six. He walked around the corner with this incredibly pale face and the white nightgown. That day I only saw him for a moment, but he was always there, every time we visited. I was terrified of him, not just because he was so pale, but also because he always looked angry.”
“You were scared of your grandfather?”
“Yes. When I was small I refused to sleep alone at my grandmother’s house. I was worried that the ‘man in the nightgown’ would get me. He always walked through the house with his teeth clenched together. My mom thought I was just being silly and forced me to sleep alone in a room. I had many horrible nights because of that; because the ‘man in the nightgown’ kept patrolling through my room.”
“Your grandfather was patrolling the house at night? Were there many burglaries?” I paused. “I’m not sure how any of this could prove your uncle’s innocence.”
“I’ll get to it,” Liz said with an angry tone. “You have to judge my sanity, fine. Let me talk then.”
“Okay.” I said.
“Okay.” Liz said. “The point is that my grandfather was there when I was a child. He was always there; he was always patrolling the house. The adults never saw him, but I did, and once one of my friends came along on a visit to my grandmother, and she saw him too.”
“Your grandfather was invisible for adults? Like a ghost?”
“Exactly. Seems like you are a particularly smart person.”
“Sure.” I said.
Liz frowned, and then quickly shook her head.
“Anyway,” she said. “My point is that I’m not making this up to protect my uncle. I saw my grandfather many times when I was just a child; I told many people about seeing him; I told them about him even before I knew that there was a grandfather missing. I only understood that my grandfather was dead when I was eleven or twelve, but long before that I described to people how ‘the man in the nightgown’ looked.”
“I called him ‘the man in the nightgown’ and I knew that he was always angry and that he always held a blade in his hand; a small, thin blade. I think that was the knife that killed him. My grandmother always flinched when I talked about him, and particularly when I mentioned the knife and how angry he looked.”
“Liz, you are trying to tell me that your grandfather was haunting your grandmother’s house?”
“Yes. I think he was waiting for revenge. My grandmother always said that he died from an accident. But I think my grandfather was murdered. I always saw this long thin line on his throat. I never understood what it could be, but it all came together at the funeral.”
“What happened at the funeral?”
“Well,” Liz said. “I came along with my grandmother. I first thought it was strange that she wanted at all to go to the funeral. I mean, the guy was killed in her house, and her own son, my uncle Terry, was locked up for killing him. It’s a bit disrespectful to go to the funeral of a man your own son killed, isn’t it? It’s even disrespectful if he was an old friend.”
“So, I was angry at my grandmother for going, and I didn’t pay much attention to the ceremony. I only went along so that she wouldn’t fall or have a breakdown or something of that sort. But when I lead her to the casket I recognized the wound. I recognized the wound because it looked exactly like the one I had seen so many times on my grandfather’s throat. On the corpse they tried to hide it under the collar and with makeup, but still it was clearly visible: just one long and thin cut.”
“You think the wound looked similar and that’s why your grandfather’s ghost must have killed this man?”
“At first I didn’t think of that. First I only noticed that the wounds looked the same, I just thought it was odd. But then later, when they carried the casket to the open grave, I saw my grandfather standing just a few feet away from the hole. I hadn’t seen him for several years, but he looked exactly like in my memory – the short mustache, the neatly done hair and the long nightgown-like dress on top of his pants. But he was smiling. I saw him so many times as a child, and a few times as a teenager, and every one of those times he was pacing through the house and looked angry. But this time, at the funeral, he was just standing still and smiling.”
“Alright, the ghost was smiling.” I said with a hint of impatience.
“That’s not everything,” Liz said. “The thing is that I didn’t know the victim’s profession. I mean, it wasn’t relevant and nobody had ever mentioned it. But the priest, while he was speaking, he said that the victim was a barber. You understand, he was a barber! And in that moment the scales fell from my eyes: The thing my grandfather was wearing, that wasn’t a nightgown; it was a barber’s cape. It was one of those capes that they put around you so your hair doesn’t get on your clothes.”
“Okay.” I said.
“And you know why they never found the knife that the victim was killed with?” Liz smiled triumphantly. “That’s because my grandfather still has it. I saw him playing with it. It was the same knife that I’d seen so many times, but he was happily swinging it around. My grandfather took revenge. He took revenge because that other guy killed him first!”
“So, Liz, you are saying that this man killed your grandfather during a barber’s accident sixty or so years ago and now your grandfather’s ghost took revenge?”
“I don’t think my grandfather’s death was an accident,” Liz said. “And he didn’t take revenge just for that. I think he had a second reason.”
“At the funeral I met the victim’s granddaughters. He has two. And they both look just like me.”
This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.