Ghost Story Thursday!

[For those new to 'ghost story thursday' on Ger's blog, there are only 2 rules if you wish to tell a story of your own, 1- It must be your story, or that of a valid source (ex: your best friend, but not your "friend's neighbor's cousin's ex-fiance was once told that his college roommate . . .") who has granted permission for their story to be shared. 2- It must be truthful. Your tale can be shared either by posting it in a comment on Thursday's blog post, or you can email it to me and I'll tell your story on the following Thursday (GerilynMarin@gmail.com). You are welcome to ask to remain anonymous, and at no time will I ever claim that another person's experience is my own.]
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Smoke

Halloween, 1993. I remember the date very specifically 'cause when I got home that night, I'd heard on the radio (back when you could still tune into Z100 for decent rock music) that River Phoenix had collapsed in front of the Viper Room, and had just been pronounced dead.

It wasn't very late for a Halloween night, about 10 pm, maybe, and I was walking home through Whitestone with a friend of mine (funny, I can't remember which friend it had been, but I think it was Dianne). Anyone that's ever been to my town can tell you that 18 years ago, they rolled up the sidewalks at 9 pm, so even on a night like Halloween, the streets were dead quiet.  There was not a soul out and about that night aside from the two of us strolling along.  No cars were about, so we were walking down the middle of the street, rather than on the sidewalk (I feel like this is probably pretty common in dead-at-night small towns).

The night was very clear, the light from the streetlamps is white, not orange like in a lot of places--so things are rather well illuminated for that time of night--and it was a little warm for the end of October in NYC. I was dressed as a . . . recently turned Gypsy vampire (sandals, peasant skirt, billowy beige cotton blouse, with dark makeup around my eyes, fangs, and two, still dripping 'wounds' in the side of my neck and I left my hair loose, in waves and parted to one side, so that the marks on my neck were easily visible . . . yeah, I like to go overboard with dress-up, I'm still surprised I haven't gotten into Cosplay yet, but that's more of a "if I could afford to do it, I would" issue). I don't think my costume has anything to do with it, the description is just for aesthetics. 

As we were walking, we heard something behind us.  Like a whisper.  Not someone speaking from a distance, because you can tell the difference between volume being lowered by distance and someone near to you lowering their voice.  I know we both heard it, 'cause we both turned at the same time, without having to say anything to one another.  There, just a few feet from us--meaning it was in the direct path that we had just walked--was a plume of smoke.  It wasn't thin, or wispy, it looked as though someone had been smoking a cigarette right there on that spot.  It didn't look like steam rising up from the street, and it wasn't hot enough for that, anyway, and even had it been something environmental like that, it was only this one spot . . . and it was hanging in the air, not coming up from the asphalt.

We froze.  We listened for any sounds, we looked around . . . there was nothing to be heard and we were the only people on the street, it had all been too quick and quiet for someone with a cigarette to have been following us and simply run away, we would have seen them or heard their footfalls.  The streets are pretty wide in the section of town we were in, so the idea that we heard a whisper right behind us, turned immediately, and any person who might have been behind us would have been able to move fast enough to be out of sight in a second was equally unsettling to the notion that there had been no one there at all. And I don't know about other people, but I have a pretty acute spatial awareness--I'm one of those types who can tell when someone is standing behind me, even if I haven't heard them behind me, or been given any other indication of their presence.  For the record, yes, it does weird me out every time I feel someone standing behind me and there's no one there.  I didn't feel anyone behind us. 

The smoke dissipated, and we turned around and continued on our way . . . glancing over our shoulders every couple of minutes.  We dissected it, trying to verify that whether or not we'd imagined it.  We both reacted at the same time, to what we thought to be the same thing.  We both saw the smoke, and neither of us heard anything, or noticed anyone- and it wasn't as if we'd been so deep in girly conversation that we might have drowned out the sound of someone following us.  The next day, we talked about it again, trying to see if we had any details that differed from how we remembered it the night before--to see if, in hindsight, anything that would logically explain what we'd seen and heard, but there didn't seem to be anything.  


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