Hello Poppa

by Michael Cristiano

This Halloween, Curiosity Quills authors are spreading the spookiness by sharing their own personal paranormal experiences. Get haunted with these bone-chilling blogs, or post your own! #myghoststory.

Poppa IWe called my maternal grandpa Poppa and he died in 2001 when I was ten years old. His death was sudden: into the hospital one day and then gone the next. No one saw it coming and he was relatively young, just shy of his 67th birthday.

The death was hard on us: my immediate family was devastated, my extended family was devastated, and my Grandma was never quite the same. But even though he had departed from us, he didn’t necessarily go away. Following his death, we began to see signs that he was still around.

The day of his funeral, my father and I sat outside the church just after the service. I was especially upset. Poppa had been my best friend. I would skip school and pretend to be sick just to hang out with him. While I was sitting there, I felt something flutter by my ear. I looked up and saw that a butterfly circled me and my father and then swept across the parking lot to the remainder of my family. It went up to each family member and finally to my Grandma, where it lingered the longest.

The photo that fell over in my bedroom. My Poppa and me at my first communion, circa 1998.

The photo that fell over in my bedroom. My Poppa and me at my first communion, circa 1998.

A butterfly, you say. I’m supposed to be convinced of my ghost story by a little butterfly? Well, those butterflies didn’t go away, not around my house or the house of my family in the months to follow. They lingered near the windows and around the parked cars, greeting us whenever we went outside.

Other strange things began to happen around my house too. I woke up once in the middle of the night and went to the bathroom. From where my room was, it was easy to see the landing and the stairs. Though it may have been my overactive imagination (I’m a writer, remember?), I saw a shadow at the bottom of the stairs. As I ran from it, as overactive 10-year-olds do, I barricaded myself in my room and turned on my light. I calmed myself and just as I did, I heard a noise: a thud not far away. I looked into the corner of the room where a picture of my Poppa and me usually stood on my desk.  It had fallen over onto the floor.

Most creepy of all, my mom and my aunt went to a psychic as a way to get some closure. According to my mom, the psychic guessed that my grandfather had passed before either mentioned it, but she also went on to say something else. I normally don’t believe in psychic abilities, but even this surprised me. The psychic told my mom that my Poppa was still around—in fact, he was in our house.

“He’s in the yellow room,” the psychic said.

“Yellow room?” My mom asked. “We don’t have any room painted that color.”

But apparently we did. The psychic was adamant. My mom went home confused and with a little less closure than she wanted. In any case, she went on with her life, slowly overcoming the loss of her father and returning to normality. One day, my mother sat in the study working on one of her freelance writing projects. She turned on the lamp beside her, the sun setting as she worked well into the evening. When her eye caught sight of the wall behind the computer screen, she put her hand to her mouth.

Though the walls were white, the fabric of the lampshade was a light gold. It illuminated the room and shone on the walls. My mom was sitting in the yellow room.

Years passed and the butterflies went away and sure, I was still running from shadows, but they were largely fueled by raging hormones and high school gitters. One day, I was home alone studying for my grade nine English exam. We had just gotten a dog, a beagle-basset hound cross named Tessie. During my cramming, the dog started barking. She only ever did when someone was at the door but when I went downstairs, there was no one there. Instead, I found her in front of an antique chair in the study that Poppa had given my parents, sitting and barking and wagging her tail.

I turned on the lamp.

Hello, Poppa.

Other Stories:

J.E. Anckorn | Samantha Dunaway Bryant | Katie Hamstead

10418505_10152144249720064_3539865657594422553_nAbout Michael Cristiano:

Michael Cristiano is a Canadian writer. His relentless obsession with fiction began long before he could even spell the words ‘relentless obsession’. Growing up in endless suburban sprawl, he spent most of his childhood getting lost in fantastical masterpieces and attempting to be published by the age of thirteen.

When he isn’t writing or reading, he can be found planning his next backpacking trip around the world. He is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto with studies in Foreign Language and Linguistics. Previously, he attended a Regional Arts high school where he majored in drama. He is fond of all things dramatic.

Michael currently resides in the Greater Toronto Area and he is using his years as a twenty-something to establish what he hopes will be a long career in writing. His debut novel is due for publication in 2015.

Find Michael Cristiano Online:

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