I found myself in one of those very rare moments of Caz Makepeace’s life where I was actually enjoying being in the kitchen.
I was cooking a meal of love in my lighthouse cottage kitchen. Really, if the truth be known, I was just enjoying my own space of peace and quiet.
My iPod was on shuffle and alternated between the swinging beats of Michael Buble, the rocking grunge of Chili Peppers and the sweet serenades of Adele.
Craig and the girls were in the living room at the back of the house. I could not hear their squeals of play and they could not hear my cat strangling tone, nor see my pathetic dance moves I’m usually only brave enough to show after 11pm and a bottle of wine at the dodgey local nightclub.
The surf was pounding the shores outside my window and I was raising my gin and tonic to the ceiling in gratitude for this wonderful moment.
The ice clinked and I slurped before my brain registered I needed a top up.
A few ice cubes, a one-two-bubble-squeak of the gin, a squeeze of my quarter lime and I side shuffled my way to the fridge to collect the tonic.
Hmm. Funny, the tonic was not in the fridge. I opened the freezer on the next beat only to find it not there.
Gee I must have left it out. Oh no a warmer than usual G & T. I threw in another ice cube in preparation and jived on over to the bench.
Strange. I could have sworn there was some left. I scrambled through the haze that had only just begun to appear on the periphery of my mind.
Two G & T’s so far. At least half a bottle of tonic which means there should be some left. Last seen placing it in the fridge.
I opened the fridge looking behind the pumpkin and opening up the butter container.
I moved to every cupboard, understanding that the human mind can do crazy things when pressured or pregnant. Shit. No not possible.
No tonic to be found anywhere.
The shadows of the trees outside the window turned into monsters and a chill ran down my side as I realized where I was. The kitchen in a very old lighthouse cottage sitting above the rocks where many a ship had run aground. The worst being half a century ago when 35 lives were lost.
The kitchen that was separated by the rest of the house, and where Craig was, by a flight of stairs, a sun room and a very long hall. I was isolated and alone.
Well not alone.
My blood ran cold. There was a ghost here with me.
Shit shit shit.
What was I going to do? Run up to Craig. I couldn’t move. I’d have to run up the dark stairs and corridor and it would be the perfect place for a ghost to trip me and make it look like an accident.
Stay? And what? Wait until he stole a lot more than tonic.
I kept facing forward out the window and continued to methodically cook my meal, all the while staring at the gin in the glass desperately wanting to skull it down. I thought of topping it up with water and doing just that, but I did not want to upset the ghost nor lose my wits.
I started to sweat. All I could see behind me was the image of a ghost leaning back against the wall, feet crossed with a silly grin across its face shaking the bottle of tonic behind my back.
I put the salmon in the oven.
I know I’ll call out to Craig. He’ll come and rescue me.
You know those dreams when you’re in trouble and you call out for help but nothing comes out. Yeah. Happens in real life as well.
On the third attempt, I found my voice and squeaked “Craig,”
The ghost just laughed.
“He ain’t gonna help you now honey. Damn mouse wouldn’t have even heard that.”
I continued chopping the lettuce for the salad. I swear there should be some tonic left. I haven’t been anywhere else but here in the kitchen and no one would have taken it, except a ghost.
By now I was really thirsty.
I still had not looked behind me. I felt the presences of the ghost but I could not bring myself to acknowledge his presence and to let him know that I knew he had taken the tonic.
I heard footsteps. Loud ones. Craig ones.
Oh thank god, he must have heard me after all.
He moved to the sink beside me.
I took one quick glance behind me before saying,
“Craig. There is a ghost in this house.”
What? He looked at me like I was mad and then chuckled remember how fanciful I can be.
“Don’t be ridiculous. There are no ghosts.”
“No. I’m really serious Craig there. is. My tonic has completely disappeared. I know there was some left and I can’t find it anywhere, it has just vanished.”
“My tonic for my gin and tonic.”
He opened up the fridge and peered inside.
“What does it look like?”
“You know tonic, it’s clear and bubbly like mineral water.”
“Oh like water. Well I took some water up with me to the living room.”
“Yeah but this is not water, you’d know it if you drank it.”
“How many bottles of water did we have then?”
“Two and one tonic water.”
He looked in the fridge again.
“Well there are two bottles of water here now so I must have taken the tonic.”
“Are you serious?”
“Is that why it tasted so funny?”
Poof, the smile from the ghost’s face vanished as quickly as he did with my loud exhale of relief.
I almost missed our little tait-a-tait.
Have you ever been fooled by a ghost before?