A view of heaven

Goodwood Duxford tales

Papers and open books were scattered across the oak library table. Battered from years of lovers carving their initials in the surface, school kids stabbing it with frustrated pencils and pens, and boot heels scraping off varnish during long naps, its patina was still rich and deep.

Goodwood Duxford and Frankie Harp poured over dusty tomes. and brittle and yellowed maps of Pepperidge Township. Deep in thought, they spoke very little, but occasionally their hands touched as they both reached for the same book. Tiny shy smiles skittered across their faces, a hint of pink warming their cheeks.

Frankie absentmindedly rubbed the downy stubble covering her head. Her hair was finally growing back after a short round of chemotherapy. She welcomed the diversion when Goody asked her to help him with some research on Gramberly Cemetery.

The week prior, a new spirit materialized in Gramberly, one that Goody didn’t recognize, and whose name was unknown and not listed among any of the registries for the cemetery. Even those buried in unmarked graves were still identified, and Goody could recite every name. This spirit had Goody puzzled and worried.

A frown creased Goody’s forehead as he traced the property line he thought was the boundary between Gramberly and its southerly neighbor.

“When was the last time there was a property survey?” Frankie said.

“There was never a need,” Goody said. “It’s not something that anyone ever questioned.”

“Tell me again about this spirit,” Frankie said, tearing a piece of paper from a notebook to hold her place in the book she was studying.

“It was late morning, and I was making rounds,” he said. “The light was odd, a sort of bluish-white. It made everything look misty, but there was no fog.”

“Does that mean anything, for the light to be all shimmery like that?” Frankie leaned in, whispering.

“It’s usually a precursor to a sighting,” Goody said. “Some spirits wander, but remain hidden. In light like that, they appear unbidden. They are translucent, but I know what to look for so I can see them.”

“It just materialized? Right in front of you?” Frankie was breathless, mesmerized at Goody’s recollection.

“I caught the image out of the corner of my eye, and followed him along the southern fence line,” Goody said, pointing to a spot on an ancient map of Pepperidge Township to show where he saw the spirit.. “He led me here, to a gate I’ve never seen before.”

“A gate just appeared?” Frankie said.

Goody shrugged. “I tell you it wasn’t there the day before.”

“And, you think this spirit or ghost was from Gramberly?” Frankie said. “Have you seen him again?”

“I do think he is part of Gramberly, I just can’t find his resting place, and he’s not been back,” Goody said.

Frankie studied the map where Goody said the gate was located.

“Are you sure that’s the accurate fence line?” Frankie said. Using a large magnifying glass, she maneuvered the desk lamp to shine over her shoulder.

“That’s the only fence line I’ve ever known,” Goody said, leaning over the table to look at what Frankie is studying.

“T think that’s a crease,” she said, tracing a faint mark further south of the presumed boundary. “Look, there is no actual line there. The cemetery proper extends beyond where you think the line is supposed to be.”

She picked up the map and held it up.

“For the love of heaven!”

“What?” Frankie dropped the map.

“No, look at the map from this side,” Goody turned the map over and held it up to the light so Frankie to see what he had seen.

“Oh, my… “ Frankie was loud enough to get shushed by the disapproving librarian.

Seen with a light shining from the back side of the map, a faint watermark appeared between what Goody thought was the cemetery property line and what they found was the actual boundary:

A Glimpse of Heaven.

The warmer the map became from the heat of the lamp, the darker the letters grew.

“I think you found the spirit’s final rest,” Goody said. “Want to go on a ghost hunt?”

“I thought you’d never ask.”

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Light and Shade Challenge: “To love is to receive a glimpse of heaven.” ~ Karen Sunde
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Inspiration: Hidden gate

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