Flash Fiction: The Laughing Spirit

Source: Unsplash. Spiriual Retreat

by LJ Frank

It was a spiritual retreat with sleeping quarters and a chapel among other amenities. The retreat was partially surrounded by woods, pasture and an overgrown garden that needed some weeding the day I arrived. The buildings were set back a distance from the rural county road. It was said to be haunted by a laughing spirit. I was intrigued.

I was told by a reputable cleric I had come into contact with that if a person found themselves staying overnight on a particular evening during the week one could hear laughter echo within the nave of the chapel and the living quarters. It was the kind of laughter described as both amusing and yet would raise bumps on your skin. 

Some overnighters after hearing the laughter departed before the sun rose the next morning whereas those that stayed were seen talking to themselves as they drove away during daylight. 

A laughing spirit personally never bothered me unless they decided to crawl into bed with me and wouldn’t stop laughing. And that’s where this tale begins.

It was about 11 pm on a Wednesday when I blew out the candle on the small table next to the old wooden bed with its stiff mattress upon which I was laying. I closed my eyes when I felt a creeping chill in the room. I opened my eyes and looked over the covers and noticed the blanket move as if someone was crawling into bed with me. Then I heard breathing and at first a giggle then the hint of a laugh.

“Oh, stop it! Do you mind?” I shouted! But to whom?

Then I felt the coolness of a hand slide down my leg. My leg jerked. I slowly raised my head farther up from the pillow and cast a glance at the pillow next to mine.

“Ha! Ha! Ha!” A feminine voice sweetly uttered.

“Who are you?” I asked, as I only saw an indentation in the pillow and nothing else.

There was another movement, and I could feel the spirit move closer to me. I felt a coolness wrap around my body. And then I heard a whisper in my ear. “Guess who?”

“Ha!” I laughed back at the spirit. “The human imagination can perform wondrous things!”

“Are you absolutely sure I am part of your imagination?”  

I then looked over next me as I sensed an actual physical presence materializing. 

“So now what?” She asked. “Hahaha!” She laughed.