Hospitality

October '05, It was half-term, and I was looking forward to a good rest after a tough first half of term. Since my grandfather was in hospital (down in South Wales) me, and my Mum and Dad went to visit.

We arrived at my grandparent's house at about 8 O'clock in the evening, dropped off our stuff, then went straight to the hospital.

My grandad was in a really bad way, he couldn't talk, so we didn't stay long, we just took my Nan home (who'd been with him all day) while Dad stayed overnight.

This was the first time I noticed something abnormal; when I walked into the house, I could smell smoke, not wood smoke, cigarette smoke. My Grandad DID smoke, but not in the house, Na always made him go outside. well, I thought nothing of it, I went into the kitchen and the smell vanished. But the moment I stopped moving, it was there again, not just a whiff of it, but thick, choking. I had to go outside to get some fresh air. When I went back in, I could smell nothing, it was back to normal. Since I sometimes imagine things, I let it go.

The next day, we went to the hospital, and to our horror, found that he had lung cancer. He was terminally ill, and nothing could be done about it. That night I lay awake for a long time, then I smelled the smoke; this time I felt a strange pain in my chest, I panicked, because my Grandad had lung cancer, and it seemed that I could feel HIS pain in MY chest! The smoke was choking me, I was curled up in pain on the bed, I didn't know what was happening. Then, slowly, the pain subsided, and the stench of smoke left me, and I lay shaking with fear, wondering if it had been real, whether my grandfather was trying to tell me something, I didn't know what to do.

After that, I couldn't sleep, so I dug my MP3 player out of my things, and settled down to relax. When I hit the play button, my blood ran cold, the song that I'd selected, without thinking, was Hospitality, by Funeral For A Friend. The song was about someone who is on life support, and wants his family to let him die. I quickly selected a different album.

Eventually I must have drifted off to sleep, because I remember being woken by my mum. "Mum? What d'you want?"

"Um, sorry love, but grandad's died. your dad just phoned from the hospital."

Then I shocked myself. I answered;

"Oh, ok." sounding as cool as ice.

When mum had told my nan, and they'd had a good cry together, we got in the car and went up to the hospital. Surprisingly, I didn't feel sad or upset, just strangely numb. When we got there, I didn't want to see the body, so I sat in the relatives room. I tried to make sense of what had happened the previous night, rather than think about my grandad. But my thoughts kept returning to him, for some reason. Had it been him last night? trying to tell me something?

Once back at my nan's, everyone was silent, no one wanted to do anything. Dad read a book quietly, nan sat and sobbed to herself, mum went to fetch some chips from the chippy, and I listened to my music.

Later, after dinner, I was in the kitchen, washing up. I had just put the last plate away, and was walking from the room.

When the fridge began to rattle. I know appliances sometimes rattle and make a little noise as they work, but this wasn't a gentle rattle, it sounded like all the stuff was getting thrown around inside it. I stood, paralyzed, as the phenomenon subsided, then slowly left the room, never turning my back on that fridge. We stayed a couple more days, nothing else weird happened, and I began to relax a bit. We got home, and were glad to be there. My parents were still a bit upset about my grandfather, but they were doing ok. It was late, so we all went upstairs and went to bed, without anyone saying anything to the others.

The next day was fairly normal. I went over to my mate's house that afternoon. We decided to go and fetch some of the others and have a game of footy. But, as we walked along the street, I saw a figure standing by a lamp post. I knew it couldn't be, but it was: my grandad was standing there, looking right back at me. I turned to my mate;
"Titch? You see that old guy over there? In the great-coat?" I pointed toward the lamp post.
"Where? I can't see no one."
"There! Look!"
But Titch (my mate) couldn't see anything, it was just me.

That evening, I thought long and hard about what was going on. Then quickly came to the conclusion that I didn't have a clue. As I thought, I noticed the smell again. But this time it wasn't choking, it was just enough for me to know it was there.

I had got used to the idea that the smoke smell was my grandad, so I just ignored it now, and went out into the conservatory. But as I passed through the door, he was there! stood in the conservatory in his old great-coat. Though not quite as clear as when I'd seen him earlier that day, sort of a shadow of himself. My blood ran cold, and I just stood and stared. The figure looked at me and smiled, then faded away, taking the stench of cigarette smoke with him.

After seeing him that time, I've never had anything unusual happen again.

Submitted by Dave, East Midlands, UK