I’ve had, well, several career changes throughout my life. I waited tables in an assisted living home in high school then bartended in college. After graduating with a Bachelor’s in History, I became an insurance adjuster. Then I went back to school to become a failed hairdresser – an experience which deserves a podcast and blog of it’s own. After that I gave administrative assistanting a shot, and I nailed it. I worked at at a commercial real estate company, C got me the job. I convinced said company to let me give property appraisal a go round. Nope. Back to administrative/marketing assistanting at a different commercial real estate company. Then I snuck over to secretary work at a large publishing company which lead to a mini-promotion to assistant copy editor. The work was far too solitary so I applied to library school. I graduated to become the head librarian at one of the largest high schools in the state. Then I went and had two kids, which left me with the memory of a goldfish, so I downshifted (as they say on LinkedIn) and became a part-time children’s reference librarian at the Wellesley Free Library. Then I downshifted again and I currently work for three very demanding, very small people who have hysterical fits of rage.
Needless to say, throughout all of these career shifts, I’ve met a lot of people. One of those people was Tom Murphy. He’s a commercial real estate broker, like my husband, and we worked together for a while; well not together, but at the same company years back. He is still at that wonderful company, C is at a competing firm, and I am keeping three sociopaths alive.
Boston is small, the commercial real estate world is smaller, and Wellesley is a pin’s head. So naturally our paths crossed again now that we happen to live in the same town.
Shortly after we moved to town C ran into Tom at the Whole Foods, and then I ran into him at the dump. I was happy to see him. I liked Tom, he had always been kind and friendly and an easy smiler. I was quite young when I had worked in his office and there were a lot of men there with serious egos and wandering eyes. Tom hadn’t been one of those guys. He’s the kind of person who makes you remember that being kind matters.
The office building was connected to the Prudential Center and one of the sandwich shops in the food court gave out free, fresh baked cookies with their sandwiches. Tom passed several administrative assistant’s desks on the way back from lunch each day, including my own. And on the way to his office he would leave the cookie on one of our desks. It was such a small token, but it was sort of a “dad” gesture and it made me just adore him.
One Sunday morning in early October we went on a walk with the girls (one in a front pack on me, C pushing the other two in the double Bob). We were exploring a neighborhood and considering a move. A house had come on the market and it was located dangerously close to several of our friends. As Heidi put it, if we moved, it would be like grown-up college dorms.
As we scouted the turf we slowly fell in love with the idea of the girls walking to school with their buddies. Skirting Boulder Brook path we ran into Tom, who was on a jog with his oldest daughter, Meg. He lived one street over from the house we were interested in, and, after giving us the hard sell on the neighborhood as any good real estate broker is wont to do, he signed all three of his girls up for on-call babysitting duty.
“Now wait just a minute, you’re the Liz Sower who’s writing the ghost blog, aren’t you?” He said.
I admitted that I was that same Liz Sower. I’d recently pulled everything together well enough to pop the stories I had been collecting onto a blog and it was actually getting passed around town a bit.
“I knew it!” He declared clapping his hands together. “My wife turned me onto your stories. Are they real?”
“As far as I can tell,” I replied, bouncing a little so Kat wouldn’t wake up.
“Wait,” his daughter said. “You write those Wellesley ghost stories?”
“Yup,” I said, feeling guilty and mentally scanning to count how many times I had used the word “fuck” in my writing.
“Oh. My. Gawd!” She said, “My sisters and I got sooo freaked out about that one story with the break-in and the poltergeist! We literally won’t open the door to anyone anymore! That happened in Bates, right?” She asked, referring to the elementary school, the way all Welleslians demark neighborhood boundaries.
“It did,” I said.
“Which house was it?” She demanded.
“Oh, I couldn’t say,” I said with a laugh. “And it happened a really long time ago, you guys just keep those doors locked and you’ll be fine.”
She looked at me skeptically.
Tom said, “My wife told me I should email you, I have a ghost story! I grew up in town and we lived in a house that was haunted for a time, over in Wellesley Farms near the train stop.”
“Really?” I asked. “I would love to hear it.”
C said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, you guys grab coffee or something. I don’t want to hear your old ghost story.”
“He’s scared,” I said with a laugh.
“He should be,” said Tom, lightly punching C in the arm.
“I miss bottles,” Tom said, gazing at Kat.
“Oh geez,” I said with a groan. “Your glasses aren’t just rose colored, they are a delusional hot pink.”
“I know, babies are exhausting, but, when they are little like that, they are just so bright and shiny.”
“I guess so,” I agreed. “I just wish I didn’t feel so sticky all the time.”
“Trust me,” he said. “You’ll miss it.”
We met up at the Starbucks on Monday morning, the day after we’d run into each other. He’d texted shortly after we’d parted ways on Sunday and suggested the time and place.
“Alright, alright, enough about the damn kid,” I said, shaking Kat’s bottle to mix her formula. “Tell me your ghost story.”
Tom smiled and began, “I grew up in a house in Wellesley Farms. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that part of town, near the train station?”
“That’s off Glen Road, right?” I said. I’d, of course, done my research beforehand. These real estate guys were obsessed with directions to and from places and “parts of town.” Trust me, I know. I’m married to one of ‘em and I have no bigger pet peeve than when someone insists upon describing the way someplace (a.k.a gives me directions). My mind doesn’t work that way and after the second, “then you take a left at the yellow house,” I am lost and feeling dumb and impatient. We have navigation in our cars and google maps on our phones. Enough already.
“Yup, that’s it,” Tom said, confirming the location. “That part of town is quite hilly, with lots of winding roads that all seem to connect. Our house was pretty close to the train station. The lot is difficult to describe, and it won’t seem to make sense, but our home was set at the top of a hill that sat at the base of a ravine. A dirt road ran along a stream that curved around the other side of the house and joined a different stream that ran behind the house. You don’t get a lot of land in town, but we had a nice spot there. There were homes around us, but when the trees filled out in the Springtime, you wouldn’t know it.”
“Wait, let me make sure I get this. A stream curved around the front and one side of the house and then met up with another stream in the backyard?” I asked.
“Yes, exactly. Part of our driveway was a little wooden bridge.” He replied.
“And the house was at the top of a hill? I seriously can’t picture this,” I said.
“I’ll text you the address so you can go see it. It is a unique spot.” He said, looking down at his phone and quickly sending me the information.
“Perfect, thanks,” I said, feeding Kat her bottle.
“I have a younger brother and we spent hours in these streams, damming them and searching for salamanders. We hardly ever went on vacation, but one summer, my parents brought us to this place called the Whiteface Lodge in the Adirondacks, ever been?” he asked.
“I grew up in Central New York, so I’ve been to Lake Placid a couple times,” I replied.
“Yes, that’s exactly where we went. We did some hiking and kayaking, the hotel even had a bowling alley.”
“How old were you guys?” I asked.
“I was probably eleven and that would have made Peter nine,” he said. “Our family stayed in this cool two-level suite in the lodge. It had that classic Adirondack look.”
I nodded my head imagining red plaid blankets, tree stump accent tables and deer heads.
“Our bedroom was on the upper floor along with a bathroom and the television sitting area. My parents room was on the first floor with the kitchen and another bedroom. My brother and I had these awesome bunk beds in our room. I got the bottom bunk and he had the top. We were in heaven, and we couldn’t stop talking about them. About how cool they were, about how they made the best fort, about how they were made of real trees. It was this totally novel concept to us,” Tom said with a laugh.
“We were on our way back to the hotel from a hike we’d taken at Cascade Mountain, I think the trail was called Owl’s Head. We drove past this little log cabin and it had a sign that said ‘Authentic Adirondack Furniture.’ My mom had my dad pull into the dirt driveway and we all go out to explore.
“There was a small barn behind the home and right when we walked in Pete and I spotted the bunk beds. We weren’t leaving there until we’d convinced our parents to buy them. I committed to mowing the lawn for two summers without pay and my brother swore to walk our dog, Bo, throughout the entire winter without complaining once.
“You know how it is on vacation,” Tom says with his crinkle-eyed smile. “You get caught up and buy things that you would never consider otherwise in your real life.”
“I bought a mumu on my honeymoon,” I said. “C was thrilled when we got home and I realized my mistake.”
“Exactly!” Tom said, laughing. “Those damn bunk beds were out of place in our house. I can see that looking back on it now. They were this massive piece of furniture in a home where my mother’s taste leaned more towards delicate antiques.
“Of course, my brother and I didn’t care. We were like pigs in shit, for a while anyway.”
I shifted Kat to burp her and asked, “And then?”
“And then it started,” Tom replied. “It was subtle at first, or, I guess I would say it was easily explained away.”
“What was?” I asked, again shifting Kat in my arms to give her the rest of her bottle.
“I am pretty sure that it started with the taps, but Peter insists that the voice came first. At any rate, I remember the taps. They started up one night, soon after we’d returned from vacation. At first, it sounded like they were coming from outside. Three taps at a time, I thought it sounded like when we were inside and our dad was outside chopping wood.
“That was my first thought the first night that we heard them, ‘What is dad doing outside chopping wood in the middle of the night?’ Peter and I were both awake and I made him get down from the top bunk and look out the window to see what was going on.”
“Mean big brother,” I said smiling.
“I’ve done my best to make up for it over the years,” Tom replied with a grin.
“Did he see anything out the window?” I asked, looking down at Kat to gauge how much of her bottle remained. She was a slow-poke.
“Nothing, zilch. Once he got out of the bed the tapping stopped. It was weird, we reasoned that it was someone outside banging a stick against a tree, which made no good sense, but we were kids.
“This kept up over several nights, but these taps, or chops seemed to get closer to the house. After a couple nights Peter refused to get down and look out the window. We were both a little scared, but I wasn’t going to let on to how frightened I actually was, so I razzed him about it. He finally told me that if I was so brave why wouldn’t I get up and just go outside to see who was making the noise. That shut me up.
“Then one night it stopped,” Tom said.
“Stopped?” I asked.
“Yes, nothing. We joked about it the next morning, said the tree-chopper – that’s what we’d nicknamed it – must have moved on. Then that night, it started up again, only this time, it was coming from the attic.”
“Uh uh,” I said, taking the empty bottle from Kat and putting her up on my shoulder to burp her again.
“Exactly,” Tom affirms. “We woke up in the middle of the night to this tapping. One, two three. One, two, three,” he counts out as he taps his fingertips on the table between us. “We told our parents and they thought it was squirrels in the attic. They didn’t believe our story of the tapping coming closer to the house, they thought we were fooling around,” he said.
“I don’t think I would believe it either,” I replied. “I would have thought you were either messing with each other or me.”
“Exactly,” Tom said. He watched me for a minute then asked, “Can I hold her?”
I looked down at Kat who was snuggled into my arms with her binkie and lovie blanket, “You are too much, Tom,” I said as I stood and placed her in his arms. I tucked the lovie between his chest and her cheek. Kat’s an ‘any port in the storm’ type of gal, so she was happy as could be.
“Did your parents set traps, or call an exterminator?” I asked as I sat back down in my chair.
Tom swayed back and forth slightly with the baby and replied, “They’ were do it yourself-ers and my dad set some humane traps for the supposed squirrels and laid out a couple wooden mice traps in case we were exaggerating about all the noise.
“That first night around two a.m. we heard all of the mice traps go off at once, right over our heads.”
“Any mice?” I asked, picturing a little Tom and a littler Peter tucked into bed, wide eyed and terrified in the middle of the night.
“No mice, and the cheese was still on the traps when my dad checked them in the morning,” Tom explained. “He took it as a challenge and put peanut butter on the traps the next night, but all it made was make a mess, melting off the traps in the hot attic.”
“What about the taps?” I asked, sipping my coffee and stretching in my chair. Enjoying the break from holding Kat.
“We heard the traps all go off again that second night, this time even the squirrel traps slammed shut, same time, two a.m. After that, the taps stopped for good, but the tremors started,” he said, continuing to sway in his seat with the baby. “The bed would, not shake, but tremor slightly. Pete called it ‘the shivers.’”
“Geez,” I said, leaning forward.
“The tremors stayed with us until the bed left the house. You know what reminds me of it? When I feel my cell phone buzz in my pocket if I have the ringer off. That quick three bursts of buzz, buzz, buzz. I hate having my phone on vibrate.”
“Did you say anything to your parents?” I asked.
“Oh sure, I even said that I thought something might be wrong with our bunk beds and, like any good set of parents, they got really angry. Dad went off on a rant about how we were ungrateful and needed to start recognizing all of our blessings and be more thankful for the things that he and my mom provided.”
“Sounds familiar,” I said. “I think I just gave that same rant yesterday.”
“Me too,” Tom said with a laugh. “Those tremors were with us until we finally got rid of the bunk bed. We actually got used to them. As we fell asleep they were soft, but towards the middle of the night they came closer together, I think to wake us up.
“The taps and the tremors were disturbing, but then I woke up one night to whispering. I thought at first that it was Peter calling to me from the top bunk so I called back to him, but he didn’t answer. I said his name a bit louder and still he didn’t answer, so I peeked up over the edge of the bed. He wasn’t there.
“I sat back on my bed for a moment trying to decide what to do. I knew that he would never get up in the middle of the night without me. As I sat there trying to decide whether I should go to my parent’s room I heard the whispering again. I realized that it was coming from the closet on the other side of the room.
“I listened for a few moments and could discern two voices, speaking very quietly. Then I heard one of them laugh and realized that it was my brother. I flipped the lamp on beside the bed and crawled out to walk to the closet.
“I put my hand on the handle and paused. The voices had stopped. It took all the guts I had in my eleven year old body to open that door, but I did it, and there was Pete. He had his back to me and had pushed some of our clothes to the sides of the closet so that he had a little space to stand. He was just staring at the back of the closet. He didn’t even flinch when I opened the door. I was scared stiff and I didn’t even want to speak, but I yelled at him, ‘Pete, what the heck? Pete!’ and then I grabbed his shoulder and spun him around.
“It took him a second or two to come around. Then he was scared. I asked him what the heck he had been doing in the closet and who he had been talking to. He said that he didn’t know, that he couldn’t remember. But I just sort of knew that he wasn’t completely telling the truth.
“I called him a weirdo and told him to cut it out and get back in bed. We both crawled into our beds and I shut the light off but I didn’t sleep the rest of the night.”
“For heaven’s sake, if I ever hear whispering in my closet I’m leaving a trail of lighter fluid in my wake and throwing a match of my shoulder as I run out of the door screaming,” I said.
“Yeah, I think I would do the same thing today,” Tom said with a shrug. “But we were kids. At that point, part of me was still thinking that this was some sort of adventure. Like a mystery for Pete and me to solve. It was summer and we were bored with playing at the creek and this gave us a bit of a thrill.
“It was when Pete started acting strangely that I become concerned.”
“Strangely?” I asked. “I’d call talking to someone in the closet in the middle of the night pretty strange.”
“Exactly,” Tom said. “But that was just the beginning. I found him like that in the closet a couple more times before I finally got up the nerve to go to my parents room and wake them up before opening the door to the closet. I could tell that it frightened our mother, but my dad was determined to blame it on sleep walking.
“Pete started talking to himself during the day,” Tom continued. “ We would be out at the creek building a dam or hunting for salamanders and I’d wander away from him only to return and find him sitting there whispering, shaking his head or motioning his hands like he was having a full conversation. I tried to kid him about it, tell him he must be losing it, but he wouldn’t joke with me about it. He’d always been a happy kid, always looking for a laugh and then that just changed.
“He even started to look different. There were dark circles under his eyes and he sort of scrunched his eyebrows all the time. He got really grumpy with me. I tried to tell my mom but she blamed it on his sleepwalking just like my dad. She said Peter was overtired and that I needed to be patient with him.
“One night I woke up and my dad was walking Pete back into our bedroom and helping him back into bed. I asked what was going on and he said Pete had been sleepwalking again and he found him in the backyard banging a stick against a tree. He said it with more choice words, something like, “Your jackass brother was in the backyard banging the hell out of tree with a damn stick.’”
“Oh no,” I said.
“That was the first time that I truly felt afraid. And then, after that night, I’ll tell you what, Pete got mean.”
“How so?” I asked.
“Well, it was little things that only I noticed. He acted fine around my parents, but when we were at the creek he’d look for crayfish and put them in with our little bucket of salamanders and watch them fight. I’d dump the bucket out whenever I saw him doing it. It gave me the creeps. It was other stuff, too. We were riding bikes one time and he sped up and aimed to hit a cat. He didn’t hit it, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. He threw rocks at some bunnies in our yard, stuff like that.
“Then this one time, in our kitchen he was getting something to eat and our dog – we had this old deaf golden retriever – and Pete kicked him out of his way on the way to the refrigerator. I got so mad at him and I shoved him and said he’d better not ever do that again. Then he just came at me swinging. My mom had to pry us apart, we were rolling around on the kitchen floor going at each other.
“I got in so much trouble for that. She wouldn’t listen to me, only heard Pete say that I had shoved him first. That night, when he got home from work, my dad gave me a long lecture about how I should be looking out for my brother. He didn’t understand that I was looking out for Petey, my parents were the ones ignoring what was happening to him.
“Geez, Tom. You were so young, that’s a lot to take on,” I said, sympathetically.
“What are you gonna do?” Tom said, shrugging his shoulders. “It was a different time, us kids were to stay out of our mom’s hair during the day. Entertain ourselves, look out for each other. It’s so different today, but I can understand how my parents saw things back then. They probably figured that we were just getting on each other’s nerves from spending so much time together.”
“What changed their minds?” I asked.
Tom paused and took a breath, then said, “One night Pete woke me up saying, ‘Cut it out, Tommy’ I didn’t know what he was talking about and denied doing anything. He insisted that I had been kicking the bottom off his mattress with my feet and lifting him up. I had been sound asleep, I hadn’t done any such thing. As we were arguing back and forth about it, I felt something kick under my mattress and lift me up a little bit.”
“Holy hell,” I said.
“Yeah,” Tom said nodding his head. “I scrambled up the ladder to Pete’s bunk before I even knew what I was doing. We sat there, scared to death. It was the first connection I had really made with Pete in a couple weeks. I asked him, ‘What is it?’ and he just said, ‘It’s him. He needs something.’ But Pete wouldn’t tell me who ‘he’ was or what he wanted. The more I pushed for an answer the quieter he got and then he finally got angry and told me to get the heck out of his bed and to stop being such a baby.
“After that night Pete began carrying around this little red-handled paint scraper. You know the kind?” Tom asked. ”It’s metal, about six inches long with a flat metal surface at the top for scraping paint. The handle was covered in red rubber. My dad had it because he had scraped and repainted the deck that previous Spring.
“Pete became attached to the thing. If we were playing or hanging out he’d carry it in his jeans, the red handle sticking out above the top of his back pocket. One afternoon he was sharpening the thing in the garage against this sharpening stone that my dad used for his firewood axe. I asked him what the heck he was doing and Pete just ignored me, so I yelled at him, ‘Earth to Pete?’ and he looked up at me, but it wasn’t Pete looking at me. He looked older, and so filled with hatred. I backed out of the garage and he smiled and said, ‘He needs something.’”
“Come on,” I said. “What did you do?”
“Really, nothing. I avoided him after that. I knew my parents weren’t going to be any help, so I tried to stay away from him. The problem was, he wouldn’t leave me alone. I’d be at the creek and turn around and there he’d be, with that paint scraper in his hand, just standing there, staring at me. Or I’d ride my bike to the pond and he would be there. Sitting in the sand, watching me.
“The worst was a few times I pulled my covers back to see the paint scraper lying there on my pillow and Pete would reach past me to grab it before climbing up to his bunk.”
“I can’t believe your parents didn’t see this change in him,” I said.
“I think my mom saw more than she was letting on, thank God,” Tom replied. “Things came to a head one night. I was dozing off when I heard the bed creak above me. I could see Pete’s imprint on the mattress, and there was another imprint. Like someone was sitting at the end of his bed. I called up to him and he didn’t answer. Then he just slowly climbed down the ladder and stood next to my bed staring at me.
“I sat up and told him to cut it out and go back to bed, then I noticed the paint scraper. ‘I know what he needs,’ Pete said in a whisper. I told him to shut up, to leave me alone or I was going to go get our dad. I began to get out of the bed and he launched himself at me.
“He came at me with that damn paint scraper. He was trying to cut me, but I somehow managed to grab both of his arms with mine and stop him. He was doing his damndest to hurt me, and his face, Liz, it wasn’t my brother. I don’t know what came over me, but I started screaming, ‘Get out of my brother! Leave my brother alone! You can’t stay here!’ And I was calling to Pete, screaming his name, telling him to fight whatever it was off, I got through to him once and saw his eyes change a little, like he recognized me and I screamed, ‘Jesus won’t let you take my brother! Jesus won’t let you take Pete!’”
“Where were your parents?” I demanded.
“Oh, they came in and they saw what was happening right after I had yelled for Jesus to help Pete. I can still see them clear as day standing there in our doorway, frightened and confused. Then my dad pulled Pete off me and I just kept yelling for Jesus to help Pete. My mom sat down on the bed next to me and tried to calm me down. Pete was struggling with my dad, and then my mom jumped up and said, ‘Robert, the bed, it’s shaking,’ my dad looked at her and my mom looked between Pete and me and went straight to Pete and put her hand on his forehead and said ‘Demon, in Jesus name you leave my son. May all of God’s angels drag you back to hell. In Jesus name I demand that you leave Peter!’”
“Tom -” I began.
He held a hand out to stop me, “I know that this sounds like a tall tale. But, Liz, it happened. I think that when my mom felt the bed shake for herself and heard me calling out to help Pete, she believed. And you know what? I hadn’t even realized the bed was doing that tremor thing. I was so worked up.”
“What about Pete?” I asked. “What happened?”
“He came around. Slowly. It wasn’t like he all of a sudden snapped out of it, it was more like he stopped struggling with my dad and then he was very quiet and just staring at all of us like he didn’t know how we all got there. My mom went and got her Rosary beads and put them around his neck and then Pete started crying and saying, ‘Mommy’ over and over.”
“How did your dad react?”
“He never said anything about it. We all went downstairs and my mom actually made us hot chocolate and, even though Pete was still in a daze, he was definitely Pete again. The next morning my dad stayed home from work and took apart the bunk beds. I heard my mom tell him to ‘get those cursed beds out of her house,’ and he did. He dismantled them and dragged them out and didn’t tell us what he did with them.
“Sorry,” Tom apologized. “I know that it’s a real anticlimactic ending, but the rest of the summer was fine. Everything went back to normal. Pete was Pete again. I tried asking him about everything, but he said he couldn’t remember much. Just that he had felt really mad all the time.”
“We’ve talked about it a few times over the years, but I hadn’t thought too much about it until my mom passed away recently,” he said.
“I am so sorry to hear that, Tom,” I said.
“Thanks, we miss her a lot. Dad died about five years ago, so Pete and I need to sell the house. We cleaned out the basement and then tackled my parent’s storage unit in Framingham. It was mostly a hoard of dusty old antiques, ratty rugs and broken lamps,” Tom explained looking down at Kat who was sound asleep in his arms. “At any rate, we dug through to the back of the storage unit and there they were. The bunk beds.”
“Uh uh,” I said.
“Yup, looking just like the day we first spotted them at the barn,” he replied shaking his head.
“What did you do with them?” I asked.
“Well, that’s just it, isn’t it?” He said shrugging his shoulders. “I don’t know what to do with them. We’ve cancelled the storage unit, I couldn’t ask Pete to take them, and I can’t very well drop them off the dump swap and have some poor family take them home.”
“So where are they now?” I asked nervously.
“In my basement,” he said.
“Tom, no!” I replied.
“My wife is furious. When I came home with those things in the back of the pick up she damn near lost her mind.”
“So she’s knows the whole story?” I asked.
“Almost, she knows everything but the part about Pete trying to kill me.”
“You’ve got to get rid of them,” I said.
“How? He asked. “I can’t make a bonfire in our backyard, I can’t sell them, can’t donate them,” he trailed off.
“What about a wood chipper?” I asked. “Rent a wood chipper and chop them down to nothing. Then dump the wood chips in a lake somewhere. Wait, duh,” I said, reconsidering. “Take them out on a boat and just throw them overboard. Tie a nice cement block to each piece.”
“Hmm,” he said, looking off into the distance. “Pete has a boat, we could go out from the Cape, I guess.”
“Tomorrow,” I insisted.
“See, I knew you’d have an idea,” Tom said smiling. He stood up to hand Kat back to me. She stirred a bit but settled back down into my arms.
Tom grabbed our coffees off the table to throw the empty cups away. I put Kat’s bottle in the stroller then glanced up at Tom’s back as he walked to the garbage can. I notice something sticking out over the back pocket of his jeans. It was a red handle.
It took me a moment, and then I knew without a doubt what it was. I quickly looked away and felt goosebumps cover my body. Tom was back at the table before I could react.
He sat back down and asked, “What do you ladies have on tap for the rest of the day?”
“The usual,” I said, keeping my voice steady. “But, um, C is actually coming home early. Should be there by the time we get back,” I lied.
“That’s nice, what’s the occasion?” He asked.
“He’s just trying to give me a break, you know how it is with little ones,” I explained. “Speaking of, I should go grab the other two rug rats and get home.”
“You’re pulling them from school early?” He asked, his brow furrowed.
“Uh, yes, we’ll grab lunch then C will take them all to the park or something.”
“Dad of the year,” Tom said with his crinkle-eyed smile.
I agreed and quickly gathered my things, and stood, “Tom, thanks for your ghost story, it was truly frightening.”
“Will it make the blog?” He asked putting his hand out to shake.
I tried to hide my hesitation, but shook his hand and said, “Oh, most definitely.”
I quickly popped Kat into her car seat and wheeled her away, feeling Tom’s eyes on my back as I walked to the exit. I got us both into the car and called C, “I think Tom Murphy is going to hurt someone, if he hasn’t already. I’m going to the police station. You need to come home.”