Charlotte | By: Paula Dimitroulakos | | Category: Short Story - Dramatizing Bookmark and Share



By Paula Dimitroulakos


Late at night on Halloween, Mary Beth McBride just couldn't sleep.

Tomorrow was the ten-year anniversary of her friend Charlotte's disappearance.

Everybody she knew thought that Charlotte died, although nobody knew why

because a body had never been found. Mary wished that, by some miracle,

Charlotte would still show up alive.


Mary had to go out. She was crying. She went to a nearby coffee shop

open late at night. Even after she got served, she just couldn't stop crying. Mary

felt so sad. The lady on her left asked, "What's wrong, miss?"


"Oh," said Mary. "I think my friend Charlotte is dead, and it's been ten

years. We haven't heard anything from her, and they haven't found her body."

Replied the lady: "I do remember that story. It was big on TV. I'm so sorry to

hear. Maybe she is still alive. Miracles do happen."


"Yes. I suppose you are right," Mary said.


As the waiter came with her coffee and donut, Mary Beth calmed down a

little. But then it happened.


She looked up and saw a vision. "That's Charlotte," Mary Beth said to

herself. "Look at her. She's smiling, and she has her hands on her hips. Then look,

look, look! My poor Charlotte. Why I thought you were gone...but is it my

imagination that this is you? Oh, I have to leave!"


Mary ran out of the restaurant without touching her coffee and donut, and

without saying another word to the lady next to her. As she left, she looked back,

and the vision was gone.


Then she went home. As she opened the door, she felt a cool breeze and

smelled a whiff of perfume. "Where is that coming from?" she wanted to know. "I

bet the ghost of Charlotte is in my home."


' Mary Beth wanted so much to go up to the attic. She remembered that she

had tiny memories of Charlotte there: photo books, letters and things that

Charlotte had given her.


So she went on up. It was drafty and certainly spooky -- Very spooky. like

someone was watching her. As she walked toward the box in the corner where

she had things of Charlotte's, she couldn't go on. She seemed to be stuck. She

couldn't even move her shoes. "What?" she exclaimed. I can’t move!"


Then she heard a noise. "Mary, Mary, MARY," someone whispered



"Who is that?" wondered a startled Mary Beth. She looked up. She saw

another vision.


It was indeed a vision. but not of Charlotte. "Who are you? Oh, why are you

doing this? Why am I talking to a ghost?" Mary Beth implored. Then the most

unthinkable occurred. Now, she was able to move, but all of a sudden, the world

turned pitch black.


At first, Mary Beth didn’t know what to do. Then she inched forward, felt

for the door, and opened it. But when she looked down the stairs, she saw that

she wasn't in her home any longer. And when she looked straight ahead, she

glimpsed three more doors.


"How did these doors appear, and now, where am I?" she wailed. She

grabbed Charlotte's things, took the door on the left, and ran downstairs. This

was not her home. She ran on outside, and then she saw that this was not her

neighborhood, either.


So she panicked - really panicked. She noticed a house with a light on, so

she rang the bell. An old woman came out and said, "May I ask why you are



"My home is gone," Mary Beth responded. "It was the one next door."


"Houses don't disappear," the old woman said cautiously.


"Well mine did. I was in my attic. Then I noticed something was wrong.

When I went downstairs, I was sure that it wasn't my home," Mary Beth said.

"That is odd,” said the neighbor. "Was your house haunted?"


"Yes. Maybe so. because I did see a vision when I got in, after I came home

from the coffee shop," Mary Beth agreed.


"That is strange...but strange things have happened here, especially on

Halloween. Did you look to see who might be in this home, and what items might

be there?" the old woman inquired.


"No, but maybe I will," Mary Beth sighed. "My name is Mary Beth."


"If you need anything just ring my bell. My name is Muriel," said the kindly

old woman.


As Mary went back to the house, she returned to a mystery. The home

seemed ghostly. Nothing looked familiar at all. But when she walked back upstairs

to the attic, everything seemed the same as it did before the world turned black.


She didn't know which of the three doors to choose to get downstairs

again, but she tried the one in the middle. After opening the door a crack, to

make sure things were safe, she climbed downstairs. Now she was back in her old

home, just like before.


Still, Mary wondered, as always, what happened to Charlotte. So she

started to look at the letters and books that Charlotte had given her to find out if

she could discover some clues.


When she opened one of the books, she noticed a picture. "This picture

looks like Charlotte, but it's labeled 'My Sister Marlene.' So maybe Charlotte had a

twin sister?"


Then the telephone rang. "Who is this?" she demanded, talking into the



"I'm Charlotte. This isn't a joke. Are you Mary Beth? Well, I didn't die," the

caller said. "Everybody thinks I died, but it was my twin sister Marlene who really



"Okay," replied Mary, feeling flabbergasted. "So why did you disappear? And

why did I then see visions of you?"


"That wasn't me in the vision. That was my sister," Charlotte revealed. "She

disappeared ten years ago. I was so upset that I didn't call my friends. I still don't

know what happened to Marlene. The last thing I knew, we were having dinner at

home. Then Marlene went out and never returned."


"Did she have a cell phone?" asked Mary.


"Yes, but all I got was her voicemail. I did contact the cops but it took ten

years until they got a lead. Finally, a police officer called me the other day and

gave me a tip. He said he thought he saw a gal that looked like my sister on the

corner of Bay Street and Oyster Road. I went to look and saw a house at the

corner. I should have gone in. but I was scared," said Charlotte. "The Halloween spirits

told me you've been looking for me, so that's why I'm calling you."


"Charlotte, do you want me to go with you to the house at Bay Street and

Oyster Road? I'll come in five minutes," Mary said.


So Mary met up with Charlotte, and they hugged and smiled. When they

got to the house at Bay Street and Oyster Road, they rang the bell. A handsome

man with a moustache came out.


Charlotte asked, "Is Marlene here? I'm her twin sister Charlotte."


The man opened the door for Charlotte and Mary. There was Marlene, alive

and well. "Whoa, we thought you were dead!" declared an astonished Charlotte.


"No, I'm fine. I'm really sorry that we've lost touch for the past ten years. I

just got depressed and decided to leave home. Then I never got in contact with

anyone. I just couldn't come back," Marlene explained.


"Now, though, I have a husband, Robert, and two twins, a boy and a girl. In

fact, I named the girl after you, because I did miss you," Marlene added.

"And now that we are reunited I want to stay close with my family, Come

on in and meet my husband and two children and my husband's parents."


"This is a MIRACLE," Charlotte announced. "I am so glad you're okay."


Marlene answered happily: "Sit down and have dinner with us, and have

your friend sit with us, too. I love you, Charlotte.”


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