Thursday, 10 January 2008

Stale Air

Once more the aroma of tobacco smoke drifted into the room, overwhelming my thoughts as I tried to compose myself in conversation. From someone who never smokes and has no contact with a smoker, the stale and pungent smell of cigarettes began to emit from Jack's clothes. He followed my gaze as I looked beyond him, my concentration unable to continue while he carried on talking. I could clearly see the woman who stood behind him. I do not know who she was. I had no idea of her reason to be in my vicinity. Her features were that of an older lady, perhaps in her 70's. Her hair, grey and wispy, fell untidily upon her face, long strands almost covering her eyes. No makeup adorned her skin, just wrinkles appearing amidst a ruddy complexion, perhaps from outdoor living. She wore a turquoise overall, falling slightly below the knee. Small white buttons fastened, a collar turned over.

Jack questioned my distraction, turning his head to search over his shoulder into an empty space. I smiled at him. I wondered how he would feel should he have been able to see the woman too. I wondered if he had sensed the stale aroma on his clothes. Before my thoughts could be turned into words of intrigue, the woman had gone. The smell with her. My attention once more rested on Jack's story as we both made our way back through the house.

Upon our return to the lounge later that day, my hand reached out to turn the door handle. My strength seemed to have momentarily left me as I began wrenching, unsure as to why I could not manage the simple task of opening the lounge door. Being prevented from entering the room by an unseen force, I moved aside to allow Jack to try. Stuck fast he turned to look at me. Unable to see the woman yet feeling her presence, the same profuse aroma attacked me as I pondered for answers as to why my attention had again been sought. Eventually the handle turned. We were permitted to enter the room, followed by the gentle footsteps of a visiting soul. I have never appreciated the smell of smoke on one's clothes, the same smell that clings to fabric after standing outside to inhale their addictive fix. Yet it filled the room, bearing down on my shoulders, making me ache and feel heavy as I tried in vain to relax.

I turned to Jack. "Have you been smoking?" My thoughts were no longer as words fell from my mouth.

"Of course not!" he replied, astounded at my ridiculous question.

"I can smell smoke; stale smoke, as though you have just been outside for a cigarette."

"But I don't smoke," he assured me. Assurance of which I did not need.

Within minutes, the aroma vanished. Along with the presence I once felt had joined our group. The woman had succeeded in vying for my attention. The night before, she had also attracted the Farmer's.


  1. Wonderful writing. How's the book going?

  2. very good story. I have not read the other post yet so maybe you talk about the farmers vision there. I am wondering what his experience was like? I too dont like the smell of smoke so i hope the smell is not a constant.

  3. ooo, I love these posts of yours! Can't wait to hear what the farmer's experience was!

  4. Jack? I know I'm an idiot, but I'm drawing a blank?

  5. Do you have any idea who she was?

  6. Ooooh, spooky. Love it. Thanks for comin' by and leavin' a comment. What is it about Brits and spooky ghost stories anyway. Damn! Good stuff.

  7. wow. i could not live like this, crystal! i'd go crazy!

    i love the new dog pix, by the way.

  8. Your writing is so very good, I hated to see this post end. So interesting, I wonder what it means, or who it was. Any ideas?

    Great pictures of the dogs!


  9. a thriller eh?! Yes, lovelyu pictures of the dogs too.

  10. @themill - I don't think it was J's mother. She usually cooks a casserole first.

    David - Book okay! Getting back into it now with the holidays finished - thank you for asking.

    Marla - I smell smoke often but mainly on the first floor of the house, I don't like it at all.

    Sam - Can you give me access to your blog, please!

    RC - You are definitely not an idiot! I should have said, Jack is one half of the couple who stayed with us over the New Year period. I changed his name for confidentiality. Sorry about the confusion there.

    Kaycie - There is one lady who comes to mind who lived here when my husband was little but it could also be a relative of Jack's. Something I hope will become clearer to me.

    Fats - Great name, btw! I've always been a bit spooky! Thanks for your visit also.

    Laurie - When you have no choice, you just get on with it. Thought I'd update the dogs pix, they are gorgeous aren't they!

    Eileen - Sometimes, I don't want the experience to end. The smell of smoke however, isn't welcome.

    Flowerpot - Perhaps not a thriller, but a mystery!

    Casdok - Many reasons spring to mind.

    Thank you for all your comments, Crystal xx

  11. Ask Jack what his mother was like( if she's dead) or if he had an aunt who wants to be with him now.

  12. Love these posts, obviously people come forward for a reason, perhaps for help, do you always discover the reason, do you try or do you just wait and see what happens? Do you ever feel frightened or threatened and you will be telling us about the farmers experience I hope! So many questions, sorry.

    Tips on Wii over my way, well as much as I can help you.


  13. Sounds very weird and scary, I would be frightened to death, I must admit.
    Just read about your kitchen and how 'the farm must come first' my MIL is exactly the same. She offered me some cheese that was frozen the other day, so I could save the nice stuff for her son, "the crumbly stuff will be alright for you" she said.

  14. I loved all the descriptions - obviously her appearance etched itself on your memory - and now it is on mine...very well done!

  15. Gosh spooky! I need to know more.

  16. Thank you for your kind supportive words.

  17. Wow, spooky all right!

    Catching up on your blogs and glad to see Sparky is back to normal - what a relief! Sorry you had a bit of a do a few days after Christmas - hope it was short lived?


  18. Very spooky.

    Great writing, Crystal.

  19. Thank you, as always, for your kind comments and support - I would now be quite lost without my Blogging friends.
    I have no problem believing in the sort of experience you are describing, I know only too well that these things happen. So well described - I could almost smell it too.
    Margot xx

  20. Really intriguing... I wonder how things like tis can happen?

  21. Spooky because I smelt cigarette smoke in the middle of the night last week and WE DON'T SMOKE. wOOOOOO!!


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