Mrs. McCrommerty – A Short Ghost Story (work in progress)
After finishing high school, Jake volunteers in one of Penrith’s many charity shops. He’s just passing the time, keeping himself busy through the summer, while he decides which course through life he really wants to pursue.
During his first week in the shop he meets Mrs. McCrommerty. She has never donated goods before, and tentatively asks the young Jake how she would go about it. She is well spoken, quiet, polite and dignified, and Jake takes to her right away. He explains what she needs to do to make donations, and spends a pleasant twenty minutes showing her the many different items in the shop, to give her an idea of what can be brought in for resale.
Over the coming weeks, Mrs. McCrommerty visits the shop at least once a week, always when Jake is working, and always with a wheeled shopping trolley full of items she wishes to donate. At first Jake is more than happy to help out his regular customer, but as time goes on, and she brings in more and more items, he starts to get very curious. The old lady isn’t just bringing books, ornaments and clothes for donation, she’s also fetching old radios, shaving kits, pocket watches, smoking pipes – a whole range of items that Jake thinks she can’t possibly be bringing from just her own house.
As the months pass, and Mrs. McCrommerty continues to bring a full shopping trolley of goods into the shop for donation every week, Jake’s inquisitiveness gets the better of him. After her latest visit, he finishes work early and follows the old lady to see where she goes, and to see if he can get an idea of where all the items are coming from.
Thinking that he might just have stumbled across the world’s oldest female cat-burglar, Jake soon wishes that he’d kept his questions to himself and had left well enough alone. The sweet old Mrs. McCrommerty that he has come to know and like turns out to be a lot more, and a lot worse, than she seems.
Many years later, and now a successful novelist, Jake makes an infrequent return visit to his home town to attend a funeral. After the service, a conversation with old friends soon turns to the past, and Jake is asked to recount his tale of Mrs. McCrommerty. The years haven’t dulled the shock of what he discovered, and as his friends are soon to hear, misdeeds and felonious acts are not just confined to the living.