Child Of Ghosts

by Ashley Sronce



noun: ghost; plural noun: ghosts


an apparition of a dead person that is believed to appear or become manifest to the living, typically as a nebulous image. "The building is haunted by the ghost of a monk."

synonyms: specter, phantom, wraith, spirit, presence; More: apparition;
informal, spook, a faint trace of something.

synonyms: trace, hint, suggestion, impression, suspicion, tinge;
More: glimmer, semblance, shadow, whisper
"the ghost of a smile."


My best friend, Birdie, recently described an uneasy night wherein her living room lights came on unexpectedly as she was trying to sleep tucked away in the southeast corner of her home.

The lights in question are attached to a dimmer?!

She was certain that she had shut them off completely, as always.

Later that night, her Samsung Galaxy loudly splat slammed to the ground off of a pile of solidly, sensibly, and streamlined stacked books on her bedside table for no justifiable reason.

This sent a shockwave of unnerve. She didn’t sleep again for thirty-one hours.

My friend is a fastidious woman in all aspects of life. A turner of every stone. A veritable candidate for “Continuity Director Of Everything.” She calls me every morning at nine o’clock to see what I’ve accomplished so far for the day. She shares her family, her mother and father, with me on the holidays. She laughs at the pained grimace I carelessly present to the world. I am pressed to also stress → she is a mostly psychic twin, who reliably (if only sometimes much later) knows when she’s done something to hurt my feelings.




Q: Where do ghosts live?
A: The Spiritual Science Research Foundation (SSRF) states that ghosts reside in Bhuvarlok, the Nether region; Patal, the Hell region; and/or Bhulok, the Earth region.

*The regions that ghosts occupy vary and depend on the capabilities and spiritual powers of the ghost. Ghosts who experience or who have an increase in spiritual power become more subtle, which means that they are found in a deeper type of negative region, associated with the Patal region of Hell. Ghosts who possess very little spiritual power are generally found in Nether regions.


In the front pocket of a soft shell guitar case you will find three linen pouches small enough to hold any assortment of knickknacks: a crystal, a dime store figurine of a rooster, a tiny plastic dinosaur, even a rolled up fortune from a long ago eaten cookie.
In the side pocket you will find a small ceramic urn. Two inches in height. Three inches in width. A small blue and green glazed ceramic urn with a cork top. My mother’s ashes (she died October 3, 2006) are held within this diminutive tomb, tucked away, forgotten daily, deep within the side pocket of the soft shell guitar case. The case is home to a commanding Fender resonator guitar once belonging to my mother. I used to play. Bottleneck slide. Not so much these days.


How To Attract Ghosts in Ways They Can’t Resist!

How to be a total Ghost Magnet!

Wingtip #1
Have a spiritual base. Psychic abilities can’t hurt either!
(I practice yoga daily, and as I mentioned before my best friend and I perpetually read each other’s minds!!!)

Wingtip #2
Neglect your home. Ghosts don’t like rejection! Make ghosts feel like they won’t be kicked out! An unkept apartment has an energy signature similar to a vacant building.
(I haven’t vacuumed in three weeks!!!)

Wingtip #3
Be a doormat. Ghosts feed off passivity. If you don’t set boundaries with living people
ghosts will trust that you won’t fend them off either, and will feel a true attraction! Be folksy and amiable!

(When I’m facing a deadline, am really up against it, or stressed out in some capacity, I never fail to make time to listen to my “other” best friend preserve her arguments against Patti Stanger, The Millionaire Matchmaker. Considering the fact that both Stanger’s show and by default her relevance were cancelled almost two years ago, I hold this as a solid example of myself as a Passive Host!!!)

Wingtip #4
Have a near death experience.
(In 2005 I had a dream. I was shopping at Walmart. A towering figure wearing a trench coat approached me and, unprovoked, shot me in the face. I experienced my death fully and viscerally. I felt absolutely the dull impact of the bullet, the full weight of my body collapsing to the cold floor, the wetness and warmth of my blood pooling around my shattered skull, my flesh clawing its way here, there, above, around, and beyond. I was fully conscious...even tried to balk—“I can’t believe you shot me!”—though my esophagus, windpipe, and vocal chords were obliterated into the vacuous, warm, wet, pockets of fluorescent lit air. The sensation was not unlike moving underwater from one end of a hot tub to another. Slow. Deliberate. If not lethargic. I felt no fear. I felt no emotion whatsoever. In this physical demolition my ego was rendered impotent. I felt nothing but warmth, a pulling outward, and muted anticipation. I was still me, myself, and I. I was merging with nothing and everything. It was a pristinely metaphysical experience. I remember the tempered question, “Huh! What now?”)

Wingtip #5
Get Personal.
(If I tell you what I’m afraid of, will you tell me what you’re afraid of? I’m afraid of being so alone. I’m afraid of being an orphan in the world. I am afraid I can’t count on a visit from them in the wind, in the scent of pine needles, in the groove of a warped vinyl track on Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, in the ether of my dreams. I’m afraid of this empty, gnawing, anxiety and the fact that no embrace can console it. Afraid of this free-floating disembodiment. The permanence of loss. I am afraid of being the child of ghosts who have abandoned and forgotten me.)


My father was not supposed to live past thirty-two. He had a “hole in his heart.” I don’t know what that means or meant. Everyone who knows what that means or meant is long gone. I can only guess and haphazardly Google: “Born with a hole in your heart,” “List + diseases that create holes in hearts,” “Hole in heart—curable or death sentence?” etc…

My father relinquished his dream of being a professional golfer to run his father’s car parts store instead. He was a cosmically gifted golfer; he grabbed more hole-in-one trophies than anyone ever had before or since in the state of North Carolina. At least, that was the folklore surrounding him.

My favorite room of the house I grew up in was his “Trophy Room.” I would line the brass men perched on small commemoratively inscribed pedestals in various states of golf swing along the yellow shag carpet and have my favorite Barbie (Kissing Barbie came with lipstick, tiny stationery, and a horse) variably seduce them.

My father survived at least sixteen heart attacks. He drank vodka in a red Solo cup from dawn ’til dusk, smoked three packs of Marlboro Reds a day, and worked ceaselessly. If he was not at Sronce Automotive, he was without exception on the golf course. My mother and I never saw him. One of the rare nights he came home he was greeted at the front door by my mother who dumped his cold spaghetti dinner on his head.

He died: May 19, 1996. He was fifty-six. He dropped on the 18th hole. He was surrounded by his best friends—his golf buddies. Charlie and Jim.


verb: to ghost; present participle: ghosting

a term used to define the act of leaving, to duck out or bail from the situation, "Hey! Mitch, where's Jimmy?" "He's ghosted." or "Man's gotta go yard! I’m ghosting!”

vanish, disappear, recede from view, be lost to view/sight, pass into oblivion;

More: evaporate, fly, flee
"They ghosted."


It is a dark and stormy night. Underneath a single sheet, upon a rumpled mattress, lies an unused female body static with sleep. A swollen crow hovers midair in the southeast corner of the bedroom. Suspended there in the weather of space and time the crow carries in her beak the unbroken web of a spider. The spider wraps her arms and legs around extended fingers of potent, red-blooded lightning. She gnaws through fibrous currents of loss. She spins an intricate tapestry of connective longing. Thunder gasps and bays, stomping its bloodied boot along the walls.

At once, the lone body lurches upright as if stunned. The mouth opens. Airless. A rolled-up fortune from a long-ago eaten cookie rests on its tongue.

“They are watching you,” it reads.


Ghost [Def.1]. (n.d.). Oxford Living Dictionaries,
Accessed 6 Oct. 2016.

Ghost [Def.13]. (n.d.). Urban Dictionary,
Accessed 6 Oct. 2016.

“Where Do Ghosts Live?”. Reference,
Accessed 6 Oct. 2016.

Shapley, Carrie. “How to attract a Ghost”. Speaking of the Dead: musings on the afterlife from a Spiritual Medium, 25 Mar. 2016,
Accessed 6 Oct. 2016.


Ashley Sronce was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina. She is a triumphantly failed kayaker, comedian, and yoga teacher. She can regularly be found delighting in the indelible joy of dogs, General Tsao’s Chicken, and monthly meteor showers!

About Child of Ghosts—This piece was written during the Great Smokies class, “Your Next—and Next—Essay: Finding and Bending Form in Creative Nonfiction.”