Serendipity: If I Believed in Ghosts, I’d be Spooked Right Now

A potential attempt at burglary led me to something I thought was lost. Or I’m haunted.



This morning, when I went to move my car (in that time honored tradition of backing out of the driveway and pulling in again when all other drivers are clear), I noticed that a box of tissues I normally keep in the armrest compartment was sitting on the passenger seat next to the denim hoodie I’d left in the car over night.

That’s weird, I thought.

Then I saw my registration sitting on the floor underneath the glove compartment. I’m hardly the neatest person, and tend to treat my vehicle like my own personal landfill until there are too many plastic water bottles to ignore, but I just had my car cleaned, and given my perpetual fear of being pulled over by the cops, not to mention the cost of the damned thing, I keep my registration separate from the rest of the detritus.

‘Somebody’s been sleeping in my bed,’ I said. (Well, no, I didn’t, but I would have if I’d thought of it earlier.) I did think that someone had been in my car. If there was such a phantom, he didn’t damage anything, or steal anything – largely because there was nothing to steal besides the car itself. But given the absence of glaring evidence (like a missing stereo, or threatening message scrawled in red lipstick on my windshield), I couldn’t be sure anyone had actually searched my Honda Civic for valuablees. And even if someone had, there was no harm done.

I expected to feel more violated. Instead, I think I’m a little grateful.

After I got out of the car to go back in the house, I glanced in the backseat. The over-sized box of books I’ve been meaning to donate to the library for months was open – another sign, though I told myself I might not have secured the cardboard flaps. I opened the door to take a closer look, and the first thing I saw was the Minipedia World Mythology book I salvaged years ago from a Barnes & Noble discount rack.

This book is so poorly edited, so impressively inaccurate that it inspired a novel, which in turn inspired a graphic novel and a whole series. I even thought about buying another copy from the Amazon Marketplace, just so I’d have it to show people how the idea for Leave Me Deathless came about. Now, thanks to the possibility of some stranger rifling through my things, I found it again, and just as I’d set the novel it inspired aside. If I hadn’t left my car unlocked, that book would (eventually) be dumped in the donations bin at my local library. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something, something about being a little less guarded, or the potential for good to come from something unsettling.

Or something about ghosts.

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