The child woke up from his sleep after hearing the small mechanical toy train moving , he thought his brother returned from the school to play, suddenly he saw a little girl with old Turkish fashion children clothes saying come and play with me in Arabic.
The child was surprised as this girl is not among the family who came to stay in the hotel in Northern Iraq and she stranger to him, and looked like the same girl from his dreams. He used to dream of her few nights before, but for him it was a delight, as she will be a friend who can play with.
He started calling his brother Sam, Sam -where are you. Mom where are you? But he didn’t get any answer He was alone in this Hotel large 2 rooms suite with a kitchen and launch area at the corner of the hotel which was run by a family as the bed and breakfast type of large hotel house. The child family took him and went for a vacation To Mosel a city north of Iraq.
His older brother Sam was 8 years old and was out with the parents in the market ,and they left the child sleeping in his bed at the large corner suite at the hotel, and they asked the owner of the bed and breakfast to watch for him until they comeback from the market. The child heard the old lady saying Saad Come to the kitchen in the front and eats your breakfast if you are awake; your parents will be back shortly. Then he heard a voice in his the large hotel suit …
Don’t be afraid, the girl told the child.
Who are you? The child asked
I am Ahlam, she replied and pushing the mechanical toy train toward the child to play.
The child told her that he knows her, she look like the girl in his dreams,
She replied, yes I am, and sent the toy train to him
Then the child did the same, he winded the train and forwards it to her back and they played with the small train back and forth. It was the child favorite toy he brought with him to the family vacation.
Ahlam the little girl was happy and focused on the toy train. Then she direct the toy train to different direction and when the child ran after it to get and send it back to her she was gone. The child couldn’t find her at all, he looked everywhere.
He kept it secret and didn’t tell his mother, the child thought that Ahlam is from the next house and that she came from the garden or from the open window, while he was calling her name, the lady who own the bed and breakfast asked the child who is Ahlam, who are you calling .So he told her about the girl, the lady told him that he was dreaming .Then she said maybe I should shut the window and the back door so no children can transpas to the hotel.
The next three days his parents took him with them in the morning, and in afternoon but they kept him with Sam for the lady to baby sit them when they leave in the evening , as they were romantic couple and married for 9 years but they love each other .
The girl used to come and wake up the boy or sneak at him while he play and play hide and seek with him, The child keep telling her to go back home it is too late and the owner of the hotel might find her and she will be in big trouble, she laugh and run, saying this is my home. When you need to play just call my name and then she run away and vanished in the other room at the hotel
The child asked her while they were playing, where are you parents what they do? Do they go out to the market like my parents? My parents are here too, she replied!
That child was me, back in 1959 in Mosel north Iraq, One year after the 17 July revolution. My dad took us for a vacation up north for 3 weeks to see the falls and enjoy the cool northern weather of July and of course to see some relatives. My father was working for the president of the country at that time and he used to have a good pay and benefits.
Some times when we sleep in that hotel I can see the bed sheet pulled, white figures passing in the hall at night and I used to keep telling my mom and the hotel owner day after and all tell me that I was dreaming.
My dad used to get his flash drive and his gun and go investigate the corner of the hotel after I was panicking one night when I saw 6 figures, white salutes that looks like a woman a man and 4 children and they asked me with very comfortable voice to come closer and don’t be afraid, and always they vanish to the farther corner of the hotel.
I told my brother Sam about what I used to see and he say my parents say it was a dream, then we go to investigate that rocky corner of the hotel ,we peep in the small halls between the bricks and rocks and Sam used to make fun at me or scare me.
Then I told him to hide under the bed one day when my parents went to their night fun outside, I asked Sam to stay still under the bed. I kept calling Ahlam name to come and play with me using my mechanical train and before I gave up I heard her voice coming from the corner of the hotel as she was floating and came close and walked to the room like any little girl that I can see, but this time I knew she was a ghost and she is not from the outside so I was playing but very cautious and careful. And always look to my brother Sam, his eyes was wide open.
I know your brother is under the table, she said
As soon as she said that my brother Sam couldn’t take it anymore and he gave the loudest scary scream that you ever hear, and pulled him from under the bed and running toward the front of the hotel where the old lady used to sit beside the fire place and the old Turkish tea pot with her cat.
Her cat ran with fear, while Sam started to tell the old lady what we saw. That cat name was Maysoon and she never ever come to the corner of the hotel close to our suite.
I used to carry the cat with me but as soon as I reach closer to the corner of the hotel where our suit was, she screams and put a Hess and fight and ran and if I hold her she will scratch me and ran. The old lady used to think that the way I hold her and never believe what we tell her or my parents.
They think we are playing a game and doing this so they could take us out with them at night .they used to tell us to be polite and enjoy the place and that they were taking us in the afternoon or the morning to the play ground and the market and that the evening outing is for their enjoyments.
It is all in your imagination; there is nothing wrong in this place, my father used to say. Until one day my mother woke up to go to the washroom carrying with her a lantern, she was going an old Turkish hotel washroom just cross from our suite, Allowed screaming was followed.
As usual my dad took his flash light then turn on the light switch and was carrying his gun , he was an army man and he brought his gun with him, then he saw my mom was terrified telling my dad that she saw those same figures I saw at the hall.
The man and women who owned the place and 2 other hotel customers from the far side bedroom of the hotel woke up and looked to see what had happened. Then they all sat at the launch area at the front talking about what had happened and asking my mom if she was imagining or seen a light reflection.
I don’t know what happened after that as My brother and I went to our bed covering ourselves in the blankets and force our self to sleep I never went to that washroom at night ,I used to make sure that I go when it was light and when I asked someone to turn on the light. There were not good lighting and mostly they use kerosene lanterns, but there was basic lighting and they do have old generators
My mother was pushed at the corner of the house one day while she was watching from the window and hit her elbow on the corner rocks and dislocated her elbow. That was in the afternoon before they were ready to take us out. I remember my brother Sam was very upset as he was looking forward to go to the outdoor movie of silent films, as my dad promised to take to the army club that run these events.
But now my father had to take my mother to the hospital using his 1958 old car that he were driving all of us from Baghdad to Mosel, The car didn’t start so he managed to take her with what we used to call Arabnji kind of a horse buggy as that was very common transport at that time and they took my mom to the clinic and the doctor managed to put her dislocated elbow back to its normal position. My father told the doctor that she fell on the rock and dislocated her elbow .My father was very skeptic man.
My brother Sam was a telling my mother that a voice tells him to go to the corner of the hotel he want to talk to him .After that my mom asked the owner to move to other side of the hotel away from the hotel corner suit and spend the remaining one week away from that bad area.
The old lady started to put some flowers, mirrors, water and fruit holy book and candle at the hotel corner area and do what we call Roqeya, kind of Quran reading for cleansing, the lady owner brought a priest as she was Iraqi Christian to cleanse the place too.
My mother told the priest that before she got pushed to the rock she heard voices telling to help us. And told him about the multiple apparitions she saw before that. My mother was in her early pregnancy with my brother Raad as later they named him.
Sam and I used to have continues nightmares at that hotel we see shadow figures and some of the white figures moving at night and early dawn and we couldn’t wait to leave that hotel-beds and breakfast. The owners of the hotel were Caledonians and they make the best fresh bread and marble jam, eggs and fresh fruit, pies and homemade yogurt and cheese, and she always make halal food kosher food. When Sam and I go to sleep we used to hear our parents arguing about the ghost stories and my father used to tell my mother to be careful and think logically so the people don’t think that we are crazy.
One day my dad was in his room and he had his old music recorder playing nice music and old songs, the recorder pushed away from the table and broke down. You see, my mother said.
See what! My father answered. He started checking the table if it was tilted.
3 days to go back home
SAM and I didn’t like what happened to our mother and Sam told me he have an Idea to punish those ghosts who live at the hall at that rock, so he asked for my help to pull the long water hose from the back yard and put one side in the water faucet and we brought the second end put it in the hall between the cracks deep in the rock at the corner of the hotel.
While we were doing that, we were called as my father was ready to take us all for good Kebab and Turkish Shawarma, so we ran to change and go out with my dad and we forgot about the water hose in the rock.
When we arrived there were police, constructor workers and cleaners from the hotel owner relatives and the police sealed that area. The owner told my mother that they found a water hose in that corner that led to the collapse of the corner and the wall and uncovered 6 skeletons in shallow grave in that corner .They all were praying and talking and my mother pocking my dad, you see I told you so, you never believed me.
Second day the police arrived with large police car and managed to carry the skeletons out so the cleaners and the construction workers can come back and fix the wall and paint the area.
We never went to that area and we used the washroom in the other side until the last day
Later my father found out that the dead family of 6 lived 400 hundred years earlier in the same area that that hotel was built on, and that area used to be part of larger farm house and that corner area was a private graveyard, the police also found that few more bodies were n the back of the wall close to the garden. The report was that they died by monoxide carbon poisoning. Their relatives buried at that grave of the farm house, and years later the area was sold and changed hands until this family changed the house to beds and breakfast.
The owner of the house told my dad later that she used to hear voice and whispers but she used to brush it as noises in the building and used to put Crosses and read the bible and nothing happened to hear until we came!
Later my mother delivered and my brother Raad was born and 2 years after she delivered a girl and she called her Ahlam. My mother told me when she was pushed she promised that if she get a baby girl to call her the same name of that ghost child.
My Mom passed away in 1998, and Dad passed away in 2003, both are died and buried in Baghdad city. My brother Sam migrated to the USA, and passed away in 2001 burred in Las Vegas. My sister Ahlam still lives in Baghdad among other 5 sisters. And 2 brothers .My mother had 11 children .One brother also died in Baghdad. My brother Raad still live in Baghdad. I migrated to Canada back in 1979 and now live in Calgary
Steve Ramsey, PhD Public Health.
Medical sonographer. Okotoks Alberta, Canada