The comments are still coming in on my post about how worried I am that there’s something (or someone) haunting my house. Everyone seems to think that yes, a cleansing is indeed necessary to make sure that my family doesn’t show up on the news as the victims of unexplained disappearances and/or horrific murders. So, um, thank you for scaring the shit out of me. If that was your goal, it totally worked. Now every time I lay down in bed, I think I hear something clicking around in the pipes.
And since then, I’ve been thinking. This picture thing wasn’t the first thing that freaked me out since we moved in two years ago.
Boo was only eight weeks old when we set up residence here. Back then, we carried around a baby monitor night and day so we could hear our preshus snowflake sleep and make sure he didn’t get stuck in the crib slats and suffocate while we watched True Blood in the living room. Because we’re responsible like that.
It wasn’t long before I noticed that every time I turned the baby monitor up above the lowest setting that I heard a muffled ruffling sound. I didn’t know what the sound was, but it brought to mind thousands of tiny wings flapping about in a light breeze.
After a few nights of careful listening, I decided to take the monitor into Boo’s room to see if the noise would stop. I disconnected the handset from the base and carried it to Boo’s closed door. As I got closer, the wings were flapped harder, like something had whipped them into a frenzy. I stood there for a few heartbeats, and then threw the door open.
The only sound on the monitor was a feeble feedback from the handset being held too close to the base. I checked on Boo, and he was still sleeping soundly, oblivious to the tumult of emotions spinning through my imagination. I pressed my hand to his chest. His heart thumped a steady beat against my palm, and his eyelids flickered back and forth as he dreamed.
I didn’t leave the room for a long time. Instead, I sat down on the futon across from his crib and strained my ears to hear the wings again, but nothing ever came. Before I left the room that night, I traced the sign of the cross onto his forehead three times, in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Call me superstitious, or even irrational, but this part of Catholicism still makes sense to me.
After that night, I only heard the wings a few more times. I told myself that was the sound of his guardian angel hovering overhead.
I was never really convinced.
Perhaps a year after that, I had gone to bed while Red played a video game in the living room. I tossed and turned for about thirty minutes before I settled into an uneasy sleep, where I was plagued by repetitive, disjointed images of unidentifiable black things that were reaching out for me from the darkness.
Some hours (or minutes) later, I woke suddenly. The last vestiges of my dreams hung with me, and I was still hovering in that area between wakefulness and sleep.
Something was with me in the room.
Like the stories you hear about people who claim to be abducted by aliens, my muscles were completely rigid and I was unable to move. I was paralyzed except for my eyes, which strained against the dark of the room to make out what lay beyond. It didn’t matter that my eyesight is horrible–barely corrected to 20/20 with incredibly strong lenses–I could feel something floating above me about two feet from where my head was pinioned against the pillow.
My first instinct was to reach up and turn on the light on the bookshelf beside the bed, but I couldn’t move my hands. I commanded my fingers to move, but they wouldn’t respond.
I felt trapped, like someone was pressing a cloth against my mouth. My breaths came in shallow pants. The blackness crept closer. I squeezed my eyes shut, the only defense I had left.
Suddenly, Red snapped the recliner shut in the living room. Immediately the blackness lifted, and I was able to move again. I sat up and flicked on the light. Of course there was nothing there, but that didn’t stop me from looking behind the shower curtain, in each of the closets, and beneath the bed.
That was the night I started sleeping with a knife tucked between the mattress and box springs.
I want to believe that there is a logical explanation for all of this. Sleep paralysis. Interference from the neighbors’ cell phones. An overactive imagination. But I can’t help myself. I’m pretty scared at this point.
I think I’ll be spreading salt around the base of the house, just to be on the safe side. The neighbors can’t complain. They just moved out a few days ago.
I wonder why.
Edited to add: What. The. Fuck. Right after I hit publish, the lamp on my bedside table started rattling and my scented oil burner’s light bulb started flickering. Any more of this crap and we’re going to be buying a house next week.
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