The last installment of this serial, a year and a half ago, was intended to be my last. Living in a haunted house is something we’ve come to accept since the presence here has never really felt malevolent or menacing. That’s not to say nothing has happened in the last few years–plenty of things have. After awhile, though, it starts to feel almost commonplace, and you stop paying so much attention.
Recently, however, a few things have occurred that made me pay attention, almost as if someone was saying, “Hey, you haven’t forgotten about me, have you?”
I fully expected to see someone standing in the kitchen, like that scene at the beginning of Sixth Sense when Bruce Willis discovers Donny Wahlberg standing in his bathroom in his underwear.
On a weekday not too long ago, I was working at home, engrossed in some task, and my wife came home for lunch. As is usually the case, I put my work aside for a bit so we could eat lunch together, and when she went back to work, I dove back into my project. It was the kind of situation you may have experienced yourself on occasion, where you take a break from work, but really you’re distracted, because you’re still thinking about what it is you were working on, and when you take up the task again, you’re so focused that the room could be burning down around you and you wouldn’t know it.
I was focused like that, typing away on my keyboard, and I heard a sound that I frequently hear–the sound of the light switch in the bathroom clicking as someone leaves the room. A few seconds later, in about the same amount of time it would take a person to walk from the bathroom to the dining room, the floor creaked, just like it does when my wife or son steps down into the room a hundred times every day.
This combination of sounds–the light switch and then the floor creak from the step down into the dining room–is something I hear so often that I paid little attention at first. It was two or three seconds after I heard the floor creak that it occurred to me my wife had gone back to work. I should be alone in the house.
The hair stood up on the back of my neck. I turned in my office chair and rolled back slowly so I could look around the corner into the kitchen. I got goose bumps on my arms as I wrote that just now, because I remember what that moment felt like. I fully expected to see someone standing in the kitchen, like that scene at the beginning of Sixth Sense when Bruce Willis discovers Donny Wahlberg standing in his bathroom in his underwear.
There was nobody there.
So what kind of a ghost can flip a light switch? What kind of ghost has weight to make a floor creak? I don’t have the answer to those questions.
It was quiet again for a time, until two days ago. I got up to have coffee with my wife before she shuffled-off to work, and she casually mentioned that when she got up that morning, the locks on our door were unlocked all night.
“Somebody could have come in and murdered us,” she joked in the macabre kind of humor that is common in our house.
I didn’t put too much significance on her statement. Like a lot of dads, I have a nightly routine where I walk the perimeter of the house and make sure all the doors are locked before I go to bed. We have three doors that need to be checked each night, and each door has a locking knob and a deadbolt or bar lock. I could have sworn I had done my patrol the night before and locked all the doors, but I had been falling asleep on the couch before I went to bed. Maybe I was groggy and missed one of the bar locks.
This morning, as I sat down to have my morning coffee, my wife sat at her usual spot at the table and I could tell from her body language that something wasn’t right. She had both arms resting on the table with her fingers clasped. I had barely taken a sip of my coffee when she spoke.
“So, I’m a little uneasy,” she said. “When I got up this morning, the side door was unlocked again. Both locks.”
“I think you’re making this up,” I said.
“No, I swear, Troy,” she said. “Two nights in a row.” I glanced at the door that leads from our garage to the house. The bar lock was fastened.
“The back garage door has some stuff piled against it right now,” I said. “Nobody could get in that way.”
“No, the side door,” she said. I realized she was talking about our main door–a metal door, with a heavy duty deadbolt and locking knob. I got up and went to the door. It was unlocked.
I ran through the possibilities in my head.
She could be making it up in some kind of attempt to prank me, but I don’t know why she would do that since she’s always been more bothered by the happenings in our house than I have. It didn’t make sense to me that she would stir it up. She’s happy when it’s quiet.
I could be mistaken about locking the door that night. But I’m absolutely sure I locked it last night, and it was still unlocked this morning.
Somebody could have somehow acquired keys to our house, although I don’t know how. I’ve taken my car to the car wash and the auto shop a few times recently, but I almost always leave only my key fob, and keep my actual keys with me. But if someone had gotten the keys to our house, I was faced with the disturbing possibility that they had been in our house the last few nights… what? Watching us sleep?
Or, a ghost could be unlocking our door. How, and for what purpose, I have no idea. At any rate, a new lock set has been purchased, and it will get installed tomorrow.