I love Halloween blog parties — especially those that last for weeks. Halloween Humpday is brought to you by the marvelous Marfi of Incipient Wings. It took me a while to figure out how to apply her button to the widget box, but ta da! I couldn’t think of anything to pen for Halloween Humpday, and then it occurred to me to write up a story based on my charmed life. I may not live up to the weekly party posting, but what the Heck.
The following sounds as if it was ripped from a cliche movie, but this happened about twenty years ago.
Why is it that ghosts never make their presence known until after you buy the house? Like couples in a tired plot of a cliche movie or book, we found the previous owner had not vacated the premises until after we signed on the deed ownership line.
Initially, I thought the footsteps ascending the stairs belonged to my boyfriend, soon-to-be husband. After all, the footsteps were too heavy to belong to a female, and boyfriend and I were the only occupants in the house. The first dim spark of recognition came when I called to my boyfriend and was answered with silence. The lack of response annoyed and puzzled me — but not enough to compel me to put down the pencil. After I finished writing the passage for a real yummy and exceedingly depraved short story, I went up the stairs to ask boyfriend why hadn’t he answer my call. Boyfriend wasn’t anywhere to be found, but I rationalized he must have slipped in and out the front door without my hearing him. This was an unlikely idea because our house, older than a hundred years, was made of wood. If anyone made a peep anywhere within the house, then a second person would hear the creak of wood and pinpoint the location of the first person. JH was a practical, logical Virgo — and, being in love, I wanted him to think of me as practical and logical and not given to whimsy. I pushed away the idea that our freshly purchased but very neglected house was haunted.
Within months, the episodes of the footsteps increased. Sometimes the sounds seemed to be traveling up the stairway, and at other times, the walking seemed to occur in the room behind the kitchen, which was probably a pantry before a slum lord converted it into a bedroom. The footsteps never occurred in the same room in which I sat or stood, but at times, they seemed to come from the adjoining room, skip the room in which I occupied, and then proceed up the stairs to the second floor. The footsteps could be heard in the early morning, at dawn, or in the evening. Time had no meaning for this audible manifestation.Despite my trying to push down my Pisces-Aries nature in which an eccentric “why not?” became the norm, I was getting a a sense of the former occupant. He had been an aging man who had retired from an unknown profession. After having his cup of coffee or tea, he walked the stairs to what he recalled as a bedroom. Perhaps all his loved ones had died, and he fancied himself alone. Not realizing he was dead, he carried on this habit, unmindful of the passing of time and space. Perhaps forever. He never made any aggressive act toward me, but the idea that we shared a house with an uninvited roommate gnawed at me. It was like buying a house with a chandelier that you did not care for, but you didn’t feel like going through the effort of ridding yourself of the ugly lamp. With time’s passing, I could no longer push away the gut feeling that not only was the house a “handyman’s dream,” but also it came with a ghost to boot.
“I think this house is haunted.” I confided to my boyfriend in bed.
JH didn’t say anything — which meant he disagreed or my statement was to be analyzed and then discarded. Realizing that JH thought I was bit different because I “dabbled in the occult, ” I dropped the subject. Future brides do not wish potential mates to think them too strange to wed.
Within a few weeks, my future husband announced, “I think this house is haunted.”
His statement surprised me, for ghosts did not support the realm of science. JH’s analytic skills and eye for detail would eventually lead him into a science job at a major university.
A few months later, it dawned on me that I no longer heard footsteps.
Amazed, I asked how did he persuade our guest to haunt fresher digs.
“I gave it a choice. He could leave peacefully, or he could be bound to this house in a way he did not wish.” JH said in a manner that one might expect from a Leo Rising (or an Aries Rising, depending on who interpreted the natal chart). The fact that he used the term “he” did not escape me.
“”What made you think the house was haunted?” I asked.
“Because I heard footsteps, and I knew you were at work.” JH explained in his usual matter-of-fact, logical way.
I haven’t heard any more ghostly footsteps since that time.