It’s not bad enough that I’m running myself ragged trying to learn an entire industry in short order, trying to keep a lid on my urge to murder coworkers and random passers by, trying to keep breathing without my asthma medication, trying not to tumble completely into the puddle of suicidal depression that lurks a foot away under the best of circumstances, and mostly just trying to hang on until October, when things might look a little better.
I have to deal with a house that seems to be bloody well haunted on top of it.
You can call me crazy. I’m used to that. I’m not out to convince anyone of the nature of the afterlife, or that ghosts are really after us or anything like that. I have had certain experiences that make me believe in certain things and that’s that. I do certain things and take certain precautions, and whether they actually have an effect on otherworldly beings or any apparent benefit is solely psychosomatic is really irrelevant; they make me feel better and don’t hurt anyone else.
Every night this week I have snapped awake, 100% certain that someone is in the room with me. Every night something isn’t right; lights have been turned on or off, my cigarettes, vape pen, phone or notebook have been moved, doors have been opened or closed, locks have been unlocked or latched. And every single time I awaken to a thick and ridiculous reek of floral sachet.
I’m alone in the house except for a pair of cats. Yes, I’m aware, that means I’m not “alone.” But I’m also aware a pair of cats can’t do everything that’s been going on, especially when one finds the moved objects in the fridge, or the cabinet above the sink, or the lock is of the type one needs opposable thumbs and more strength than I am sometimes capable of exerting to work. The female denizen of the house is off at Burning Man with her male counterpart, and neither of them have perfume that smells like that, let alone would possess it in quantities that it could fill one room so thoroughly, dissipate quickly, and then repeat the following night without an apparent source.
There had been moments in the house before. I woke up once swearing a young man with a very unfortunate neck wound had come through – as in, walked through the solid wood, not crossed an entryway – the front door, wandered into the living room, lurked, and then walked back out. I’ve heard thumps and bumps and whispers that make my skin crawl. Those were potentially explained by animals or other people or just bad dreams. I accept that. Better than the alternative.
But this week’s been different. It’s always the same spook, for one thing. A woman, 35–40ish. Long, grayish dress, though I don’t know if it’s actually gray, my disabled vision, sleep muck and depression, or “faded” somehow due to her spectral status. I can’t see her face. Part of me thinks it’s because she doesn’t have one, but it might just be an inability to focus or shadows or a bad angle or just lame imagination and too many Japanese horror flicks. Before I went to bed last night I did a few things, though, things intended to clean the air, blow anything in here back out, and keep it out.
And then last night, there was this:
It’s probably hard to see; probably stupid of me to try to take a picture in daylight facing the sun, but the smears are there. They’re actually in the shape of a hand, with drag marks around it like something was running along the glass. This is right beside where I sleep, and was not there yesterday. I know this for a fact because I just washed the windows and I’m a little anal about it.
When I woke up last night, I swore she was standing there, one hand on the window, staring at me and snarling. Pissed that she couldn’t get in. She wanted me to open the door, to invite her in. The cats were hiding behind the table and staring at the door, hissing. I couldn’t breathe.
And all I could smell was that godawful sachet.
I did what any sane person did. Shrieked, threw the covers over my head, and lay there shuddering until I felt secure enough in the light level to creep away from the couch and turn all the lights on, making a point not to look at the window.
I know I’m crazy. Certifiable, in fact. It doesn’t change that I am frequently subjected to such incidents, feelings, dreams, whatever you want to call them. It doesn’t change that almost anywhere I go I have these problems. Doesn’t change that it doesn’t matter if I have my meds or are without them, am manic or depressive. Am I just full of bad luck and prone to living in haunted spots? Or is it me that the ghosts are here for, drawn by someone – or something – tastier and more fun to taunt or haunt than most? Or am I just batshit crazy in a way all the uppers and downers and steroids and stabilizers can’t touch, a way I can’t just write out of my system or silence with drink and drugs?
I don’t know. But I’m damn tired of it, regardless.