A few weeks ago the Irishman’s kid was playing with a bow and arrow and accidentally shot himself right under the eye. Blood spewed from his face and he dropped to the ground. I sent one of the kids across the street to get a neighbor who’s a nurse.
I was trying hard not to panic but I was moving fast and talking fast and I’m sure my eyes were as wide as yo momma’s behind. When I saw the neighbor walking over I ran up to her. “He’s in the backyard. It looks bad.”
“OK,” she said calmly. “Let’s go take a look.” While the rest of us were losing our shit, nurse-neighbor stayed calm and cool. She spoke slowly and quietly, almost in a sing-songy way. It was clear that she knew she was setting the tone. If she didn’t panic, we wouldn’t panic.
Turns out, it looked much worse than it was and the Irishman’s boy was fine.
I mention this story because I had found, up to a certain point, that I was entering a strange sort of hyper-calm every time something unexplainable happened.
If I panicked, everyone would panic. Plus, I was aware that someone unseen might be watching me and enjoying the show.
But, hey, we all have our limits, don’t we?
A few nights after we returned from the mountains, the Irishman and I were dead asleep in my room in the middle of the night.
Suddenly, my alarm clock went off, blasting loud static into the room. I hit snooze or turned it off — I don’t remember which. Then it went off again a few minutes later, leading me to believe I’d hit snooze. I unplugged it.
I was puzzled, because I haven’t set an alarm on that clock in more than two years. Ever since I got my iPhone, I’ve just used that for my alarm. What’s more, the clock has never gone off for no reason in the entire decade that I’ve owned it.
I told myself that maybe I’d hit a switch on it by accident when I was getting ready for bed.
Then I shrugged it off. Or tried to shrug it off would be more accurate. However, I found myself avoiding plugging the clock back in for several days.
If the room’s a rockin’…
A few days later, the Irishman was staying over again. He went into my room and I did a quick check on my kids before joining him.
I was headed back down the short hallway toward my room when I saw him standing on the other side of the bed with a puzzled expression on his face. He looked around for a second and then stood stock still like he was bracing himself and waiting for something.
“Did you feel that?” he asked.
“The entire room just shook. I mean, it shook shook.”
“I didn’t feel a thing,” I said. “And I was just a few steps outside of the door. Was it something from next door?’
“No, it wasn’t like that. The whole room shook,” he said.
“You mean like when we had the earthquake?”
“Yes, just like that!”
Weird. We talked about possible explanations — something with the heater (possible, but why did only my room — two stories above the basement — shake?), a neighbor moving furniture (possible, but these townhouses have thick walls — I rarely hear my neighbors unless someone is running up the steps — and how could something like that cause an entire room to shake?), the Irishman was having some sort of inner ear disturbance and he thought the room shook but it really didn’t.
We couldn’t figure it out so we blew it off.
We didn’t talk about it after that. I was starting to get the feeling that something strange was going on but I didn’t want to speak it out loud. In fact, I hardly told anyone because I didn’t want to egg it on — whatever it was.
Eventually I decided to plug my clock back in. I’m sure the radio is tuned to static, I thought. I tried to be nonchalant about it as I flipped the radio switch. Certainly I would be blasted by white noise, I figured. But no. Clear as day, a song burst out. It was tuned to a radio station.
I didn’t much like that, but I tried to dismiss it. No big deal. Electronic things malfunction sometimes. Who can say why?
Wake up call #2
Not long after that, the next thing happened. I was in bed (sans Irishman), sleeping soundly when I was awakened by a loud knock.
I can’t hear the front door from my room. In fact, the poor Irishman has been left standing on the porch many times because I didn’t know he was there.
And this knocking — I hated to admit it — came from inside my room. I froze in my bed and tried not to freak out.
Could it be the front door? It must have been. But I can’t hear the front door from my room. And who would be knocking in the middle of the night? Should I check it? That seems like a reasonable response. You hear a knock and you get up and check the front door. That’s what I’m going to do.
So I got up. I didn’t turn the light on. I can walk around in the dark in my own house, I thought. A fearful person might turn on the light but I’m not afraid because there’s nothing to be afraid of so I’m going to walk downstairs in the dark like I would on any other night.
Sure enough, no one was at the door. I went back to bed.
For the first time, I was scared.
Things had happened before. But now it seemed like events were ramping up. There was a certain frequency to events that I didn’t like.
Finally, I had been driven to the point of cowering under my covers, wide awake in the middle of the night. My kids, none the wiser, were asleep in their own beds down the hall.
My kids. Whatever this was had messed with my kids. Yes, it had been more than a year ago, but something had said Megan’s name.
And now this motherfucker was waking me up in my own bed in the middle of the night … the nerve! I mean, I’m a mom. Some nights my room is like a bus station with my munchkins coming in and out for various things. The last damn thing I needed was some goddamn ghost all up in my slumber party.
That made me really mad.
I decided to claim my space again, right there in the dark in my bed.
I sat up. “Listen!” I hissed into the darkness. “I don’t know who you are or what you want but you will not wake me up in the middle of the night. And you will not ever contact my kids again.” I found myself pointing with my index finger like I was scolding a small child. “You need to leave us the hell alone! And if you ever, ever contact one of my kids again, I’m going to bring somebody in here to drive you out of this house for good! This is our house, not yours! Leave us alone! Don’t you dare mess with me because you’ll regret it!”
Then I flopped down on my side and grumbled myself to sleep. “Mess with me? I don’t think so. I’m not putting up with shit. Think you’re going to wake me up in my own room in the middle of the night? Got another thing coming, that’s for sure … got a lotta nerve … I’ll tell you what, you are messing with the wrong damn woman … I’ll fuck your shit up … that’s right … you better believe I will … ”
Truth be told, in real life I’m a total creampuff. I always said that I come from the Taunt and Run School of Combat. But I can be plenty brave if I’m not expected to throw a punch.
Once again, all was quiet.
Just in case, I stopped watching The Dead Files. I decided that I wasn’t interested in communing with the spirit world, no way, no how.
To be totally honest, I was a little interested. I thought maybe someday it would be cool to be able to talk to spirits, but not right now, not in my own house while my kids were small. I put the lid on that idea.
In my mind, it was done. Over.
A few weeks later, my mom was here. We were heading out somewhere and I’d run upstairs to get something while she helped Benjamin get his shoes on.
As I came back downstairs she said, “Uh, Trish … the lamp behind the couch just came on by itself.”
“Mmm hmm,” I very eloquently replied as I picked up my purse.
“You don’t sound surprised. Does it do that sometimes?”
“Yeah. Well, no. It doesn’t do that all the time. Only once. Right after we moved in”
“Okay … ?” she said.
“I’ll tell you about it later,” I told her.
And I did. And a few weeks later, there would be even more to tell.
To be con-farking-tinued …
(Next installment on Friday. See you then.)
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