In honor of Halloween, I share with you now my own spooky ghost story. This is all true, my friends. Right down to every last banana…
When I moved into the ground-level unit of a quaint brick triplex, I was desperate to find a place to live on short notice. Freshly sprung from the near miss of an ill-fated engagement, I was lucky to find such a score just as winter began to dig its heels in. Friends and family pitched in to set my spare furniture just so, settling my dog and me into our new home. Just the two of us. Safe and sound.
I spent a happily solitary Christmas drinking wine by the fire, the weather finally cold enough to need one, and at midnight took the dog for a moon-lit walk around our quiet new neighborhood. When we returned home and set feet crunching on the frost-encrusted lawn, I was confused to find the porch light off, the whole doorway cast in darkness though I was certain I’d flipped the switch on our way out. Once inside, I saw that the fire had also been snuffed out; only a few hissing embers simmered and snapped behind the mesh metal curtain of the fireplace by then, though the fires I build are the kind meant to burn slow and strong the whole night long. I checked the flue for drafts and flaws, and, finding none, next checked the wine bottle atop the kitchen counter to see if I’d left behind less of its contents than I’d intended. None of my inspections gave me satisfying answers, but I shrugged my shoulders at the dog, turned off the rest of the lights, and went to bed.
That night, I slept fitfully, dreaming of otherworldly images. I finally began to drift back toward consciousness shortly before dawn. Before I had the clarity of mind to open my eyes, I heard the sound—and felt the sensation—of a man speaking in my ear, pressed closed to my head. I opened my eyes and sat up, breathing hard, expecting to see a stranger standing next to my bed. But only the shadows danced against the walls, only the curtains flitted up and away from the windows in the slight breeze. I was too terrified to remember what he said.
I looked down at my dog, Mona, sound asleep in her memory foam bed on the floor in the opposite corner, completely undisturbed. “Some watchdog you are,” I said as I flopped back on the bed, scooted closer to her, and pulled the covers over my head.