I had almost forgotten about the ghost. I hadn’t seen her since Moving In With Ghosts, and I could come in from the garage late at night without needing to glance up at the window above the back door to see if she was peeking out. But in the back of my mind, she was still there.
Of course it was at night. It’s always at night. My daughters were in bed behind closed doors, my wife was asleep downstairs. I was reading in the spare bedroom, the dog was sprawled across the bed, and a little girl was singing in the hallway. Three distinct notes. Sounded playful. Like she didn’t even realize she was doing it.
I thought one of our girls had gotten up. I put my book down and poked my head into the hallway, expecting to see one. That would have been unsettling. It’s a little creepy to see a young girl in the shadows at night, even if she’s your own. Especially if she’s sleepwalking, which ours do.
But there was no one.
I looked right and saw one bedroom door still closed. I stepped into the hall, rounded the corner and saw the second door closed, too.
My spine went cold.
Back in the guest room, the dog hadn’t stirred. That was a comfort.
* * *
Next morning I was getting ready for work. I found my wife in the kitchen, cleaning up. The girls had gone off to school. I told my wife about last night. She smirked and shook her head.
“I’m serious,” I said, putting an arm into my coat. “It wasn’t the ceiling fan making noise that kind of sounded like singing. It was a girl singing.”
She sighed, rolled her eyes.
“Why are you blowing me off?” I said. I can’t stand it when she blows me off. I can’t even finish putting on my coat when she blows me off. I need acknowledgment.
“Then why — ”
“Because I hear her singing all the time.”
I stood there, one arm in my coat, the other hanging out. The dog pattered up, claws clicking across the floor. He growled once, quickly. Ruff, he wondered. He sensed trouble.
“The only thing I like less than being blown off,” I said, “is when you tell me you hear singing all the time. Why haven’t you told me this before?”
“Because you would freak out.”
Ruff! The dog jumped between us, protecting her.
“When I tell you I think I heard a ghost, you’re supposed to shrug it off.”
She laughed. Not a ha-ha laugh, but a frustrated laugh. “You see how you are?”
“I can’t live in a house with a ghost,” I said.
“You have for six months,” she said, washing a cereal bowl. “She’s not bothering us.” She shook her head.
“How many times have you heard her singing?” I asked.
My eyebrows went up. “A few?”
“She likes to sing.”
“When? At night?” I asked. “During the day?”
“Usually at night,” she said, drying a bowl with a towel.
She shook her head again and sighed. “At night.”
I put my other arm into my coat. “Why is it always at night?”
Then came the cough.
Not from me. Not from my wife.
The girls were at school.
My wife stopped scrubbing, looked up the stairs. I looked too. No one was there. My wife looked at me and I at her.
I almost asked her if she’d heard that.
She looked at me like I just didn’t get it. She glanced up the stairs again, then back at me. She sighed. “You see?”
I looked up the stairs, saw nothing.
“It’s not always at night,” she said.