Settling In With Ghosts

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.

“I’m not.”

“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.”

R-ruff, ruff-ruff!

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.

“A few.”

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.

Usually?

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.

31 thoughts on “Settling In With Ghosts

  1. Don’t like the iggly singing but do like how you tell it. Have to go out in the pre-dawn fog, where the stop sign up the block is shaped like a pervert. Thanks Walt, for waking my brave on a Monday morning..

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  2. Walt, between the scare at the beginning, the dog noises, and the humour in this, you’ve accomplished a rare thing in but a few words: a story that tosses me all over the emotional scale. That is some real skill, my man. I would love to hear more about this singing, coughing ghost and how this funny little couple deals with it.

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    • Thank you very much, good sir. Glad you enjoyed it. I like it too, although it feels light. Like the time spent on it would be better applied to something more important. I’m sure you understand. But I’m also sure I will do another at some point, as things …develop around here.

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      • Yeah but what’s light? I write some stuff that I think is bang-on but doesn’t seem to connect, while others things – so superficial – seem to resonate. I’ve learned to accept that all my writing is worth the while of putting the effort into it, even the stuff that isn’t that heavy (or even good). Anyway, my point being that I enjoyed this ghosty story and the characters within it.

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      • That’s a good perspective to put on it, Trent. At the end of the day, it should be about two things, maybe three: Did I write something only I could write? Was it meaningful to me? Did I write it as well as I knew how? There may be a fourth thing that I think of in a minute. Or maybe one I take away. I’m making this up as I go, from incomplete thoughts I’ve been tinkering with of late but haven’t formalized yet. But thank you again

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  3. I don’t like ghosts. This story gives me the creeps (but the fact that it does means that it’s really good). I had a ghost once, and it wasn’t a nice one. Awful feeling.
    More, please.

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      • I dunno about wanting to be liked. They’d be less creepy if that were the case. I mean, they were people once. They know what they’re doing. Oh, boy, do they.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. First post I read back in Germany. I think this was from your home in Ohio if I’m correct? Feels like home, to be back with your posts here in Germany. Looked over the old border wall tonight and thought it would be nice if we could kick it here some time — thought it, and thought I’d share, for kicks. You have more than one ghost in your life and some of them have WP accounts.

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    • Nope, wrote this the other day as a follow up to the ghost story from when we moved in down here to the new house in Texas. Welcome back home to Germany, if I may welcome you back from so far away. I’m sure you are glad to be somewhere you can settle in for awhile, at least. How’s the view over the wall? I would be happy to kick it, for kicks. If I leave now I could be there in about 24 hours. Round up a second pair of lederhosen and a spare hat, and leave the light on for me. Should I bring a jacket?

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      • Ack! I got my states wrong, but thanks for the kind note nonetheless. Don’t go teasing about the flights. We have jackets here and I have a car and know how to use it. You pick up the flight and we have the rest covered. Mullet it over and we can blog about it. Or not. Would be better not. I’ll cook.

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  5. As creepy as this story was, because i don’t believe in ghosts in the first place but the horror movies with the “based on true events” have kinda started making believe otherwise, i enjoyed it. Hey btw maybe the child ghost was trying a cigarette, you know children tend to cough when they smoke. So have any cigarettes/cigars gone missing since you moved in? Or rather if no one smokes in the household, have you found any mysterious cigarette buds lying around? Hmmm…me thinks you should call the ghost busters…first its the singing, then the coughing, next it’ll be laughing or God forbid your child saying she”s playing with her new friend when she’s all alone.
    Yea i think i’ve watched a lot of movies. I’ll tone down.

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      • If you wouldn’t freak out i would be surprised but hey you know how they say everyone has their own ghosts that follow them in their daily lives…maybe you can introduce your child ghost to your ghosts and maybe they can hang out and leave you guys alone.

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  6. I have had a few other-worldly experiences in similar vein. A young, or teenage (young teenage, shall we say) girl who stood watching me once as I worked through the small hours; a man of maybe forty years leaning against my mantle-shelf. I have never found these presences – if that is what they are – in the least threatening, nor have I ever felt the ‘chill’ that I am told accompanies a manifestation. They were always brief, but always indelible. I remember them with absolute clarity. Best wishes to your extra occupant. I hope you continue to enjoy her singing!

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  7. Well, now that is very bold of you, sir. My wife is also bold in that way. I, however, am like a frightened little girl when even the flimsiest of evidence of the supernatural asserts itself. You can be sure that if I were to see a forty-ish man leaning anywhere in my house, I would run screaming and not soon return. I don’t know what my wife would do, nor would I be able to find out, as I would be gone.

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  8. Pingback: Making Peace With Ghosts | waltbox

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