Monday, July 6, 2009

The Haunting

She said her house was haunted. From the time that they were little girls, she was afraid to be alone and would do anything to get someone to sleep over with her. She would lock the door to her room; she and her friend would crawl under the covers of the twin beds and wait. Inevitably it would happen, the sound in the hallway. It was an indescribable otherworldly sound, a guttural, grumbling that sent them scrambling into each other's bed, terrified. They were alone in the house. Sleep would overtake them and in the morning they would wake and wonder if it had been real. They would creep around downstairs to see if anything had been touched, but would find nothing out of place.

Over time, there were even more frightening occurrences. Her mother, in one of her rare visits home, was pushed down the stairs, one hand centered between her shoulder blades. The same thing happened to one of her friends, a one handed push. Another night, the floor to ceiling stereo console in the living room inexplicably fell over, scattering hundreds of record albums and stereo components all over the room. That event sent her and her friend flying out of the house to stand huddled together out on the front lawn, too frightened to move. They finally ran to a neighbor, who tucked them in to her couch, and left the light on for them as she returned to bed shaking her head wondering what kind of parents leave their children home alone.

As they grew into their teenage years, they devloped a kind of bravado. This haunting, what ever it was, would not scare them. They would stay up late and drink her father's fancy German beer or get home late after spending the evening drinking somewhere else, and gather in the kitchen. She would make them baked beans on toast or hot dogs, the only things that were ever in the house to eat. They would talk too loud, laugh too loud, and slide fearful glances around the room, waiting for something to happen. With a clang, the poker fell off the hearth, silently, the hanging lamp over the kitchen table started to sway, there were bumps and thumps from upstairs and from the basement, in the house empty, but for them. No one ever slept anywhere other than in her room with the door locked.

Her parents eventually sold the house, a house that they themselves had spent very little time in, but for their daughter had been a house of horrors. What no one ever knew, what she never told, even to her closest of friends was that her brother, six years older than her, the one left to watch over her and protect her had subjected her to horrific abuse at his own hands and those of his friends, that the brother whom she loved and idolized was truly a monster. That was the reason she started always having a friend sleep over, and at that point the brother abandoned her, moving out of state to try to escape his guilt. That was the beginning of the mysterious nocturnal events, what she called the haunting.

It is said, by those that believe in this sort of thing, that poltergiests are attracted to teenage turmoil, that the hormonal imbalances and angst of adolescence create havoc in the atmosphere, that these phenomena can be caused by anger and fear. It was also said that her house was built on an old civil war cemetery. Whatever the theory, explanation or rationalization, there was never a doubt that this was something both real and inexplicable. But the facts of her life and the sheer terror in which she lived seemed to be explanation enough.

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