So, a month in and the new year is already like a barbed-wire-wrapped tea bag steeped in burning chaos carried in a mug of doom? Well, I don’t know about you, but I would like to hide a bit in fiction, where an omniscient author contrives events to try and strangle–uh, squeeze a greater understanding out of the mayhem of the universe and human experience. At least, that’s what I’m going to try to do.
So, here’s part 1 of a fictional story not based on anything at all:
The first time the ghost made itself known was when it whispered to Joey, “stop.” He was in the middle of updating his resume in an attempt to change career paths when the soft whisper gave him pause. He looked around, looked outside, and concluded that his seclusion and tiredness were playing tricks on him. He pressed on. Reaching for his cup of water, he was distracted, thinking about a word choice and spilled water on his laptop. Much like the voice, the thought that he should have stopped passed with barely a notice.
There were sounds, odd creaks in the night, that Joey knew–he was probably certain maybe–were the simply groans of architecture. Temperature changes from one side of the room to another, that Joey would say were common of a nearly-century-old, drafty house. The flickering lights were justified by the wiring predating grounding wires. The series of objects moving on their own from the place Joey was certain he put them to a place he swore he would never put them, is what swept together all of these individual incidents to create a pattern.
Months would pass before the voice would return. Joey was changing the shower head in the master bedroom that was as old as the house. when the voice, so close he could feel the breath on the hair of his ears, again suggested he, “stop.” This occurrence, with the repetition of incidents, caused him to take notice. He still proceeded, not one to pay heed to the most corporeal of voices, but when the pipe broke after the very next turn of the wrench, he finally accepted the presence of some entity within the house.
He ran through the house trying to get towels before remembering to run out of the house to turn off the water to the house. When he returned to the house after stopping the water hemorrhage of water, all of the closet doors in his house were open, every cabinet, every closet, and an assortment of drawers. Towels littered the floor and were on the counter. Either Joey had rushed around his house in a panic and grabbed what towels he could before remembering to turn off the water, or the entity was attempting to help.
If the entity knew the pipe was going to break, did it know the future? Is it the soul of the house? Maybe a guardian angel that’s starting with really low stakes until it works its way up to guarding his life? What are the larger implications of any of these being true? These were the questions chattering, echoing, and climbing through Joey’s brain as he wandered the plumbing aisle of the hardware store trying to get replacement parts, confused about what to get and too anxious to ask a smocked employee for help. In the dance between each anxiety he would lament the 10 minute house upgrade that will certainly take hours.
At the point of accepting the existence of the entity, the soul of the house as he came to call it, life in the house became a bit more tense. Joey treated the entity like a roommate with personal boundary issues. He took to masturbating at work for fear of being watched and judged by the soul. His eating became more controlled for a time, all candy was thrown out and eating in front of the television seemed like a shameful taboo. He drank considerably less alcohol and sodas, and if he ever smoked anything, he’d rub himself with dryer sheets he kept in his car before he went into the house.
A month of abstinence, a month of fasting, a shame-induced Lent, Joey decided the entity would no longer rule his living space. Two amateur videos later, he returned to his house with a bushel of sage and a bookmarked incantation. The sage, though, wouldn’t catch fire. Whether that was the entity extinguishing it or that Joey bought fresh sage wet from the periodic water spritzing at the supermarket, didn’t matter because Joey was convinced that he was a guest in his own house.
~END Part 1~