Author’s Note: There are moments in a counselor’s career when they come across an individual who’s story is so incredible, that it must be shared. Incredible, as in completely unbelievable, unless you yourself witnessed either the incident, or the impact the incident had. No medical journal will ever accept this as truth, and even I wonder sometimes if it wasn’t a delusion of my own inner self-especially since the subject has seemed to have disappeared. That is why this MUST be shared! I will do it as a work of fiction with the hopes that the truth will be seen and known. Maybe these daemons will destroy one less human.
It wasn’t a grand house by any standard, expect maybe ours. Coming from a trailer with holes in the floor to a two story house with the dark wood accents of a by-gone era made that little house a castle in our poverty stricken minds. I knew it came with it’s very own dragon, but I thought, after what we had just been through, I could certainly handle a little dis-comfort.
That’s all it was, the first time I walked through the front door; just a little discomfort, like someone noticing you for the first time. Awareness and interest was what I perceived as I enjoyed the split staircase and a real dining room! If I hadn’t been so enchanted by hardwood floors and two fireplaces that were more decorative than useful, I might have noticed the hint of malice under the surface of my excitement.
We moved in on a cold Saturday in February. It was too cold to snow, as it often was in those days, but we had enough work ahead of us to keep us warm. Carefully labeled boxes carried by a multitude of cousins were delivered to their respective rooms as I focused on the kitchen-MY kitchen! No more cooking drab meals for an un-appreciative family in a home that I hated. Pops and I were finally on our own, and now I was the woman of the house, and ready to make it the home it should have been. It almost felt like the house agreed as I joyously unpacked boxes so I could prepare my first meal in our new home.
It was then that I met LauraLai. She just knocked on the back door and walked right in. “I was wondering when you’d get here.”
“I hate it when I’m expecting something, but not knowing when. You’ve created quite a stir, you know.”
I laughed just a bit. I knew enough of the world to realize living in town was much different from living in the country. I only thought everyone knew our business out there, but here they see the comings and goings of their neighbors, so of course someone knew in town would create a stir. I realized I would have to get used to in town manners, so I decided right then that I wouldn’t allow the gossiping to make me angry. After all, what good would it do, and maybe it made me my first real friend.
“I’m not surprised. People like me always create a stir.” I figured it was best to play along, since everything I said and did was likely to become public knowledge soon anyway. It was time to create my in town image.
“So have you met them yet?”
“Nope. You are the only person I’ve met in town and I still don’t know who you are.”
“Oh!”, she laughed and stuck out her hand. “I guess I just expected you to know. I’m LauraLai Lee. I live across the alley, so I’m never far away. Neither in Mom. You’ll want to know that later. So what’s for dinner?”
That was how it all started. One strange conversation with half of the meaning un-clear to me. It didn’t take very long for me to discover how mistaken I had been.
The kitchen being my first priority, it wasn’t for several days that I spent any time in my own room. Beyond grabbing a fresh outfit each morning, I hadn’t really done more than walk in the door for the first week. I didn’t know much of anyone, except LauraLai and her odd back door appearances nearly every time I was in the kitchen, so Friday night was my night to tackle my bedroom. The goal: to be able to sleep in my own bed by the end of the weekend. School started for me on Monday and a new environment of teenage piranha required better rest than the couch could give me.
The first step for any room is to produce music to clean by, so I went straight to plug in my boom box. I needed a little speed to my step to get started well, so in went the Violent Femmes with expectation of some serious unpacking to commence. Since I had a box of clothes already half unpacked and tumbling on the floor, I opted to begin with the closet. Four boxes and six songs later, I was happily exhausted and aware that I might need a break. I hadn’t thought to bring anything to drink upstairs, so I headed down to the kitchen.
That was when, as LauraLai would put it, I met them, or at least a couple of them.
At first I thought it was because the music was sitting on the floor that I heard such distinct banging on the ceiling of the kitchen. It was definitely in time with the music, and I hadn’t previously experienced those songs from the lower level. It sounded a bit odd to be coming through the floor like that, but not being an engineer, I was aware that I didn’t have the knowledge to analyze every sound this old house was going to make. It may have bothered me a bit, but I was known to be imaginative at times.
It was no imagination what I saw when I walked into my room. The clothes I had so neatly hung in my closet, were now thrown about the room as if some errant child had temperamentally been searching for something. Poltergeists were nothing new for me, but the chill from the open side attic door was something I had never before known.
I remember standing there in shock, listening with every ounce of my being for some indication that I was not alone. My eyes were glued to the darkness beyond the door, but I saw nothing. Music bounced against the empty walls, but I heard nothing. Instead I was enveloped in a cocoon of silence, eliminating all forms of input beyond my intuition, just as Grandmother Eel taught me.
There it was. That childish spirit crying in the corner of it’s being, awaiting some expected punishment, but not form me. It was as aware of me as I was of it, but, even though the desire to play with me was there, the fear of this being distracted its own will. I was afraid to reach out. What makes a poltergeist afraid?
I should have known then that I could not stay there. Grandmother hadn’t been to visit since I was a child, but there she was closing that door for me. Without a word she pulled that door shut and walked past me and down the stairs, never once speaking a word to me. It was only the look in her eye screaming “BEWARE!” that gave me any hint as to the fear within her own heart, but she never told me to leave. Maybe she realized, this was my own challenge to face. It was truly time I grew up.
There was something about the closing of the door, or maybe it was the knowing that I do not suffer alone, that revived my childish friend. It was still fearful, but not bound by that fear any longer, and clothes began to fly about the room in such a cacophony as to cause me to cower to the floor covering my face. As quickly as it started, I could hear it stop, and with arms carefully guarding my face against the scratches from hard buttons, I peaked at what new magic I might find. Once more my clothes had found their way back into the closet, though heaped in an unflattering pile on the floor.
This is what I was staring at when LauraLai stepped in to the room. “I thought you were in the kitchen. Looks like you’ve met them, huh. or at least Jamie.”
“Yeah, that’s what I call the little one. It’s not really a boy or a girl, so I named it Jamie. It seems to like having a name.” As if in affirmation, again the dancing beats resounded within the floor in time to the music I had forgotten was playing. Somehow I knew we would be forever attached, LauraLai, Jamie and I. If I had known how far they would go to protect me, I would have run screaming out of the house then.