It has now been precisely 45 minutes since the goosebumps started, ceaseless, undulating waves of shivers and raised flesh, apparently never-ending. There is some seriously weird shit going down in my casa people. For the nineteen nights that The Spousal Unit has been away on his extended business trip, I have slept like a baby. Not a single bump in the night or heebie jeebie. This is thanks in large part to the Booger. Would you mess with a home guarded by a 23 lb. snarling head, dancing on legs the size of a pony, and a growl and bark that would send Satan running South? I thought not.
I am an Official Fraidy Cat. I’m the girl who hasn’t used anything other than a CLEAR shower curtain since I was 18 and saw “Psycho” on the big screen.
If an owl farts in an adjacent county at night, I’m hanging upside down from the ceiling fan counting out rosary beads and playing poker with Jesus. Yes sir, at 58 years old, I am a big, fat, SCARED-OF-THE-DARK BABY.
My biggest fear about this lengthy trip The Unit has undertaken was that I would be terrified in this big house all alone at night. I anticipated, and dreaded, tossing and turning, and imagining all manner of intruders. Since my past has included four burglaries four weeks in a row, this was not an entirely baseless fear. I manned up and did my part. I swear to you, there has not been one episode of Criminal Minds viewed since The Unit left. I have steadfastly NOT played the two scariest movies of all time, “The Mothman Prophecies”, and “The Blair Witch Project”.
Before I recount my strange tale, I must tell you certain things. I am an anal-compulsive, Type A personality. Every i must be dotted, and every t crossed; my home is in perfect order. When I put dishes away in the cupboards, they have to be placed exactly so, with all cup handles facing exactly the same angle, just in case Martha drops by unexpectedly. And, despite my promises to you, I broke my resolution to never diet again and rejoined Weight Watchers. They have this crazy little tracking device called Points Plus, where you have to count EVERYTHING you ingest. This includes vino, kiddos! Yeah, who knew, right? So, except for the brief sojourn in Ocracoke, I have not been drinking. You will soon see why this is a key point in our story. Last thing, Paco has gone off to summer semester at college, and no one except me, Pooter, Booger, and the Suicidal Pussy, have been inside this house.
Tuesday night, sometime around 3-3:30AM, I sensed something, heard something maybe, and sat up in bed to listen. Nothing, just a strange sense of not being alone. But Booger wasn’t stirring, so back to sleep I went. Got up Wednesday morning and went to grab my favorite mug from the cupboard. I immediately noticed that a striped mug always placed precisely between two larger, sunny yellow ones, was missing. There it was, sitting pretty as you please in the sink, clean as a whistle. I have not touched that mug in 19 days. I replayed Tuesday in my mind. Did I have a cup of tea that afternoon or evening? Absolutely not! It was 96 degrees in the shade and muggy as hell. Definitely no hot tea, ditto hot cocoa. Also, I put dishes in the dishwasher after breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and there were no dishes in the sinks when I went to bed. Waking up to dishes in the sink is a particular pet peeve of mine. Now, the hair was beginning to stand up on the back of my neck, right there in broad daylight, so I propped my elbows up on the bar to steady myself and my thinking, when I saw IT.
On Sunday, I was on a tear of reorganization, and washed every throw and afghan in the house, folded them and put them in the linen closet until autumn. But there IT was, carefully folded over the back of my favorite chair. It was a mohair afghan I had knitted for my mother 25 years ago, to match new living room furniture she had bought. That afghan, along with several others, had been carefully folded and placed inside the linen closet on Sunday. Seeing that afghan made me remember that those striped mugs were the ones my mom always used when she was still alive. Funny how we all have our favorite cups or mugs, isn’t it?
So, last night I set up a trap. I triple-checked the kitchen to be sure everything was pristine, also that all throws were in the linen closet. Woke up around the same time as Tuesday night with that same sense of What The F_ck? Again, no sound exactly, just an odd almost electrical sensation, like light current passing through you. Again, no reaction from my ferocious, sleepy-eyed watch dog, so back to sleep for me.
Up at the crack of dawn to let Booger out, reluctant eyes glance toward my chair in the open-plan living room. Dawn is just beginning to shed a drop of light, so I can’t be sure, but it sure as hell looks like there’s something on that chair. Woodenly, robotically, I use baby steps to cross the room. Sure enough, there is the same exact afghan folded over the back of my chair! At this point I seriously consider peeing my pants, just a total carpet hose down right there. Naturally, I would tell The Unit that Booger did it. My other option was to let loose a primal scream of such magnitude it would bring all the Marines who live in our neighborhood running to assist. But what would I tell them? “Oh Hi, Colonel. A big invisible ghost has been redecorating my house in the middle of the night, and I took exception to the placement of certain objects whilst simultaneously peeing my pants?” Moments later I’d hear the sirens from the padded wagon coming to take me away.
Only then did I remember the kitchen. With dread I inched over and glanced into the sink. There was the mug, AGAIN. Pristinely clean, but in the sink instead of the cupboard. That’s when the ride on Goosebump Highway took over. It’s now Thursday evening, inching dangerously close to darkness. I realized that I have been reading nothing but psychic Sylvia Browne’s books since the day The Unit left for his trip. Could all this be some subconscious carry-over from all that talk of ghosts, spirits, The Other Side? Could I be sleepwalking, though I never have before? Could this indeed be the spirit of my Mom, come to give me a sign that she’s OK, that everything is fine? If so, why wait eighteen months? Maybe she knew I’d discount the mug and the afghan if Charlie and Paco were around; as a matter of fact, I wouldn’t even have noticed those objects. But suddenly, I’m all alone and the opportunity presents itself…?
The funny thing is, I am not afraid of ‘dying’. Frankly, I can’t wait to get the hell out of here and move on. And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt my Mom is in a brilliant place, reunited with my stepdad, my grandmother, her sister. What an amazing relief to be free of aging, diseased bodies, and always be young and perfect and healthy. I sure as heck don’t know what’s going on around here, but tonight there will be no more ‘tests’. Instead I’m going to leave a big legal pad and a pen on the kitchen counter and invite whatever this entity is to please leave me a clearer message because the subtlety of a folded afghan and a misplaced coffee mug isn’t communicating a clear message to this earth-bound brain.
On that note, I think I’m off to watch every scary thing I can find on TV; there will be no sleeping tonight!