I nearly died the other night. This may be a slight exaggeration. But only slight. Roscoe is currently living an hour and a half away from home as a part of his job. He’s been put up in a spacious apartment, fully equipped with a kitchen and washer dryer facilities. These would be fabulous amenities were Roscoe to actually use them. As it is I periodically send him with actual dinners and the rest of the time he appears to eat cereal next to a growing mountain of dress shirts.
This fabulous apartment is situated above the town’s post office in a building that may or may not be eight hundred years old. That’s a high estimate but not really. One of the buildings down the street is advertised as having been a hotel since 1895, so it’s at least 118 years old if not older. The giant house cum post office slash all purpose building for the community that Roscoe is staying in looks to be a little younger but only a little less haunted than the hotel.
The first night Roscoe stayed there, he called and told me how much I would love the gigantic staircase leading up to the apartment because at five feet wide, it possessed a kind of grandeur I can’t resist.
Prior to last Thursday I had stayed one other night with Roscoe. He was correct, I did love the staircase. I pictured myself wearing a ballgown walking slowly up the aged steps, the dark thick paneling at my feet gleaming and reflecting the image of my imaginary stiletto heels. At the top I slowly walked around the large banister post, appreciating its solid artistry.
Roscoe is very conscientious, so when staying in housing provided by his job he tries not to use too much water or electricity, not wanting to be a burden on the community that has very kindly put him up. So the next night that I came to stay, Roscoe turned on the lights to let me ascend the staircase but as soon as I reached the top he flicked the switch, leaving me in total darkness in a foreign, spooky house.
“EEEEEEEE” I clutched the solid oak banister, the only thing in a world of darkness, strange noises and the sound of my husband’s feet moving up the darkened steps. “I’m here. I’m here.” Roscoe reached the top of the staircase patting my hand briefly then leading me across the pitch black landing to the door of the apartment. All around the sounds of the house echoed through the hundred year old bathrooms that also opened onto the landing. Shadows descended from the staircase which led to the next floor of the house.
Above us I heard a distinct thump. The noise moved through the house, bouncing off the tiles in the bathrooms and back to my ears distorting the alarming sound even more. “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE” I grabbed for any part of Roscoe to squeeze and cling to before I was spirited away by angry two hundred year old ghosts who were pissed that a blonde who loved ball gowns was invading their space. “You’re fine. Almost there.” Roscoe opened the door to the darkened apartment.
Recalling the light switch located across from the doorway, I lunged into the apartment slamming my shin into the chair that the residents of the community had so thoughtfully put there so guests could remove their shoes while sitting. “Damn it ghosts!” I cursed.
Seeing how shaken up I was Roscoe promised that next time he would wait until we were inside the lit apartment to turn off the downstairs and hallway light. But it didn’t matter, the ghosts knew I was there and more importantly I knew they were there, I felt them. All that night and the next I listened to them play the radiator xylophone and wrestle one another on the third floor. I knew what they were fighting about “I get to devour her head!” thud. “No, I do!”
Today the toilet flooded in the Roscoe’s temporary apartment. He’s blaming the old pipes, but I know better. The ghosts want me to know that they’re still here, they’re just biding their time.