Diane and Bill, sat in the back of a real estate agent’s company car as they made a wrong turn while dancing on the heels of an ever menacing derecho that painted the horizon gray with plummeting drops of rain and ravenous cracks of lighting which pierced through suffocating clouds. It was a storm of biblical proportions and, as Diane had come to describe, it was as if they were sailing headlong into the eye of some storm which even the most seaworthy of vessels couldn’t withstand.
But alas, there they were, nearly 30 miles from their apartment in Trenton, NJ, deep in the heartland of the state, where farms and pinelands met.
It was on that country road that seemingly out of thin air, like a mirage in a shimmering desert, the agent pulled off to the side of the street, just in front of a derelict and dilapidated house.
It called to them.
This was not the home they were meant to see, but even with rain cutting through the broken glass and mountains of ivy reclaiming the Victorian home, Diane and Bill, with no hesitation, asked if this unloved, and long forgotten house, set for demolition, was on the market. They bought the home in two weeks’ time.
Some would say, although not physically, that buildings and places can speak. Throughout the course of renovations, this proved to be true as the unspoken words, long suppressed by years of neglect, began to scream out in agony with each brick, floorboard and wall which was changed and moved. It was a slow burn, but in time footsteps and voices filled empty rooms, books fell from their shelves, and shadows learned to walk. Despite all of the unrest, it took Diane seeing the shadow of a man seated at the foot of her bed to believe.
Bill, who too saw the man at the foot of the bed, passed away sometime later, and with his passing, the activity grew more rampant until eventually, at her wit’s end, Diane threatened aloud to sell the house, and, for a time, the spirits became dormant.
Until she did sell the house to her niece and their fledgling family, toddler in hand.
He was five years old when he heard footsteps crawling up from the back staircase which they kept unused for anything more than storage.
It was the middle of the day and his parents were introducing his aunt and uncle to their new baby daughter and sister of his. He had found the entire affair boring, as most five year old boys would, so he went upstairs to his bedroom to play with whatever toys he could scrounge up from under his bed.
Alone and curious of the sounds, the boy turned to meet the impending creaks and cracks that oozed from the carpet covered floorboards. With a tilt of his head and a widening of his eyes, a tall and piercing black shadow in the uncanny shape of a warping and ghostly human man slinked past the door frame of the room. The boy stood there, confused and frightened at the sight of what he couldn’t fathom to comprehend.
He didn’t know what he saw was a ghost until describing the event to his Aunt Diane, some years later around Christmas. She sat back softly in her chair, the dim fire and the twinkling glow of the decorated tree fought for one’s gaze. She took a small sip of her newly freshened cosmopolitan, and asked the boy quietly,
“Was it the one with red eyes?”