It’s Haunted. Of Course, It’s Haunted.
NINETY DAYS LATER, Gwen and I moved into our brand new home.
On the one hand, it was great to finally have a place where I didn’t have to share a wall with strangers, or worry about someone parking in my spot when I got home from work.
On the other hand, the vibe I felt when we first saw the house was significantly stronger. It was kind of creepy. Not in a way I can describe, but just this undercurrent that something was off.
Fortunately, Gwen hadn’t noticed it. It was the opposite, in fact. From the moment we moved in, she flitted around, paint samples in hand, singing love songs and happily decorating. She loved it. Absolutely loved it. It was nice, seeing her get all nesty.
Then I saw her. The girl in the mirror. And it all started to make sense.
Of course, the house was haunted. Either that, or I was going crazy. The thing was, the realtor wouldn’t be inspired to sell a house substantially below market value just because I was losing my mind, so there’s that.
The thing is, I’m a grounded kind of person. Never was one to believe in the supernatural, ghosts, spirits, whatever. I’ve always thought when you die, you check out. Hasta la vista, and all that.
Still. Shit was fucked up, if you excuse my French.
I didn’t even have time to adjust to the idea of a haunt. There were no cold spots, things falling off the wall, or an abundance of flies.
Nope. None of that. I saw her. That’s right. I saw a dead girl.
The first time I saw her was in the morning when I was getting ready for work. I had just gotten out of the shower and was wiping the condensation off the mirror when, instead of seeing myself, I saw a thin teenage girl standing right behind me, dripping wet with a necklace of bruises stood out around her neck.
I spun around, holding the blow dryer like a firearm. “Who the hell… “
There was no one there.
My heart was beating so fast I worried I might pass out, so I took a seat on the toilet. “Okay. Okay. I’m okay. The eyes are playing tricks–“
In the mirror the name Fatima appeared in the condensation.
At that, I ran out of the bathroom, grabbed my clothes, and ran downstairs. I didn’t need to dry my hair, after all. Too much heat processing could damage it. At least, that’s what I told Gwen. I didn’t want her to know what happened. I didn’t want to destroy her bliss.
After that, it was like a dam somewhere broke. I saw the girl everywhere. I mean, everywhere. I’d be walking down the hall and out of the corner of my eye I’d catch a glimpse of her going into one of the bedrooms. Sometimes I saw her standing next to Gwen in the kitchen. I saw her most often out on the patio.
That’s about the time the dreams started. Night after night, and they were always the same. The girl would be standing by the bed, staring at me impatiently.
In that weird way that dreams have, I’d wake up and follow her. She’d lead me through the house and to the patio. But there wasn’t a patio; there was only a muddy hole. She’d drop to her knees and begin sobbing.
Okay, so this figment or whatever wanted me to dig up the patio. At the same time, I needed more proof than a dream to tear up the cement slab. Too expensive and not enough reward.
The thing was, this dream happened every freaking night. I couldn’t even hide it from Gwen.
One morning, after the second week she confronted me about it. “Baby, what’s up with you?” she asked. “Hard case at work?”
I brushed it off. “No, nothing like that. This is a new place. Hard to get used to it, that’s all.”
She looked doubtful. “Yeah, well, you were crying last night, Sam.”
“I was? Wow.” To distract her, I pulled her onto my lap. “Maybe you could kiss me and make it all better?”
“Sam!” she giggled. “Yes… no. Just… stop it.” She pushed me back. “Communicate, Sam. Tell me. What was it about?”
“A lost girl,” I hedged, then started kissing her neck. “I think one of my cases must have gotten to me.”
She sighed and let me. “Sammy, you’re a hero, you know?”
“Aw, shucks, ma’am.” I nibbled on her ear. “I do what I can.”