I’m the kind of person who can’t watch a scary movie without tucking the comforter under my feet when I go to sleep for fear the monsters under my bed will gnaw off my toes. Walking out of a dark room also proves itself as a form of entertainment for anyone else in attendance as I inch my way away from the bogeyman hiding in the shadows. He’s never actually reached out and dragged me back into the darkness, mind you, but that’s only because I’m so vigilant. I mean, how’s he going to surprise me if I’ve trained myself not to blink as I dart my eyes back and forth while keeping my back pressed to the wall until I’ve made it to the stairs and run like a crazy woman while everyone laughs at me?
I’m also the kind of woman who isn’t ashamed to admit I saw a ghost once or that my grandmother smiled at me when I gave her a kiss in her casket. The ghost we call Fred and my in-laws believe he came with the property. He wears a Fedora and a suit and his tie is undone and only shows up to let you know he’s still around. The smile happened when I was six and I thought my grandmother was sleeping and I didn’t understand why everyone was crying. When it was time to go, my mother lifted me up as I requested so I could kiss her and when my lips touched her cheek, she did what she usually did when I kissed her in her sleep and I left the funeral home content in the knowledge that she loved me.
The point is that I’m a believer. I’m not sure if it’s my open mind or my writer’s imagination or some combination of the two, but when the hair stands up on the back of my neck, I listen. And I can guarantee you that I would not be the chick trying to make my dramatic escape from the ax-wielding maniac while in my high heels if I was a character in a horror movie. I’m not an amateur, you know.
So when I found myself waiting for my boyfriend to come home because my key wouldn’t let me unlock the front door, my first thought (naturally) was that the house was possessed and the evil spirit residing in the home we shared with my future brother-in-law just didn’t want me there. This line of thinking was only reinforced when my boyfriend came home, laughed at me because he thought I had forgotten my house key, and quickly unlocked the door. I let it go the first time it happened, hoping it had just been a fluke, but the next day I found myself on the front porch again furiously trying to make the key work before I had to explain to anyone outside of my own head that I was afraid we were going to have to call in a priest. This time, my boyfriend’s brother rescued me as he let us both in upon his arrival from work. Obviously, the evil spirit in residence only had a problem with me. I was relieved. That meant no one else was in danger.
I was jumpy and hyper vigilant when home alone, always waiting for something to reach out in the darkness. I tried convincing myself it was just new house nervousness. I hadn’t even familiarized myself with the layout enough to not walk into a wall on the way to the bathroom at night yet, so maybe I was just over-reacting? But this theory fell by the wayside as I stood in the bathroom one night, drying off after a hot shower. At first I thought I was imagining things. I wasn’t really seeing letters forming in the steamy mirror, was I? I froze. I may have blinked a few times. And when I opened my eyes the last time, I almost screamed.
“Get Out,” was now clearly written on the mirror. I ran, naked and terrified, across the hall and into the room to wake up my sleeping boyfriend to tell him we had to move and we had to move now before anything terrible happened. I told him that something didn’t want me there and wouldn’t let my key unlock the door there was something evil here and to go look at the mirror. So he did.
And that’s when he started to laugh.
“You need to come see this,” he choked out when he could speak again. I found him in front of the mirror where the words “When you get out of the shower, please make sure to clean up after yourself,” greeted me on the mirror. It had been a household reminder from his brother, written in dry-erase marker and wiped off with a napkin. Obviously, not well enough. The residue from the marker had blocked the condensation from forming where the letters had been, allowing the words to slowly reappear as if written by invisible fingers.
“But..but…how do you explain the key? Something doesn’t want me here!” I insisted.
He didn’t answer. My boyfriend simply grabbed my hand, led me into the bedroom, and handed me the shiny new key he had left for me on the dresser that I had forgotten to put on my key ring.
This essay originally appeared on the awesome An army of Ermas site. Stop by for some Halloween-themed fun and keep coming back because we're funny.