She Never Left

I can feel her. I can always feel her. Sometimes faintly, sometimes strong, but she’s always there. She had lived in this house for a long time before that wet winter night when she decided she’d had enough. I’d witnessed her slow unraveling for years, knowing there was nothing I could do. If that makes me sound like the bad guy, you have to understand that there was no way for me to get through to her. I wasn’t really there, you see. I was nothing more than a shadow, a creaking floor, a cold spot, a blur of movement in her peripheral vision. There was no way for me to stop what I knew was eventually going to happen. I witnessed her preparations for the end as well as the follow-through, and then the terrible aftermath. I saw it all and it wasn’t pretty. Yet even after they had come and taken her body away, her energy remained, trapped within these walls. I was fairly sure that I was the only one who could feel her, but maybe that was due to the fact that we were pretty much the same now. We were both stuck in identical situations—the same time, the same place. I wondered if she could feel me the way that I felt her. I didn’t think so. After a few weeks, there came a night when I could do more than just feel her. I could actually see her as she moved silently from one empty room to the next. Something about it made me so sad.

Eventually the others began to come through. I knew they would. They always did. They’d chatter on and on about closet space or the number of bathrooms. Sometimes while these intruders were traipsing about, her energy would grow so faint I would fear she might somehow disappear for good. I’d worry that she’d be driven out by these newcomers, even though I knew that wasn’t a real possibility. There was no escape for her, just like there was no escape for me. She was stuck here just as I was.

When a family finally moved in, she seemed to feed off of their energy. They were a nice young couple with a baby boy. I watched as she adjusted to this new situation and over time the family got used to the strange occurrences in their home. It was mostly small, innocent things like open doors they swore they had shut or items that would go missing only to turn up later in a different spot. Occasionally there would be the odd noise or an uneasy feeling that they were being watched, but there was never anything malevolent or over the top enough to cause too much concern. The family was a happy one and she seemed to grow more playful as time went by. As the boy grew older, she would sometimes interact with him, never showing herself, just making her presence known. After a few years, another child was on the way and the growing family moved out and on to a bigger place. The intruders quickly returned. She didn’t like that at all. She would terrorize them using every trick she had at her disposal. I could have joined in. Hell, I knew all the tricks, if not more. But I decided to stay out of it. Not surprisingly, interest in the house quickly died out and there was peace and quiet for a long time. It took her a while, but she became accustomed to being alone again.

In a little less than a year, a new family came along. This time it was an older couple with two teenage sons. They were not a happy and loving family like the previous occupants. This was a troubled, turbulent household.  There were fights, screaming matches, objects thrown and holes punched in walls. All of this stirred her up and she began to create nastier incidents in the house. Doors would slam shut for no apparent reason. Lights would turn on and off by themselves. Cabinet doors would fly open and their contents would come rocketing out, clattering loudly to the floor. It wasn’t long before this new family was driven out and once again there was only silence and empty rooms.

There were hardly any intruders this time around. It was just the two of us, roaming through this house, but never connecting. She’s as much a part of this place now as I am.  She dwells in the walls and the wires and the pipes and the vents. She’s just like me and although I know there is no way I can ever let her know that I am here, at least I can feel her. I can always feel her.