At first, I thought it was like locusts or bugs hitting the door. And when we went to look, and it wasn’t there, we just blew it off. A lot of people just blow s*** like that off, especially if they lead a busy life. I was raising you kids by myself. Three schools and a daycare…I blew it off. And I remembered all these years that it happened. It had to be paranormal, because something hits your door like that and you open it right after, and there’s nothing there? If one of the neighborhood kids threw rocks at the door, then there’d be rocks there. No, there was nothing there.
The species of the bones was deemed “unknown” by both a veterinarian and a medical doctor. They said they had never seen bones of that shape and size before.
What did that mean had died under Deborah’s house?
The front door closing signaled answers for Sal and Brandy, and they came bounding from their rooms with questions loaded in their little cannon mouths. The minute they saw Deborah carrying the plastic freezer bag with the bones, those questions launched.
“What did they say?” Brandy said.
“Are they human? Did someone bury a body under our house?” Sal said.
Deborah motioned for them to quiet down. “Where are your sisters?”
“Taking a nap,” Brandy said.
Deborah led her eldest children into the kitchen. She tossed the bones outside the house into the dumpster aside the porch. She shut the door and settled into a seat at the table. Her children followed her diligently, patiently. They eased into chairs aside her.
“The doctors said they don’t know what kind of bones they are.”
Sal was confused. “They don’t know?”
“No,” Deborah said.
“But that’s just one doctors opinion,” Brandy said.
“Yeah, what if he didn’t know what he was talking about?” Sal said.
“They have to be human bones.”
“All I know,” Deborah said, “is that we don’t need to think about them anymore.”
Bedtime is the time of day when parents change into people. Deborah sheds her jeans and her tee shirt to slip into a comfortable two-piece pajama set. The dishes were all clean, her children were tucked in and fast asleep, the house was spotless per her OCD-like tendency to organize methodically as the day progressed. She spent a day’s time preparing for this peace and solitude, the one time of the day she can sit on the couch and just be with herself.
Though, lately, her house didn’t seem to want to leave her alone. The shadows seemed to whisper to her, the corners lurked with ominous possibilities, and the silence penetrated her peace of mind.
Deborah was still able to recall a week ago when her nightly routines provided her with a relaxing clarity. She would sip some beer, dance to the Temptations, and decorate her homemade photo album with her glue gun.
Tonight, as soon as the lights were out, she found herself turning them back on. And as soon as she made sure her children were asleep, she realized she wasn’t and wouldn’t be for much of the night.
She took her place on the couch and watched her surroundings. Dammit if having that chilling prickle up her spine didn’t upset her. This was her home and she was terrified of being in it now.
The tricky question behind this wasn’t what was lurking in the darkness. It was wondering how long it had been there before Deborah began paying attention to it? Is it not that her daughter has experienced something paranormal that she’s being persuaded to experience this phenomenon? Or that she’s just paying more attention to what was already occurring in her home and she isn’t dismissing it anymore?
Deborah closed her eyes with a heavy sigh. Even those weren’t the questions she should be asking herself. The ultimate questions was: Am I really gonna let these things control my life? Control my kids’ lives?
No way. I didn’t fight my way out of all the trauma of my past to be scared all over again by a ghost.
Deborah stood to get her glue gun. She had a photo album to finish.
Deborah ducked, cowering away from the backdoor. She tripped on herself and fell to the carpet with a thud. Shocked, she stared at where it sounded like the apocalypse had just hurled itself at the metal screen door.
Deborah was on her feet. Chest heaving, the adrenaline stirring her thoughts, every muscle in her body tense and ready to run to grab her kids, or run to the phone to call…Who? God, she couldn’t think straight. Who would she call for rocks? That’s what it sounded like. A handful of rocks being thrown with full force at her backdoor.
The disturbance ended and did not repeat again. Armed with a kitchen knife, Deborah switched on the porch light and peeked her head out at the night. Her backyard was illuminated, though this empty darkness appeared to be looming over it like a storm cloud. She waited for the crash of thunder or the flash of lightning. Nothing came.
Then she looked down upon her porch to realize nothing was there. There were no rocks on the porch or in the yard. Off her porch was dirt, not gravel. And her yard was full of grass. So what the hell had she just heard launched at her back door?
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