Growing up, there were unspoken rules in the Big Blue House. Never go anywhere alone. Never open the door to a room without first turning on the light. Never go into the basement at night. Never let your room fall silent. And never pee with the bathroom door closed. It felt like while you were in there a graveyard worth of ghosts had piled up outside the door and were waiting to jumpscare you. Most of the time Sal wasn’t home, so it was just us girls, and peeing with the door open didn’t bother anyone. We all knew why we did it.
Turns out, there was no safe way to use the bathroom on Lot 22. You close the door, you’re screwed walking out into the unknown. You leave the door open, the ghosts prey on your vulnerability. I’ve been in a lot of predicaments with spirits, and one of the worst feelings is being trapped on the toilet. Sounds silly, I know, but you see what I saw and let me hear you say it wasn’t convenient to be on the toilet when you shit bricks.
Paralyzed. I know what they mean when they say that now. Before I thought it only meant to be unable to move. Now I know that it was being unable to move because fear was holding you down. I sat on the toilet too afraid to move, staring into my bedroom with my mouth hanging open.
I couldn’t believe what I had just seen. A black hooded figure walked from left to right in my room. He had to be at least six feet tall. The top of his hood came to the top of my door. I couldn’t see his face or his hands or his limbs. Only the robe he was wearing that had the hood up and a tannish-brown rope tied around the waist to keep it closed. He walked as if he knew where he was going, as if the wall behind my bedroom door led somewhere when it didn’t.
I held my breath, wondering how in the world I was going to get back into my room to turn off my TV and my light. Thirteen now and feeling brave, I had started sleeping in my own room. Not tonight. Not after that.
Gasp. Hold your breath.
There was another one.
This one was white. It crossed from right to left this time. Same hood, same height, same faceless body. I watched it walk across my room the same way: intending to go somewhere even though it would have gone straight into or through the wall into Sara’s room. Good thing she wasn’t sleeping in her room tonight either. After her closet kept opening in the middle of the night, she started sleeping in Mom’s bed again.
I was frozen, gripping the toilet. How was I going to get out of here? They know I’m in here. They always do. They would hear me walking to get to my mom’s room. Would they try to run after me? Attack me? Would they wait until I got out of the bathroom to come for me?
I was shaking and crying and praying that someone would save me. Someone please be awake and come get me.
But no one did, and I couldn’t stay in the bathroom forever. I got my pants up and finished, thinking, What am I supposed to do? How am I gonna get outta here?
The hallway was full of energy now. I turned off the bathroom light and pushed my back against the wall and slid out into the hall. If I had my back against something, the ghosts couldn’t sneak up behind me. I scooted all the way down the hall to Mom’s room with my eyes to the floor. I didn’t want to see them watching me from my door or Sara’s. It had been scary enough seeing them walk around in my room.
Wait. I had almost dashed for the bed, but stopped in Mom’s doorway. I forgot the light and TV.
Mom was going to be so mad at me for leaving my bedroom light on. Paying bills was hard and they cost a lot. She was always telling us to make sure we turn off the lights when we leave a room. I have to go back and turn them off.
No way am I going inside the room to get the TV. Just at least get the lights, Danny.
A few deep breaths. Whew, whew. I ran down the hall, reached for the switch and missed it! I almost ran back, but turned to flip the switch again. Second try, fail. Third try, come ON! Fourth try, darkness flooded my room and I panic-ran back to my mom’s room. I climbed in bed next to Sara and tried to calm my breathing.
Fall asleep, Danny.
Fall asleep before they find you in here.
What do you think the hooded figures were? What would you have done in my shoes?