Wednesday, October 31, 2012

{AN ARMY OF REALLY SHORT GHOSTS: a true and scary story for your halloween}

Photobucket It was a dark night. I don't remember if it was stormy or not, but I know for a fact that it was dark, because it was night. I was in grade seven, and it was a school night, and it was midnight, and I wasn't asleep yet because I thought it was uncool to go to bed before midnight. Seriously.

I'm so glad that "coolness" is no longer more enticing than "sleep".

But the point is not that.

The point is that I was crawling into bed after a three-hour phone conversation with my best friend and, having discussed all facets of all of the current issues {friends, boys, and school}, was very tired, and very ready to sleep.

I laid there for a bit, and then started thinking about ghosts.

There was a girl in my class when I was in grade five who always talked about them. Always, always, every day. She'd said they came out at midnight, which didn't bother me then, because I didn't know yet that staying up that late was a cool factor determinant and went to bed pretty faithfully hours before. I'd said she was making it up. She'd said she'd seen them. I'd said there weren't any in my house. She'd said they were everywhere. I'd said I didn't believe in ghosts; she'd said that that made them mad. I'd said that if they didn't exist, they couldn't be made mad. She'd said they were going to probably murder me in my sleep for saying that.

At recess, on the brightly lit playground, dangling from the monkey bars and feeling especially invincible, I'd usually retort with something brave and mean sounding like, "WELL GOOD. THEN I WON'T HAVE TO LISTEN TO YOU TALK ABOUT THEM ALL THE TIME."

But then, at home in my dark room, I'd hide under my covers every time the house creaked, and run screaming down the hall to my parents' room when my frayed nerves just couldn't take it any longer.

In grade six, the girl laid off the ghost stories just slightly, and by grade seven I was sleeping a little better. I still didn't believe in ghosts, but alone in my dark room at 12 AM, I sometimes thought about them.


So I was laying there thinking about ghosts, the clock read 12:04, and the room was getting stuffy and hot. I couldn't sleep, even though I was so desperately tired. I pushed back the covers. Something caught my eye.

A glowing pair of eyes, staring up at me from under the blankets. 

I screeched like an injured cat. Every hair on my head stood on end and my body leapt out of bed almost involuntarily, before my brain could register anything about what was happening.

If you're thinking "pet", you're wrong. We had no pets in the house. If you're thinking "nightmare", you're also wrong about that, because I wasn't sleeping. I was more awake than you've ever been in your entire life. If you're thinking "ghost", then you're thinking what I was thinking, and you'd have been right where I was, on the other side of the room trying to calculate a way to get to the door and down the hallway without having to pass the Ghostbed.

Cowering in the corner of the room, wishing my body had bolted in the opposite direction, I strained my eyes to see into the inky dark. We lived on a farm; there were no streetlights to light my room even a little at night. I could hear coyotes howling in the distance. {Coyotes sound like ghosts, did you know that?} I became aware of a presence to my right and my heart leapt clean out of my chest. The eyes were there, embedded into the wall of blackness, hovering about three feet off the ground, and there were more than two of them. 


Now I ran. Past the bed, out the door. My parents' room was down the stairs, through the living room, through the kitchen, through the dining room, around the corner. It seemed impossibly far. I stubbed my toe on the stair railing, I slid down the last few stairs on the heels of my feet, I banged my elbow on the fridge as I flew past. I saw glowing eyes in my peripheral; they were literally right on my tail.

Literally. Right on my tail.


I stopped, two feet from my parents' bedroom door.

I looked down.

You know when you're so relieved that you just start sobbing?

My mom came out of her bedroom then, and I told her what had happened and she thought I was maybe sleep-walking or completely out of my mind. And this is the part that I hesitate to share because of obvious reasons... But I feel like grade seven is far enough in the past that it's not so shameful {?} to admit that, somehow unbeknownst previously to me, the little smiley faces on my Boxer Joe pyjama shorts glowed in the dark. And that when you stand in front of a three-way mirror in the pitch dark in glow in the dark polka-dot pyjama shorts, somewhat hysterical and quite tired, the effect is a teensy bit similar to a wee little army of really short ghosts.


Happy Halloween.