268. Notes From A Haunted House

Notes found from a haunted house, found in the dusty space between an old wooden desk and a wall:

There are ghosts in this house. They were here long before any of us, they will continue to be here. They are the tenants, and we their guests. Most of them are shy. We learn to cohabitate.

They come out at night only when the lights are out. If you leave the lights on, they won’t disturb you; they will go to the places where the lights are off. Remember to switch on the lights before entering any room, more for their sakes than yours. If you find yourself working late into the night with all the lights on, you might hear some noises in the walls. Don’t be scared – they are just getting restless in the space between the old bricks.

If you wake up suddenly at night and see the shadows move, don’t scream. Don’t shout. That will only upset them, and they might scream right back. Just pretend like nothing has happened and go back to sleep. If you find the shadows staring back at you, clear your throat a little. This usually reminds them to go away.

On the subject of being polite: sometimes you will hear a sound like marbles in the corner by the foot of the stairs, or like a marble falling down the stairs. That will be the little girl asking you to play – she’s friendlier than the rest. You may ignore her, and she will go away after a while with her marbles. Or if you are so inclined, you may play with her, using your own marbles.

When you reach the top of the stairs, you will find yourself facing a small toilet. Keep this door closed at all times. If you want to use it, it is not enough to just switch on the lights – also knock three times and say “Please” before entering. There is a boy with a green face inside. You might see him if you leave the door open, or walk in without warning him.

If you have an infant or a toddler, do not leave them unsupervised in the first room on the right upstairs. The ghosts in there like babies, and they like to pinch. They tend to leave bruises.

The ghosts in this house are friendly. The ones outside are not. It is important to know the difference.

In the first room on the left upstairs, you will see a dead tree just outside the window. The tree is also visible from the second room on the left. When you turn off the lights to sleep, and you see a figure perched on the branches… Lie down and try to sleep, or at least pretend to.

The backyard is pitch-dark at night, and the kitchen sink faces it. If you see an old lady passing by, close the windows, turn off the lights, and head to bed. Do not talk to her. Do not open the door for her. Do not accept anything from her. She might start to cry in pitiful, wailing sobs. Do not, under any circumstances, interact with her.

Every July, there will be a sound like a puppy yelping, and frantic scratches against the back door. Again, do not open the door. After a while, the “puppy” will begin to howl, its cries becoming more and more desperate as the hours pass. I repeat: do not open the door.

There is a black cat that wanders in through the front door sometimes, if you leave it open. The cat is fine. The ghosts like her. She might mewl at the shadows, or appear to be staring at something right behind you. Leave her to her own business. If you like, you can feed her with a saucer of milk (only cow’s or goat’s milk; none of that instant formula or powdered sort).

That should cover it. Remember to close and lock all the downstairs windows and doors if it’s past eleven at night. This has nothing to do with the ghosts – lizards, cockroaches, frogs, and all sorts of bugs will invade the house if you leave them open.

Have a good stay.

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