A Haunting: My True Story
Last Wednesday night, the house was silent.
I’d just set my iPhone’s alarm. I was well situated in bed, and slowly descending into a haze of unconsciousness. At the edge of my darkening senses, I noticed a slight disturbance.
“Hert tort murdatort,” it said.
The noise briefly tickled me awake, but I soon succumbed to sleep’s gravity.
Friday, I was up late. I killed the Netflix window on my laptop, waited out the shut down process, and closed the lid; checked the locks, brushed my teeth, turned off the lights, cracked the window.
“Blurgen murgle gomtorl,” said a nearly inaudible voice.
After a moment’s consideration, I came to the conclusion that one of our neighbours, an elderly pair of ex-bankers, was also burning the midnight oil. My mind floated a note of concern – Mr. Banker had recently fought off cancer, and had had the situation compounded by a heart problem. Nine days earlier, we’d seen him wheeled from his home on a stretcher.
I couldn’t help but recall my own grandfather, who’d spent his last week in a darkened room with a murmuring television. He’d only been waiting at that point.
“Dor blor quant,” said the ghostly TV.
I went to bed.
Yesterday morning I’d intended to rise at the usual time, but, as my iPhone began to bleat the theme to The Monkees, I punched the snooze button. Ten more minutes seemed a critical necessity.
I found, however, that I couldn’t quite recapture my slumber.
“Tolk borl gumshaw,” remarked the apparition.
Though I couldn’t make out the words, the cadence was familiar: A morning news anchor, small talking.
In the days of my youth I’d awoken often to the sound at my grandparents’ farm. I’d never been successful in rising before either of them, and would often steal some last minute warmth from the blankets while listening to a similar muttering from the kitchen. This memory brought to mind the smell of baking bread and freshly made porridge – staples of my weekend visits.
Realizing my catnap was a failure, I braced myself, then rose from the bed.
The window was closed. It was an odd thing, as I like to sleep in a chill, and usually leave it slightly ajar.
It also meant the disembodied voice couldn’t be emanating from next door.
“Gurkle murk,” said the spook.
That’s when I realized it wasn’t my ailing neighbour which was haunting me: It was my own toddlers. Turning to our nearly abandoned alarm clock, the settings of which had obviously been knocked awry by tiny fingers, I wheeled up the volume and turned off the chattering radio.