Episode 9 by Luanna Stewart
Sarah reached for the phone.
No, this was silly. The Halloween atmosphere was subconsciously messing with her brain. The wine might have something to do with her imagining ghosts around every corner, too.
She put the groceries away and plugged in the kettle. A nice cup of hot tea would fix everything. She rummaged in her cupboard for the Assam loose tea leaves and prepared a cup t. Then cut a slice of pumpkin bread, the perfect accompaniment to tea.
She should change out of her work clothes while waiting for the kettle to boil. Which necessitated going upstairs. Well, come on, be a big girl and suck it up.
The lights were on through the entire main floor. The front door remained closed. She had nothing to fear. Besides, ghosts didn’t exist. Taking a deep breath, she squared her shoulders and marched toward the stairs.
The blast of frigid air stopped her with one foot on the first step. She swallowed her scream, not wanting Mr. Sexy Eric to think she was a complete wuss. There must be a logical, scientifically based explanation for this phenomenon. Something to do with cold inversion, old houses, and un-insulated attics.
She tried again and climbed to the third step before cold wind pushed her off balance. She stumbled to the floor, wrenching her ankle. That couldn’t be Brant. It had been too forceful.
Fuckety fuck. No one pushed her around, especially someone or something she couldn’t see. She pulled herself to her feet and rolled up her sleeves. Ghost or no ghost, she wanted her sweatpants and her blue bunny slippers.
“Listen up, dick ghost. I’m going to my room and you’re not stopping me. Got it?”
She listened for a response, but the only noise was the kettle clicking off and the wind blowing a branch against the kitchen window. All normal, explainable noises. She retreated a few paces then ran up the stairs.
Nothing happened. Ha! Plasma critters better not mess with her.
She changed her clothes in record time and rode the banister down to the main floor. No sense overstaying her welcome. Maybe the couch wasn’t so uncomfortable. She reheated the kettle and made her tea. Now that she’d survived a terrifying incident, she was ready to take on the world. Or at least the last of her unpacking.
She wandered into the dining room and stared at the boxes piled in the corner. Every box labelled with Brant’s name. They weren’t filled with his clothes or anything gruesome like his used toothbrush. Merely his baseball card collection, his bobble-head collection, and his team pennant collection.
Hell, no wonder she’d been reluctant to unpack. As much as she loved her late husband, and hadn’t minded him filling every nook and cranny of their old house with this stuff, she honestly had no desire to display commemorative footballs from the previous nineteen Super Bowls. No, it was twenty, the last one still in its packaging since it arrived after the accident.
She reached to switch off the light when a gentle puff of warm air touched her cheek.
“Okay, I’ll unpack your stuff, but don’t expect me to line the mantel with your bobble-heads.”
Having a friendly ghost around was kind of cool and gave her someone to talk to. Now she didn’t need to adopt a cat. She hummed under her breath while she unwrapped each shot glass, one for every basketball team, professional and college. But the memory of the harsh push on the stairs kept the hair bristled on the back of her neck.
Then the lights went out.
“Brant, turn the fucking lights back on!”
The lights remained off. Maybe the power outage was nothing to do with her paranormal houseguest. She looked out the window and saw lights on in the other houses. Including Eric Sexy Buns.
Where were the candles? Moving slowly to avoid bashing a body part into a house part, she made her way to the kitchen junk drawer, located a candle and, thank god, the matches. Once she had that bit of feeble light she pulled her cell phone from her pants pocket and punched in the number for the gorgeous neighbour. He claimed to know everything about her house – let him fix the lights.
After describing the situation, and being assured he’d be right over to check the fuse box in the basement, she disconnected.
She stared at the basement door, daring it to magically open. Or for a strange green light to glow around the edges. When neither of those things happened, she twisted the knob and opened the door. Nothing came at her except the smell of an old, damp cellar. Eric suggested the problem was a fuse and would be an easy fix. Why wait for him?
She was halfway down the stairs when the candle blew out and the door slammed shut.