25 Oct The Good Lady Upstairs
Bonnie, our faithful and fearless Jack Russell Terrier was growling, a deep threatening growl that meant business. She was determined not to let this intruder near our bed. The hair on the back of her neck spiked upward and her teeth were bared. She was this close to leaping on and ripping into this intruder. I sat up and tried to quiet her but she would not be consoled. Through my Ambien-induced haze I patiently announced to the spirit that occasionally wafted through my brother’s house that Amy and I were fine, no need to check on us but thank you anyway. Amy huddled under the blanket and gripped me fiercely. Bonnie’s growl intensified and as I tried to quiet her she leapt off the bed with a viciousness that I hadn’t seen her display in years. And that’s when I felt the icy fingers on my toes.
We should have known better. We could have declined my brother Tom’s invitation to visit or could have chosen a hotel room only fifteen minutes away. Yet here we were in that same house cringing in sweaty fear as the “lady” of the house paid us another visit. The same apparition that had literally given us the fright of a lifetime was back to say hello and we had no one to blame but ourselves. In the two years since our last visit several family members had also visited and returned with similar tales. Tom’s young children openly spoke of the “good lady upstairs.” Their dad was less generous, often referring to her as a “big pain in the ass.” I have a lot of love and respect for my brother Tom yet when we showed up in Suffolk, why did he insist that Amy and I sleep on the third floor bedroom?
“That way you’ll get your money’s worth.”
And did we ever.
Three months prior to our visit the “good lady” made a full-fledged statement to my brother. He had come home late and treated himself to a long, hot shower. He finished up, toweled off, wrapped the towel around his waist then moved to the sink for a shave. He picked up his razor then with his left hand wiped the mirror and there she was. A well-dressed woman, about 60 years old, dressed in a dark blue dress with long sleeves and a white lace collar. She wore an ivory cameo on a thick velvet necklace. Her salt and pepper hair was pulled off her shoulders and she was neither smiling nor frowning, just looking. Tom immediately spun around only to find himself alone in a misty bathroom.
“So what did you do?” I asked. The obvious answer was to drape yourself in garlic braids then call a realtor and have the house listed, then go get a hotel for the night and then have the Arch-Bishop schedule a ghost exorcism.
My brother’s answer: “I finished shaving.” Six foot three inches of well-muscled US Navy special weapons instructor wasn’t about to let a wisp of a woman chase him out of his beautiful home. And not three months later Amy and I decided to sleep in the very room where this woman spent most of her time. As we climbed into the bed I surprised Amy with an Ambien.
“You’re so romantic.”
She kissed me warmly and playfully told me how thoughtful I was as I handed her a glass of wine.
Well two or three hours later you know who decided to pay us a visit. A silent visit. I couldn’t see her but Bonnie sure did and was she ever upset. Bonnie paced a tight circle and growled but settled down after I reassured her, yet ten minutes later she was back on all fours and tensed for a fight. Amy asked from under the safety of the sheets, “Do you see anything?”
I sat up and scratched Bonnie’s back yet didn’t see a thing.
“Only the wall.”
But Bonnie knew better, something was there and she didn’t like it. She huffed and stared then maybe five minutes later became calm so I lay down. Amy immediately clutched me, pulled the covers over our heads and unwittingly exposed my toes to the elements. She pulled me close and whispered, “Do you think she’s gone?”
My thoughts turned to more enjoyable nocturnal activities and no sooner had our lips met, Bonnie was pacing and growling. Now I was just frustrated so I sat up in bed and announced “Seriously, we’re fine but thank you for checking on us, so good night.”
She just couldn’t resist tucking me in and as the good lady tried to cover my appendages that’s when Bonnie decided she had had enough. Bonnie leapt off the bed with every ounce of energy she could muster just as I felt the good lady’s fingers on my exposed toes. I cringed and let out a wail as Amy shivered under the blankets.
“She touched me!”
Amy screamed and grabbed me and instinctively pulled her feet to her chest as she tried to make herself as small as possible. My heart pounded and sweat bubbled on my palms and forehead, I gasped for air as I looked around yet there was nothing. Only my fearless Jack Russell prancing near the foot of the bed as if to say: “She’s gone. I took one bite of her and she evaporated like a popsicle on a hot summer day.” I called out to Bonnie and she jumped onto the bed and ran up to us for her reward.
“Good dog, that’s a very good dog.”
Amy popped her head out of the sheets and looked around. Bonnie licked her face and was rewarded with a big hug. I drew a deep breath and tried to relax. Amy ran her hand across my chest.
“Uh, do you have any more of that Ambien? I think my dose has worn off.”