Sunday, July 17, 2011


As told By Natalie

I’d moved into a newly-built unit block that had been built on the outskirts of town where vacant paddocks had been since before I could even remember.  The units were lovely, fresh and clean and I was happy to unpack and set up my belongings in my new home.  But within days I began to question my choice of lodgings.

I’d been out for the day having started work at 8am, so was glad to finally pull into my driveway just on dark.  I walked up the path to the front door and noticed the flickering of the TV through the window and could faintly hear the jingle to a game show as I unlocked the door with trepidation.

I knew I hadn’t left the TV on when I’d left that morning;  in fact, I hadn’t even switched it on at all, and no one else had a key.  Maybe I had an intruder come to rob me ... but why would they turn on the TV?  Wouldn’t they just take it instead?  Questions rushed through my mind as I cautiously crept towards the lounge room.  But the TV was off.  The screen was blank and the room was silent.  I could have sworn I’d seen and heard it ... but obviously I’d been mistaken.
Striding towards the TV to turn it on for myself I jumped back in shock when I pressed the ‘On’ button and felt the warmth of the television set on my fingertip, as though it had been switched on and running for hours. 
I was creeped-out totally and scuttled back out the front door, fumbling with my keys at the car, then quickly backed out the driveway and drove to a nearby park to catch my breath and re-group. I didn’t know what to do so I sat and waited for my heart-rate to slow back down to normal.

Against my better judgement, I rang my sister Crystal, my voice shaking as I blubbered about what had happened.  In quick time she’d abated my fears and I felt more assured and braver, although slightly humiliated.  Crystal had laughed at me when I’d suggested my place was haunted and reminded me that I was always the gullible one.  Crystal made it clear how silly I’d been and how ridiculous and improbable my story was. 

And of course she was right.  Wasn’t she always?

I told her again that I thought I had a ghost, but she’s scoffed that the unit block was newly built so couldn’t possibly house any ghosts    -   but I wasn’t too sure if that made any difference in the ghost world.
I gathered my gumption and guts and drove back to my neat little unit.  ‘Crystal said the television set just had electrical faults.  That had to be it,’  I’d reasoned to myself.  I was bold and brave when I re-entered my home ... and to my great relief, all was as it should be.

I settled in for the night and thought no more of it.  Well ... I tried hard not to think about it anyway.  
From then on I’d turn the TV off at the wall, and sometimes, just to make sure, I’d pull even the plug right out of the socket before going out.

A few days later I put down my coffee cup on the kitchen bench and went off to shower.  Coming back into the kitchen later, the cup was sitting in the sink.  Another time I hung my handbag on the coat hook, only to find it on the dining table the following morning.  The milk would turn up in the bathroom, plates, bowls and cutlery in the lounge room, books and paperwork in the kitchen, and my laptop would play-up at the most inopportune moments.   Sometimes I would get a waft of a sweet old-fashioned perfume like roses and vanilla. Some mornings I’d hear the shower start running before I’d even gotten out of bed, only to find the bathroom empty and no water and no steam to be seen. All sorts of odd nuances and occurrences would happen on a daily basis and I was beginning to believe that I was going totally mad.

Strange things kept happening and I was becoming more and more anxious every time I came home from work and I was spending more and more time away from that eerie unit.  I began looking for excuses and reasons not to go home at night.  A promotion was being advertised at work, so I applied and hoped and prayed I’d get it.  It would not only mean a higher income, but I’d also have to move to work at the nearby town’s head office.  I was to find out if I’d be given the position at the following months’ meeting  ... 3 weeks away.  I persisted renting the creepy unit, determined not to let my fears get the better of me.

My sister Crystal was due back in town the following weekend and she’d invited herself to stay with me for her 3 day stint.  I was looking forward to seeing her as it had been a while, and was glad for the company  -  and not being alone in my unit more than I had to be.

Crystal arrived in a waft of designer perfume and with way more luggage than anyone ever needed for a 3 day visit.  We took off for lunch at Mum and Dad’s soon after, then went to visit mutual friends, and didn’t return home until way after dark.

I could see the TV flickering through the window as I walked towards the front door, and hesitated to unlock it.  Crystal was fussing behind me, whining about the cold night air, and pushed me to open the door.
“The TV is on” I said, rooted to the spot.
“Yeah ... so what?!” Crystal spat, “It’s just playing up again.  Hurry up I’m cold!”   But still I hesitated.  I knew I’d unplugged it from the socket. 

Finally Crystal shoved me out the way in exasperation and snatched the keys from my hand, sweeping open the door in a rush to get inside.  I hesitantly entered my own home, the TV still blaring away.  I didn’t want to face it (or Crystal for that matter), so took myself off to bed.

I awoke abruptly to Crystal hovering over me, urgently shaking my shoulder.  I couldn’t make out what she was saying, but her shrill voice woke me up in a hurry.  She grabbed at my arms and tried to pull me out of bed, screeching something about getting out of here – NOW! 

I fumbled and stumbled into my jeans and sweater, slipped on my shoes and quickly followed the hysterical Crystal outside to where she was hopping from foot to foot in anxiety.  She’d grabbed my car keys on her way out the door and pressed them into my hand, insisting that I drive her over to Mum and Dad’s.  I’d never seen her so visibly upset, her voice shaking and her eyes wide open.

Out on the highway heading towards our parent’s place she went on to tell me that she’d been washing her face in the bathroom before bed and had caught a shadow in the mirror out the corner of her eye, and when she looked up she’d seen a strange, old woman looking at her ... but when she turned towards the woman to *question her (read *interrogate) the woman had disappeared.  All that was left was a rosey-vanilla type of smell, Crystal said.

Crystal being Crystal, she’d dismissed it as just the bathroom lighting playing tricks on her, and went back to her elaborate pre-bed beauty routine.

When she’d gone to the spare room to prepare for bed, the old women she’d thought she’d seen in the bathroom was standing by the window, facing outwards.  Crystal said that she was about to ask the woman who she was and what she was doing there and how she’d gotten in, when right in front of her eyes, the woman faded away to nothing. 

That was when Crystal’s feet propelled her to my room in a screeching rush.

‘Your house is haunted Nat! It’s haunted! Don’t go back.  Move out now!” We’d just pulled up at Mum and Dad’s and I decided right then and there that I’d had enough of that creepy place and wouldn’t be going back other than to pack my stuff. I’d made up my mind.  Mum and Dad would just have to put up with me living in my old room for a while.

And so it was.  The following weekend all of my possessions were moved out and I gladly handed the keys back to the Real Estate Agent.  I got the promotion at work the following week, so prepared to move yet again.  My next home though, was ghost and rose-vanilla free.