I left Victor in charge of the second floor drapes.
He attacked them with such a gusto I couldn’t help but smile.
I went downstairs to call Lydia Toomey. She was an old friend of our family.
She could supposedly communicate with spirits. I was not overly keen on the idea of bringing a medium and séances and Ouija boards into our home.
Yet, I did not want to go through one more night like last night.
I picked up the phone and dialed her number.
As I listened to it ring, I heard the sound of muffled breathing.
Yet, it was not coming from the phone.
It was somewhere behind me.
Muffled breathing that grew faster and faster and faster.
Until it just stopped.
I looked over my shoulder.
There was no one behind me.
“Hello? This is Lydia.”
“Hello! This is Mrs. Polly Marlish.”
“Darling! It’s been such a long time. How have you been?”
“Very well. I.” I looked over my shoulder again.
Just as a figure in white ran out of the room.
The door slammed shut.
“Polly? Darling, what’s wrong?”
“I need your help.”
“In Dublin’s fair city—”
Victor grabbed the one side of the drapes and pulled.
“Where girls are so pretty—”
The drapes seemed to hiss as the material tore.
“’twas there I first met me sweet Molly Malone.”
Victor clenched his teeth and pulled extra hard.
The drapes came down and the daylight made the dust motes dance in the air.
A high, thin voice shrieked.
Before he could even turn around, a book slammed into his back.
The door opened and slammed shut.
He turned around.
He stood alone in the daylit room.
He looked down at the floor and picked up the book that had hit him.
It was a Catholic Catechism with yellowed pages and delicate covers.
He dropped the book and ran out of the room.
Victor came downstairs with more ghost tales.
I fear that things are intensifying.
What will happen if we stay here one more night?
Will we be murdered in our sleep?
Who are these others who haunt us?
Victor will sleep in my bed tonight. That is for certain.
For his safety.
And for mine.
We could leave this house, but no.
The house is ours.
Whoever they were, they are gone now.
This is no longer their home.
I look forward to Lydia’s arrival.
Victor looked at Lydia Toomey. She didn’t look much like a medium. As a matter of fact, she looked disappointingly ordinary.
Like someone’s grandmother.
But his mother was delighted to see her.
As delighted as a stranded person is to see a life raft.
Could she really do anything to help?
He contemplated her soft cloud of white hair, her delicate, bird-like face with its fifty-five hundred wrinkles.
He shook his head.
I don’t think she’ll be able to help us at all.
Lydia walked around the house.
As she entered the rooms with the downed drapes, her delicate form and heavy shawl created the strange illusion that she belonged in the dust-moted world.
Although the daylight felt good and comforting, she shivered. There was a coldness in the house that nothing could banish.
And a sadness too heavy for her to bear.
She stopped at the bottom of the staircase and looked upward. She knew that she needed to go up there.
She had to go up there.
Yet, she dreaded it without fully understanding why.
Mrs. Marlish came up behind her. “How is it going?”
She shook her head. “What do you know of the previous owners?”
“Very little. To be honest, I never inquired. Why?”
“They are sad. So deeply sad.”
Mrs. Marlish shivered. “Are?”
Lydia glanced at her. “Why, they are ghosts, of course.”
“I don’t believe…”
Lydia smiled. “I believe you do. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here now.”
“Are they dangerous?”
Lydia looked up the stairs again.
Her smile fell. “No, but they are all so sad. I feel them and I feel for them.”
“What can we do?”
“I wish to communicate with them. I wish to know who they are and what happened to them. Unless you have any objections.”
Mrs. Marlish took a breath and exhaled. “None. Do what you must.”