The Occurrence at Posey’s House
Posey was a normal teenage girl just like anyone else. She went to school, fed her cat, went for evening runs, and did her homework while listening to music. On the weekends, she went to see films at the local three-screener or went to gatherings at friends’ houses. She had a good number of friends, a handful of foes, and lived the typical teenage existence. Except.
Except Posey lived in a haunted house.
Posey moved into the house with her dad, stepmother, and stepsister.
The house was very old and had not been remodeled since the ‘70s. Chartreuse patterned wallpaper lined one of the hallways, faded and curling up around the edges. The previous owner had been wheelchair bound, but the old-model wheelchair was a touch too wide for the hallway. The constant back and forth of the wheelchair down the hallway left grooves notched into the wallpaper.
Thus, replacing the wallpaper had very serious aesthetic motivations. The wallpaper was stipped and new modern wallpaper was installed in its place.
The ruts came back. Three feet up, the grooves ran from one end of the hallway to the other. No one now living in the house used a wheelchair. The wheelchair’s arms probably stained the wall with its paint when it created the ruts in the original wallpaper, Posey’s dad said. Then the new wallpaper absorbed that paint like a sponge because it’s so humid. It bled through and the new wallpaper never had a chance, he surmised.
Posey thought this was a weird and unfortunate occurrence, but went about her normal teenage doings.
The wall was not recovered in wallpaper, but instead painted a nice, sedate color. The ruts came back.
Posey’s dad assumed that it was a leak and they had wrongly interpreted the initial damage to the original wallpaper as wheelchair chafing, but it was probably just leaking from somewhere. The plumbing is very old, he reminded his family. Probably a root grew into one of the pipes and that caused the link. It’s good we are dealing with it now, he mused, even though he dreaded the cost. Better to nip it in the bud rather than deal with a mold problem later. Remember, this is an old house he said. That became the mantra of the house’s inhabitants.
The plumber came. The technician came. The inspector came. No signs of water intrusion or any other reason for the wall’s striations.
The wall was painted a second time. This time with triple coats. The ridges still returned.
Posey was getting a little jumpy about the house. When in her room doing her homework, her dad would open her door and asked what she wanted. I didn’t call you, she’d say. But I heard you, he’d reply. Sometimes it was the reverse and she’d hear the adults beckoning her, but she’s find them on the back patio drinking tea. They hadn’t called for her.
At night, the whole family would hear someone walking up and down the hallway. It sounded like they were in flip flops or some other kind of house shoes. Blump, blamp, blump, blamp, blump, blamp, sounded back and forth. Oftentimes, the entire family would stick their heads out of their respective rooms. Everyone was accounted for, and no one was making the noise.
Posey was often quite tired from getting up early. High school in her hometown started just after dawn. The weirdness in the house was affecting her ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. She would attempt to remedy this by catching a nap after she was home from school before she started her homework.
One afternoon, she laid down with her cat, intending to take a nap for an hour or two. Posey had always been a light sleeper, so it quickly startled her awake when she felt someone place a hand firmly on her back.
Posey jumped out of bed. The cat’s fur was stood on end.
Household possessions started to go missing. They would always turn up, but in the unlikeliest of places. House keys were found in the dairy drawer of the refrigerator. A bike lock was found in the secretary desk. The cat’s collar was found on top of the bookcase. Mouthwash was found in the laundry room.
The cat often knew when something was amiss. For instance, one night the family went out for pizza. When they returned, the cat was pacing in front of the doorway to the den, hissing. The family walked out into the den and found everything relatively normal. Everything except the antique chess set that was in the middle of the den’s coffee table.
A single pawn had moved out one square.
Did any of you do this, Posey’s dad asked. Only Posey and her dad knew how to play chess anyway, so it seemed like a silly question anyway. Posey shook her head with the others, but a chill shook her to her core. Posey’s dad countered by moving a pawn from the opposite side out one square. If you want to play, we’ll play, he taunted.
Nothing happened for a few days until the family came home from the local high school team’s football game. Another pawn had been moved out one square.
Who did this? everyone wondered aloud or to themselves. Posey’s dad moved another of his pawns out a square.
At this time, Posey’s family decided it was time to bring in the experts. They phoned churches to see who would bless the house. A Lutheran pastor lived across the street, but was too frightened to come inside.
I have to live here, Posey mused. He won’t even come in for an hour, yet I have to sleep here. What does that tell me about the safety of this house?
Fortunately, the Baptist pastor was a stalwart man of significant ethos and stature who promised to bless the house. Posey felt the most secure she had in a long time after the pastor blessed the house. Everyone did! A sense of normalcy enveloped the domicile once again.
But when it returned, it did so not with a whisper but with a bang.
Posey had two friends over after school one afternoon. The trio was preparing for a presentation in their public speaking class, and they had sequestered themselves in the den. Hank was working on the outline, while Nora sketched diagrams onto their poster. Posey double-checked the citations in their report. They worked fairly quietly but chatted a bit as they worked.
Posey’s stepsister was in the living room next up the stairs watching television. Posey and her friends were wrapping up their prep when Posey’s stepsister burst through the den door and flew down the stairs. Nearly crying and breathing heavily, her stepsister told the older kids that she was hearing very strange noises coming from the hallway at the other end of the house.
Frightened beyond belief, Posey’s stepsister would not go back up the stairs into the main part of the house. Nora led Posey’s stepsister out of the house through the side door so they wouldn’t have to go back into the main house. Meanwhile, Posey and Hank decided to investigate the noises. They figured the noise was coming from the linen closet at the very end of the hallway.
With Posey in the lead, the two crept through the living room and they began to hear a door rapidly opening and closing. They continued into the kitchen. When they got to the kitchen door, they glanced at each other and carefully peered around the door frame and into the hallway.
As soon as they peered into the hallway, the linen door stopped moving and slammed shut.
Without waiting another second, Posey and Hank bolted from the hallway and ran outside to join their friends. When Posey’s dad came home from work an hour later, he found the quartet sitting in the front yard, nervously rubbing strands of grass between their fingers to calm themselves.
No one ever studied at or spent the night at Posey’s house again.