Sometimes supernatural stories are hard to write because they happen like dreams do. They move in slow-motion; time jumps and twitches. The first time something otherworldly happened to me was when I was living in El Monte, CA in 1988.
My mom, dad and I had moved into my Navajo grandfauxther’s house on Emery St., mostly so that we could save on rent and eventually move out on our own. His wife had passed two years prior, my mom had taken care of her during her last days, so pictures of her and a lot of her things were still strewn about the house. Relics of when she lived.
When we moved in, I got the room towards the very back of the house as it connected to my parent’s room. When Christmas time came around, I started sneaking into the living room to sleep because the fireplace would usually still be on, flickering shadows on the walls.
I’d bring my blanket and lay on the couch right below a huge velvet painting of a torero killing a bull. A painting I loved and stared at for many years. But this one particular night, that painting felt different, everything in that living room felt different. Everything had a pulse. I wasn’t scared, I was restless.
Suddenly, as the last embers of the fireplace were going out, I heard a creaking coming from the kitchen floor, instantly I thought it was my mom coming to tell me to get back to my own bed and not fall asleep in the living room. But the creaking stopped, so I thought my mom had come onto the carpeted part of the living room and was checking if I was asleep. I had my eyes closed, so I just laid there thinking why she was still hovering over me without saying anything or shaking me awake.
Then, I felt the footsteps leave and walk over to the Victrola turntable where we had displayed Christmas cards that had been sent to us. One of the cards was a singing card that sang, “Have a Merry Merry Christmas,” over and over.
I heard that card open and then the song began to play.
I peeked out from one eye and saw that there was no one there in the living room. The footsteps left and disappeared into my granfauxther’s open bedroom door.
I got up, closed the Christmas card and went back to my cold room and didn’t mention it ever to anyone.
I instantly knew that it had been his dead wife coming to make sure we knew that this house was still hers and that she too, like me, had been a restless insomniac.
She showed up many times to every single one of us except my grandfauxther. She let him sleep peacefully, and he always kept her side of the bed clear, waiting for her nightly arrival.