The spirit who loved children

Happy Halloween everyone! This week begins my series on haunted houses. While the tales are true, names and locations have been changed to protect privacy.

The spirit who loved children

Doug and Cindy had been searching for their first home for months. But as was the case with most young couples starting out, each home they looked at was just beyond their means. One evening, they were lamenting with friends at a backyard barbeque over yet another disappointment when their friend rubbed his chin and said, “You know, Doug, the house next door is being rented to an elderly couple and she just had a stroke. Her husband told me last week they were moving to senior housing at the end of the month.”

Cindy and Doug looked at each other and knew instantly that this would be a house they could afford. It was a fixer upper to be sure. But Doug was handy and they could certainly live in it while they did the improvements. “Now don’t get your hopes up,” Doug told Cindy. “The owners may not want to sell.”

“I know, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

It was a disappointed Doug that returned home the next evening. “They don’t want to sell, Cindy. They’ve rented the place to the same couple ever since his mother died and it’s given them a steady income for years.”

But Cindy was determined. “They’ll sell. They just have to get used to the idea. You said they’re older? They aren’t going to want to put up with bad tenants. Why don’t you give it a week and then go see them again?”

Doug was hesitant. It wasn’t his nature to be a pest, but Cindy was right. And he really wanted to sink his teeth into that house.

By the third visit even Cindy was becoming discouraged. But when Doug returned dangling the keys in front of her, they danced a jig in the middle of their living room. “He said to go take a look at the place and then we’ll talk.”

The house was tiny, but solid and before Christmas that year, it was theirs.

Their budget was tight, but with careful planning they began to renovate their new home. “We’ll do one room a year,” Doug said. “We’ll tackle the rooms that need the least amount of work first, and save the expensive stuff like the kitchen, bathroom and upstairs for last.”

It was a good plan and they stuck to it. Cindy learned how to hang wallpaper and Doug shingled the roof, insulated the walls and cut wood for the new woodstove that would heat the little house.

While Doug worked nights, Cindy worked days making it tough to stay connected, but by all accounts, they “were living the dream.” So it was unsettling for Cindy when she woke out of sound sleep late one evening and saw a shadow move across the foot of her bed and then disappear. Always careful not to wake their two boys, she assumed Doug had gotten home from work and had passed through the hall, creating the image on the far side of their bedroom. Satisfied with her theory, Cindy rolled onto her side and glanced at the digital clock on the nightstand.

It would be another hour before Doug was due to arrive home.

To be continued. . . .

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