She was an inquisitive soul and purchased the house despite rumors that it was haunted. In fact, she purchased it because of the rumors that it was haunted, and longed for that to prove true. At night she lit candles hoping it… or maybe they… would come. But any possible visiting remained undetectable.
To try clarifying her invitation, she put out a welcome mat. And then several more. And after she had one at each entrance, she put one at the base of the hearth, too (just in case).
As she became more impatient with wondering, she began to bake cookies, thinking they could lend the enticement needed. She was unsure exactly what variety to try, and experimented with oatmeal, chocolate crinkles and coconut macaroons. Ultimately, she determined peanut butter might be best.
She set them out at night – religiously – as if leaving a gift to Santa Claus. And every morning she woke up to find each plate just as full as she’d left it (at least breakfast was taken care of, she figured).
She switched to brownies. Then she switched to snickerdoodles. Then she started to halve the batches. But though she ate all she could, her freezer was overflowing with the leftovers.
She started putting them in the neighbors’ mailboxes with a small note of well wishes on the way to her job. And she gave them out there, too… And then she worked out lots more upon returning home, after putting away supplementary baking supplies, the flowers from co-workers, and the little niceties and kid-made art, which she now frequently found placed by her front door.
She hated working out, though, and imagined her phantom company watching… laughing. And while she was half inclined to accept this (musing on the idea they might be called forth with the entertainment), she still found it unkind, remembering how thoughtful she’d been, even having put the TV on for them when heading off to work. In that moment it occurred to her that television could be teaching them bad manners, and she expeditiously decided there’d be no more programs from then on.
That evening she began reading to them. It was Hamlet; a challenge for her, but she hoped they’d like it.
When some weeks later she’d finally managed to finish it, she promptly undertook a second reading to make sure they’d gotten the sense of it. And then a third. And a fourth.
On her fifth reading, and with the use of summary notes, she began to see that having ghosts about might not be such a good thing after all. Efforts to discourage their presence ensued. She ate up the cookies. The baking supplies sat, and were eventually thrown away. The working out stopped.
She discontinued her reading aloud, and junked Hamlet (and a good number of other books that she suspected might also be other-worldly temptation). The TV stayed off, just to be safe either way – followed by the radio, as well. She briefly contemplated posting them both on eBay, and then realized the computer should probably also go. She settled on the easiest fix as everything was definitely used, and hauled all three to the trash (five trips required).
The gift giving and receiving ended. And she pitched the welcome mats, too, in order to ensure that they wouldn’t end up stored in a location that unwittingly proved ideally suited to any spirit’s preferences. She began staying home with thoughts of deterring any visits that might be made in secret, assuming she was guarding the premises by being there. She slept irregularly. Her actions became stilted, hesitant, cautious and increasingly imperceptible from outside.
People noticed the renewed quiet that had fallen onto the house whenever they passed by. When they began making efforts to steer clear of the property entirely, she was carefully, stealthfully keeping watch from a preferred spot at the edge of the living room window. “Curious,” she thought, and she observed with a bewildered and spellbound interest. Then some amount of a quizzical grin, surprised yet knowing, crept delicately onto her face. And with it, she became illuminated.
Kristine Rosencrantz is a union actress who is also a speaker and writer. In addition to working in theatre and voiceover, she has several books in progress and also gives talks on what she learned by surviving Guillain-Barre Syndrome (including how even the littlest possible steps can ultimately yield really great results), as well as during years spent home bound following, when her cat was her only caregiver and she became by default a Modern Day Rip Van Winkle (including how a seriously slowed pace of life can also yield really great results). You can keep connected to her latest news by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and requesting her brief and occasional email newsletter.