House Sitting

When I was in high school I made extra money house sitting or pet sitting. I liked this better than sitting with kids. The hours were more flexible.

A friend of my parents sold real estate and would get these jobs for me from time to time.

The money was good for the small amount of work I was to do. And, it was kind of nice to be able to spend nights away from home.

My friends thought it would be fun to join me and have a lumber party, but I preferred to not let them know when I was house sitting. The job was not for me to hold parties in . . . just to stay a few nights to set the homeowner’s mind at ease that the house wasn’t empty and their pets would be fed and wouldn’t be alone.

I wasn’t prepared for the house or the rumors of the house that I was to go to.

The elderly woman was in the hospital. The sad truth was that she would probably not return home.  Her family was out of state and they were on their way, but wanted someone in the house until they arrived.  The dog was one of those small fuzzy things that needed constant attention.

When I arrived, “Baby” greeted me at the door. She had some dry food in a bowl and water.  There was a doggy door she used, so I was there for companionship and to feed her canned food in the morning.

I got my sleeping bag, pillow and school books out of the car along with a “care package” my mother packed for me with snacks, dinner and soft drinks. I made myself at home in the living room.  Baby sat on the sofa next to me.

I didn’t feel the need to go exploring around the house. I know my friends would have been snooping, but I wasn’t all that interested. My job was to house sit and take care of Baby.

While I sat there in the quiet house, I remembered the stories of the house being haunted.  It may have been just babblings from my friends trying to scare me. Of course, they had it on good authority that what they were saying was the absolute truth.  One’s Aunt Sally knew the woman, another’s mother knew her — they played bridge together.  One afternoon, so the story goes, these women heard sounds of someone walking up and down the stairs. They also felt as though someone walked into the room and was watching them.

Immediately, it was assumed it was the old woman’s dearly departed husband — Mr. Dailey

There was nothing actually scary in knowing that . . . just a bit creepy to think Mr. Dailey was still in the house — haunting it.

The more I thought about it, there seemed to be some comfort in knowing Mr. Dailey was still in residence — a resident ghost.

I had been there for about an hour when I heard the flip-flap of the doggy door.

Baby was asleep next to me. Then there was a clattering in the kitchen. I knew something had come in the doggy door and I had to get it out.

When I went into the kitchen, the water bowl and dry food had spilled on the floor, but there was no evidence of a stray cat or critter of any kind.  I searched the house and found nothing.

I cleaned up the mess and returned to the living room.

My books were dumped on the floor and Baby was on the floor staring at the sofa as though someone was sitting there.

I gathered up my books and notebook and moved to a chair. Baby settled on the footstool, still staring at the sofa.

I was beginning to feel uncomfortable. I thought someone was watching me. I turned on the television.

I was tempted to leave.  I also thought of calling some friends to come over and stay with me, but I knew I was being silly. I didn’t want them teasing me about being scared,   They would have left out the part that I was  in a haunted house.

I must have dozed off in the chair.

Around midnight I awoke to the sound of Baby running up and down the stairs. For an old dog she was going pretty fast. Then she would stop in front of the sofa and look at the invisible something and run up and down the stairs, run around the living room, into the kitchen and back up and down the stairs before returning to sit in front of the sofa.

She didn’t move a muscle. She just sat there staring.  Then she growled and lunged at something. Barking, she ran up the stairs chasing something.  I sit in the chair, listening to Baby bark, not eager to get up and investigate.

Thankfully, Baby stopped barking came downstairs and jumped up on the footstool and settled down to sleep like nothing happened.

I spread my sleeping bag on the sofa and kept a light on. I turned off the television, because I wanted to hear if anything was sneaking up on me.

I could hear Baby’s steady breathing and a cute little snore or two.

I began to relax. Then I heard footsteps pacing up and down in the room above the living room.

Then it sounded as though furniture was being moved.  There was some scuffling around . . . then the lamp in the living room went out.

Great, I thought, a burned out light bulb.  I rummaged in my purse for a small flashlight I kept in there for emergencies.

The noise upstairs got louder.  In the dark, it seemed to be louder than it probably was . . . nevertheless,  I was beginning to get scared.  I went into the kitchen to turn on that light, but it didn’t turn on.  Evidently the power was off.  There was no need for me to look for a light bulb. But I did look for a stronger flashlight and candles.

I found candles and candle holders and trivets to set them on. I wanted them around the living room so I would have enough light.  I watched the shadows of the flickering flames dance on the walls as I settled back into my sleeping bag.  The noise upstairs stopped and I heard footsteps coming down the stairs.

I braced myself.  The dog was sound asleep on the footstool, big help she was. Then something flew from the stairs and hit the floor near the foot of the couch. Then there was another thud of something falling near the head of the couch.

I was relieved it didn’t hit me. For some strange reason, I had a feeling it wasn’t meant to hit me or even scare me.  I got up and found a Ouija Board at the foot of the couch and the planchette at the head.  I set it up on the coffee table, rearranging the candles slightly.

At the time, I wasn’t all that afraid of a Ouija Board. I just didn’t have any use for one . . . plus they never seemed to work for me.

The planchette started moving on its own, up and down, back and forth.  It seemed to be spelling out something, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to know what it had to say.

I heard the squeak of the springs in the chair.  I saw the indentation on the cushion as though someone was sitting in it.

I was thinking of grabbing Baby and going home.

I watched the planchette spell out “w – a – i – t” over and over again as though it read my mind.

I waited.  I watched the Ouija Board.  Nothing.

By now it was after three in the morning.  I knew my friends wouldn’t believe this and to be honest, I doubt I’d tell them.  The whole evening was just too unbelievable.

Then the planchette started moving slowly.  It spelled out “take care of baby.”

I then knew the elderly woman had passed.

I held on to Baby . . . more for my comfort than hers . . .

I stayed up the rest of the morning.  The house was quiet.  By daylight, I snuffed out the candles, put the Ouija Board away in the upstairs bedroom, and fed Baby.

The realtor knocked on the door around ten in the morning to tell me Mrs. Dailey passed about three that morning.

I dumbly nodded.  I was to remain in the house until the family arrived and then I could leave.

Fortunately, they arrived that evening.  I was torn between leaving Baby with them and asking if I could have her.  One of the relatives had a little girl that seemed to adore Baby, so I thought that was all right.

I wasn’t sure what Mrs. Dailey wanted me to do about Baby. I did take care of her until someone else was there to do so.

I was pretty much packed up when the relatives arrived. I kind of had the feeling I wouldn’t be spending another night in the house. The electricity was back on . . . the lamp in the living room did work . . . So I went home with a real ghost story.

I don’t know if the relatives heard anything strange . . . I just know the house was on the market for awhile . . . and the relatives didn’t stay around . . .

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