The Adventures of Gabriel Celtic

The Adventures of Gabriel Celtic

Friday, October 28, 2011

Excerpt From ‘Haunted’ by Willow Cross

The House on Rivermet

In September of 1992, just seven days after my second bio-child was born, we had to move from our apartment into a small duplex on Rivermet. Things were pretty tough back then. I’d been working at a local bar as a bartender/waitress and my boss felt it was too dangerous for me to continue once I’d really started showing. With only my husband’s income, we couldn’t afford the expensive apartment. We went house hunting and found this quaint little duplex. It was definitely a fixer upper, but the price was right.

I’ll never forget the first time I walked into the place. It was dingy and small, but with two bedrooms and a decent sized living room, it was good enough. Except for the smell.
The air was thick with must. I knew I had some major cleaning ahead of me, and just seven days after having a baby, I wasn’t sure I was up to the challenge. We signed the lease, took the kids to his parents, and went back to clean. By the end of the day, we were
ready to move in.

Now I have to admit that the place was really cute once the layers of dust and crud had been removed. It had all kinds of potential. Or so I thought. I was uneasy being there, but
who actually likes being in an empty, dirty house? I sloughed it off and the next morning we moved in.

Looking back (because we all know the hind sight adage), the strange happenings began that very first day. My oldest daughter refused to sleep in her room. She was only 3, so
that’s to be expected in a new place. However, she also refused to play in her room. And that was pretty weird. I didn’t like that room either. I can’t tell you why, I just didn’t. It made me terribly uncomfortable to be in there. So much so, that I wouldn’t
put the baby in there either.

I tried a few times, but found myself continuously checking on her to make sure she was still breathing. Probably normal behavior for a new mom, but then again, I wasn’t
the freaking out kind of person.

The disappearances started immediately. The baby’s pacifier, bottles, everyone’s shoes, and even silverware came up missing all the time. I mean every day, ten times or more a
day, something would go missing. I could lay the baby down, stick her pacifier in her mouth and go to the kitchen. I’d go to the sink, or fridge, or wherever, and the pacifier I’d just given her would be sitting right in front of me. The first few times it happened, I laughed about it. Maybe post partum or something?

Obviously, my mind wasn’t working right.

Five days after we moved in, the scary stuff  began. Chrissy, my friend’s 3 year-old, had come for a sleep over. My husband had left to bowl with his brother, leaving just me and
the three little ones at home. The baby napped on the couch while the toddlers and I played. Both sat on my lap as we practiced the alphabet song. All of a sudden, Chrissy glanced over my shoulder toward the door. She stopped singing and her face went white.

She looked terrified. I turned to see what she was looking at, and the face of a man peered through the small window in the front room door. His shaggy, dirty-blond hair hung limply around his narrow face. The dark circles under his eyes could have been bruises. His face was really pale. I mean hadn’t seen the sunlight in 100 years white. Unblinking, he stared at me.

Then he was gone. Poof.


The girls had already started crying, but before I could put them down and get my gun (which was what I had every intention of doing), his face appeared in my living room
window. I was stunned and couldn’t move. He disappeared again, and my body went into overdrive. I shoved the girls behind the couch, grabbed the phone and dialed 911, and headed into my bedroom to grab our gun. By the time dispatch answered I was locked, loaded, and back in the living room with the children.

Standing in the middle of the room gave me a clear view of the kitchen and the back door. That’s what I was waiting for. I figured he’d try to kick in the back door if he
intended to enter. As expected, his face appeared in the kitchen window. He looked right me. Now a normal person, even a peeping Tom, doesn’t just stand there and stare at you when you have a loaded 45 pointed at their head. But this guy did. No expression on
his face whatsoever. No fear, no recognition that I was about to shoot him, nothing. And then he was gone.

I still had the phone to my ear and the dispatch officer told me the police had arrived out front and that I was to secure the weapon.

My reply?

“No way! You tell them to get someone around back and when they knock on my door, I’ll put it away. Hell, I’ll hand it to them, but there is NO way I’m putting this down until one of them is in the house.”

When they knocked, I released the chambered round, dropped the clip, and opened the door. I handed the officer the gun butt first. He came in and I was finally able to sooth the
terrified 3 year olds.

Several minutes went by, and the other 3 policemen called the one talking to me outside. They were out there a long time. Finally, he returned and looked like he was trying not
to laugh. He asked me again exactly what I’d seen. Frustrated, I repeated the story.

When I’d finished, he laughed. “Mamm, have you taken a good look at the outside of this building?”

“No, we haven’t lived here that long.”

“Well, I’ll tell ya what. I’m not sure what you thought you saw, but the ground on the west side over here slopes down. The man you think you saw would have been 9 feet tall
to look in those windows. There’s no footprints out there anywhere.”

My jaw dropped. I wasn’t crazy. And it wasn’t just me! The girls saw him too!

“When will your husband get home?”

“He’s on his way now,” I answered.

“Okay, that’s good. Now you need to put the gun away, and I’ll wait outside until he gets here.”

It was blatantly obvious he thought I was a whack job. But what could I do? He was right about the slope. I hadn’t thought of it when I’d seen the man, but it was there.

After that, it got weirder.

For the next several days, different items continued to disappear. Now I want to make sure I’m very clear about these so-called disappearances. We could be sitting at the
table eating, put down a fork or spoon, reach to pick it back up--and it would be gone. I realize this does happen from time to time. Especially when there’s a 3 year-old around. However, when it is occurring during every meal, and you can’t find the utensil on the floor or stuck in the high chair, it’s a bit unnerving. In addition to the silverware, shoes, clothing, and other things would go missing too.

Our visitor (and by that time I was certain we had an unseen visitor) seemed particularly fond of my makeup. But it only messed with it, while I was putting it on. If I put down an eye shadow, and went to check on the children, it would be gone when I returned.

Except for the man in the window, most of the activities seemed playful and childlike. At times I nearly convinced myself that it must be the ghost of a youngster playing pranks.

Other times, it was difficult to live in that delusion. The overwhelming feeling of dread and fear that emanated from the bedroom could be completely debilitating. The feelings weren’t subtle and came on quickly. I could walk by the bedroom door 10 times and feel
nothing. The eleventh time? It would hit me full force, stopping me in my tracks. Almost like I’d ran into a tractor beam or force field. In an instant, I’d be freezing and paralyzed with fear. My racing heart would thud against my chest so hard it was actually physically painful. It only lasted a few seconds, but that was long enough to scare the crap out of me.

On Friday, we’d lived there two weeks. By then, our ghost had added something new to his bag of tricks. No matter which room I was in, I would see this white mist in my
peripheral vision. As soon as I’d realize it was there, I’d turn to look and it would be gone.

I got smart after a while. I stopped looking head on and would watch it from the corner of my eye. The mist itself was nearly transparent. Almost like a sphere shaped cloud of smoke, it hovered about a foot from the floor. As long as I didn’t look at it directly, it would stay for several minutes at a time. Floating in and out of my blind spot as if it were trying to get my attention.

Friday night we decided to get out and have some fun. My nerves were wrangled and my husband was sick of hearing me gripe about the haunted house. It’s not that he didn’t
believe me, he saw the mist too. He was there when things disappeared. He just didn’t believe there was anything to be afraid of. And if it weren’t for that occasional heart pounding fear, I’d have agreed with him.

We took the kids to his parents for the night  and went out on the town. The next morning, he was working on the bathroom floor. I walked up to the door to ask him a few questions. He started to answer me and abruptly stopped talking. His eyes locked on something over my shoulder and his jaw dropped.

“What is wrong with you?” I asked.

He didn’t say a word but all the color drained from his face. I spun around to see what he was looking at.

A tall shadow, shaped like a man, paced along the kitchen wall. I gasped and the shadow stopped and turned to face me. It looked as if it were staring right at me. Within seconds it took off and went down the wall disappearing into the pantry.

Both of us were silent for a moment. “Did you see that?” he finally asked.

“I told you.”

“I know. But did you SEE that?”

“Yes, I saw it. This house is haunted!”
He shook his head and pulled himself to a standing position. “Now honey,” he said. “Don’t get all freaked out. It’s just a ghost. They can’t hurt you.”

But he was very wrong. Very very wrong.
It was dark and stormy that night. (Okay no it wasn’t, but it should have been!) I jest, but truly it was a horrifying experience. Even now, it freaks me out to think about it. Worse, the fear that most folks will believe I’ve completely flipped my lid after telling of those awful events, nearly throws me into a panic attack. Exactly one week after we saw the shadow, things escalated again.

My 3 year-old was asleep on a palate on the floor and the baby was snug in her crib. My husband’s rhythmic snoring irritated me at first, but finally lulled me to sleep. I don’t know what woke me up. One minute I was sound asleep, and the next sitting straight up in bed. I listened intently for a noise or some sign of what was wrong. Something had to be wrong. I could feel the wrongness of the situation deep within me. My heart raced
so fast and hard that it made it difficult to hear much of anything.

From my bed, I watched the rise and fall of the baby’s chest, making sure she was still breathing. Then my eyes moved to her sister. As with the baby, her breath came in normal intervals. Still afraid, and feeling like a complete idiot, I took a few deep breaths closed my eyes, and laid back down. Seconds turned to minutes as I waited for my thudding heart to still. Instead of diminishing, the feeling of wrongness amplified. Fear grew and blossomed into full blown terror as I listened to the quiet house.

Nothing. Not one sound that wasn’t completely ordinary and easily explained. The refrigerator fan kicked on, making me jump. A creak from a windowsill here and
there. Even a muffled sound of the electric icemaker dumping its next batch, but nothing strange or unusual. And yet, I was so tightly wound, I would have leapt from the bed in an instant.

Sleep eluded me completely. The dark feeling would not go away. I don’t know how long I laid there before I noticed that I was clenching my eyes shut. Almost instantaneously,
I realized I didn’t want to open them. Not at all, for any reason. It was like I was six again, waiting for the monster under my bed to reach out and grab me. Without a second thought, I pulled the blanket up over my head and opened my eyes.

You can imagine how ridiculous I felt. I was
a 23 year-old woman for Pete’s sake! And a mother. What kind of Mom hides under a blanket while her children are out in the room with whatever it was that scared her in the first place?

Determined to be a good mother and protector, I pushed the blanket away and surveyed the dark room. The heavy blinds over the window let in just enough light to leave dark
shadows in the corners of the room. The rocking chair, piled high with clean clothes I had yet to fold and put away--sat unmoving. Not one solitary thing was added or out of place.

Sighing, I placed my hands behind my head, and contemplated my insanity. I must be nuts, right? I mean who acts like that? Sheesh!

I watched the ceiling fan go round and round, hoping that at some point it would hypnotize me and put me to sleep. Above the fan the ceiling itself was so black I could only see the outside edges. I rubbed my eyes as the darkness seemed to grow larger than the fan. It stretched and elongated until it was oval shaped. My breathing became labored. And as badly as I wanted to close my eyes, they would not even allow me to blink.
I was frozen. Paralyzed. Not by fear, although the fear was definitely there and very real. I tried to move. I tried to reach out and grab my husband. With every ounce of
strength I had, I tried to put my hand on his shoulder and shake him.

My body refused to obey the mind’s commands. The darkness retreated slowly, and once again the shadow above the fan was the size and shape it should have been. Tears streamed down my face, and not wanting to wake the children, I choked back sobs.

My husband finally woke and rolled over to face me. “What’s wrong,” he asked.
I couldn’t speak. All I could do was curl up in his arms and cry, and that’s what I did.
The next morning, I told him what had happened and that we had to move. He, of course, told me I was crazy. “It must have been a dream. Maybe a night terror or something. I saw a show about how in different levels of REM sleep you can think you’re awake, and paralyzed, but really you’re sleeping. It has to be something like that!”

But it wasn’t something like that. I knew it wasn’t anything like that! I’d made my mind up, and regardless of whether he was willing or not, I was moving. There was no way I
would keep my children in that house for any longer than necessary.

He went on to work that morning as if nothing ever happened. I went apartment hunting. There were 3 complexes in town running move in deals. No deposit, first month’s rent free. I hit all of them, signed a lease with one, and came home to start packing. It didn’t take me long. I still had boxed stuff in closets from the move.

As soon as I had a truck load, I filled up my old orange ford and took it to the new place. Unloaded and went back for more. The last load I could do alone had about 12 boxes.
The couch, coffee table, and love seat were covered with them. Each box was full, but the tape gun we’d used when we’d moved last was missing. Killing the proverbial 2 birds, I called my husband.

I hadn’t told him about the new apartment, or moving, no matter what he’d said--I knew he’d go wherever we were. (Now I know you’re going to think I’m crazy,
but I SWEAR this is true)

He answered on the third or fourth ring.

“Yeah, babe. What’s up?”

“We’re moving. I’ve already rented an apartment and have almost everything moved in. All you’ll have to move is the furniture. Do you think you can get Rod, or Dave to
“Have you lost your mind? We can’t afford to move again!” he exclaimed.

“It didn’t cost anything and it’s a very nice complex. It’ll be closer to your job too.”
He let out an exasperated breath and didn’t say another word. “Look hun. I can’t live here. Something’s very wrong with this place. It’s not safe for the kids! If it can
do what it did to me last night, what can it do to them?”

Surprisingly, he answered with a chuckle. “Well it’s not like I can do anything about it now, right?”

Relief settled over me. I’d been somewhat afraid we’d fight, but it was one I’d been willing to have if needed. “Hey, where’s that tape gun? I only have a few boxes left
and I don’t want to just fold the tops in.”

“Should be in the pantry on the shelf. That’s where I put it.”

“Okay, great! I love you, and I’ll be at the new place when you get off work. Meet me there.”

“Love you too.”

I hung up the phone and walked into the living room. The tape gun was sitting dead center on the coffee table. All of the boxes were stacked by the door. No one had come
in, and there’s no way my 3 year-old could have done it. That was all the pushing I needed. I grabbed up my kids and purse, put them in the truck, and went to the new house.

I NEVER stepped foot in that house again. That night, my husband moved the rest of our
things with a friend. He said when he got there; every box in the room was stacked in two columns, one on top of the other, all the way to the ceiling.

After everything I’d been through, I totally believed him.

Follow the links below to buy this awesome book, ‘Haunted’, and to read about the author…Willow Cross

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