The Haunting at Washington Street
One night my mother was running behind schedule, we made it to the laundry room a bit later than usual. I was playing with a new entrant to the storage room, a tricycle, when I heard the piano strike a key. I jumped looking around to see no one was near it. I went back to playing, riding the bike in circles until I heard the piano play again. I looked to see a dark shadow sitting in front of it, it wasn’t just one key this time but played a melody. I watched in awe as the darkened cloud swayed as it played it’s melody. I stood frozen in fear just staring wide eyed, after a moment which seemed like hours, the cloud disappeared and the music stopped.
I ran to the laundry room as fast as my little feet could carry me. I yelled to my mother telling her what I had just seen, she merely chocked it up to a vivid imagination of a child and disregarded my tale.
It was on this day that the activity began.
That night my mother told me to go to bed and I did so very warily. I remember leaping onto the bed out of fear something may grab my ankles. Now that I had seen the boogie man I was sure he lived under my bed. The remainder of the night went quiet and uneventful.
A few day’s later my aunt came to baby sit. After a night of playing games and watching television, bed time came upon me once more. Again I leaped across the floor to my bed. By now this had become an every night routine. My aunt tried to assure me that there was nothing living under there but I knew better, she shut the light and left me for the night.
At the time my parents rented a one bedroom apartment, to make amends my father had built a wall a little more than half way through the room so I had my own private space.
I laid in the bed staring at the bottom of the top bunk, the house was quiet except from the noise that came from the old T.V. in the living room. I began to hear a rustling noise coming from my parents side of the room. I lay ridged in the bed hoping that it was my aunt looking for something, then I heard her talking on the phone in the living room.
The noise sounded like someone tapping on the ash tray on my mother’s dresser. (In the 80’s parents didn’t really know how harmful cigarette smoke was.) I laid so still closing my eyes hoping it would stop. Listening to it get louder and louder until I heard it slam against the other side of the room.
Terrified I screamed for my aunt to come in the room, seconds later the light flicked on and the room was still. She rushed in asking me what was wrong, with her there I had the confidence to get out of bed and look to see what had happened. I told her what I heard and she too did not believe me. The ashtray lay untouched on my mothers dresser only enhancing my aunts beliefs that it was nothing more than my vivid imagination. After she left the room I walked slowly over to my father’s side of the bed to see all the ashes and cigarette butts laying on the floor. I wanted to tell my aunt but I knew she wouldn’t believe me anyway. So I climbed back into bed with my bunny clutched tight in my grasp until my eyes could no longer stay open.
In the following nights I took to sleeping on the top bunk, fearing I was way to close to the underneath of the bed where all the ghouls lived. I surrounded myself with all my stuffed animals hoping that the tale’s uncle Ray told me about them coming to life when I was sleeping were true. I had hoped they would protect me when I was most vulnerable.
A few weeks passed and little more happened, a few strange noises but nothing truly notable. I began to grow comfortable once more, big mistake. I woke up one night needing to use the bathroom, I was by now pretty well accustomed to life with ghosts and ghouls, I had my flashlight to ward off any demons that may try to yank me under the bed, provided they could catch me after I jumped the four feet from the ladder.
I slowly walked through the house and into the bathroom, it was when I was leaving that I saw him again, the man that played the piano. The dark figure stood imposingly in the door way to the living room; again my legs failed me, I was frozen in panic as his gaze burned a hole of terror in my little heart. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t scream I just stared at him hoping he’d disappear. He said nothing, he didn’t move an inch, he just stood there staring at me, I began to realize he was as motionless as myself, I had wondered if maybe he was just as frightened as me. I gathered all the courage a five year old could and I reached my tiny hand out to him thinking maybe he just needed the reassurance I needed. The specter let out a loud shrill, that nearly pierced my ear drums and vanished. I ran, my heart in my throat back to my room and leapt on to the bed. I sat in the mass of stuffed animals, pulling my bunny close, my eyes wide from the sight I had just seen. I searched the room with my little flashlight hoping the demon would not find his way back to my room, I scanned the edge of the bed half heartily expecting to see the hands of various demons trying to make their way out from under the bed, but alas the house was still. The only audible sound was my father snoring like a hog. After some time, what felt like hours eventually I drifted back to sleep.
Months passed with out further incident and I did not see the man for a long time. I no longer played away from my mother when we did laundry, nor did I wander the house at night, I simply stayed in my room. My sixth birthday came and went, Christmas passed just as quickly and the new year was upon us. I celebrated with my parents and watched the ball drop on T.V. before being rushed off to bed.
I lay still hunkered down with my army of stuffed animals just looking at the pretty china doll my mother had given me for my birthday. I remembered watching the doll begin to move. Her arms moved and her hips swayed as the little doll danced on my dresser. Mind you this was not a pose-able doll, she really had no feet because her dress served as a stand, and her arms were affixed in one position, yet here she was dancing on my dresser. I thought of Uncle Ray’s tale of about my toys coming to life and was no convinced they were real. I watched ever so still, hoping she would not realize I was awake and stop dancing. She looked right up at me, her gaze piercing my heart and I heard a wicked laugh echo inside my head as the man rounded the corner to my room. By now I have had enough, surrounded by my little army, I knew I couldn’t be hurt, I sat up and gave him a piece of my mind. The figure faded and that was the last I saw of him.
We lived in the apartment for several years after that, by the time I was eleven I had seen about 10 ghosts roaming the halls of the building. I had grown accustomed to their presence in my life. None of them ever scared me like the man that haunted me for a small time. There was a Victorian woman that lived in the building next door, I often visited her and she never spoke, but was very peaceful to be around. The others were more obscure than the man and the lady, showing me nothing more than a mist in almost human form. In the summer of 1991 there was an awful murder two floors below my apartment and my parents moved out.
We moved to a nice ranch style house in Hicksville with a ghost named George, but that is another story…