Weeks went by after the Footsteps in My Bedroom incident and things began to feel normal again. It was summer and my sister and I spent more time outdoors than we did inside the confines of the house. Dad surprised us with a wooden playhouse which we lovingly named the Blue Whale. To say we practically lived in that thing is an understatement.
On rainy days, Mom took us to the library and I fell in love with the small but interesting ghost story section. I couldn’t get enough of those stories and I got acquainted with the Lady in White and the Hitchhiker. (A ghost who disappears after you pick him up.) I studied everything I could about ghosts and the paranormal world. I desperately tried to understand what happened to us just a few months earlier but eventually the fear and wonder of it all faded. After a while I began to believe we’d all imagined the footsteps. Kind of like a group hysteria thing. (That was my initial diagnosis because ghosts weren't actually real, right?)
I went back to reading Raggedy Ann books to my sister and I fell hard for Nancy Drew novels. I was hooked on that TV show. (Mostly because Shaun Cassidy was on there.)
And just when life was normal again, whatever had been running around our room returned.
As I mentioned before, my sister and I had twin beds which were situated on opposite sides of the room. Going to sleep was always a struggle for me. I’m one of those people that don’t require a straight six to eight hours of shut eye but when you’re eight years old that excuse didn’t fly with my parents.
Everything changed when the bed shaking started happening. Just when I’d get tired, hanging on the edge of asleep and awake, my eyes heavy, my mind still, the end of my wooden bed began to shake. And it shook like it was sitting on top of a washing machine. Like someone or something didn’t want me to sleep—It (whatever It was) wanted me to stare into the dark and search for It.
Wait for It.
I whispered to my sister, afraid to get out of my bed in case the thing that shook the bed might grab me as soon as my feet touched the floor. I mean, if it could shake my heavy wooden bed it could surely wrap its cold hands around me.
“Katrina…Katrina…” I called to my sister in the darkness.
She’d wake up, grab her Playskool flashlight and scan under my bed for me. When she gave me the “all clear” I’d run to her praying to the Lord above that I’d make it without getting caught by It. She’d hold me until I stopped shaking and eventually we’d fall asleep. Eventually.
Again, things would stop and I’d allow myself to believe the activity never happened. To this day I don't know why I didn't tell my parents about those fearful nights. It seems silly now but at the time it made perfect sense.
One night, as I was there again, in the place between asleep and awake, my sister whispered, “Monica…Monica…come over here. Hurry!”
Feeling aggravated and not quite with it, I growled at her, “What? Do you have to go to the bathroom again?” The only bathroom was downstairs and I wasn't looking forward to going down there again. It was so cold that night.
“There’s a lady over your bed. She’s got her hands out.”
That woke me up. “What does she look like?”
“She’s got her hair in a bun and she’s wearing a long dress.”
I froze, unsure what to do. I waited a minute, I didn’t feel anything, except cold. Very cold. But it wasn't like Katrina to make up scary stuff. She hated ghost stories, and the idea of ghosts. She sure wouldn't make that up.
Unicorns, yes. Ghosts, no.
“What is happening now?” I couldn’t see the woman but I didn’t believe my sister would lie about such a thing.
“Come here! She’s reaching for your neck. She wants to strangle you.”
Her Playskool flashlight came on again but only for a few seconds. The batteries died suddenly and the flash of illumination didn’t do anything but blind me.
I cried and suddenly my sister was beside me. She grabbed my hand in her littler one and together we ran back to her bed.
I think that was the last time I slept in the bed alone. At least until Mom caught on. She was stickler for her daughters to act like big girls. But as long as we stayed together, the ghost didn’t bother me. And it seemed like it never bothered Katrina.
But then it came after my little brother…