BY MELISSA RAMOS
CURATED BY PATRICIA GRISAFI
It is three a.m. My room is dark. I don’t move, barely breathe. What caused me to wake? When I glance at the red numbers glaring at me from the clock, I see her. A woman is standing in the corner of my room. I try to keep myself together. I don’t want it known that I’ve seen her. But I am too late. She knows.
This woman in a long, white nightgown begins to walk towards me. She is a pencil outline someone forgot to color in. I stare in horror as this ghost-like woman takes slow, deliberate steps. What will she do? What does she want? I do the most rational thing that pops into my head—hide beneath my warm blankets, hoping it is just a nightmare.
"Please disappear," I beg the air. When my heart stops racing, I peek back out.
No one is there. I fall back asleep, turned, facing the window.
In another room, my mother wakes. She glances at her clock: three a.m. Almost instantly, she feels a chill—one of those someone-just-walked-on-your-grave type of chills. Goosebumps pop up on her arms and legs. A strange tingle runs through her body. Looking over to her bedroom window, she senses something is out there.
My mother senses an evil creature sitting on the AC. It wants to come in. Does she see it? Does she hear it? No. What she does hear is movement out in the hallway. She sees her bedroom door open. She can’t breathe.
The little body that enters is that of her small daughter, my sister. My mother lets out a sigh of relief. The monster has not gotten inside the house. Her little girl has had a nightmare. Pulling her into the bed, my mother cuddles her and nervously glances back to the window.
On this night, three women in my family shared an odd experience. My mother and I told each other our side of the story in the morning. We didn’t discuss it again after that. It was strange and scared us. We don’t believe in coincidences. On this night, we were in tune to something "other" and unusual, something outside the veil of normalcy.
It was not our last such experience in this house.
On a sunny day, mid-week, I come home from school and tackle the list of chores my mother leaves for me each day. One chore requires me to fold and put away laundry. Upon walking into my parents' room, I hear voices coming from the closet. Two men are talking, having what sounds like a heated conversation. I peek into the closet.
The voices stop.
I look for the feet sticking out, for the people hiding behind the thick layer of clothes. Someone is going to jump out and grab me. I’m the girl who dies first in the horror movies.
I don’t see anyone in the closet, and nothing is out of the ordinary. Where did the voices go? I put the laundry down and walk myself across the hall into my bedroom. Then, my door mysteriously closes and locks behind me. I am home alone and don’t know what else to do. I stay put until my mother gets home from work.
She is not happy that my chores are unfinished. However, my explanation does not sound like an excuse. She believes me. She checks her room and the rest of the house.
No intruders. No monsters in the closet. We go on about our night.
Many years later, after we've all moved out, my dad and I have a conversation about our old house. I fill him in on some ghost story bits. He replies that the house stood empty for years before we bought it. He also mentions that he occasionally saw a little girl in his room and sometimes on the stairs. A little girl that was not my sister.
Nothing bad ever happened to us. No angry spirits. No poltergeists. No chairs stuck to the ceiling or evil children climbing out of the television. The ghosts were just there, always watching. I grew up with them. They feel like a part of my family.
Melissa Ramos is a writer and freelance proofreader living in Florida. She is currently enrolled in the University of Tampa’s Low-residency MFA in Creative Writing program. When trying to find her in a crowded room, look to the corners. That’s where she’ll be with her nose stuck in a book.
Patricia Grisafi, PhD, is a New York City-based freelance writer, editor, and former college professor. She is currently an Associate Editor at Ravishly and a contributing writer and editor at Luna Luna. Her work has appeared in Salon, Vice, Bitch, The Rumpus, Bustle, The Establishment, and elsewhere. Her short fiction is forthcoming in Tragedy Queens (Clash Books). She is passionate about pit bull rescue, cursed objects, horror movies, and designer sunglasses.