One time, many years ago, you came home to a mini mystery: the small, outdoor wooden cabinet that held the Tupperware of dog food on the bottom shelf and all the pool towels neatly folded on top of each other above had mysteriously relocated itself. Instead of being where it should be, it was now directly under the roof, the towels haphazardly tossed aside and the rather sizeable container of dog food in their place instead. You asked me about it and I can’t remember what I told you. Maybe I told you the truth, the partial truth, or anything but the truth.
The truth is I moved the cabinet and re-organized its contents because I couldn’t find a ladder and that was the next best option.
Let me start from the beginning. Everyone was gone that evening, and Tiffannie and I were busy scanning the internet for the best scary movie to go to. The internet, of course, is a magical place that diverted our attentions to the supernatural wonders and “true” stories of ghosts and spirits and hauntings for us to absorb and ruminate on. We were right in the middle of a particularly chilling story when we heard it. Thump…thump…thumpthump. Eyes wide with terror Tiffannie and I stared at each other. Footsteps. We both agreed it was undeniably the sound of footfall upstairs. With bated breath we listened, eyes cast upwards, waiting, waiting for another sound…. nothing but the heavy silence of an otherwise empty home roared in our ears. But in our minds there was definitely someone…or something…up there.
In hushed whispers we conferred about our next move. What if it was a ghost, or worse, an intruder? A real human being who we caught heavy footed trying to hide away and bid his time until the two girls traipsed upstairs, unawares of the dangers lurking? Nevermind the fact that the doors were all locked and we hadn’t left the house literally all day, there was most certainly an intruder. And, in our minds, the most logical conclusion was to…
…scare him out with out with our incredibly masculine voices?
We stood at the bottom the stairs and, lowering our teenage girl voices as deep as we could, we yelled out in our best tough man impressions, “Hey! Who’s there? We know you’re up there! And you should just….get out now! Go away!” (If I were the intruder I’m sure I would have been truly terrified). Poised to run we waited for a sound. Nothing. Pretty sure if someone really did show up at the top of the stairs I would have straight up cried.
Our next best plan was to go out back and look into the windows from across the yard for signs of life. We spent a good 10 minutes at least squinting at our upstairs windows and saw nothing. But we still had to know for sure that the house was empty. That’s when we decided I should go on the roof and look into each window. Mom, we couldn’t just walk upstairs and risk running into whatever was up there face to face. The roof was the next logical step to take, you have to understand that. With my safety insured by a glass pane standing between me and whatever may be in our house, I clambered up the cabinet, then the dog food container, and eventually hoisted myself onto the roof.
It didn’t occur to me how truly terrifying it might be to look into our windows and see someone in one of our rooms. I realized as soon as I was up there that I had made a huge mistake, but bravely pressed on anyway. What’s important to remember here is that I was that ready
to fall off the roof in fear to defend our home. I crept across the shingles to the front of the house as twilight crept across the sky. Mom, I was so brave! You are probably shaking your head right now but really you should be welling with pride. Despite my trembling hands and inability to breathe because of the fear gripping my very soul, I peered oh so slowly into your room. It took me about 5 minutes to gather my wits and work up the courage to actually look into that window and thankfully it was all clear. This process was repeated two more times as I checked both the office room and Kenny’s room. Each time was thankfully all clear. To be honest I was legitimately petrified that I would look into that window and find myself face to face with someone staring back at me. My own reflection would have frightened me at that point. Tiffannie stood on the ground below me, anxiously watching and definitely ready to catch me should I fall. After those rooms were deemed all clear, I jumped down onto the grassy hill in our front yard and we went back inside.
Now we were ready for the final step: going upstairs. We finally decided there was no human in the house and we would do one final sweep before heading out to our movie. Just as a safety precaution Tiffannie grabbed a fire poker (you can never be too safe) and we inched up the stairs. Do you remember that scene in Clue when Mr. Green and Yvette climb the stairs together to check the attic? That was us. Once at the top I hesitantly crept down the hall to my bedroom and Tiffannie started near the stairs by your bedroom. We both walked slowly backwards down the hall, every sense on high alert, until we inevitably bumped into each other back to back and scared the living daylights out of each other before breaking into relieved laughter. And that’s when we heard it. Mom I swear we heard some sort of supernatural growl come from the darkened bathroom. I don’t think either of us touched more than two steps on the way down those stairs and out the door. In our blind panic Tiffannie discarded the poker by flinging it into the living room on our way out, leaving it to rest haphazardly on the floor.
Long story short (too late) I sent quick text to Paul saying something like, ‘Poker is on the floor when you get home. Don’t worry that was us. See you later.’ He must have taken care of the poker since you never asked me about that, but clearly the cabinet turned ladder was forgotten. The mysterious growl has yet to be explained, but at least the mystery of the outdoor cabinet has been solved for you.
your (older and I’d like to think wiser) daughter