A Cold Chill
It was late at night not so long ago and seconds before midnight when Mary decided to appear. Her sudden intrusion into our home wouldn’t have been alarming if not for the fact Mary is a ghost who mostly remained outside nearby her crypt that is a Victorian trunk.
All was quiet around the house as the girls had called it an early evening with me saying ‘sleep tight’ just after nine p.m. This was perfect, as I would have at least a few hours of solitude to write. All day long, mental plans were made to peck away at another chapter of a new work in progress because earlier that morning, one of the central characters had demanded to be heard. She’d patiently waited for a little alone time with me. Her moment had arrived.
It was a Sunday night.
Our house cat Percy had decided to bed down early like the ladies. He curled up into a comfortable C-shape on the carpet beside my den chair. My Dell laptop was humming as the words began to flow while Percy’s first faint snores could be heard a few feet to my left. He was apparently enveloped by a pleasant dream within a deep sleep.
The paragraphs flowed as my main character had her say. She was poised for verbosity this night and her scribe was doing his level best at trying to type her every word. This became my only focus. My attention trapped to the keypad from A to Z on my computer while feverishly typing.
Three hours passed. The Seth Thomas mantel clock sounded twelve chimes.
Without warning, a cold, invisible cloud rolled slowly from behind me touching my back first, hesitating briefly, and then, moving through my shivering body towards an unsuspecting and sleeping Percy. A cold dread raced through me, as the chill felt as if it had entered my body as quickly as the effects of an injection of pain meds at the hospital.
Typing ceased. Chattering teeth were followed by hairs standing at attention on the back of my neck and creeping up into graying hair and scalp. Fright overtook me when the realization that I wasn’t alone with Percy in our den. This thought wasn’t fully absorbed when the ghost entered Percy. From a sound sleep, he jumped from his prone position to all fours turning his body position facing the direction of the ghostly chill with teeth showing, curved back and claws dug deeply into the carpet backing. Percy was posturing as large as possible while a low, steady, guttural growl came from his clenched jaws.
I watched him, me in fear while his eyes focused on something that was creeping beyond me and towards him. His eyes fixed like laser beams on the invisible, quiet, and yet, cold intruder. He saw her. I know he did. It was perfectly clear from the look in his eyes and body language. This cat was scared just like this old man.
Percy’s eyes and head followed the floating ghost as she ascended to the ceiling in our den. He slowly crept along our floor with her aerial movements never once taking his eyes from Mary. I fixed my attention on the areas he was trained on while mimicking his stealthy attitude frozen in my leather chair.
While only moving my head slightly and my eyes, I watched as Percy followed her drifting up and down within our den, which has a cathedral ceiling. Twice, she and he traveled up and down the length of the den. At one point, Mary hovered for an extended period of time just above the lighted ceiling fan as if looking down on Percy and me. This was frightening. Percy stared up at her and possibly, she down at him.
Then, Mary was on the slow move again. They headed towards the hallway in the direction of the bedrooms where my wife and daughter were sleeping. At the large doorway from the den to the hallway, Percy stopped and I can only assume she did, as well. He watched her with his neck fully tilted back. Mary was at the top of the ceiling above the doorway.
His eyes and head moved down while she entered the opening to the hallway. Percy followed behind Mary staring up at her the entire time. They went down the hallway a few feet but never out of my view. The read of his body was still seen when he turned slowly and began to follow the ghost back into the den, past me, and into the kitchen to the rear of me. I never left my chair because I was frightened, possibly, beyond your understanding or appreciation.
I could not see Percy, but his methodical, slow footsteps on the tiled floor could easily be heard. I’m certain he made it all the way to the foot rug at the kitchen door that leads to our carport. This is within about twenty of Mary’s trunk.
In silence, Percy remained stationed at the kitchen door for a good while with me like a big puss, fear-frozen in my chair.
He walked back to the den. When he made it alongside my chair, Percy staring up at me. His little cat face etched with fear. From my chair, I stared down at him in shared fright.
The work in progress was over for the moment and the computer was bedded down.
Percy relocated to the highest, comfortable perch in our den and curled up for the continuation of his respite.
In a daze, I slinked off to my bed and hid beneath my covers.
Sleep came hard and slowly.