I know you’ve seen my house—well, my parents’ house. Well, just my dad’s now. Mom … well … you probably know about her and I don’t want to write about it here. Anyway, the house, it’s only a couple of blocks from school? It’s that really old brick one that looks like some people in a hurry built it? Bricks all old looking and crooked and mortar that’s cracked and stuff? There’s a sign on it that says it was built in 1850. Whatever. And you’ve probably heard the story about the “hanging tree” outside, the hanging tree that’s just a stump now. It was an old elm that croaked when all the other American elms did back whenever. (I just Googled it. They died around here in the 1930s and 1940s.) Anyway, turns out it wasn’t really a hanging tree. Somebody did kill somebody else near it though and then they got hung down at the county courthouse. Don’t know if it was with a rope thrown over an elm branch or just an old-fashioned scaffold. Who knows? Didn’t make much difference to the hung guy.
Anyway, I do know this. Death likes my house. And there are ghosts here. (That’s right ghosts—plural. More than one.) And I talk with some of them. They’re not really scary—not after the first few times when I didn’t know what was happening and maybe thought I was crazy and hearing voices and junk. They didn’t go all horror movie on me and throw blood around and float into the room with chainsaws or machetes or whatever. No, they just started saying things, out of the silence, late at night.
Which of course you don’t believe because you haven’t been in my house late at night all by yourself while your dad was off at some party and wasn’t going to come home until dawn when he was so wasted that he was lucky to find his way home and upstairs and in the bed. Sometimes he remembers to check to see if I’m still there. I usually am.