The Meeting

It was all my idea, right from the start. I’ve known each of the other bloggers here for at least 2 years so I figured it was time for us to meet. The location I chose was about as central to each of us geographically as I could make it. We’d been talking about doing it off and on for the last few months, but when I sat down to watch tv Super Bowl Sunday, I saw an advert for a website that finds homes for you to stay in rather than being stuck in a hotel. Seeing that ad made me realise it was time to make plans. I went on the website and found a lovely old home to rent for a weekend in Batesville, Mississippi about an hour south of Memphis. I figured on Saturday we might drive up to Memphis and visit a few sites around town.

Everyone was game, so we agreed on the first weekend in March and I made the arrangements. I was the first to arrive on Friday because I live the closest and have Fridays off. I arrived by early afternoon and got settled in before making the trip to Memphis to pick up Jadewik who flew in from Tucson and ScoobyFan who flew in from Miami. By the time we got back, Scarygirl had arrived from Illinois and we were ready for dinner. After everyone else settled in, we went in search of a good restaurant in town.

That was a great meal, full of laughter and very good food. It’s funny, though, that when you drive past a place at least once a year as a child, you totally forget its existence once that drive is no longer part of your life. When I was a child I had an aunt and uncle who lived in Memphis and we’d travel there to visit them at least once a year. I-55 passes through Batesville headed north and at the side of the Interstate in Batesville is Batesville Casket Company. Seeing that as a child always made me think of Norman Bates from the film Psycho, but now as an adult, it seemed to take on a morbid humour as the basis for the friendship amongst us girls is the paranormal. Anyway, I digress.

The house we were staying in was an old plantation of a style normally seen closer to the coast, but it was nice all the same. The main house was all that was left of the plantation itself, with a porch and gallery above both covered by the roof. I tried to imagine what it would’ve been like when there was a full plantation on the property with slave cabins and all of the other buildings with farm land spread out behind. Inside there were three bedrooms upstairs and one downstairs. All of the floors were original wood and the beds were the old fashioned high beds that required a step stool to climb into. The living room and kitchen/dining area were on the ground floor as well.

It was  late when we all decided to go to bed, but even later for me because I had my laptop with me and wanted to plan out our day in Memphis. I was thankful that the owners of the house had put in modern conveniences for those who would be using the house, including wireless internet. I think it was somewhere after one that I heard someone walking around. I figured someone was up to use the bathroom and was glad to know I wasn’t the only one who gets up in the middle of the night to pee. I took the sound as a cue for me to shut everything down and try to get some sleep, so I did. I snuggled down into the softness of the bed and felt a little lost without my dog sleeping pressed against my hip.

Suddenly I realised that I could still hear the footsteps. A dull thud on the wood floors seemed to have no purpose. They didn’t seem to follow a path, but wandered aimlessly around. My heart thudded a little, but I figured it was one of the others who had caught a case of insomnia. Wanting to see if there was anything I could do, I climbed out of bed and went up to the second floor. All the doors were closed; no one was up. Up here I didn’t hear the footsteps. I wasn’t  ready to wake them all, so I went back down and climbed back into bed. I settled back in comfort and closed my eyes. I was on the edge of consciousness when I heard them again. Didn’t check outside stupid. Maybe whoever it was had stepped out onto the upper gallery to enjoy the cool night air and avoid waking up everyone else. With a sigh I flipped the covers back and got up once again. I crept up the stairs again and opened the front gallery doors. No one was there, so I decided to walk around the whole upper floor in case whoever it was intended to circle the house in laps.

There was not another soul out on the gallery, nor were there any other sounds but my own breathing and my footsteps. I got back around to the front and went back inside. As soon as the door clicked shut I heard them again. Shit. I went to the nearest bedroom and knocked lightly. The footsteps continued behind me as I waited, heart pounding. The door opened and ScoobyFan stood on the other side of the threshold fully dressed still.

“Forget your jammies?” I asked. She looked past me and then back at me.

“Nope.”

I rolled up onto the balls of my feet making me momentarily taller. “Mind if I come in?” She stepped aside allowing me in. The bedroom was nice, furnished with an antique full size bed, a chest of drawers, two chairs and a television with DVD player attached. I sat in one of the chairs. “I think this house is haunted, but it’s not why I chose this house for us to stay in. There was no mention of hauntings when I looked at the website.”

“I heard the footsteps too.”

“Really?” I felt absurdly relieved.

“I thought it was either ScaryGirl or Jadewik moving around, but then I heard you come upstairs twice and knew that there was a definite difference between your footsteps and… the other.”

“I’m sorry Scooby. I didn’t mean for this to be a real paranormal weekend. I just thought we could get together in person and enjoy each others’ company for the weekend.”

“You remember what you suggested we do the first night we stayed in the B&B in Monticello?”

“Yeah. I just spoke aloud to whoever might’ve wanted to enter the room while we were asleep and asked them nicely not to do that.”

“Did you try that?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Honestly? Because I thought I was going crazy. And because I didn’t think we were in for that kind of weekend. I mean you and I stayed in Monticello knowing that the B&B was haunted. There was nothing on the website I looked at for this house.”

“So try it now.”

“Why me?”

“Why not?”

I let out a sigh. “If there’s anyone here with us walking around or something, would you please stop? We’d like to get some sleep and we can’t if you’re making noise.” I turned back to ScoobyFan. “How long should we wait to find out if it worked?”

“A little while I guess.”

“Mind if I stay up here with you? I don’t want to be alone on the first floor.”

“Do you think there’s enough room for two of us?”

“I’ll stay right here on the chair. And leave the lamp on please.”

Suddenly a clock I hadn’t noticed before struck the half hour causing us both to jump. That was quickly followed by a thud on the wall so hard it made the floor vibrate for an instant. I jumped up and leapt onto the end of the bed.

“Now what?” I asked.

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