This is all true. I did a lot of things in graduate school I'm not sure were right. Was my major correct? Did I do this or that research paper well? How could I have networked better? But, choosing where I lived was the best decision I could have made. I ended up in a small, leaky, roach filled apartment near the busiest street in town. The kind where you can hear neighbors on both sides. The kind that makes you wonder how the building is still standing. The stray cats that hung around the door looking for scraps kept the rats away, and they, along with the haunted house down the street, cemented my decision to stay right where I was, roaches and all.
I first saw the house upon arriving to the small southern town. It was a large mansion home, with a huge wrap around porch. The grounds looked like they had been mowed using a ruler and straight edge. It had all the trappings of an old plantation home while still being in the center of the city. I had moved in to my terrible apartment due to lack of housing space, but decided I, along with a few friends would ask the landlord about renting the place since it would be much cheaper than all of us living in our own places.
?We met at the house on a hot summer afternoon. It was so hot in fact, we wondered why we didn't hear any air conditioning units around the house. In fact, there were no sounds at all. Even the insects, which were so plentiful at that time of year weren't making any chirping noises. I don't remember birds singing either, although that could just be my memory being hazy. We opened the huge, solid wood door to find a great room with massive windows and gorgeous architecture. It was easy to imagine the large dining table that would have held the prominent southern family as well as several important, wealthy guests. The first problem occurred when we found there would be no central air. None of us could imagine living in a place without air, especially one that size. We decided we would tour the place anyway. The remodeled parts of the house were welcoming if a little stale from lack of air. However, as we reached the kitchen I began to notice a change.
I won't tell you I saw or heard anything different. That would be a lie. There were no bumps, or mysterious shadowy figures. There was however, a feeling of being watched. The air also felt heavier. Even with the heat of the day, the air gathered itself around me and seemed to shove me toward the door. Figuring I had not hydrated well enough I ignored the feeling and wanted upstairs. I stopped at the top of the landing which led to the bedrooms and attic. Something was wrong up here. The repressive air grew heavier, and the feeling of being watched intensified. Now, the feeling was mixed with a general air of hatred. Whoever it was that watched did not want me there. The further I walked toward the attic, the stronger the feeling. By the time I reached the door, I knew I wasn't staying here. The door to the attic stuck, not allowing me access. The landlord said that space was for storage and there was no need for me to see it. As I walked toward the long winding stairs that led down to the main rooms, the air pushed at my back. I thanked the universe it was not a stronger spirit as I was sure it would have pushed me to my death if it could.
I left the house, determined to find out who had been there. I found the house had been home to several slave owners and slaves. No one went into details, but I can only imagine the hurts that had been done n to so many. No wonder the spirits were still there angry and hurting. I completed my degree, and wished several times that my windows wouldn't leak, but I never again returned to that house.