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The Dead Zone

October 2005

A few years ago, when I was 11 years old, my family was evicted from our home. In September of that same year, my grandmother (on my mother's side) was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer. She was in ICU for several weeks and was finally sent home with a truck-full of hospice supplies. My family and my aunt's family took care of her for about two weeks. She died on November 24th. After that, seeing as my family had nowhere else to go, we moved in with my grandfather and uncle to keep them company(they claimed the house had gone deadly quiet since she had gone).

Everything worked out well at first. My grandparents' house had been built in the early 1960's, and they were the first family to have lived in it. It was fairly large with four bedrooms, two and a half baths, and a furnished basement. My sister and I took the two extra bedrooms, and my parents slept in the basement.

About a month after we had moved in, my parents began complaining of hearing loud, clunking footsteps at around 6AM every morning. They said the footsteps would pace quickly up and down the hall as if worried or looking for something. This wouldn't have been abnormal had it not been for the fact that there was never anyone in the hall at that time. My uncle left for work at around 5AM, my grandfather usually stayed in bed until around 8AM, and my sister and I refused to get up before 10AM.

Still, everything was fairly peaceful until my grandfather came charging into the living room one night asking why someone had gone into his bedroom. He said he'd seen someone walking out of his room with the old laundry basket that my grandmother always used full of dirty clothes. None of us had been in his bedroom recently, and certainly not to get dirty clothes! We checked downstairs, and sure enough, the old laundry basket was on the table where the clothes were sorted, and the washing machine was rumbling away with my grandfather's clothes.

After that, the strange occurrences became more frequent. My grandfather would often say he would see my grandmother walking down the hall. Almost daily fall asleep in his huge brown chair. Often times, right when he should be leaving for his VFW meetings, he would wake to feeling someone shaking him and hearing my grandmother's voice saying "Get up!" or "You have to leave!" If not for this, he would have missed almost every meeting.

On top of this, strange things happened consistently every November 24th - the anniversary of my grandmother's death. Her hospice bed was stationed near the front window of the living room, and at around 10:30Pm - the exact time of my grandmother's death - there is a gust of wind, and a feeling of sadness fills the living room. Also, if you pick up the phone to call anyone on that day, instead of a dial tone, there will be a short, whispered "Goodbye" from the receiver.

The footsteps kept up. Now, though, my parents were saying they had moved to pacing up and down the stairs. The odd thing was that the steps would continue for a good half hour, and they would never slow down or sound as if the walker was getting tired. After about eight months, my family found a house about fifteen minutes away and moved out.

Finally, this last February 16th, my grandfather awoke to hear my grandmother saying "Get up, Al! It's time to go!" He checked with my uncle, who often kept a list of the family's activities in case anyone forgot, to see if he had any VFW or Senior Center meetings that day. His schedule was clear. Two days later, my grandfather called us at our new house and said he thought he was having a stroke. We called 911 and hurried to the hospital. My grandfather died about one hour later, uttering something that sounded like "Hi, Kay."

Now that we are selling the house, we know that someone is helping us decide who will buy it. Whenever we start to sell the house to someone that our grandparents might not favor, the air turns very cold, and one gets the definite phrase "Not them" running through their heads. After a few months, we have found a good family that is interested, and the house now seems brighter than ever.

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