Amber has two friends over to watch scary movies and drink some wine. Little do they know, the spirit is about to manifest.
Since the web cam incident in early January, Amber and Don talked about the weird incidents. The couple briefly discussed what it could be, but still disagree if it’s paranormal. Nothing has happened in the past month after Amber had her rabbi bless the house. Tonight, she invited her two best friends, Erin and Laurel, over to watch some scary movies.
It’s Obvious Now
DINGDONG! DINGDONG! DINGDONG!
The doorbell ring broke Amber out of her party planning routine. She stepped away from the kitchen island, each dish placed equidistant from the food platter, with each wine glass at just the right angle.
Another bell ring. Aggressive, Amber thought to herself and stood at the cherry oak door. She brushed her hands on her spring floral apron and opened it.
“Omigodyougivemeahugandshowmethissweetnewhouse!!!!” Erin enthusiastically said. She gave Amber an almost bear hug.
“I know, I should’ve had you come over sooner, but..,” Amber was trying to say when Erin interrupted her.
“Hon, it’s fine. I know there was all that crazy electrical stuff and you had that break-in! Is little Chester ok?”
“Yes, he’s better,” Amber said. “My poor guy. That dick threw him across the room and the police never caught him!”
Erin hugged Amber again and the two women went to the kitchen. Erin looked over the spread, not knowing where to start.
“I made your favorites like rugelach, hamantaschen and apple cake,” Amber said and added, “but, I’ve got red sangria, too. Let me give you a healthy pour.”
“Girl, you know how to make a girl happy!” Erin replied.
As Amber finished pouring the sangria, the doorbell rang again. It was Laurel, holding a Tupperware mega bowl.
“Hey!” Amber said and welcomed the lanky brunette, who had a penchant for cat eye glasses.
“Hi darling,” Laurel said and gave Amber a couple of air kisses. “I brought your favorite movie watching snack.”
“Omigod! You cannot tell my rabbi!” Amber replied.
“Never would,” Laurel said and set down the mega bowl next to the fixings on the table. Then she took off her rain jacket and hung it on the rack next to the door. “That storm is really coming on. I’m glad we get to stay the night. It would be a bitch to get back to Edmonds tonight.”
Laurel turned to her other bestie, Erin. “Don’t drink all the sangria. I need a five-second pour for myself.”
“I’ll save you some…maybe,” Erin said.
The girls continued to catch up on who’s dating whom from college and their latest shenanigans in their hometowns. After finishing a slice of apple cake and a glass of sangria, they got down to the point for the evening.
“What kinda scary movie you wanna watch?” Erin asked.
“Slasher. Lots of blood. Or funny. Or bloody funny,” Laurel replied.
“That sounds good,” Amber responded. “Maybe the Scream series? I miss Neve Campbell.”
“Sounds good to me,” said Erin. “Let’s pour another glass of sangria and open up the Tupperware. I’m dying for some of that goodness.”
Amber opened the cupboard above the sink and grabbed three bowls, while Laurel popped the top off the mega bowl. The chocolate, caramel and bacon smell wafted through the kitchen.
“Popcorn has never been better,” Laurel said as she took a deep breath and savored the sweet-and-savory concoction.
Erin smiled and rolled her head back and forth, “Heaven. Just pure heaven.”
Amber gave Laurel a stern look and said, “You can never tell my rabbi, ok?”
“What? You want me to pinkie swear on that?” Laurel sarcastically responded.
The ladies laughed as they made their way to the sun room and put their wine and popcorn on the coffee table. In front of them on the wall was Don’s 64-inch 4K LCD TV, the crown jewel for every football fan’s viewing pleasure.
Erin looked at it and said, “We’ll see every pore on Neve’s nose on that.”
As Amber was getting ready to start Netflix, she realized she hadn’t given her friends a tour of the house.
“Sorry, before we get started watching all the murders and stuff,” Amber said, “I need to give you the tour. It’ll only take 5 minutes, but I can’t show you the master bedroom. Chester’s in there and he’s been acting weird again. I don’t want him to get out and run away.”
The women agreed and let Amber know they can always have a longer tour tomorrow morning. After 10 minutes, the friends came back to the sun room to watch the movie. Amber turned on the TV and found Scream 2, the one with Buffy The Vampire Slayer in it.
Thirty minutes into the movie and half a bowl of popcorn later, the lights blinked 5 or 6 times and then went out, leaving the three young ladies in the dark. Lightning flashed and driving rain splashed against the floor-to-ceiling windows.
“I’ll go turn on the generator,” Amber said as she put her wine on the kitchen counter and plucked a rain jacket off coat rack. She opened the front door and stepped into the cold rain.
Back inside, she hung her drenched jacket on the rack. “Just a few more minutes and I can flip the breakers,” she said to Erin and Laurel. Both looked relieved.
“Hon, it’s not fun to drink sangria in the dark,” Erin quipped and Laurel nodded in agreement.
“Don’t be such wussies, girls,” Amber said. She walked over to the kitchen sink, opened the cupboard doors below and pulled out a flashlight. “I’ll flip the breakers and we’ll be back in business.”
With that, Amber stepped into the garage by the gym equipment. It would take a few minutes for the generator to get up to speed, so she would stand in the dark until the generator warmed up. In the background, she heard thunder rumbling and rains whipping against the house. Waves of rain water streamed down the garage’s three windows. At last, Amber could turn on the breakers. She flipped on the generator’s circuit breaker, then turned house box on.
In the kitchen, Erin chugged her sangria and tapped her fingers on the counter. She was a little scared. Laurel, who stood next to her, flicked through social media posts on her phone. “Ok, Amber. Hurry this up. It’s getting creepy in here,” Erin said. Laurel nodded in agreement again and clicked ‘Like’ on a cat post. Suddenly, the light flooded the first floor. Erin and Laurel smiled as the kitchen brightened and Amber walked in. “Let’s get back to our movie, ladies!” Amber said and snatched her wine glass off the counter.
In the sun room, the girls settled back into their seats on the couch. “Where did we stop?” Amber asked.
“It was the part where Ghost Face throws Buffy on the balcony, but hasn’t stabbed her,” Laurel deadpanned.
“Gotcha,” Amber replied and pressed the fast forward button on the remote.
“I love these movies,” Erin said, snuggling deeper into the plush leather sofa. “Would you pass the fatty popcorn, please?” she asked Laurel. “No, I’m still shoveling it into my face,” she said and smirked. Erin and Amber tilted their heads and glared at her.
“Pass it or face the consequences,” Amber said sternly.
“Damn straight,” Erin added.
“Ok, ok. Here you go,” Laurel said and she grabbed an extra handful and shoved it her mouth.
Erin looked at Amber and said, “Remind me to disinvite her from our annual cupcake bake-off.” With that, the besties giggled and turned back to the murder and mayhem of the horror flick.
About 15 minutes had passed and Chester came waltzing into the room. He jumped up on Laurel’s lap and began to purr.
Amber looked alarmed by this. “Did anyone go upstairs?” she asked.
“No, hon, only when you gave us that quick tour. We’ve been together all night,” Erin responded.
“Even when I was outside or in the garage?” Amber asked.
“Nope, not at all. We stayed downstairs, guarding the wine,” Laurel answered.
Amber scrunched her forehead in thought. “Guys, I had Chester locked in the master bedroom. He couldn’t have gotten out by himself.”
Erin and Laurel looked at each other. They now remembered how Amber said an intruder had been in the house a month ago.
“Do you think…?,” Erin was saying when she trailed off.
Amber became shaken by the thought of an intruder in the house again. With the house on generator power, the home security system didn’t fully work. She turned to her cell phone and opened the security app. Two of the four cameras didn’t operate.
“I can’t see what happened upstairs. When the generator’s on, we only have power downstairs. I can’t see if someone’s upstairs,” Amber said.
“That’s ok. We can help look around,” Laurel offered. Erin shook her head in agreement.
“Should we use something to protect ourselves?” Erin asked. “Do you think we need it?”
Amber had always been confident of her abilities to defend herself, but she seemed less sure after the events in the house.
“I’ve got pepper spray in my purse,” Amber said. “I’ll use that. I’ve also got some golf clubs in the garage. Do you want to grab one or two?”
Laurel agreed and stepped away to get them, and returned with a wedge and a putter.
“Which one do you want?” she asked Erin.
“Wedge,” said Erin.
“Great, you left me the little one,” Laurel said.
The three friends snickered on that reply, then walked up the stairs with only the glow of a cell phone to light the way.
After an intense search, they found nothing.
“I guess I didn’t lock the bedroom door,” Amber said. “I’m sorry. I guess I’m getting paranoid in my old age.”
“True, she is older than both of us,” Laurel deadpanned to Erin.
“That’s a fact,” Erin added.
“Omigod, you are both bitches!” Amber responded. “Now, where’s my popcorn? That’s mine, after all. Bitches don’t get delicious treats at my house.”
“Oooooh! Snap!” Erin said.
“Now, where were we?” Amber asked.
“The cop’s about to get a pole through his head,” Laurel responded.
“Harsh,” Erin said, grimacing “How do you remember all that stuff?”
“I’m twisted,” Laurel replied.
The ladies settled back into their seats with Chester between Amber and Laurel. Amber had taken control of both the remote and bowl of chocolate, caramel and bacon popcorn.
Soon after the cop got a pole through his head and Elise met her death, Erin shivered and turned to Amber.
“Do you have a blanket or something?” Erin asked. “It got really cold.”
Laurel, too, responded. “Yeah, it feels drafty. Is a window open down here?”
“I wonder if it’s the HVAC again,” Amber replied. “You think the heat’s turning on, but you get AC.”
As Amber stood to check the thermostat, the lights blinked and the TV screen turned to static. Erin and Laurel both stood now. Chester moved to the top of the sofa. His hair stood up and he gave a low growl.
The lights began flicker faster, like a strobe going off. Chester jumped down to the sofa seats, looked around the room, and hissed.
“I don’t know what to think about this,” Erin stated. She turned to Laurel, who tried to comfort Chester. He relaxed to a degree and stopped hissing, but kept his gaze on the TV. At this point, the lights stopped blinking and returned to normal.
“Maybe something’s wrong with the inlet box wires?” Amber asked out loud. “I’m going to shut it down and restart everything.”
She walked into the kitchen to open the garage door. As she reached out to the knob, the lights shut off completely. This startled the three of them and they gasped in unison.
“Do you think the generator ran out of gas?” Erin asked.
“Not by now,” Amber replied. “There should be enough to get through the night.”
Amber tried to turn the knob, but it wouldn’t budge. It’s like it got locked from the outside. She tried again, but her twisting didn’t work.
“What’s wrong, hon?” Erin asked.
“I…can’t open the door to the garage,” Amber said. “It’s like it’s locked, but the lock’s on this side.”
Amber continued, “Laurel, did you lock the door by accident or was it hard to turn it?”
Laurel said no and took another gulp from her wine glass.
Amber shook the door knob again and stepped back. “I’ll just go out the front and start the generator up again.”
“I’ll go with you,” Laurel said.
“Wait, what about me and Chester?” Erin asked with a quiver in her voice.
As Erin said that, Chester became agitated again. He circled Erin a few times, then sat down in front of her. He cocked his head to the TV and hissed.
Amber came back in the room and bent down to Chester. “It’s ok, little boy. I’m just going to restart things so we can finish this movie. Then, we’ll all have some wine and go to bed. But no drinking for you, kitty cat. You’re still underage.”
As she stood up, the TV came back on. At first, a silent static buzzed on the screen. Then it boomed through the room like a million bumblebees.
Erin covered her ears and yelled, “What the fuck?!”
Laurel jumped at the sound and tripped over a chair in the kitchen. She fell to the floor with a thud. Her glasses falling off and landing under the kitchen table.
Amber, however, didn’t seem scared or surprised. She raised her hands to cover her ears, and stared into the screen. The black snowflakes began to swarm and move across the screen, settling into the center. Bit by bit, they merged into an outline and filled in until a shape formed.
The silhouette of a man formed.
In the middle of screen, from the shoulders up, an inky shape appeared. It turned its head to show its profile, a strong nose and pronounced chin. This shape shrugged its shoulders and shook them to like it was loosening up before a basketball game.
And then it stepped out of the screen.
Something like a black ooze flowed as it moved away from the LCD TV, cascading to the floor and forming arms, a torso and legs. In a few seconds, it shaped itself into a solid being, a man about six-feet tall with a nerd’s physique.
Chester launched from the floor at the thing. He landed on its leg with claws extended, trying to shred its thigh. But Chester stuck to it, like flypaper. He gave a curious growl and was about to bite into it when Amber grabbed him by his scruff and yanked him off. He felt like he’d just run through snow, his belly cold and wet.
“Grab the fucking cat! Let’s go!” Erin yelled and Amber obeyed. She turned to run towards the front door, but her head snapped back. The thing had grabbed her hair and pulled it tight.
Amber could feel an icy wave rush over her. She began to feel light-headed when her hair went slack. Erin had grabbed the putter and swung it through the entity’s arm, breaking its grip.
“Go! Go! Go!” Erin yelled again and swung the club through the inky phantom. It splattered on contact like mud. The end of the club hit the TV screen and shattered it.
The TV shut off and the house became still. No one could see if the entity was in the room.
Laurel grabbed the flashlight from the counter and shined the light toward Amber and Erin. “Is it afraid of light?” she asked, her voice cracking.
“How the fuck am I supposed to know?!” Amber and Erin said together and ran into the kitchen.
“Grab your shit. We’re out of here,” Erin said. “We’ve got to be at Pier 50 before the last ferry leaves.”
With that the women took their purses, keys and phones. Laurel collected her glasses from under the table.
The group opened the front and stepped into the February showers and gusting winds. None of the other houses in the subdivision had power as well. Amber’s neighborhood sat quiet with a few scattered lights in the stormy night.
Laurel hopped into her truck and pulled away. She didn’t even say bye. Amber, holding Chester, and Erin stepped into her black Denali SUV. She backed out of the driveway and programmed Pier 50’s location on her phone. It would take nearly an hour to get there, so they may not make the ferry.
Amber sat in the front seat, cuddling Chester. He pressed against her for warmth and comfort. She felt his strong purr on her chest. He wasn’t a very happy kitty; he was making a grumpy cat face. She pulled him up for a quick smooch, then let him relax in her lap.
“Amber,” Erin said. “Put your seatbelt on, hon.”
Amber didn’t even realize the dashboard pinged the unfastened seat belt alarm. She apologized and clasped the buckle.
“Don’t worry about it,” Erin said. “We’ve got some work to do about that house of yours.”
“What do you think that…thing…is?” Amber asked.
Erin turned to Amber and said, “Girl, you’ve got a ghost haunting you.”
In Part 6, Amber and Erin battle the ghost for control of the house.
Ed. Note: To keep the couple’s privacy, we’ve used pseudonyms. This story is inspired by events at a home in Snoqualmie, Washington, so treat it as fiction.