It started with a knock at the door.
I had just moved into the neighborhood, so I figured it must have been one of those old-fashion type neighbors with a casserole and a kind word. But when I opened the door, all that was there was a piece of paper, held down by a rock. Grabbing the paper, I walked back inside, confused. I didn’t really look at it at first, figuring it was just a menu or an opportunity to save money on my car insurance. It would have just become part of the mess quickly growing on the dining room table if my dog three weeks later hadn’t decided to try out some new chew toys. I came in from mowing the lawn to find him sitting there, calmly tearing through a stack of papers on the floor as if searching for a long lost bone. He ran off before I could yell at him, leaving his chaos behind. As if planned, the first paper I rescued was that folded mystery note. A bit soggy from drool, but still mostly intact. My curiosity finally peaking, I unfolded it to reveal a single sentence.
Your house is haunted.
That was it. Four words you’ve seen a hundred thousand times in a hundred thousand horror movies. I was ready to just chalk it up to a bored teenager with designs on becoming a future B movie director. But something about it made me pause for a second. Why would someone leave a message like this on a front porch? I could understand a doorbell rung in the middle of the night, or waste aflame on a doorstep. But a piece of paper claiming where I was living was haunted? The idea of a prank seemed like a stretch the more I thought about it. Yet, the closest to paranormal I had seen so far was the woman who owned the record shop in town.
Maybe it was just a joke. A pretty pathetic one, but a joke nonetheless.
I tossed the paper into the garbage and went to go find the dog. When I found him, he was standing absolutely still at the base of the staircase looking up. Even when I started petting him, he maintained his stare. Calling him, attempting to push him gently away, even going to the cabinet and grabbing a treat did nothing to gain his attention back. He just continued his vigil. Whatever it was he saw, I couldn’t see anything. It was only after about five minutes that he turned towards me, wagged his tail, and sauntered off towards the living room. I watched him for a second and then turned back towards the top of the stairs. The staircase remained as it should have, ready to take its occupants to new heights. Shaking my head, I went and joined the dog in the living room, plopping down on the couch and grabbing the remote.
It was at that moment when I heard the disembodied voice tell me maybe I should have taken their advice.