Going Too Far

Going Too Far

Here’s part three of the story I started in The Light in the Bathroom Doesn’t Always Blink and continued in Ghostly Jams.
. . .

I feel like a teenager again.

Since we figured out the trick with the radio, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the laundry room. I perch atop the dryer (even though I shouldn’t) snacking on nuts or popcorn while my invisible companion manipulates the radio dial to find the words she wants to use. The more we do it, the better it gets. If it weren’t for the fragmentation of the different voices she uses, it would sound like I was talking to a regular person.

Of course, I’m careful not to do this while my husband is around. There’s a certain level of weird he’s willing to accept. I’m pretty sure this goes way beyond it. Not that I blame him for wanting to remain firmly grounded in the realm of sanity. It’s just better if he doesn’t know what I’m up to.

We talk like teenaged girls at a slumber party, giggling over shared jokes while we recount the details of our pasts. I know now that my ghostly companion’s name is Lydia, and we both laugh over the irony of a ghost with that name. I know that she has haunted the house since it was built, thirty-five years ago. I know from looking on the internet, this area was dense woodland before the sprawl of suburban development that extended the outskirts of town in this direction. That same research also revealed that several of the houses meant to be built in this area were never started, which is one of the reasons this house seems to isolated even though its only a few roads away from a main drag.

Lydia says that five families have lived in this house since it was built. Of the five, she believes she was only responsible for the departure of one; the home’s original occupants. She describes time spent in a haze of confusion, flailing for anything that might make sense and causing heaps of accidental trouble. It seems she may have been able to move freely through the house at that point, and that the efforts of the first family to confine her may be what limited her to this singular space. She’s no more sure than I am and I don’t think it would be a good idea to hunt down the home’s original occupants to open old wounds.

Ultimately, the first family left and Lydia did her best to stay quiet afterwards. If the flickering of lights or the occasional extra sound from this corner of the house drew attention, she tried to act on it. But most of the houses other occupants ignored her, writing the blinking off as faulty wiring and the clicks and bangs as a settling foundation.

I still haven’t asked about the last owner. I don’t think I will. The room gets cold whenever Lydia seems to think I’m close to the topic. Some things might be better left unsaid.

Lydia can’t remember exactly how she died. I’ve prodded a bit, trying to help jog her memory, but nothing seems to work and, again, I don’t want to upset her. She remembers wandering in the woods before the house was built. She seems to recall flashes, hints of an accident, but few specifics. My suspicions are that she happened upon this area around the time of construction. Either that, or ground was broken on the house shortly after and she’s stuck here because it was the last place she remembers before she passed.

I don’t know the rules for souls sticking around. Neither, it seems, does Lydia. She can’t think of any unfinished business that would pin her to the Earth. And even if she could, she’s quick to point out, it’s not like she can move around to complete it. She can’t even haunt her family because she can’t leave my laundry room. And even if I could break the bindings holding her here, she says she was never able to move more than ten feet beyond the house in any direction.

A conundrum for sure.

What my research hasn’t turned up is information about Lydia’s life. Thirty five years ago may have been before the digital revolution, but there are plenty of detailed newspapers from that time. I’ve dug pretty deep and I haven’t found a missing person’s report or even an obituary. It’s possible my dear Lydia was visiting from out of town when she met her untimely demise, which would explain the lack of reaction. But you would think the town would comment on a death in the area.

We’re both pretty sure that Lydia’s bones aren’t located somewhere beneath my house’s foundation. But there are days I wonder if she just says that to reassure me.

In the end, I don’t suppose it matters. There’s nothing I can do about Lydia’s death and there doesn’t seem to be much I can do about her afterlife either. After several in depth discussions, I lit a white candle and tried to use it to guide her toward the light. But after nearly two hours of on and off meditation, we both agreed it wasn’t going to help.

But I can’t stand the fact that she’s been trapped in the corner of my house for thirty years or more, with only the occasional TV or radio audio to keep her company.

So I decided to take matters into my own hands. I only hope I haven’t gone too far.

*   *   *

I hope no one’s monitoring my search history. I have googled some pretty weird things in my life, but the last few weeks have been downright incriminating.

I started with voodoo. It seemed like the most logical option. Except it turns out I don’t know a thing about actual voodoo. All that stuff you see in movies and video games involving voodoo dolls seems to be largely a creation of pop culture. Go figure.

From there, I moved into more familiar territory. Poppets seemed like a solid option, except they’re usually used to ward against possession instead of, you know, facilitating them. I’ve looked at every kind of spiritual doll from various belief systems I’ve encountered, but none of them seems quite right. I need a vessel my spirit friend can inhabit. One that’s easily portable but not permanently binding. The last thing I want to do is put my friend into something I can accidentally leave at the mall and then who knows what would happen to poor Lydia.

But if there are people who do this sort of thing, they don’t share their secrets on the dark underbelly of the internet. I’m a bit disappointed, even if makes perfect sense. You don’t want to get written off as one of the kooks on a conspiracy theory website, after all.

So I decided to take a modern approach.

I whipped out my sewing machine and sorted through all my old fabric scraps. I’m not going to call myself good at this sort of thing; my body might have plenty of creative bones but sewing has never been my particular strong suit. What matters is, I made something. And I’m pretty sure it’s going to work for what I have in mind.

“Ta-da!” I proclaimed as I unveiled it to Lydia.

The radio by the sink crackled static for several long seconds before her fragmented radio-announcer voice answered, “What is it?”

“What do you mean? It’s a plushie! I made it look just like Lydia from the old Beetlejuice cartoon. I watched that thing for hours when I was a kid.”

More static and then, “Oh, of course. I meant, what is it for? The shelf?”

“Sometimes, probably, sure. When we aren’t using it. But I made this for you.”

I waggled my eyebrows expectantly but when nothing but static greeted my excitement, I deflated a little.

“The idea is that you get inside it.” I demonstrated the concept by moving my hand like an airplane toward the plushie’s backside. “Then I put you in my purse and take you out into the world. Then I bring you back and you go back to whatever it is you do all day while the hubs and I are away. Hell, we can test it in the house first. We could have a movie night! Wouldn’t that be great!”

“So… it’s like a voodoo doll?” the cobbled together radio voice somehow managed to sound skeptical.

“No, actually. I looked that up. It’s nothing alike.”

“Oh. So it’s more like a lich’s phylactery then?”

“D&D nerd, huh?” I asked, arching an eyebrow. Not that I’m judging. I love me a good role playing game. I have been known for getting a little too into character, though. “Yeah, something like that. But I need your help here. What kind of stuff can you inhabit? I assume you can’t just crawl into the doll or you’d have done it with one of these.” I indicated the nerdy bobble heads still arrayed across the shelf.

“Yeah… That’s kind of the problem. I think if I’m going to inhabit something it needs to be tied to this place. But also… biological. Like blood, or something.”

Thank goodness houses can’t bleed, or I would be one hundred percent done with this crazy idea. “Okay,” I said. “It sounds a little farfetched, but I think I can work with this idea.”

The tricky part was grabbing a piece of the wall without leaving an obvious sign of damage. My husband will forgive me for a lot of things, but willfully damaging our property isn’t one of them. Too bad I didn’t think of this back when the electrician was cutting holes in the drywall. I could have just nabbed one of those scraps.

It took a few hours to pry one of the baseboards away from the wall. Mostly because I did it slowly and carefully. We have a bit of white paint for patch jobs, but if I somehow splinter the wood, I’m in deep trouble. Likewise, I took my time shaving a small bit of drywall out from underneath it. I didn’t want to knick a wire or something. I’m not claiming to be handy or even clever. I watched a lot of youtube tutorials. But when I was finished, I was pretty sure you’d have to look relatively hard to spot the fact that I had removed a baseboard and put it back.

I’m pretty proud of that, actually.

My little shaving of drywall went into a small glass vial. I tossed some rosemary and lavender in there for good measure. It never hurts to be careful with this sort of thing.

I saved the blood for last because there’s no getting around how awkward it is. I asked Lydia if pricking my finger with a needle and squeezing a few drops inside would be enough. She made a lot of static thinking sounds with the radio before she finally admitted her doubt.

There was nothing for it. I took one of our little used kitchen knives and scrubbed it with soap about four times until I was satisfied it was probably sanitary. I mean, I’ve cut myself before while chopping vegetables, but never on purpose. Luckily we have one of those home sharpening tools and, as we’ve established, I’ve got a nice healthy dose of crazy keeping me from thinking too hard about this sort of stuff.

I was as careful as you can be about using a knife to slit open one of my fingers. I used minimal pressure. I made the cut a little longer than I wanted to, but this wasn’t exactly a precision job.

I smeared the blood from the cut all over the drywall fragment and then put it back in the vial. I did a surgical scrub on the wounded hand before I stuck a band aid on it. It’s small enough my husband won’t think it’s too weird that I cut myself. Hell, I slice my fingers open on my own fingernails all the time and that’s after I file them round to keep myself from doing so.

For good measure, I filled the vial with red wine when I was finished. Just, you know, to make the whole thing seem a little less gross. There’s no salvaging how weird this situation is, so I won’t even try to rationalize it.

I sealed the vial with a hot glue gun and sewed the whole thing into the back of my handmade plushie. Hopefully no one ever finds a way to rip that thing open because I’ll be damned if I can think of a way to explain away its innards.

We tested extensively throughout the house to make sure our makeshift phylactery worked.  I don’t know what, exactly, I hope to accomplish with all this, but we’ll see how our first joint foray into the wider world goes.

2 Replies to “Going Too Far”

    1. Eee! I’m so glad you’re enjoying it! :D It was so much fun to write! I’d be interested to hear how the end compares to your guess. It’ll be posted next week ^.^

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.