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The Ghost in the Bedroom

Sarah and her entire family moved to a new house. It was a beautiful summer day and her parents: Susan and Jack were very happy that they were finally able to purchase a suburban home for their growing family. Sarah, being the elder of three and the role model for Michael (age 6) and Kimmy (age 3) was excited to see that she would no longer have to share her bedroom. Growing into a beautiful and enthusiastic teen ager life was wonderful and certianly happening. The two stories house was amazing. The blue and white facade with a two-water roof was almost something you got out of a children's coloring book. The whole house seemed to smile as the red suburban drove and parked in the driveway; the children got off with smiles and cries of happiness and the parents opened the door to the house telling the kids to choose their own rooms. The kids ran upstairs, there was no time to waste. Each one took a room, Kimmy took the one that was closest to the master bedroom; for Michael, the next one and Sarah took the room furthest of them all. Silent and almost isolated from the rest of the house it was the perfect place for a teenager to find herself; do "her things" in peace and quiet and being able to keep her two little siblings out as much as possible. The moving truck came and the workers started unloading all the menage. Boxes were piled up on top of each other and some on top of the furniture. The kids took care and were attentive to their dogs, neatly and carefully placed in their couriers in the coolest most comfortable place in the house. The moving continued as movings usually go. Mom and dad took care of all the heavy lifting and sorting out the sea of boxes, then it was time for the kids to start taking out their belongings and neatly placing them inside the closets and sorting out everything else. The first night was peaceful. Naturally everyone was beat down and as soon as they laid their heads on their pillows were fast asleep. Yet, something woke up Jack with a jolt. He opened his eyes and squinted to penetrate the darkness around him, everything in the room seemed fine but there was something that clearly wasn't he could not point his finger at it, but -something- was wrong. He thought it was a dream scare, shrugged his shoulders and went back to sleep. The next day the family got up and went about their business as usual, things went on as things do with everyday life and Jack did not give a second thought to that eerie feeling on the first night they were in the house. A few months passed and everyone was happy with the new home. Then Susan decided that it was time to "imprint" their own family seal on the house and started planning renovations. Perhaps build a terrace in the garden overlooking the new pool they would build; the kids cheered at once, it was a great idea! So Susan and Jack hired the corresponding professionals and started the work That night

Susan and Jack woke up to the sound of small footsteps in the kitchen. Worried that it might be their kids jolted out of bed and went to check it out. When they reached the kitchen and turned on the light, they saw nothing. Everything was neatly placed in their kitchen and there was no indication that anyone has been there since dinner. Slowly and talking about the vivid dream that they both had at the exact same time they went back to their room, as they entered, they saw a small figure standing next to Jack's night stand. They squinted their eyes trying to guess the actual image of little Michael or Kimmy without much success. Susan flicked on the light in the room and as soon as she did that, the dark mysterious shape vanished. They looked at each other and dismissed the event as the tricks that your eyes play when you move from bright to dark You would think that again, things went back to normal for several months, but it did not happen. As soon as the ground was broken to start the pool, Susan began noticing things moved out of place; she would leave the stove on and when she return a few seconds later it was off. At first she thought that the wind drafts would have smothered the flames but the knob was turned to off. The events did not passed Kimmy or Michael by. Michael started "talking" to the "boy inside the closet"; he would whisper things and jokes to the "boy" and the "boy" would talk them back to him. Jack was bewildered but Susan dismissed it as one of the many times when kids have imaginary friends. One day, as Kimmy was in the bathtub, Susan was frightened by the scream of the girl. She ran upstairs and did not notice that she did not had to open the door to the bathroom, upon reaching Kimmy she saw her soaking in a pool of thick, brown mud! At first, she thought that this was not possible then went back a few steps and saw her corridor plants all tossed around and the planters empty of dirt. Believing that it was a prank, she scowlded and punished Kimmy for being naughty but something still felt odd. As Susan was sitting down in the living room later that night, she heard behind her the small voice of a child saying: "I am sorry" She turned to talk to Kimmy and found that she was alone in the living room. Susan was baffled, she started to analyze the voice and dismiss it as a fugment if her imagination when she heard the same childish voice say: "I just wanted to play". A chill ran down her spine as she walked as fast as she could without running to her daughter's bedroom. As soon as she opened the door, she asked Kimmy if it had been her the one who tipped over the plants and filledbthentub with mud. She replied softly "no" "Why didn't you say so before?" Asked her mother. "You would not have believed me" was the soft and crude response. While Susan and Jack considered themselves true parenting rolemodels, even she had to recognize that she would

have been slow to believe that a non-physical entity and not her daughter was the culprit of the muddy bathtub. Susan waited for Jack to return home from his work and sat thim in the den. "Jack, we have ghosts". As she spoke the words, Jacks' eyes grew bigger and wider. He could not believe that his wife would fall prey of such nonesense. "Jack, there ARE ghosts here in the house" Sarah repeated, slowly and well enunciated so Jack would pick up on everything that was told to him. "Have you listened to yorself? Do you realize you are actually considering something impossible?" Was jack's cathegoric response. "Oh, yeah? Well, Mr. Logic" Susan replied and went on to tell him the events that happened with themysteriouslymuddy bathtub. Jack listened, decided it was all in Susan's mind. After all, being home with the kids was no easy task and being hard on discipline certainly imposes a certain degree of stress, even in the strongest and sturdiest of parents. Susan was somewhat reluctant in accepting this as a plausible response, but the whole idea of taking in that there were indeed ghosts in her house and that these non-living beings were interacting with her kids was not possible. Days passed and things were slowly back to normal.... At least in the parent's eyes... After the bathtub incident, small Kimmy had decided that it was all better if she did not tell her parents about the small boy that would often come to her and ask her to play with him. More than once the 3 year old would turn to her siblings to ask them for help to "clean after Timmy" as she had baptized the non-corporeal boy. While Michael loved her sister, it is hard that a 6 year old could actually help a lot, so it was usually Sarah's task to help Kimmy clean up before their parents would notice. As time passed by, Michael would also be involved in the play games of Kimmy and Timmy, and soon after, the both boys would start having play-dates of their own... Sarah felt that it was one of those imaginary things and that each time Kimmy or Michael turned to her for help in cleaning up the messes it was just because they did not want to get into too much trouble with their parents. She smiled and thought that it would have been nice

for her if she had had a similar sibling, someone she could have turned to when she was their age; and so she did all she could to prevent their parents to notice. Still and even with the kid's best intentions, Jack and Susan could not help but notice that the DVD player would start running on its own. At first, they thought it was simply a malfunction of the electronic appliance, so they took it to the specialist for repair and maintenance; the next time it started on its own, they dismissed it as something that happens even with the care of the professional, so they replaced it. But this new DVD player ALSO turned on by itself. So they decided to change the television set -as it might be what is causing the brand new, highly efficient,profuselyrecommended DVD to malfunction- and when the new TV set came and the DVD player kept turning on by itself, they thought that it might be something in the "improved" section as to leaving a DVD disc inside the appliance. So finally they decided to unplug the appliance when it was not being used. The next thing they knew is that television set would turn on on its own. They never realized that the only times when the DVD would start on its own were the times when one of the kid's DVDs was inside the appliance; nor did they notice that the channel that was on the television set each time it would turn on was a cartoon channel. Sarah did notice. She kept silent but wondered if it had anything to do with the "so called" imaginary friend of her siblings. Time came and went, and soon enough it was time for Michael's birthday celebration. Turning 7 years old was an entire festivity. The moment when toddlers turn "big boys" and they are allowed to do a lot more things, such as have slumber parties with their friends! Michael was besides himself. He wanted a "big boys" party and as such was determined not to let his mom get him the clown or magician show she would get for him every year. Susan patiently heard all the ideas that Michael had for his birthday party and almost did not notice the parts where he would say: "timmy thinks that we should do this or that". So when she asked Michael who "timmy" was, the kid immediately went mute. A cold chill ran down Susan's back; in an age where child molestors come in all shapes and sizes she was really concerned that her kid was being preyed upon one of such vermin. That night, Susan shared her worries with Jack who took a gloomy expression, replying that it was something they needed to look into more deeply. As the days passed and Michael's Birthday party grew nearer, Susan's mind was filled withworrisomethoughts; but the child did not appear to be in trouble orbefriendedany grown up that was unknown to her... Eventually, the birthday party date arrived and as Susan saw waltz in all of Michael's friends and their parents, she scrutinized them trying to figure out if one of his guests was the "timmy" he had kept talking about all these days. Sarah walked up to her mom, she had noticed something worrying her but had dismissed it as probably the high cost of the entire celebration.

"Mom? Don't worry, we will be fine, fortunately, Michael only has one birthday..." Sarah said calmly to her mother as she passed one arm around her shoulders. "It is not that.... Sarah, has Michael told you about any "timmy" or who that might be?" Susan questioned Sarah. Sarah smiled "Yeah. "timmy" is the name that both Michael and Kimmy have given their common imaginary friend". Susan gasped with relief. "So you are saying that this "timmy" is just an imaginary friend?" asked as she stared into her daughter's eyes. "Yup! "timmy" is the culprit to whom they blame all theirmischievousacts. I have been "helping them cover for timmy" so that you do not get mad at them for causing chaos or mayhem inside the house...." Sarah smiled widely as she remembered half a dozen "helps" she did for them in the past week or so. "What type of mischief are we talking about?" Asked Susan with an intrigued expression "Well... Just last week, Kimmy came running and asked me to help her fix some chaos "timmy" had caused in your dresser; seems that "he" got into your make up drawer and screw around with the eye shadows and the lipsticks... they were all open and turned over. So what I did was order things up. NO biggie" As the two women looked at each other, a thought dawn on them. Susan asked almost with fear "Was Kimmy playing with "timmy" or was it Michael?" Sarah said almost to herself: "It was Kimmy, but Kimmy does not have the strength to open your cosmetics and she is too young to climb to your chair and reach the make up drawer!" Susan suddenly remembered the events of the night when the bathtub got muddy, that mysterious voice saying that all that "it" wanted was to play... But it was almost 6 months ago! What was going on in her house? She was determined to find out and put her mind at ease! Even so, she was truly relieved that this "timmy" character was nopedophile. After the party, she calmly went to talk to both Kimmy and Michael. She went from one bed to the next and calmly inquired as to who was this "timmy", where did they meet him and so on. She asked them one at a time, right before bed as she knew this was the best time for a child to spill the truth; they are too tired to lie and they haven't had the malice yet to get "their stories straight"... What she learned dumbfounded her. Both kids were consistent with their stories: "timmy" was not easy to be seen as he was like the living room curtains... translucent; but indoors and at night it was easy to see him IF you did not turn on bright lights. He was always smiling and he loved to play with everything and to everything. Both kids said that "timmy" was always sad and that when their mom or dad would walk into the room, his eyes turned "scary" and "timmy" would go away. Slowly, Susan walked out of her kid's bedrooms and walked to the living room where she sat in a semi-darkness to meditate on what she had just learned. "Ghosts" kept ringing in her mind as an ultimatum; a word that no one wants to speak or think about, but there was no other alternative.

She sat there without uttering a word until Jack came back from his office. She greeted him with an abscent mind, Jack could not help but notice that something was bothering his beloved wife and, as always, thought that the best approach was the direct one. When Susan related to him what the children had told her, he sat quietly besides her... Then, sighing, he said: "Well, there is no other way around it, we need to find ourselves a professional". Susan did not know if he was serious or not. "a professional?" she thought... "as if it was something that actually is advertised in the yellow pages!" she shrugged and replied: "I do not think it is going to be an easy task....." Before replying, Jack walked to the phone and got the yellow pages book, quickly he flipped through it and found "psychics"... the list was long... for a moment he considered closing the book and hoping for the best, but at that moment Sarah came back from being with her friends in the mall all afternoon. That made up his mind and started dialing the first number on the list. Jack spent several hours calling the "psychic" numbers on the yellow pages listing. He found almost all possible dubious characters and some that seem to have come out from a horror story or a cartoon show; some were meek enough, others actually wanted them to pay thousands of dollars for seyances and exorcisms that "might" work... Susan and Jack had begun to loose hope when Sarah came with an idea: Broaden the query, go online. Each one of them registered to as many forums, bulletin boards and chats related the spirits, ghosts and psychics as they could possibly find. Slowly but surely some names started to appear, repeatedly, joined to votes of confidence and trust. There was no question about it. Jack called each one of the names and each one of these trusted psychics and asked them for their help. Some wanted to be paid while others were willing to visit them without charge, but they had a long list of people to help that stretched for weeks and even months! Finally, the last name on the list was someone called Tess Garreina. Jack dialed and the phone connected. On the other side of the line, the soft voice of a gentle woman picked up; before Jack could actually say who he was and why he was calling, Tess said: "Hi Jack. I will be there tomorrow". Jack gasped and cough a little bit, the Tess' voice sounded jolly and smiling as she asked for the specific address of their house; Jack felt a little bit relieved that this woman, who appeared to be all that was said about her in the Internet world actually HAD to ask for directions to his house instead of just asking her crystal ball. The next morning was a Saturday and everyone was in the house. A soft knock on the door distracted them from their thoughts and they went in a small, uneven cluster to answer it. On the other side of the door there was a small and petite woman with long wavy brunette hair; she wore glasses and was comfortably dressed like anyone you could meet on the street. The

odd thing about her was her orange knitted sweater, it seemed to be too big for her, yet she would wrap herself inside it when she felt "cold" as she would put it. Jack and Susan welcomed her to their home. Tess smiled big and open, a frank smile that invited people to trust her. They invited her in and as soon as she walked inside the house she said: "timmy". Both Michael and Kimmy smiled widely. "Hi Michael and Kimmy" Said Tess. "timmy tells me that you are his bestest friends in the whole world" The parents looked at each other baffled and suspicious, maybe it was not such a good idea to contact Tess, maybe Tess was actually a pedophile and she was the reason why Kimmy and Michael knew this "timmy". But as these entire conversation went inside each parent's mind and they shared their worries with just a look; Tess turned around and said: "You need to start believing". Tess started walking all over the house, entered each room and paused when she needed to, nodded and answered questions that no one else could hear. Giggled by herself and walked some more while being followed by worried parents and amused children. No one told her which room belonged to whom, even though it was not really necessary as the character of the owner was impressed in the decoration and layout of the room. All of the sudden, Tess stopped in the parent's bedroom. She turned to Jack "You were awoken here, you were the first one the kid interacted with" Smiled softly "but you do not believe, so you were not able to understand"... Jack wasappalled about what he heard but he did remember the night when he woke up with a jolt... Susan looked at him confused and he returned the look dismissing her confusion as something that had passed and it was in the past now. Tess continued the tour around the house, stopping, talking to herself and giggling without any apparent reason. Eventually she finished the tour of the house and calmly walked to the living room, where she sat down and invited the whole family to sit down. Sarah jolted as she felt a warm puddle of something pass her by. She shrieked and explained to the family as every set of eyes laid on her that it was like a bubble of water floated by her side. A bubble of luke warm water; not scary and certainly not hair raising, but odd. Michael and Kimmy said at the same time that it was "timmy", Sarah refused to accept the explanation, the whole thing finally had taken a toll on her. Tess began to explain: "Sometimes, for different reasons, people get stuck in a time that it is no longer theirs. It does not matter what they did or how they died, they just refuse to believe that they are gone or find themselves that they do not know how to get home." "For this little entity, "timmy" as Michael and Kimmy named him, this IS home. He has what he needs and wants: A loving mom and Dad and siblings that are not afraid to play with him and to talk to him. The main problem is that the kid actually tries to make himself noted for the rest of the family but since you, Sarah and your parents are too busy being grown ups and logical about things, his attempts slam against that wall and get misunderstood."

She turned to Sarah and Jack "If you open your minds to an endless amount of possibilities, even if they are not plausible at the moment, you will find a tremendous new world out there just for you to explore and enjoy." Tess smiled as she saw the confused looks in the three members of the family; but as the information sank in and each one was open to explore the idea of a child's ghost in the house, they discovered that the room filled up with the scent of out of season flowers and that, indeed, there was an indentation in the sofa, next to Tess... and NO one sitting down there. Seeing that the whole family still struggled with realizing that there was a small child who anxiously longed to be part of their family, even if he was not on this side of life; Tess smiled and made a decision. Starting that day and for the next 3 weeks she would give them some sort of "crash" course on what to expect and how to interact with such a peaceful and docile ghost. From that point onward, for the whole family it became more and more easy and simple to interact with the ghostly figure. Though probably, the hardest thing was being able to fully and logically explain to new comers to their lives the reason why their family members and close friends would yell, laugh and interact with a blank space anywhere in the house.