I asked my good friend Ophelia Julien to share one of her own ghost stories for Freaky Friday. Enjoy!
He began dating her during fall term of their Freshman year in college. Neither he nor she was looking for a serious or exclusive relationship at the time, so they were content with the occasional date. She laughed at his jokes and was an easy conversationalist, so by spring term, they had had a handful of dates. The only thing he found odd about her was the off-handed and casual way she would refer to her house as “haunted.” He didn’t believe in ghosts or anything else that ridiculous and decided that she was joking with him. She was an honors student and a pre-med major: surely she didn’t believe in ghosts herself!
One spring evening, he took her to a movie and then they went back to her place to hang around for a few more hours. It was close to two in the morning when he decided to head for home. She lived in the city, but he lived in a suburb and his drive, even with no traffic, was still on the long side. She walked him to the door, and before he kissed her good night, he decided to take a little jab at her handful of declarations that her house had a ghost.
“So I’ve been here for a couple of hours and I never heard or saw anything otherworldly,” he said, a slight note of mockery in his voice.
She shrugged. “Sometimes people do, sometimes they don’t.” She looked at her watch. “It’s past the usual haunting time anyway.”
“What? What does that mean, the ‘usual haunting time’?”
“Things around here start at about ten-thirty at night and pretty much quit by one-thirty in the morning.”
He looked at her skeptically. “Really? You really think this house is haunted?”
“I know it is.” Her tone was matter-of-fact. She didn’t care if he believed her or not.
For some reason, that annoyed him. “There’s no such thing as ghosts.”
Again that matter-of-fact attitude. He opened his mouth to reply and was startled by a banging noise beneath their feet. It sounded metallic, as if someone had banged a wrench against a radiator. The bang was followed by a loud and disturbing sound that matched that of long and heavy chains being dragged across a floor. “What is that?” he demanded.
“I have no idea,” she said. She didn’t look frightened. Surprised and interested would have been closer to it. “I’ve never heard that before.”
“I mean it. What is that?” he asked again.
“I really don’t know.”
Now he was getting irritated. “What do you mean you’ve never heard that before? What’s down there?”
“So what’s making that sound?”
“I don’t know. Like I said, I’ve never heard it before.” She frowned a little in thought. “It sounds like it’s just below us, right?”
“Well, that’s a room that my parents keep locked, and there are bookshelves going across the doorway. I’ve never been inside that room.”
“What?” Now he was sure she was playing with him.
“Yeah. There are a couple of rooms in the basement that none of us have ever been in. My mom says they’re too dirty to mess around with, and besides, we don’t need the space.”
“Who’s down there?” he asked. “Who did you get to do this?”
“No one’s down there. My parents are upstairs asleep and my sister’s still out with her fiancé. We’re the only people awake in here right now.”
“I don’t believe that.”
“Okay.” Again she was not affronted by his assertions. “I told you our house was haunted,” she added.
After a few more seconds of listening, he did give her a rather distracted kiss goodnight and then he left, the sounds of those long, dragging chains echoing in his ears. There was no way he would believe she hadn’t set it up. But as he sat in his car for a few moments, he watched the lights in the downstairs being switched off until only one small lamp in the living room remained on, presumably until her sister returned from her date. The rest of the house was in darkness and he assumed she had gone up to bed.
Our house is haunted, she had said. Ridiculous! Still, as he drove away toward his own home, he knew he would never forget the sounds he had heard. And the noises had started up while he was asking her, skeptically, about her house being haunted, almost as if on cue. Either she had set it up and was lying to him, something that seemed out of character from what he knew about her, or her house really was…
They more-or-less remained friends until the end of the term, but he never dated her again.
If you loved this story, here’s how to read more of Ophelia’s work: