It’s 3:30 a.m in Savannah. What I would call the witching hour. It’s the time when I’m most often awakened by ghosts. Like tonight.
First there were footsteps. Not just the sound of them. But also the feel of them. You know, like when someone runs down the hall and you feel the vibration from the pounding of their feet? Like that.
At first I thought someone was in trouble. Maybe my sister had returned home without my knowing, and maybe she was running down the hall because she was ill.
I jumped out of bed, opened my bedroom door and looked down the hallway.
The sound and the feel of the footsteps had disappeared. But the hallway held that eerie feeling. That feeling where you know someone is there, but they’re hiding from you.
I waited a few moments in the quiet. Looked around. Then convinced myself I’d had a vivid dream, and went back to bed.
Then, just as I’d snuggled myself under the covers, my eyes flew open. The footsteps resounded through the hallway again.
Someone was messing with me.
I waited a few moments to see if they would go away. Sometimes ghosts just wandered in and out.
But the footsteps kept on.
Up the hall. Down the hall.
When I growled a cry of frustration, a man’s laughter rang out from somewhere just beyond the end of the hallway.
I walked into the hallway again but found no one.
As I made my way back to my bed, they began again.
The witching hour typically refers to the hour exactly between day and night, when witches and demons are supposed to be their most powerful. Most people think that means midnight. But I think the witching hour begins at 3:00 a.m. It’s the time when ghosts’ are at their strongest and humans’ energy is at its weakest.
“Having fun?” I yelled and balled my hands into fists.
His laughter squealed as he ran.
All day long he probably tried in vain to get someone’s attention. But the humans who still had their bodies had enough energy during the day to tune him out. In the light of day he probably didn’t have nearly enough energy to make a good noise.
But at 3:30 in the morning? He had the energy of ten men. While all I wanted to do was get a little more sleep.
Perhaps I ought to be grateful that he didn’t want to charge into my bedroom and pace at the foot of the bed. Then I’d be the one running up and down the hallway.
My bare feet padded quietly on the dark hardwood floors as I slowly walked to the end of the hallway. I could feel him, but I couldn’t see him.
“Look, I can appreciate the fun you’re having here. But I need to sleep,” I said into the moonlit darkness.
A lump swelled in my throat as I felt his energy build in excitement and move toward me. In a gust he moved through me, his rushing blew my hair back and my nose filled with the scent of cheap cologne and stale beer.
I stood in the empty hallway and sighed with disgust.
The cool morning air blew in through the screens on the back porch and I pulled my robe up around my neck, squished myself a little deeper into the couch pillows. I sipped hot espresso and turned the page of my newest ebook. It felt remarkably good to have a small, quiet space all to myself.