Ash Street Terror

The moment I stepped out of the kitchen early that December morning with my roommate directly behind me, we stopped short as we were met with a highly unusual sight.

There, in the middle of our scarcely furnished living room, a black cable cord hovered in mid-air as if someone were holding it outstretched above their head.

The real kicker was there was NO ONE HOLDING IT.

It was as if the invisible man had decided to enter our home and play a prank.

My hair stood on end and a chill went down my spine.

I had drawn my hand up in front of my mouth, my eyes no doubt the size of saucers.

Words that fought to escape my lips in a horrified scream only came out as a high-pitched squeak: “Oh, Jesus Christ, Mary and Joseph!!!”

And with that, the cable cord dropped to the ground.

We stood paralyzed for what seemed to be a lifetime.

Staring.

Waiting.

After my roommate had pried her hands from my shoulders, the look we exchanged only further cemented our mutual and unspoken decision: we HAD to get out of that house.

We were absolutely certain it was haunted.

*******

It began in September. I believe the year was 1999, but I can’t be for certain (I’ve slept since then).

A friend of mine and I had rented a house on Ash Street in Hays, Kansas, where we were both attending college. Dawn and I were from the same shitty little hometown, which is how we knew one another, even though she was about four years my junior.

I moved in to the three bedroom house about a month before my friend.

I didn’t sense anything weird about the place, but the landlady was kind of a stuck-up bitch. Ha.

Dawn moved into what was to become our shared home about two weeks later and set up her room, which was on the main floor of the house.

My room was upstairs and it was huge–the whole upper floor. The carpet was blue and the walls were made of actual wood paneling (not that cheap shit) with little storage compartments built into the eaves of the home. The ceiling was low and the walls began to slant inward toward the center of the roof at about three feet. I loved that room. It was my little sanctuary.

In early October, I was up in my room studying for an art history exam when Dawn hollered up the stairs asking if she could come up.

I hollered back, “Sure,” and she joined me.

She stood in the middle of my room and stared at me for a moment and then, she stated to me very simply: “Edie. Our house is haunted.”

I looked up at her in disbelief.

“Uhhh…what?”

She rolled her eyes and stated again, emphasizing each syllable: “Our. House. Is. HAUN-ted.”

I took a moment to turn her statement over in my mind and asked, “What makes you think that?”

Dawn had a collection of bells. You know, the kind with the handle that rich folks probably still use to summon their servants. She had all varieties: crystal, glass, metal, ceramic–in all shapes, sizes and themes. Some of the collection she kept in her room and the rest she put into the built-in china cabinet in our kitchen.

She explained to me that on several occasions she was awakened by someone “picking up the bells and quietly ringing them.” So, I asked her who it was. She said she couldn’t really tell and that all she could really see was a shadow, but that the shadow was darker than the darkness of night.

I paid her all of the attention I could spare at the moment, as I had an art history exam coming up and desperately needed to devote my attention to artist names, artwork titles, dates, medium and location.

In short, I let her say her piece and then promptly forgot about it.

I felt that if we were living in a haunted house, I WOULD KNOW.

One day soon after, I was laying on the floor of my room listening to music; Portishead, to be exact. It was a gorgeous day outside and I thought I would open the window.

I sat up from the floor and suddenly, I had the uncanny, creepy feeling that someone was watching me. I wheeled around expecting to see Dawn and was met with nothing. No one was there.

And yet.

I felt as though there WAS someone there.

I felt as though I was actually FACING someone.

And I wasn’t.

I was so creeped out, I decided to leave the house and go to the jewelry-metals lab.

I don’t recall if I mentioned any of this to Dawn; I chalked my feeling of “being watched” up to nothing but being over-tired and decided to forget it. I went to school full-time and worked a full-time job. Surely I was tired. That’s all it could be.

The next weekend marked a visit from Dawn’s brother and her boyfriend–both had traveled two hours from our hometown to visit us in our “college town.” They had arrived on Saturday morning and would leave on Sunday afternoon; after their arrival we all hung out in the living room of the house until the early evening, catching up on small-town gossip and perhaps drinking a beer or two.

At one point, I was sitting in one of the two upholstered chairs in our living room (rose/mauve striped; don’t judge–I picked them up at a garage sale) with my legs slung over the side. My left side was facing the entryway that led from the living area to the hallway, which then led to the bathroom and the two main floor bedrooms. We had turned on the lamps as the October dusk arrived early on that particular night.

Dawn’s brother was talking to me; he was standing to my left with his back toward the bathroom door.

I turned to look at him and out of my periphery I saw something that froze me where I sat.

To my immediate left, about three feet from where I sat, I saw two hands, solid black in color–like they were cut from the black night sky, slide around the corner of the hall entryway. I THEN saw the top of a black head peek from behind the entryway–as if someone’s extremely dense silhouette was playfully peeking around the corner at me.

Dawn, her brother and her boyfriend all noticed I was suddenly mute and staring in HORROR at something. Dawn’s brother turned quickly toward the hallway but he saw nothing.

I explained to them what I had just experienced and Dawn’s comment was: “FINALLY!!! YOU SEE HIM, TOO!!!”

I will never forget that evening, that moment, when I stared directly at this shadow creature. I could feel his consciousness and yet I could not SEE his eyes or expression. I had experienced these shadow creatures before, and those times were just as alarming. It was just so…dense. Like it had actual mass. Unlike the phantoms of lore, I felt that had I reached out to touch him, my hand would have met the resistance of physical mass instead of passing through.

After the evening I saw the shadow creature, the ‘activities’ at the house became more frequent. The television set in my bedroom would turn on and off of its own accord. Initially, I was pissed about it but when it wouldn’t stop (even after I unplugged it!), I became fearful.

Dawn reported more nocturnal activity centered around the bells in her room and in the kitchen china cabinet, and additionally complained often about missing or misplaced items.

We had discussed whether or not to ask the girl who was living in the basement apartment of the house if she had any otherworldly experiences since moving into the house, and one day while Dawn was in the basement doing laundry, she asked her.
Apparently our basement neighbor had no knowledge of any shadowy figures within her living space.

It was only Dawn and I.

Dawn had even gone so far as to confront our bitch landlady about our experiences. The landlady didn’t really comment on it, only saying something vague about her young son having said something about something similar when they lived in the house.

Dawn was absolutely convinced we were being visited by a friend of hers who had recently passed, but I wasn’t so sure about that. The one thing I WAS certain of, however, was that I didn’t know if I could handle many more “paranormal” experiences.

The December morning experience was the last straw. For both of us.

I had run out to class early that morning (late, as usual) and returned afterward to take a shower and wash my hair. After I had cleaned up, I found Dawn in the kitchen, making toast. So I joined her.

When we had finished our toast, we were walking out of the kitchen to go about our respective days when we were met with the black cable literally floating in mid-air in the center of our living room.

I could feel an ‘electricity’ in the room. My hair stood practically on end.

My thought within that moment was “Shit. So this ‘thing’ can move physical objects. That can’t be good.”

Before we knew it, winter break was upon us as were multiple changes. Dawn had told me she was pregnant and that she was going to be dropping out of school (the reality, I found later, was that she had flunked out and her parents would no longer allow her to waste money on courses she was failing).

We both moved out.

I moved on.

She moved on.

I never went back to that house, and I obviously don’t plan to.

As for ‘experiences,’ I have decided all of these years later that I don’t necessarily know if I believe in them anymore. I don’t know if I grew out of it or if I unconsciously closed a door in my brain.

Maybe my depression and post-traumatic stress disorder ate up that part of my brain.

I haven’t had any recent events to make me believe otherwise.

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