What you can’t see can’t hurt you

I was pregnant and staying with friends in the one-storey lodge house of an old priests’ college in the middle of Ireland. Although allowed in the college grounds, my friends kept to their own garden, put off by tales of a death in the swimming pool, long fallen into disrepair, and ghosts from the private cemetery.

My friends and their older daughter had driven into town to do some shopping and I had volunteered to babysit their youngest child, who was tucked up in her pushchair by the open fire.

It was a dark October afternoon. I switched on the lamps in the sitting room, the dog at my feet, listening to music and watching sparks fly up the chimney.

Suddenly, there was a scrabbling at the closed door. Thinking it might be the cat, I struggled out of the armchair and tiptoed to the door, so as not to disturb the baby’s blissful sleep. The handle was stiff; it took a few twists to release the catch. Outside was twilit by the glazed front door. No sign of the cat. She had not slipped between my legs as I opened the door, and she was not lurking in the hallway. Leaving the door ajar, I made my way towards the kitchen. No cat there. I turned left to the playroom door – empty but for a few naked dolls, which stared at me with ice blue eyes. You may remember, I have a doll phobia, and I slammed the door shut.

It was then I felt something moving towards me from the other end of the corridor. The music in the sitting room had stopped. The house was silent, except for the crackling of logs, and someone breathing.

I ran to the sitting room, released the brake on the pushchair, and pushed it out of the room and the front door, which clicked shut. I was locked out with the baby. Whatever was inside didn’t want me there. I pushed the baby around the house until my friends returned – only ten minutes later, but it seemed much longer. When I told them they laughed, brushed my experience off with a dismissive ’What you can’t see can’t hurt you, can it?’ Maybe they didn’t notice it because they’d been living there so long – or maybe it had got used to them and it wanted to play with me.

unbroken cycle
Halloween haunts the season
casting long shadows

Kim M. Russell, 26th October 2020

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Haibun Monday: Happy Halloween!

Frank is here with another Haibun Monday and wants us to talk Halloween! He says that October 31st arrives this Saturday and so has provided some background to this spooky holiday, as well as poetry by Joel Benton and Sarah Teasdale.

Frank would like us to channel our inner paranormal, and write a blend of prose and haiku, with allusion to Halloween – we you may even write fictional prose to get in the mood!

47 thoughts on “What you can’t see can’t hurt you

  1. We have lived in our house for 29 years. It has portals, and various spirits have spent time with us. My wife and I have gotten used to them, but or 3 daughters will not stay in the house alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed this spooky tale, Kim. You brought back memories for me of a time a house-sat in a cemetery lodge for a fortnight. Needless to say there were many things which went bump in the night!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ingrid. I like cemeteries, but I wouldn’t want to house-sit near one. one of the high schools I went to was right next to a cemetery, and I once viewed a house which overlooked a graveyard and even had gravestones up against the adjoining wall,

      Liked by 1 person

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