Stranger In A Very Strange Land…The unknown old woman in the attic

By Tiber 

As some of you know, a few months ago, Mom was up on the attic floor looking for something, and what she found instead was an old woman sitting comfortably in one of the rooms, reading a book. Mom was so startled that she just excused herself and left the stranger up there.

By New Year’s Eve, no one knew if the strange woman was still up there or not but when Mom, feeling festive, left her an open bottle of wine, we half expected to hear a  hammered rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” come warbling down the back stairs. The wine was polished off but no sound has ever been heard.

Until tonight.

Iris Nell, whose room is right next to mine on the third floor, flew in here with her face chalk-white.

“I know,” I said. “I’ve been hearing it too.”

It was 3AM but somebody was doing something up there. Of course, we do have a ghost, who may be a pirate and I’ve posed the question before. Who would you rather have slithering around behind your back? A young, crazy, male pirate who’s dead or an old, crazy, female stranger who’s alive? Plus, Aunt April occasionally leaves the rooms she took over and starts wandering around too. If the three of them ever meet, it will be as if we’re hosting the “Insane Uninvitational.”

The attic noises started up again.

“Is she tap-dancing, Tiber?”

“I think she might be throwing marbles.”

“Why would she do that?!?”

“Why is she up there at all?!?”

Then we heard that old rhythm for “shave and a haircut”- “dat-da-da dat-dat…” and there was a pause. Iris Nell’s superstitions kicked in and she became frantic to tap the ceiling twice just to finish the sequence.

“No, no!” I hissed, “Don’t engage her at all!”

Finally, I had to whisper the rejoinder “dat-dat” to Iris Nell myself, just to make her stop squirming.

The noises finally calmed down and Iris Nell felt that maybe she could get some sleep. She paused, though.

“I’ll bet the old lady can’t sleep at all now. Since we’re getting into summer, it’s probably really hot up there.”

Great. Now I can’t sleep.

If the noise we heard is the old lady shooting craps with the pirate ghost, then all is well.

But if the old lady’s throwing marbles while sitting around in her underwear trying to cool off, the ghost pirate’s not going to like that at all. And before long, he’s going to start spending all of his leisure time down here, barging through my walls and scaring the hell out of me.

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