Let’s be clear about one thing. Isabella is not a ghost. Well, at least not yet. As far as I know, she just likes to pretend she is. I’m not going to say she is crazy either, but maybe she is just a little bit.
I followed her from one room to the next beginning on the main level of the house and then eventually working our way up the staircase to the bedrooms. She made a lot of sounds as we moved and sometimes she hummed or chanted softly, but none of that really made sense to me.
Finally, we stopped at the foot of the attic steps. She turned and looked at me. Was I supposed to lead?
“That is where they stay,” I said indicating the door, although being a highly recommended psychic, I had sort of expected her to know that already.
“I want to go up and take a look around,” she announced after an awkward silence. I ignored the warnings in my head screaming this was a bad idea and nodded. Slowly she ascended, one step at a time.
I probably should have followed but I couldn’t. My feet kept me firmly rooted where I stood as a wave of nausea struck me fiercely. Isabella opened the door and disappeared into their domain. Too dizzy to stand, I collapsed onto the bottom step to rest my head in my hands. I counted, forcing myself to breath. Inhale. Exhale.
Time barely passed, or at least it felt that way, before I noticed her standing at the bottom of the steps looking down at me. On shaky legs I attempted to stand.
“Well, what happened? What did you sense? What can I do?” I whispered because I was too afraid that they might hear me. I glanced up and felt relief as I realized that Isabella had at least closed the attic door behind her.
“There is definitely an energy here,” she said making no attempts to lower her own raspy voice. I cringed.
“Yes, but what do you think?” I wasn’t paying a psychic to tell me I had ghosts. I knew that much already. “How do I get rid of them?”
“Not them. I only sense one entity in this house and I really don’t get the feeling you need to fear. It isn’t malevolent.”
“One? That can’t be right. I’ve spoken to at least eight of them already.”
She raised one eyebrow as if she couldn’t believe me or that I dared to question her professional assessment.
“A spirit can make you believe many things but I assure you, there is only one.”
I sighed heavily. Isabella obviously wouldn’t be of any help to me and I’d just spent one hundred dollars to do nothing but potentially anger the ones that didn’t want me to go poking where I didn’t belong.
“Anyway,” she continued, “I will perform a simple cleansing ritual and burn sage in all the rooms, especially the attic. This will send the energy back where it belongs and you will be free to enjoy your home.”
“Does that cost extra?”
Raised eyebrows again. “Ms. Ingram, do you want me to fix this problem or not?”
“Of course. It’s just that –”
That I think she’s clueless. Likely.
“– that I’m a little short on money at the moment.”
“No worries. I’ll give you a special discount. You are a friend of Sylvia’s, after all.”
“Thanks,” I muttered as I followed her back down the staircase and into the living room. She went to her large bag and started rummaging for things. At least she came prepared, I thought.
“Would you like a cup of tea?” I asked.
“That would be nice, thank you.”
She’d pulled out bundles of what I could only assume must be sage as I went to the kitchen, grateful to get away from her and the heavy perfume she wore. Strong scents gave me a headache and this lady was sending me straight to migraine territory. Then again, maybe it had more to do with the fact that I was no better off then where I’d started with the ghosts.
I leaned against the counter waiting for the kettle to boil. Perhaps I was being too hard on her? For all I knew, whether there was one ghost or twenty in my house, this sage thing just might do the trick and I could avoid putting the house up for sale. Being the only one remaining in my family, I had been feeling kind of guilty ever since making that decision. The house belonged to me.
I belonged to the house.
I shivered for no apparent reason at all.
I could hear Isabella humming as she moved through the house doing her work and another strong scent hit my nose, what I could only assume must be the burning sage.
“Geez, watch the crazy lady burn down the house and my luck, I still won’t be rid of the ghosts,” I muttered under my breath as I poured the boiled water over the tea bags.
I thought of Benjamin and my heart ached. This had to be the right decision.
When I returned to the living room, Isabella was humming her way up the main staircase.
“I’ll be back in a moment,” she called back to me.
Just as well I had nothing better to do. I set the two mugs of tea on the end table and made myself comfortable on the couch while I waited. Outside the blue sky promised a lovely day and I decided I should get out and take a walk. The fresh air would do me some good. I smiled watching the birds, hopeful. The sage had to work.
The sound of it sent shivers through me and without a second thought, I raced up the steps to find her wide eyed and pale in the middle of the hallway trembling … like she’d just seen a ghost?
This should be familiar territory for a highly recommended psychic, surely.
A faint smell of burning filled my nose. This time it didn’t have the pleasant aroma of sage.
“Your house — the g- g- ghost — I can’t —”
“What happened?” I repeated, annoyed that she couldn’t seem to communicate with me but before I could hear her response, I was distracted by a waft of smoke coming down from the attic. The door was wide open and I could see the flames begin to lick around its edges.
“Oh god,” I moaned.
Luckily, I’d kept a fire extinguisher on each floor just as a general safety precaution. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever figure I’d need it for a situation like this. I grabbed the nearest one and ran up the steps. Thankfully, the fire hadn’t spread far and I was able to put it out. I stood for a moment as I tried to catch my breath and assess the damage.
“I take it you didn’t like our new friend, Isabella,” I said to my ghosts. I couldn’t see them but I knew they were listening.
By the time I was sure the fire was out and I went back downstairs, Isabella was gone. She’d taken her bag, her bundles of sage, and disappeared.
I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be hearing from her again.
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