We used to play in the front and backyards, yelling, screaming, laughing, and chasing each other around. Alice, Johnny, and their mother Blaylock lived in the large home across the street and down the block from my family’s home.
We spent most days this way. When it rained, we raced from room to room, running up and down the stairs, or enjoying baked treats from Mrs. Blaylock’s baking.
The Blaylock children did not attend school with me as they were home-schooled. Nor did they attend church or other social functions as other families with children had a habit of doing.
None of this mattered to me, nor did it matter that that house was supposedly haunted.
“Is this home haunted?” I asked Mrs. Blaylock one afternoon before I had to be home myself.
“No, dear,” she smiled. “Not even the attic.”
I knew this was true, as we had often played in the attic on foul-weather days.
“You’re going to summer camp,” my parents announced before school let out for the summer of my twelfth year.
Though I said I didn’t want to go, they insisted, claiming that I needed to be around other kids my age. It would be three months before I saw home again.
As we passed the Blaylock House, I could see something was different about the place. Once home, I raced up the street to find the dwelling empty and quiet.
“What happened to the Blaylock’s, Alice, Johnny, and their mother?” I asked.
My parents acted as if they had no idea who I was speaking of and even told me that the house had been vacant for years. Though I argued that a family had lived there until I left for summer camp, my protestations fell on deaf ears.
By the time I was nineteen, my childhood memories of playing with the Blaylock children had faded. In college, I had come home on break.
It didn’t take long to learn that the local fire department would be using the now-dilapidated wood structure for practice. Sadly, I stood on the sidewalk across the street and witnessed the house set to blaze.
It was then that I noticed a little girl and her brother by one of the fire trucks looking my way. They smiled at me as a firefight passed between us. In the time it took for him to walk by, the pair vanished.
Seeing my two childhood friends stirred a long sleeping memory. It was then like, the 1940 movie starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer, I realized I had been ghostlighted.