It was just what I always wanted, an old house out in the country! I have wanted to move into the country for a long time, and I was finally going to get my wish! Okay, I know it didn't look like much. In fact, my wife kept telling me that the place was a dump and should be torn down!
I mean, it did look awfully worn with the old white paint half peeled off the bare wooden slats, but I figured just a new paint job would do it wonders! The porch floor needed replacing along with the back stairs, most of the window screens, some of the windows and the whole inside had to be repainted as well. Still, the roof was in good shape as was the foundation. Of course, the old barn needed to be knocked down, but I reasoned that we didn't really need a barn anyway.
You see, when I looked at the place, I saw the potential of what it could be. Maddie, my wife, only saw what it appeared to be at the moment. Even so, after a month of persuading, pushing and yes, even some pouting, she gave in. A month after that, I was dragging my reluctant wife and two very pissed off kids up the dilapidated steps into their "new" home.
The first thing that went wrong was announced by my ten year old daughter's scream from the bathroom. I, of course, rushed in to see what the matter was. What I saw was my daughter, Marsha, with the worst scowl I had ever seen on her face, standing there pointing at the brown water coming out of the faucet.
I was about to tell her that the pipes were probably a little rusty and that the water would clear up soon, but I was interrupted by Brian, my thirteen year old son saying, "My bedroom smells like old ass!"
It's true; the house did have a dank smell to it that seemed worse in the smaller places like the kids' bedrooms, but I knew that it wouldn't take long to air out. I was debating whether to explain it to him or yell at him for using the word "ass" first, when Marsha said, "Why did we have to move here anyway?"
It was a question I'd heard quite often over the last week or so. I didn't bother answering it this time. We were already in the house, and I figured it would only be a matter of time before everyone would get used to it, and things would get back to normal. I just knew that they all would learn to love it as much as I already did. After all, things like the brown water, squeaky faucets and musty smells were all very temporary annoyances.
What I didn't know was that problems such as rusty pipes and musty smells weren't the only things that came with an old house.
Over the first couple of weeks, the worst things I had to deal with was my very unhappy wife and kids, though, just as I suspected, their unhappiness slowly began to dissipate as things took shape. Hell, just mowing the lawn and cleaning up around the house did wonders. The rust disappeared from the water after the first day, and I was well on the way to getting the inside of the house painted.
Marsha first began getting into living there when I took her to the hardware store and let her pick out the colors of her bedroom. The fact that it was much larger than her little apartment bedroom had a lot to do with it, too. I let her design the shelves for her things, and we even let her pick out new bedding and curtains!
Brian was different. I'm sure that the fact that he was thirteen had a lot to do with it. Maddie not letting him paint the ceiling and walls of his bedroom black didn't help any, either. But even he was coming around at least a little, though he was careful not to show it.
Being in the country, there was plenty of room outside for the kids to explore and play. The house had a huge country kitchen, and even though everything in it was from the fifties, Maddie liked it--even the old fifties style refrigerator!
"At least everything is in decent shape and works," she said, as she practically floated about the retro looking kitchen, running her hands across the many cabinets that lined the wall over and around the sink.
Once I was done painting the inside of the house, I set up our camera on a tripod and used the timer to take a family portrait in our new home. I was going to post the picture on Facebook and send it out to our relatives, but when I looked at the photo, I saw a spot that kind of looked like a water spot over our heads! It didn't ruin the picture or anything like that, but it was out of place and marred the photograph. I thought it was dust on the camera lens and after cleaning it, I took another picture.
I was irritated to find the light colored ball was still there, though now it was off to the side. By then, everyone was getting tired of standing there posing, so I let it go. After all, it didn't have to look like a professional portrait anyway. It was only meant for family and friends. The thing was, that spot seemed to be in nearly every picture I took! I was so angry, I was considering throwing the damned camera away, but then Maddie suggested that I take some pictures with my smartphone.
I only hoped that I didn't break the camera when I slammed it down on the table. I saw the way Maddie looked at me. She had that, "Don't even think of spending the money on another one if you broke it" look on her face.
If I was perturbed before, it was nothing like what I felt when I saw the same spot on the pictures I took with my smartphone!
I found the spots irritating, but since there wasn't anything I could do about it and the pictures were otherwise fine, I just put it out of my mind and promptly forgot about them. That was until Maddie's brother Dunn called.
"Hey Joseph, I got the pictures you sent. I hate to tell you this Bud, but I think you have a problem there."
"What do you mean? I know the house needs a lot of work, but I'm getting to it. Rome wasn't built in a day, you know."
"Yeah, but it was burned in one night! Look man, I saw this thing on TV and you know those spheres in your pictures? Well, they're ghosts!"
"Sorry to break it to you Bud, but your family isn't the only ones inhabiting that old house of yours."
"Yeah, well until I see blood dripping down the walls like in "Amityville Horror", or I start looking like Jack Nicholson in "the Shining", I'm not going to worry about it! Oh, and don't be saying anything about it to Maddie, either! We have enough to worry about without you putting some ridiculous ideas in her head!"
That's what I said before hanging up on him. I never really liked Dunn anyway.
A week later, we were sitting around the table eating dinner when Brian said he saw a clear ball like a soap bubble floating in his bedroom. Maddie told him he must have been dreaming, but after my conversation with Dunn, I wasn't so sure.
I don't know why I didn't put anymore thought into it, but I didn't until Marsha began having nightmares. That was followed by Brian claiming he was chased down the hallway by a glowing, "mean looking" ball of light. A few days later, Maddie said she felt like she was "pushed" down the stairs. Fortunately, she wasn't hurt beyond a bruised elbow.
Everything seemed to be happening while I was away at work and when no one else was around to actually see what happened. Had Dunn said anything to Maddie about the orbs in the pictures? I wasn't sure. Oh, I asked her, of course, but she denied he'd said anything. That didn't really mean anything, though. She knows how I feel about her brother and probably wouldn't have told me if he had.
Then came the day I was mowing the lawn and it began pouring rain. I remember running towards the house when I tripped and went headlong across the wet grass. Did something trip me? I wasn't sure, but then admonished myself for thinking such a thing.
'Of course, no one tripped me!' I told myself. 'All this talk of orbs and ghosts is beginning to get to me.' But when I got up, I saw it. Right there before my eyes, I saw a globe the size of an overlarge grapefruit! It was floating about seven feet off the ground only a few paces before me!
Seeing that, I didn't care if it was raining! I was mad and was glad the thing followed me as I angrily crossed the yard. I only wished it would have gotten close enough for me to get a good swing at it!
When I finally reached the place I wanted to be, I kept staring at it while I slowly crouched down. All I could think of at that moment was, 'Just stay right where you are for just one more second!' as my fingers closed around the cold, wet handle of the rake that was lying on the ground.
In the next instant, I leapt up at the thing, swinging the rake around as a weapon!
The rake sailed through the air and the orb disappeared the moment it would have been struck. An instant later, he globe reappeared a little off to my left, only it was slightly larger than before. Muted, dark colors seemed to be swirling around inside it.