Maybe it was all hell breaking loose while we were gone, but Mom dropped trying to get me seen by a shrink and started looking up priests, psychics, and mediums. She was doing her best to fix whatever was going on, but the activity had slowed down to knocks and the occasional giggle. She never apologized for saying I was off my rocker. I didn’t talk to her much and tried avoiding her, but it’s an impossibility when you’re home-schooled. When she would take me to the co-op, I would spend time playing with my friends between lessons and only going over to her for lunch and to go home. When other parents would ask why I didn’t seem as close to her as I used to be, she would shrug and say she didn’t know. I remember wondering if Mom was dumb for not knowing she hurt my feelings.
It was the middle of the week before the first person came to the house to walk through it and let us know what was going on in it. Mom opened the door and standing there with the goofiest fake grin I had seen was a tall guy with his hair three different colors that were braided down to his waist. He was wearing what I learned later were elephant-leg pants with a mesh shirt and all of it was tie-dyed. His glasses had no lenses in them as he pushed them up toward his eyes before extending his hand, “Hello, I am Darren. We talked on the phone?”
“The medium, yes, come on in.” Mom waved her hand in my direction, “This is Morgan.”
I smiled as he patted me on the head, “How are ya, squirt?”
My dad told me that mediums and other people like me would be able to tell I was sensitive too, but this guy didn’t say anything to me as he made his way from room to room talking about ghosts and poltergeists, and oppressive energy. I heard the giggle next to Darren, but he didn’t react to it. He walked into Mom and Dad’s room and stood in their bathroom staring at the walls for a bit before putting a blank stare on his face as he plodded back into the bedroom and looked at the ceiling.
Mom peeked into her room, “I don’t mean to interrupt you, but have you found anything?”
Darren shook his head and the trinkets on his necklace clinked together, “No, I don’t sense anything. They could have left. Sometimes these things are a one-shot thing, you know?”
“No, I don’t know.”
I recall covering my mouth to keep from giggling. This guy had no idea what he was doing. The disembodied giggle turned into a cackle and was in the bedroom over the king-sized bed, and the sensitive didn’t even bat an eye.
“I can walk the house with sage and lift the mood and stuff if you like.”
‘Could you please? Anything to keep it from coming back.”
“But I never left.” I jumped when the grating voice was right behind me, “This is just the beginning. If she lets this quack walk the house, it’s going to get worse.”
I felt the tears trying to fill up and roll down my face. I closed him and started taking breaths. I knew nothing I said to Mom would get her to change her mind. I recall being conflicted. Part of me was finally happy that Mom believed me, but I knew if I told her not to let him, she would not listen. I stood frozen as Darren started from the rear-most room and worked his way toward the door.
At dinner, Mom told Dad about Darren. Dad looked at her with a slight tilt of his head and a smirk on his lips, “That’s who you found? I think you could have looked a little longer.”
“Look, I am not going to spend a lot of money on someone to walk around the house and shake a sage stick. He was good enough.”
Dad looked over at me, and I rolled my eyes as I stuffed another spoonful of mac and cheese in my mouth.
Mom saw me, “Why are you rolling your eyes, Morgan?”
“I don’t think he was all that great. He didn’t hear the giggling.”
Mom let out a loud and heavy sigh, “That’s because the giggle is all in your head, Morgan. It’s your mind playing tricks on you.”
Dad let out a grunt, “I thought we were past this after we came to find you scared out of your wits with the house looking like a tornado hit it, or was that a mass hallucination?”
Mom swallowed her sip of soda, “Just because I haven’t mentioned it doesn’t mean I haven’t been looking up psychiatrists.”
“Amanda, you told me you would drop it.”
“We are not having this conversation at the table. We’re going to finish our dinner.”
By this time, I had put my spoon down and slid out of my chair. I walked into my room and sat on my bed crying. She still didn’t believe me. I couldn’t understand how she still thought I was crazy when whatever was in our home showed its power when Dad and I were gone.
The last tear had just dried up when there was a knock on the door followed by the door opening and my dad looking in through the crack, “Not hungry anymore?”
“Mommy hates me.”
He came over and sat on the bed next to me. He put his arm around me and gave me a hug, “I don’t think she hates you, Pumpkin. I just think she doesn’t want to believe there is something she can’t see in the house. “
I looked up at Dad, “Why do you believe me?”
“There are some people in my family that can see and hear things like you.”
From outside the door, “So, there are people in your family that are schizophrenic?”
“No. They are mediums.”
“They’re con artists, and your daughter needs meds.”
I burrowed into his side. I felt him tense up for a second.
He took a deep breath and relaxed, “Just because you refuse to believe that there are things you can’t see, it does not mean they do not exist.”
“Explain what happened a few days ago then, Amanda.”
“Darren said it was probably a one-time thing. He paraded around the house with that sage thing telling the shit to shoo.”
Dad looked down at me. I must have looked terrified, “I don’t think it was a one-time thing, dear.”