The instruction email came only a few minutes after scheduling our home-visit appointment.
We were told to not change any light bulbs in any of the suspected lamps – even if they burnt out prior to the actually reading – to not move or dust the shades, and to not unplug or turn off any lamps at a wall switch, only use the actual lamp toggle.
Kaffer was skeptical. Hell, so was I, but we had exhausted all our other options. A psychic light reader was literally our last chance. If we couldn’t figure out what was haunting our house, we were prepared to move.
A late night bout of insomnia had me propped up uncomfortably in bed, bleary eyed, and watching bizarre infomercials on local cable access channels. Lady Eveleen seemed to be speaking directly at me when she asked if all the joy and light had gone out in my life.
At 3 a.m., when trying to think straight on fewer than four hours sleep in three days, someone claiming to be able to remedy all my problems by asking my table lamps for answers made perfect sense.
I wrote down her phone number, then laid down and slept more soundly than I had in weeks.
On the day of Eveleen’s visit, as advised, I turned on each lamp that had been exhibiting suspicious behavior – turning off or on at will, skittering across table tops or tipping over unmolested, dimming without a dimmer switch, or shocking anyone attempting to turn it off.
Making her way through our house, Eveleen weaved her incantations between a brume of sage smoke from a smoldering thurible. Daubing each appliance with her apple wood dowel, the mage murmured words of purging and banishment.
For more than three hours, the cleansing continued. In the end, Eveleen declared her eviction a success. Her bill presented, she left, a lingering scent of burnt herb left in her wake.
That night we prepared for bed with an expectation of peace and quiet.
What we missed during Eveleen’s exorcism was the crackle of electricity coursing through the house’s interior wires, wending through miles of cooper filament. As we laid our heads on cool, cotton pillow cases, and closed our eyes, a light blinked on in our detached garage. A bare bulb, attached to an industrial cord and wrapped around the metal support beam, flared, burning hotter than its intended 75 watts.
3 thoughts on “The lights are on, but no one’s home”
It takes more than a little incense to scare away some of the spookiest invisible monsters. Great story!
Waaa… I have chills. This is, and I do not use this word lightly, perfect. The atmosphere, the suspense, and that final wham-line. Love it!
Oooo, monsters in the light. Love the common-world details; they make the fantastical parts seem more real.
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