The house groaned. A mournful sound that made the hairs on Lotte’s arms stand up. Carrying an old ball bat, she tiptoed down the hallway, her weapon at the ready to smash any intruder she found lurking around a corner.
Basil slowly followed her, humoring her insistence that their home was haunted.
“What do you expect to do with a silly bat,” he said, making her jump at the sound of his voice.
She waved him silent, shushing his skepticism.
“Be quiet!” she hissed. “They’ll hear you.”
The sun had begun to rise by the time they had painstakingly inspected every nook and cranny in the old house. As they stood in the living room, the first rays of light filtered through the bay window, giving the room an eerie glow.
“I told you there was nothing here,” Basil said.
“I know what I’ve heard,” Lotte said, finally lowering the bat, letting is hang limply at her side.
“Old houses make noises,” he said.
“Old houses don’t move things on their own,” she said, turning suddenly at the sound of the clocking striking 7 o’clock. “That chair by the fireplace? It moved from the right side to the left. The rug in the foyer? It was turned completely around.”
“Are you sure you didn’t do all that and just forgot?” Basil looked around the room to see if anything was out of place.
“I may be old, but my mind is still sharp,” Lotte said, laying the bat on the couch.
Hearing the front door lock click and the door creak open, Lotte and Basil frantically ran around the room, searching for a hiding place.
Cherie and Royce strode into the room, laden with buckets and cleaning supplies.
“Just look at that sunshine,” Cherie said, pulling out a bottle of Windex and a roll of paper towels. “I think I’m going to tackle the windows today. Once all of them are clean, it’ll be much brighter in here.”
Gathering a broom and dust pan, Royce began sweeping the hardwood floor.
“I didn’t realize how much regular house cleaning work renovating this old house would be,” he said, making his way around the room. “Where’d this come from?”
“Where’d what come from?” Cherie concentrated on a thick layer of grime accumulated on the window glass, inattentive to what Royce found.
“This,” Royce said, laying down his broom and picking up the bat Lotte left on the couch.
Looking over her shoulder, Cherie frowned at Royce’s discovery.
“You know I’ve been finding weird stuff like that a lot the past few days,” Cherie said taking the bat from Royce. “Furniture is moved, rugs shifted, and I’m hearing weird noises too. Not ‘old house’ noises either.”
“Are you saying you think the house is haunted?” Royce picked up his broom again.
“You know I don’t believe in ghosts,” Cherie said, inspecting the bat, “but there are some strange things happening around here.”
Standing the bat on end in a corner beside the fireplace, Cherie went back to work on the window and Royce finished with the dirty floor. After they cleaned the living room, they moved to the kitchen.
Lotte and Basil crept out of their hiding place when the room was finally empty.
“Tell me you heard that,” Lotte demanded.
“I heard it, but I don’t know what it was,” Basil said.
“There’ve been strange happenings around here for days,” Lotte said. “Look! I left that bat on the couch, now it’s by the fireplace.”
“You might be right, Lotte,” Basil said, shifted away from a ray of sunlight cutting through the clean window, dust motes shimmering in its wake. “This old place just may be haunted.”