My name is Chris Davis. Now, while most 13-year-old kids are out playing and having a good time, I’m in the office of some psychiatrist. Apparently my mother doesn’t think seeing things that aren’t there is normal. An over-imaginative child isn’t a title she thinks is suitable for me. I would much rather be labeled over-imaginative than crazy, not that my opinions matter to her.
It all started when my father died. He was an Indiana State Trooper and was shot during a high speed chase. That was two years ago, and I didn’t talk for the entire first year after he died. Ever since then, I’ve seen things I can’t explain. I once heard that a traumatic experience can open the mind’s eye, allowing realizations about things previously not understood.
I figure I’m an average teenage boy. I love sports, riding my bike, and I like music. Movies are always fun on a rainy day, especially when you’re trapped in the domain of a woman who thinks you’re a lunatic. However, no one ever really sees me as the person I am. I stand less than 5’9″, and I’m rather skinny. I guess some could consider me lanky, with thick brown hair that lies over my head like a used mop and glasses a quarter-inch thick. Much thicker than I believe that I need, but they do help.
My psychiatrist thinks me seeing things is a way to get attention. He says that I am letting out everything I’ve held in for the past two years.
If that were true, I would have long since done something a little more drastic than pretend to see and hear things. Why not trash someone’s property? Why not stay out late running with a bad crowd or lash out at my mother? Why pretend to “see” ghosts? What do I get out of this cursed ability other than torture and ridicule? Doesn’t anyone think I’d pick a better way to “get attention”?
My mother decided that we needed “a change of scenery,” as she called it. We sold our house almost immediately after my father was killed and moved into a small two-bedroom apartment near the police station, the place where my mother worked and also where she met my father. The apartment was cramped, but she said the house held too many memories. Right after that, my mother lost her job. They were downsizing. So here we were with one month left on our lease and no income. My grandfather, my mother’s father, passed away a year before my father did and he left his large Savannah, Georgia, Victorian home to his son Marty. Uncle Marty was a big-time Los Angeles tax attorney. My mother resented that her father had left Uncle Marty the house instead of her.
Marty despised the home, said it smelled of decay and mold. He had been trying to sell the house since the day the property was signed over to him. It was in desperate need of a makeover. He did not have the time to renovate the place himself and did not want to hire private contractors because it was “too expensive.” I thought if he worked through one or two lunch breaks he would have no problem getting back what he lost in contractors’ fees.
Nevertheless, my mother saw nothing but opportunity in the situation. She loved the house. There was nothing hazardous about the place, no loose floorboards, or caved-in ceilings. The only real problems were peeling paint, some decorating issues, and the landscaping needing a woman’s touch – another phrase of my mother’s. She offered Uncle Marty a one-time offer. She and I would do all the renovating if he let us live there for a year, rent free. He didn’t like the idea of free rent, but the long-term profit was more appealing to him. After all, the house had been vacant for nearly three years. Marty had never visited the house since he gained possession. His wife and two kids would go once a month, keeping the place free of rodents, insects, and dust. Uncle Marty never went, saying he had to work.
If my mother had asked my opinion – just to humor me with the thought that she cared – she would have realized that I had no real excitement about moving to the small town. I’d heard stories on The History Channel about Georgia’s haunted past.
But she didn’t ask, so I hit the library and the internet hard for three days. I found out that the house was the site of the oldest slave plantation in the town. The house was built around the late 1800s, and the land had been in our family for nearly 200 years. Over a hundred slaves had lived on the land at one time. Some of them were beaten and murdered, others were raped, and still others were killed. The original house had burnt down when an oil lamp fell over in the kitchen.
I wondered how my mom thought that moving into a house that had “haunted” written all over it could possibly help me out one bit. I decided to spare her the details of my research. I knew she saw it as her last attempt at redemption, and, at the time, I thought it could have been mine as well. For her it would be far from the memories that Indiana held for her. For me, it would be to start with a clean slate in a town where I and my visions were unknown.