Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Mystery of Ruth: Part 2


The temperature fluctuations seemed odd and proved to be anything but a figment of my imagination. The temperature analysis took place with open doors and access to regulated airflow. The recorded temperature registered 20 to 25 degrees cooler in that one room than in other rooms of the home. I compared the temperature differences between this old master bedroom and other rooms in the house within seconds of one another. Still, my psyche allowed me to feel comfortable and secure in this room. After all, my parents stayed in this room on several occassions and reported neither discomfort nor chill during any portion of their stay.

As time passed we began to notice what I considered to be an oddity with the home phone line in our house. At least every other day within 25 seconds of 9:30 pm the telephone rang, but only the phone in the kitchen. We experienced no difficulty with it at any other time. The phone line never manifested static, connectivity issues, or a lack of clearness during all the other times we used it. When the phone rang, it never put forth a full ring. It always stopped before the tone finished its resounding pulse. It seemed to me to be a quarter of one ring. Odd but probably not unheard of. These phantom rings remained in my thoughts though I found it impossible to pinpoint a scientific explanation for such an unusual occurrence. During the following days I began to follow the ticks of the clock as bedtime approached and the hands on the clock slowly wound their way towards 9:30. My heart raced and face flushed in anticipation of the nightly call made by anything but a human caller.

And then it happened. One day while I innocently sat watching a program in the TV room next to the old master bedroom, my movements were pulled through the doorway into that old bedroom. Although the room measured nearly 13 feet by 13 feet, it felt much larger with its high ceilings and large windows looking out from the room's west wall. The air in the room felt even colder than previous times and devoid of oxygen. The invisibility of the oxygen in the room suddenly seemed to take on a misty gray texture as I stood there. I felt trapped. I wanted to walk out of the room but my muscles refused to take direction from the terrorizing thoughts swimming in my head.

She stood near the window looking out as if waiting for a returning loved one or perhaps she watched a thunderstorm approach from the west. I saw her as she stood in that cold and dark envelope of shadow. Her hands were joined peaceably as her arms hung comfortably in front of her waist. Her long dress no doubt helped protect her from what was fast becoming an unbearable freeze within the confines of those four walls. Her hair sat piled high and tight on the back of her head as was common in 1911. She seemed to pay me no mind but refused to let me leave her presence either. I ingested every delicate facial feature and colors of the dress she was wearing but later recalled absolutely no detail at all. Slowly the room warmed and one small step became another and then another as I made a hasty exit from the room. I simply explained away why I felt no fear after this cold and dark encounter. I wondered why our German Sheperd always laid in that exact spot beneath the windows where I saw her.

I wonder which rooms in that old house Ruth stalks now. She lived there years ago and left earth's boundary without a final negotiation of her soul's intent. She no doubt looks down from the upper loft windows on a breezy night watching the tricker-treaters parade up and down the sidewalk during the onset of autumn. When you drive by that old house remember to look in the windows as you do. She may be returning your stare with a peaceable gaze of her own.

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