Becky, a former teacher, resides in the Northeast.
About a year and a half ago, she accepted a full time nanny position for a family of four. The parents do much of their work at home and found it was necessary to hire someone to care for their two children during office hours in order to work effectively.
Becky was an instant success with the children, Pheona, who is three, and Malcolm, who is five. Malcom turned out to be quite active, and challenging. But, he is still an adorable child, despite his adventuresome personality. I have met him, and I can only refer to him using an old family expression; "He's a corker."
The Following tale begins when Malcolm unexpectedly claims to be able to speak to an invisible being that resides in his house. Becky's response is rather calm, contrasting her turbulant inner emotions. Ride an emotional rollercoaster as she describes several chilling conversations with the boy about his intimate interactions with a ghost.
Malcolm is slightly older than the children I had expected to include in the anthology, but his tale is engrossing enough to include in this piece.
I provide full time care for two children. Malcolm is five, and Pheona is three. The parents of the children are currently remodeling their house. Built around the nineteen twenties by a muralist named Ezra Winter, the original structure is a large industrial, art decco style building.
I first knew something surreal was present in Malcolm's house based on my own feelings. My strongest impressions usually occurred in the living room, and adjoining guest bedroom, which remain part of the original construction.
The guest bedroom is always colder than the rest of the house. And when I cut through this room, to the bathroom, there was always the distinct feeling of walking in on someone as they slept. When evening came, this area of the house took on an eerie feeling not perceptible in the other sections of the house. I had moments where I caught moving shadows or shimmers of light out of the corner of my eye, in the doorways or near the stairs. I would soon learn that this particular guest bedroom had been the master bedroom Ezra Winter occupied.
Malcolm first mentioned the ghost during the spring or summer months of 2000.
One day, while playing in the living room with the kids, I felt a cold draft.
"Brrr . . . did someone leave a door open?" I asked.
Before I got up to check, Malcolm said, "No. That was Ezra Winter's ghost."
He matter of factly replied, without looking up, "Yup."
Malcolm is a bright, intuitive kid. He has a decent imagination, but he doesn't tend to tell stories, or lies. He likes to know how things work, the "reality" of things. He tells it like it is, so his statement caught me off guard.
But I believe in ghosts, and was curious about his blunt remark. Especially since I had sensed something odd about the house myself.
So, after thinking about it for a minute, I continued to question him about the ghost.
Malcolm said that he talked to Ezra Winter late at night, when he wasn't able to sleep, or if he had awoken from a bad dream. He said that he couldn't see the ghost, only talk to him.
He was serious.
He didn't have a smirk, or avoid my eyes as he supplied me with the details about the spirit. I believed that Malcolm believed every word he spoke.
I had heard that sometimes spirits remain in a place because they have unfinished business, so I suggested that the next time Malcolm talked to the ghost, that he find out what it wanted.
A few weeks went by before Malcolm mentioned the ghost again.
We were building a fort out of the couch cushions. Malcolm told me that this new creation was a "praying place."
I asked what he was praying for, and he replied, "Nothing. I'm just praying to God."
But then he said, "And sometimes I talk to Ezra Winter from here."
"Oh. You pray to Ezra Winter?" I asked.
"No, just talk to him." Malcolm replied.
I decided to ask him where he got the name for the ghost.
Malcolm answered that he had heard his parents talking about it. Thinking I had the answer to the riddle, I asked Malcolm what they had said, but he only answered, "They said they didn't think he was very happy in the house."
Given my knowledge that Malcolm is rather protected, I found myself wondering where he got these ideas from. He's only allowed to watch Nickolodian, and CNN, and so I was relatively certain that he didn't see commercials for horror movies on tv. His parents had even debated whether or not he was old enough to watch Star Wars, so I knew that they would never expose him to any kind of media about spirits and ghosts.
Curious, I mentioned the exchange to Malcolm's mother, Jessica. She confirmed that the name Ezra Winter was real. That he had built the house, and that he had been a muralist in the nineteen twenties. According to Jessica, Ezra broke his leg and, being unable to paint, fell into dispair and shot himself on the property.
When she told me that, chills went down my spine.
But Jessica doesn't really believe in ghosts, and so as I told her about Malcolm's claims, she smiled and nodded, but didn't give it too much credit.
The last time Malcolm mentioned the ghost, it was October.
Evening was settling, but we hadn't turned on any lights, yet. The kids were happily playing with Legos. Malcolm was messing around with a toy lantern, and he kept flashing it on and off. Finally, I asked him what he was doing.
"Keeping Ezra in the guest bedroom." he replied.
I shivered at the thought.
"Why?" I asked.
Malcolm replied that Ezra was not in a good mood. After a while, he suggested that we turn on a light, and when I did, he continued to play.
I listened to his whispered conversation with his Lego men as he raced them around in a space ship. He was having an adventure about capturing a ghost, and taking it to outer space. I watched him for a while, and noticed that every time he mentioned catching the ghost, he'd glance over at the doorway to the guest bedroom. It was as if he was trying to tell Ezra something without talking directly to him.
Since then, there hasn't been mention of the ghost, but I feel certain it is still around.