When I was four years old, I lived in a haunted house.
By haunted house, I don’t mean some sinister mansion at the border of nowhere and hell. I lived in a small home with one floor in the heart of Surrey. It had a pretty cherry tree in the yard with a few resident individuals who were not alive.
Two of these people were children: a girl with looped ribbon braids and a young boy missing his two front teeth. My four-year-old memories are not crystal clear, but what remains are images of them shrieking with laughter, chasing me in games of tag or standing over me, waking me up in the middle of the night to play.
My mother still tells me about the times where she found me in the backyard in the pitch black of midnight hiding in a game of hide and seek. I remember hearing their voices drifting through the open window when I was in my bed, telling me to come outside and play.
One night, my mother awoke and heard them too. Unlike every brainless horror movie heroine, she did the smart thing and packed our bags the next day, before driving us to my grandmother’s house. We quickly relocated to Edmonton.
Returning to the lower mainland to attend UBC, I once drove past the house to see if it matched my memory. I was surprised to see that the paint was still pristine, the cherry tree still blooming, and a small girl with ribboned braids was playing happily in the yard. As I turned the car around to go back home, I could’ve sworn I heard laughter.
I never drove past the house again.