It was 4am, the house was dark except for the light in the bathroom where I was. Thats when I saw the dark shadow out of the corner of my eye. It hovered near the bathroom door then disappered around the door frame.
It was big enough to spook me.
Maybe it was because I was reading A Haunting On The Hill by Elizabeth Hand. This is the book that is that takes place in Shirley Jackson’s Hill House. The Mansion from her classic novel The Haunting Of Hill House.
Hand sets the book at the haunted mansion. The story and characters are contemporary, but the history of the house is the same with a few more incidents since Eleanor crashed her car into the tree in the driveway.
Shirley Jackson is one of my favorite authors and I’ve read The Haunting Of Hill House several times. Hand did a great job of keeping the feeling of the Jackson’s story. Like Jackson, the hauntings are both psychological and physical, but without the gore and violence of so many contemporary horror stories.
When I saw the shadow in the bathroom, I immediately thought of the giant black hare (with an eerie human smile) that shows up in Hand’s book.
It was later in the morning when Jon told me that a very big mouse/rat ran over his foot when he was in the bathroom.
For me a rat in the house is almost as bad as a giant smiling hare. Especially when I saw the teeth marks in the bar of soap on the bathroom sink.
I’d rather not kill the mice that come into the house. But I do. I don’t want them scurrying under my feet and leaving their dropping on the counter tops. And I feel the same about rats.
When we first moved the farm Minnie cleared it of all the rats. I haven’t seen one since. But Minnie didn’t do much hunting for at least the last six months of her life. And it looks like the rats knew it.
I don’t know if Zip will help keep down the population.
We caught the rat this morning, but when we got home from picking up my wool there were more teeth marks on the soap (rat not rabbit sized).
So I plugged up the hole in the bathroom floor where I believe the rats are coming in. And we put down another trap just in case.
But I can see that Elizabeth Hand’s book is working on me.
Today when I went to the bathroom in the Restaurat in Brandon Vermont where we had lunch, I saw the little door in the baseboard with knob on it. It was close enough to the portal in A Haunting On The Hill to make me open it up.
I’ve been in that bathroom before, and have noticed that little door, yet it wasn’t until today that I thought to see what was on the other side.
But like the shadow in my own bathroom that turned out to be rat, not a witches familiar, the door only concealed a water pipe.
I guess I should be grateful. As much as I love Shirley Jackson’s stories, I wouldn’t really want to live in one. (Although I have been able to relate to Eleanor in more ways than I’m comfortable with) And a rat coming in for the winter is easier to deal with than a haunted house.