I once wrote about being a character in a horror film. And like all horror films, it ends with an update. Whether it’s weeks, months, or years later, viewers have to know what the hell has happened to the heroine.
In the past five months, I’ve found a place to live, a job to support my love of discovering new beer, and met a handful of familiar faces. In other words–the audience who are watching my life as a horror film would be relieved to find out that things are going well for me. I’m no longer dodging tornadoes or sleeping in shady motels that have telephones randomly ringing in the middle of the night. I am living life. Naturally, the movie would cut from a dark and ominous scene where I am fighting off serial killers, langoliers, and trees possessed by demons to a suddenly bright scene with happy music playing subtly in the background.
But I, the character, would have absolutely no idea that there is always a last scare at the end of the movie.
The Pacific Northwest. It’s quite the perfect setting for a horror film, especially ones that include vampires and serial killers. It is grey and gloomy. It is wet and cold. This part of the country is a gigantic forest that lacks sunshine causing depressed people to go on rampant killings. While also allowing vampires to live openly among humans.
The audience watches Jamie as she packs things into boxes in her room. Audience may (or may not) question why she is doing it. Is she moving back to Florida already, they wonder?
Earlier this month I had to move out of my apartment building. And not because I was going back to Florida (ha!), but because I was signed on a three-month sublease. I had the decision to either find another apartment on my own or find a roommate(s) from craigslist. I weighed the options. Pros: walking around the house in my underwear, letting the dishes build up in the sink without having anyone judge me, and decorating with solely Ikea. Cons: expensive (I’m poor), lonely (I need to meet people), and expensive. I decided I wanted to live in the classic Portland house. You know,
the type where your own a doughnut shop downstairs, and live upstairs a craftsman house.
And I found it. I found the house that is slowly becoming my home. I didn’t find just one roommate, but three. Three straight men in fact. This time last year, there would be no way I could believe I’d be living with three strangers I met on craigslist. (That could be a horror story all by itself.) However, moving to an unfamiliar city causes you to do things you normally wouldn’t do.
It’s exactly what I wanted, too.
It has the doughnut shop downstairs and all. It is a creaky 80-year-old house with wood floors, an amazing fireplace, along with a basement. A native Floridian isn’t quite used to it.
My mother recently made a trip out here to meet my new love interest, Portland. We explored the town together, mostly by eating and drinking our way through, but also by going on a haunted tour where we learned about the places that go bump in the night. Compared to Tampa, it’s a rather old city with a fascinating past and history, inevitably ghost stories are going to exist.
During a night of roommate bonding (hanging out in the basement), someone mentioned if I heard about the story of the house. Takes a sip of my beer and cautiously says no. Everyone looks around at each other, and doesn’t say a word. I prod for more details. I ask them what’s the story?
“Now, we don’t know if it’s true or not. We have a friend who grew up in the area who told us. When we were having our housewarming party, this friend of ours would refuse to come in once she found out where we lived.”
“Yeah. Uh, huh…”
“She told us that a boy killed himself from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in this house. But, like we said, we don’t know if is true or not. None of the neighbors can confirm.”
“Do you know what room?”
This is the part in the movie when the silly family stays in the haunted house despite learning that it was a former mortuary. I understand why now–because moving is a pain in the ass. (And because the movie would end.)
I like to think that ghosts do exist, but preferably not in the house I’ve just moved into. My roommates have been here for two years already, and have not experienced any creepy moments. But now when I hear a creaky floor board in the middle of the night, I can’t assume it’s just one of my roommates. And if the dining room chandelier likes to flicker, I can’t assume the bulb is going out. Or if I suddenly feel a cold draft, I can’t assume a window is open.
There’s now a possibility that I actually have four roommates, one of which I can’t always see and has been here longer than two years.