This was something that occurred to me some time in early 2014. My daughter was three years old at the time and was usually a good child when it came to going to bed although once in a while she would decide she wanted to stay up. Other times, it was not that she didn’t want to go to bed but rather she wanted some company for a bit while she fell asleep.
This particular night she asked me to stay with her while she nodded off and so I found myself sat on the bottom of her bed waiting for her to go to sleep. She then complained that the lamp, the only source of light in the room, was keeping her awake so I knocked it off and ended up sitting in the darkness. About three times I suspected she had finally gone to sleep but each time I began to move she would stir enough to stop me from leaving so I decided I had to wait until she had gone in to a deep sleep that would allow me to leave.
So like I said; I was sat there in the darkness.
Now, I am not one to be spooked out by the slightest little thing. Countless hours of working security jobs alone at construction sites and empty factories have seen to that. However, while I was sat there my mind began to wander and perhaps trying to find a way out so I could go back downstairs and watch TV before I went to bed I thought back to previous times she had refused to go to bed.
One night above all others stands out in my mind. She was about two years old and all efforts to get her to settle had failed and I found myself facing a category 5 temper tantrum. Bribery and blackmail had failed to find a resolution and so with no other options left open to me I decided the best thing to do was to put her in her room behind the baby gate while I would stay about half way up the stairs; just enough to keep an eye on her while staying out of sight. Five minutes of shouting and rocking the bars like she was taking part in a prison riot ensued.
But then suddenly, without any prompting I was aware of she stopped. Silence. Then I heard her say clearly as day, “But I don’t want to go…No…Ohhhh….Alright then.”
She then calmly walked away from the gate, climbed in to bed and within a few minutes was fast asleep. I admit there was something unnerving about it. It was almost as if she was having a conversation with someone who wasn’t there. I’ve heard plenty of stories of children seeing ghosts over the years, I once had a colleague who told me he had seen his grandson sat in his room talking to thin air for a whole hour, but I had never put much stock in to it. I still don’t if I was honest but again it was somewhat unnerving.
Anyway, back to 2014.
Thinking about that night I began to wonder, if only for fun, if it was a ghost that had told her to go to bed. Then, my mind decided to alleviate the boredom further by making me ponder the question – is the ghost in here now? Suddenly, the silhouettes of dolls and toys began to take on a more menacing feel while creepy, ambient music set the tone in my mind.
A quick brushing off of the thought saw the room return to normal and I turned my head back down to check on my daughter. She seemed to be settled nicely but just to be sure I thought I’d give it five more minutes before I left. Then strangely, as I looked down at her a thought crossed my mind.
“What if I’m the ghost and don’t realise I’m dead? What if this isn’t my daughter but some other little girl my restless soul has latched on to whilst clinging to my paternal instinct of protection?”
That was genuinely unsettling. How would I know? When did I die? I’ve had a few close calls over the years that could have seen me bumped off. I left work one morning in 2006 and while driving down the A48 a drunk-driver lost control of his car and hit the central reservation. I ended up smashing in to the back of his car but while my Mondeo was a total write-off I walked away with out a scratch.
Or did I?
Maybe everything since then was a dream before I died, a last look at what might have been, or even the afterlife before I returned to Earth to wander aimlessly. Maybe I am an angel – nah, that one’s unlikely.
Then, I heard my wife shout up the stairs. “Isn’t she asleep yet? The TV has been on pause for over half an hour now!”
Hello reality. Back with a bump. So no, I wasn’t a ghost but it was fun to think so for a bit.