My cats are so much happier since we moved house. They’ve always been a purry pair, but now you can’t shut them up. They seem very pleased with themselves - quite literally the cats that got the cream - and I don’t think it’s just because they have a garden to romp in again.
The reasons why I didn’t like the flat were multitude; I didn’t want to move in the first place but had no choice in the matter as the rug was pulled from under me when the landlord announced he was selling up. I arrived at the new place with the wrong attitude and was wont to sit on the kitchen floor and weep. But in addition to feeling resentful, there were genuine niggles.
It seemed sometimes the very fabric of the place was conspiring against me: the bath was too short and the water wasn’t hot enough; it was also impossible to persuade the shower to reach a reasonable temperature, while the water from the kitchen tap trickled and tasted odd. I didn’t like the darkness of the yard at night and I became incandescent with rage when people parked over the opening, so I couldn’t get in or out. Then there were the fleas. Then there was the flood. Oh, and then there was the ghost …
I first became aware that we were not alone in the dimness of a mid-autumn morning, when the world and I were still half asleep in the pre-dawn twilight. I stumbled out of bed and along the narrow corridor to the kitchen to feed the mewling cats. They had been shouting as if they were starving but then, as one, they lifted their heads from their breakfast and stared intently along the corridor at something I couldn’t see. This happened on a number of occasions. More than once, my little black cat, who doesn’t like anyone but me, also ran to hide from someone at the door. Only there was no-one at the door.
After a while, I mentioned it to my sister. Her friend, who’d known the people there before me, had dropped hints about crashes in locked rooms and dancing candles. “Don’t you want to know what it is?” she asked me. “Not really,” I said, “it was there first and it can stay as long as it doesn’t bother me.” But I wished I didn’t having the feeling that there was someone peering around the bedroom door when I put the light out at night.
Last week, my mum was talking to someone whose daughter had lived there years ago. “I didn’t like being there by myself,” she said, “Because I always thought there was something along the corridor.”
“Funny you should say that …” said my mum.