About a year ago I was coming home from a friend’s place. It was only about 8PM but it was a very dark, wet night. I usually enter my house from the laneway that leads to my back gate. It’s a nice little shortcut. There are streetlights peppered throughout the lane but on this particular night the streetlight nearest my gate was out. I didn’t think anything of it at the time even though I heard someone singing in the distance. It was a drifting, lilting kind of song that could have been a lullaby. It didn’t bother me at the time, I just figured that someone was walking home singing to themselves.
I have heard the singing several times since then. Sometimes when I’ve been in the laneway and sometimes when I’ve been in the garden. It is a woman’s voice. It is lonely. It is bloodless. It is not a humming song but there are no words, merely intonations and nuances.
Whenever I hear the song I usually say to myself: That woman is walking home singing again, except that a few weeks ago I decided to check to see who this mysterious wandering balladeer is.
I was putting out the recycling. The full moon was high in the sky, dressing the garden like a lace tablecloth. The streetlight once again was out. Further down the lane I heard it. The singing. I peered into the dark but it was hard to see; the moon distorted the shadows on the ground, throwing strange orbs of light around.
So I ran. Towards the sound of the voice. Like some kind of madwoman. And suddenly it was upon me, there and gone at the same time. Passionless but intense.
There was no one there.
I checked all of the houses for music or sad singing occupants but everyone seemed to be tucked up in their beds. There was no one there at all.
Suddenly, I got a little spooked and ran back to the house.
My heart was racing and I felt an inexplicable dread. For a couple of weeks I avoided going into the laneway or garden at night.
Last night I realised Nick had left his school shoes out on the back porch. I didn’t want them to get damp so I ventured out to get them. It was well after midnight. The night was opaque. The trees in the garden were painted black.
I heard the singing again. It was a lamentation. It reminded me of that scene from the film version of Wuthering Heights where Merle Oberon is calling out Heathcliff on the moors. It was plaintive, heartrending. A little unsettling. And like most spirited experiences seemed near and faraway at the same time.
Looks like I have a local singing ghost.