What I’m about to tell you is the most boring ghost story ever told. It’s boring because it’s true. Every word of it. When the time comes, many years down the road, I will lay on my death bed and swear to it, unlike Cory in the House’s Kyle Massey, who was paid to spout lies on Celebrity Ghost Stories. Shame on you, Kyle Massey. Shame.
It was the summer of 2000. Richard Hatch was fighting his way to the final two on Survivor, George W. Bush and Al Gore were in a heated campaign, and people were just getting around to renting The Sixth Sense on VHS because DVDs were too expensive. I was 9 years old. My mother, at the time, worked nights and because of that I was permitted a lengthy curfew. Most kids around that age were allowed out until seven or eight at night. I, however, was allowed out until 10:00PM — but only if I stayed within the general vicinity of our back yard.
During that time, I was usually accompanied by my 8-year-old neighbor Antonio. We were looked after by my aunt Jen, who played babysitter until my mother arrived home from work. These nights were spent playing with toys, swimming in the pool, and frightening my poor friend with tales of Pennywise the Clown.
On one particular night we were hanging out, playing with action figures and engaging in a heated debate.
“You’re a Gaylord,” Antonio would say.
“No, you’re a Gaylord,” I’d rebut.
This carried on until my bladder decided that it was time to urinate. Being the courteous host I was, I asked Antonio, “Do you want me to get you anything to drink while I’m inside?”
“Yeah,” he said. “I’ll take a Pepsi.”
Jen was sitting at the patio table, talking to my one of my other aunts on the cordless phone about something that wasn’t particularly memorable. I bypassed her, walked toward the back steps of my house, and in I went.
In order to get to the bathroom from the back door, one must pass through the living room and then the kitchen. Across from the fridge, and located diagonally to the left of the bathroom, was the front entrance.
The house was dark. Silent. Completely and utterly empty aside from the six cats we had owned. I made a pit stop at the fridge, grabbed the two cans of Pepsi, and took to the bathroom. Don’t ask me why I grabbed the Pepsis before urinating, I just did.
I entered the bathroom and placed both cans atop the radiator behind me. From there, I whipped out my little boy penis and proceeded to piss all over the toilet seat due to both poor aim and bad manners. After swabbing the seat down with a thin piece of toilet paper, I flushed and then opened the bathroom door.
That’s when I was struck off guard. Somebody was standing in my kitchen. A figure. A woman with her back turned to me. She was facing the living room. The details of her clothing were indistinguishable, but what I could make out was that she had long hair and a lanky frame.
There are moments in your life where your eyes will deceive you, tell you that there’s nothing wrong with the picture you’re seeing. But your body will know better. Something inside of you will be alerted. I could just feel, deep down, that something was off.
But unlike most 9-year-olds, I attempted to rationalize it. Because you know who else had long hair and a skinny body? My aunt Jen. So although I didn’t hear the back door open, which I would have given the quietness of the house, I assumed that it was her.
I did as any rational person would do, and said, “Hey, Aunty Jen.”
She didn’t respond. She just stood there, still as a board.
I repeated myself, “Jen.”
Not even a twitch.
She stood there, acting like I hadn’t called out three times. Something was wrong. There was no denying it now.
At last, she moved. Without making the slightest noise, the woman walked from my kitchen to the dark abyss of the living room, out of my sight.
Now it’s at this point in the story where you, the reader, would probably jump to the next logical conclusion – which would be, ‘Hey, that’s not a ghost—that’s a creepy home intruder.’ However, you would be wrong to assume that. The front door to the house had been locked. Bolted. In addition to that, the windows were latched to contain the air conditioning. The only way in would be through the back, past Antonio, my aunt, and myself. In other words, nobody could have possibly entered without being noticed.
I grabbed both of cans of Pepsi off of the radiator and sprinted to the front door. In a matter of seconds I unlocked it and ran around to the side of the house—where I could see my aunt Jen and Antonio doing exactly what they’d been up to before I entered the house. Jen was on the phone, yammering away. Antonio was sitting cross-legged in the grass, playing with a Spider-Man action figure.
Before doing anything else, I forced my aunt to pull the phone away from her ear—just for a second—to ask her if she’d been in the house. She said she hadn’t been. Antonio joined us, and it was then that I told them about the woman in the kitchen. Jen dismissed my story initially under the presumption that I was just trying to scare Antonio. After throwing a seemingly justified temper tantrum, though, she was convinced otherwise.
Jen went to investigate, but nothing was found. There was nobody in the home. The house was empty and nothing had been taken. Everything was as it had been before I entered.
And there you have it: a genuine ghost story. No creepy voices. No broken mirrors. No Kevin Pollock claiming that his girlfriend was possessed. Just a dark figure standing idle in an empty house.
Originally published by Thought Catalog as “If The Figure I Saw In My Kitchen Wasn’t My Aunt, Then Who Was It?”
Jayme Karales is the author of DISORDERLY, the director of WIZARD, and the producer of TRUANT. His work has been published by Thought Catalog, The Rebel, Underground Books, and many others.