I was hiding behind the couch when Dad answered the door. I heard a slight whisper beside me and was surprised to see Maddy there, hiding alongside. She held up a finger to her lips. I was so excited and confused. I’m fairly sure that was the first time she’d ever addressed me directly. I wanted to babble questions at her. But something about her face and the serious tone at the door kept me quiet.
“All the signs are there, Howard,” came an unfamiliar voice, deep but distinctly female. “Your house is infested.”
“Don’t you think we would have noticed?” Dad said. “Ghosts aren’t exactly subtle these days. It doesn’t take an exorcist to see them floating about.”
“Have you talked to your children?” the strange woman asked. “Some spirits only appear to the ‘innocent’. I know one case where – “
Dad held up his hand. “I’m quite sure they would mention to me if they saw such a thing, Matriarch.” Even at ten, I was impressed by the fact that Dad never actually lied while completely walking around the truth. I stored that bit of knowledge away for the future.
The Matriarch sighed. “I suppose it is possible there’s a geomantic spirit moving through your foundation or the like. Those are such an awful pain to deal with.” She gestured to a man who stood at attention behind her. “If we have a surveyor come in tomorrow, I’m sure you’d have no trouble letting him see your basement?”
“No trouble at all, Matriarch,” Dad said. He bowed and gave her his best smile. He shut the door and turned back to us. Spotting me behind the couch, he winked.