Bang! I slammed the door shut. “What in God’s Name was that?” I whispered with my heart pounding.
The terrified dog seemed to be right outside my door.
I flicked the one light switch, hoping for light outside. None appeared through cracks around the door. I went back into the suite.
“Mac, you’re hangin’ with me tonight. Get used to it.” I secured the window leaving an inch opening.
It was after midnight. I had planned to pack the bulk of our belongings. Thursday I would pack the car. I started collecting the familiar chattels brought to make the suite a home.
Exhausted by 2:00 a.m, I splashed water on my face, brushed my teeth, slid into bed and fell instantly asleep.
“Aaaaammmmmyyyy.” I sat up. Did I hear my name?
“Aaaaammmmmyyyy.” Half voice, half whispered, it definitely was my name. I turned on the night light – 3:15 a.m.
Mac was sitting up on his blanket at the end of the bed, alert but strangely calm.
The voice had come from the kitchen window. I could barely swallow. I grabbed the flashlight from the night table and shut off the light.
I strained to hear any sound. A quick strobe of the flashlight confirmed that Mac continued looking toward the kitchen.
“Aaaaammmmmyyyy.” After momentary terror, I became angry.
Determined to stop the nonsense, I got up, turned on every light in the suite, and returned to bed. Since I had no phone, I decided, if I heard another noise, I would shake the hell out of those Board Room doors and set off the alarm.
I waited. While I was stiff with fear, Mac went back to sleep and not a whimper came from the dog.
Dawn’s light soothed my fright. I fell asleep until 7:00 a.m. I had to present the Budget in an hour.
Realizing I was even nervous in the shower, my anger rose. I had to find out who played this sick joke on me. The person must have been familiar. The dog didn’t bark and the great guard cat didn’t even growl.
When I walked into the Superintendent’s office for our meeting, I said, “Okay, who is the prankster?”
“Prankster?” the Superintendent asked.
“Is this some game that School Board Staff play on visitors? Is this why everyone has asked about my accommodation?”
The Superintendent looked sincerely surprised. “What are you talking about, Amy?
I told him what happened. He said, “No one would do that sort of thing. But…there are people who claim this building is haunted.”
“Let’s get Jordy up here,” he said.
“Ah! So it’s Jordy! Yeah, get him up here.”
He reached for the phone, “Jordy, will you come up to my office please? Now.”
“I’ll do the talking!” I said.
When Jordy appeared, I said, “So did you have fun last night?”
“Fun at what?” he asked.
“Sneaking around tryin’ to scare the shit out of me!”
Jordy looked at the Superintendent who said, “Tell him what happened, Amy.”
As I related the incident, Jordy was visibly uncomfortable. He said, “Some ghost lives in this building. A bunch of really weird stuff happens.”
The Superintendent nodded. Jordy continued, “The janitor finds boots and shoes on the Board Table. Brand new light bulbs last minutes in sockets. A Speech Therapist comes from Terrace to work with our Special Needs Students. She won’t stay in that suite any more. I don’t know what happened, but she drives back to Terrace every day.”
“Are you guys putting me on?”
Jordy’s eyes widened, “No, Amy, it’s really freaky. The woman from Terrace is here today. Talk to her. She’s the wife of an RCMP so she’s not the type to go around tellin’ stories.”
Even though I apologized for being so upset, I silently wondered what to believe. Jordy said, “What about tonight? What are you gonna do tonight?”
I said to Jordy, “You can stay in the suite and I’ll stay at your place.”
“No fuckin’ way!” he blurted, erasing any doubt about his honesty.
When we finished our Budget meeting, the Superintendent offered the couch in his home. He lived across the road from the building’s front entrance. The offer was comforting. I didn’t need a deep sleep since I was only driving 100 kms to Terrace on Friday.
I decided to find the Speech Pathologist. We only had minutes to talk. I quickly told her why I needed to see her. She said, “I have to dash, but be assured you are not crazy. I totally believe that happened. Please believe me, I will never… not ever… stay in that suite again.”
After dinner, on Thursday evening, as I packed the SUV, I considered my fear level. I had to believe these people. It was a ghost and it had called my name – whatever that meant. What would cause a departed soul to hang around and decide to make contact with me? My exhaustion helped compassion and curiosity override fear. I decided to meditate.
I prayed for protection. Then I prayed for Divine Assistance to help this soul in any way possible.
As soon as I settled into my meditative state, Mac curled into my lap. A sense of love welled up within my chest followed by a strange, deep sadness. Slowly, an elderly native woman filled my inner vision. Her long silver hair hung without style. She presented an air of being sad and unkempt – not really caring about herself. I felt no fear, only love.
Silently, I asked, “Are you the one who called my name last night?”
I sensed her responses. “Yes.”
“What did you want from me?”
“No one wants my wisdom. I have tried to give it away so I can go. No one will take it.”
“I’d love to have your wisdom. I will take it if you are willing to give it to a white person.”
“That doesn’t matter. I will give it to you.”
“Thank you. I will share it with respect for you and all who gave it to you.”
“Now I can go.”
I sat quietly to make certain the inner dialogue was complete. Gratitude filled my heart as I recalled the healing that had happened over the past two weeks. Everyone defied time, substance and distance with trust, love and forgiveness. The joy of oneness had been demonstrated by this Nation of strength and determination. The beauty of the land, the people and all of the animals washed through my mind’s eye as I remembered the dancing, drumming, singing and colours that honoured this Nass River Valley Nation.
I stopped meditating knowing that I would sleep safe and sound. After opening the window so Mac could enjoy his last night in the wilds,
I crawled under the covers and slept as would any peaceful, wise woman.
The next day, on the drive out from our unforgettable three week experience, Mac and I stopped to watch a Black Bear with her cubs. They were heading for a small creek that hopefully would become the cubs’ training ground for an abundant feed of fresh fish.
General MacArthur growled. He didn’t fool me. It was a salute.
Thank you, to the Nisga’a Nation, for sharing your culture and your home so graciously.
I will never forget you.
Patricia and I were not able to share that Sacred Walk over the Lava Beds. Each of us had business to tend. However, I left believing our paths would cross again. Indirectly, they did. The third time, it was through her cousin who was guest preacher at the Anglican Church on Salt Spring Island. He told me that Patricia had died.
Patricia, your teachings live in my soul.
You helped me receive the wisdom from your sister.
Blessings on your spirit journey.