I did the right thing. I pulled one of those awkward K turns and followed Lindsay back to her house. I’m sure you can imagine her response when I pulled my ginormous car into the driveway behind her Mercedes SUV. Her initial, “Um, excuse me but I think you have the wrong house,” was followed by obvious annoyance and then alarm when I insisted that she not go into her home.
Maddeningly, Lindsay began repeating, “Maam, I feel unsafe,” over and over no matter what I said. So I finally yelled, “Lindsay, shut up. I just spent forty-five minutes in your sunroom talking to the monster that came with the pearl necklace you bought at auction.” She shut up. Eventually I was able to convince her to follow me to the Starbucks in Linden Square. Biddy met us and took it from there, but not before she revelled in an “I told you so” moment.
You guys, I talked to a monster and it cured my insomnia. I feel great. Whoever left that fake voodoo doll in my home can bring it. I talked to a monster for fuck’s sake. And now people are coming out of the woodwork to tell me their stories.
I admit, it’s getting a little out of control. But I haven’t had this much purpose, this much drive in a long time and I’ll take it. I’m OK with the minutia of daily life because there is something wonderfully terrifying happening and I’m in it. My childhood dreams are coming true. Though instead of Nancy Drew I think I’ve willed myself into the Bess role. Biddy might be George, or maybe she’s Nancy. I don’t know, let’s not overthink it. At any rate, it’s October, our high holy season, so I’m leaning in.
However, I do have one confession to make. I’ve been going to yoga. It turns out it’s worth the hype. I’ve heard for years that it would help my back but it sounded too damn boring to even consider. In reality it’s quite entertaining. I love the way the instructors talk. They say things like, “Now, reach your arm back and grab your toes, but only if they’re available to you,” and “Bring your leg into tree pose. You are rooted, you are strong. You are a tree. Now reach, reach to the sky and listen. What is the sky telling you?” It is really quite lovely.
So, I was in a class last Friday when the instructor, Alston (a silver fox type who could have been anywhere between forty-seven and seventy-seven years old), ended the class and we did that thing where you relax for ten minutes – which really is so incredibly relaxing – and then as everyone was rolling up their yoga mats he asked, “Has anyone heard about this blog of Wellesley hauntings.”
I gasped, and he looked right at me and said, “You’ve read it!” Before I could answer a woman in the back row called out, “My girlfriends and I drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out where all the houses are!” Another woman chimed in, “I only made it halfway through one story, it was too scary.” A third said, “Are they really true?”
I listened, shifty eyed and wishing that I could make like a tree pose and leave as three of my classmates debated the probability of the blog’s authenticity. The instructor chimed in here and there as the rest of the class whipped out their cell phones and googled the blog.
“Have you read it?” He asked me. I froze for a moment before admitting, “I’m Liz.”
He yelled. He yelled in the small, peaceful yoga room, “The universe is a bewildering tease! I knew we were meant to meet!”
Pandamonium, the kind that can only break out after middle aged women have been lead in a calming practice by an incredibly good-looking older gentleman, broke out. There were “Oh my God’s,” and “Who is Liz’s” and some shaking heads. There were questions, one about Mattie Payne, another about my St. Benedict medal.
A suburban women’s exercise class is a sure fire way to disseminate information. I’d been found out. It was exciting and scary and overwhelming and the instructor wanted me to come to his house for advice about an “ethereal conundrum.” He’d consulted his spirit guides, and my blog came up in three different synchronicities; a conversation, a business card, and a gut feeling to mention the blog in class that morning. He’d made up his mind to contact me that afternoon but that still small voice moved him to mention the blog after class.
“The universe delivered you in my moment of need,” he declared.
He insisted that we seize the opportunity our spirit guides had gifted us. I was high on relaxation fumes and I wasn’t due to relieve Kat’s babysitter for another hour and a half so I agreed. He unhooked his phone from the speaker and called his wife in front of me.
“Siggy! Spirit answered. You’ll never believe who is coming over. That woman Liz from my dream… No, no the other one, the one from the blog.”
Okay, that was a sizeable red flag (I mean, how many women did this guy dream about?) but I found him so earnest and enthusiastic that I couldn’t wait to hear what the old hippie had to say. And these weren’t strangers, I knew his wife, Sigourney. She was an instructor at the studio too and I’d taken her class several times. She was prone to over sharing about past physical ailments of the gastrointestinal kind. Clean eating and bone broth had been her dual saviors and she preached their magical healing properties. Yes, I tried them, it didn’t stick. Anyhow, I went ahead and got into my car and followed my yoga instructor to his home.
Alston and Sigourney Mercer lived in an enormous mansion. The real old-fashioned kind, with groundskeepers and maids. It was a mammoth brick house set far back from Pond Road on Lake Waban (whose banks the Mercer’s shared with Wellesley College). The property was all trees and landscaping in front and wide open rolling green lawn extending gently down to the lake in back. I parked behind Alston in the driveway and followed him up wide, leaf strewn steps to the front door.
Once inside, we set our shoes (pricey leather flip flops, his and slide on cheap Champion sneakers from Amazon, mine) neatly onto a cowhide print mat. As I took off my rain jacket, Alston rang a large gong standing to the right of the doorway. Naturally, I screamed and crouched down on the ground.
“I’m sorry if I startled you,” he said softly. “As I’ve progressed in my practice I’ve become prone to absorbing other people’s energies, both emotional and physical. I’ve adopted this practice to scatter the energy that attaches to me during class.” He considered me for a moment. “Did the tightness I was feeling in my lower left back belong to you?”
I stared at him and stood back up.
“I thought so,” he nodded his head knowingly. “I can feel that your body is beginning to let it go, you’ve learned what you needed to from the pain. Just be patient as your body catches up with your mind.”
Sigourney saved me from a reply as she walked out of their immense open concept kitchen towards us. Her hair in a long braid down her back she wore an an oversized grey cashmere sweater and grey yoga pants. Her feet were bare. My best guess pegged Sigourney somewhere in her mid-forties though clean eating and Botox may have shaved off a few years.
“I knew there was something special about you,” she declared softly. “Alston often has meaningful dreams but this one seemed especially powerful.”
“Thanks for inviting me over,” I replied, dodging her comment. “Your home is beautiful.”
“Are you allergic to dogs?” She asked.
“No, thank God,” I replied.
“Baci! Bella! Come.”
Two glorious dogs entered the scene from stage left.
“What!” I gushed idiotically.
“Our silly Goldendoodles,” Sigourney said lovingly, as I bent down to scruff their huge curly-q heads.
“Let’s sit in the cove,” Alston suggested, smiling down at the dogs.
“The Cove” was an area in their kitchen. It contained the largest couch I’ve ever seen, a big half circular thing in soft grey leather. It’s shape mirrored by the outward bend of a window-lined wall overlooking the lake. It seemed that every home I’d been to lately had incredible views. In the “baby belt” (the part of town in which I lived) the only vista was of hodgepodge fences and toy strewn yards.
We sat, Alston and Sigourney at the couch’s apex (her legs draped over his lap) me to their left (wedged between the two hundred-pound dogs who guarded me on either side like stone lions).
“So, what can I help you with?” I asked wishing we could just talk about the dogs.
“Well, I fear we’ve gotten in a little bit over our heads,” Sigourney replied sheepishly. It was my first time experiencing a sheepish attitude. Turns out it’s like obscenity, you know it when you see it and it makes you distinctly uncomfortable.
“Siggy is in touch with Spirit,” Alston declared.
“Okay,” I said slowly.
“It’s true, through meditation I’ve opened my mind so that I am in a constant feedback loop with my spirit guides,” she explained.
“And that’s good?” I guessed.
“Absolutely, but,” she hesitated looking to Alston for reassurance, “Well, recently there’s been a lapse in communication. Some new energy came on the scene and it was very positive at first-”
“Indeed, by all appearances they were good spirits. You see, Siggy’s abilities are a blessing, and she has worked hard to-“
“Manage them,” Sigourney cut in. “But something happened. These new ‘energies’ caused me to completely lose touch with my spirit guides. It’s besides the point, though I could really use their guidance right now, but I think they were chased away.”
“By whom?” I asked, mentally patting myself on the back for using the word whom and then immediately panicking that I hadn’t used it properly.
Alston released a deep breath, “The fairies.”
I pinched my lips together willing myself not to giggle.
Rubbing Sigourney’s foot absently Alston said, “They are not what they initially presented.”
Stalling until I could trust myself to speak, I blinked slowly and nodded my head. Then I asked, “So they were nice to you at first but now they are causing problems.”
“To put it lightly,” Alston confirmed.
As Alston took another deep breath Sigourney launched into an explanation, “We have many spirits here with us. I’ve always been open to that, you know, open to the other world’s alongside ours. But since I’ve been meditating upon intentionally opening myself up further I’ve begun to attract [dramatic pause] other things. There have been a few negative encounters, but before the fairies came my spirit guides always enveloped me in a golden light of protection.”
“Hmm,” I said, meaning Oh, for fuck’s sake.
“I’m not a medium or anything,” Sigourney continued. “I am just in tune with the energies that surround us and I’ve been gifted with the ability to read other people’s energy fields.”
If that were true then she must have seen my energy field turn cloudy and dark. I don’t dig people who claim this ability. If it’s true then it’s intrusive, if they’re lying or are just good at picking up on other people’s moods then making this magical claim is manipulative at best.
I changed the subject. “Can you see ghosts?”
“Oh sure,” she replied as though that were a given.
“So you’re intuitive and you can see ghosts and sense otherworldly energies. Then you’re a medium,” I pointed out.
“Well, I suppose you could say I’m a self-taught medium, not a natural one.”
“Okay, what about the fairies, can you see them?” I asked, looking back and forth between the couple’s concerned faces.
“Yes,” they replied in unison.
One of the dogs gave up sitting and collapsed on the couch, dropping it’s massive head on my lap. I really just wanted to talk about the dogs. “So what have the fairies done to make you think they are bad?” I asked.
“They weren’t bad at first,” Sigourney replied defensively. “They were nice and, sort of playful. When I experienced them the first time in my meditation they were like little orbs of light in a rainbow of brilliant colors. They became more actualized the more I noticed them and over time they began to take shape.” She looked over at Alston guiltily.
“Can you see them too?” I asked.
He nodded his head seriously.
“They look like tiny little stick figures now, about two feet tall, and-” Sigourney hesitated, “They’ve lost those brilliant hues.
“They remind me of tiny birch trees,” Alston added, “Their weird heads are sort of a part of their bodies if that makes any sense.”
It did in a really creepy way.
“I invited them into our world, into our home. They were just so sweet in my meditations and I intuitively knew that they wanted to bring me gifts.”
“Yes, they told me they had been attracted to my open vibrations and if I were to give them safe harbor they would bring blessings that I had never even dreamed of.”
Oh man, I thought. “Where’d they come from?” I asked.
“They said they came from the woods but you really can’t believe anything they say,” Sigourney replied with a nervous laugh.
“That’s where I first encountered them,” Alston explained. “In the woods around the house. Siggy had told me all about them, it was exciting. We thought… well we first met at a yoga retreat and we connected over our shared interest in energy work. I truly believe that if we can just get out of our own way, there are energies that we can tap into that will completely heal and help us.”
“You mean like Reiki?” I asked.
“Not exactly,” Alston replied slowly. “Yes, indeed there is space for energies to heal people of their diseases, and that is wonderful. But that is not our calling. We are interested in tapping into energies in the universe to strengthen and guide us along our path to fulfilling our life purpose.”
I wasn’t following.
“We wanted to tap into the power of the universe,” Alston said trying to explain.
I still wasn’t following.
“We thought we could manifest everything we ever wanted if we could just align ourselves with the one true source of universal power.”
“Like the Secret,” I said.
“No,” Sigourney said, obviously offended. “That is abundance work. It’s beginner level. We were looking to find something to bring us up to the highest vibration possible.”
“Like the fairies?” I guessed, completely confused.
“Not specifically the fairies, but I cast a wide net in my meditation and they showed up. And they told me they could do for us what we could not do for ourselves. They would deliver our dreams to us if we would feed them,” Sigourney admitted.
“Oh God, please tell me they don’t eat small animals or something,” I pleaded.
“No, nothing like that. It was energy, emotional energy they wanted. It was a trade off, you see. They guided good fortune and positive events to us and in turn we allowed them to feed off our energy.”
I shook my head. I didn’t completely understand what the hell they were talking about but I got enough to know it was a bad idea.
I decided to get away from the airy fairy talk and back onto firm footing. I said, “Okay, so you saw them in the woods?”
“Yes,” Alston replied quickly. “I was practicing Tai Chi in the yard one morning,” he motioned towards a spot in the woods that lined the yard. “We created a small patio area back just beyond the treeline for my practice.
“It was this past summer probably late July, just after dawn. The woods were beginning to wake up but it was still rather dark. I was staring out at the water when I heard a loud shuffling behind me. I often hear shuffling in the underbrush and it’s usually just squirrels or chipmunks scurrying around, but this was different. The noise came towards me, right up behind me and then stopped. I had the feeling that whatever it was was watching me and that I was in danger.
“I was immediately gripped with a fear. I turned slowly and saw three of them there, standing right on the edge of the patio. At that point they were still projecting an image of color, those three were a dim purple, with spindly legs and arms. They wore sort of interested expressions and they were just watching me.
“I still felt frightened but I suspected these were the spirits Siggy had been in communication with so I asked, ‘Are you Sigourney’s friends?’ They nodded their heads at me as one. In fact, all of their movements were aligned. I introduced myself and thanked them for their presence and then, and I’ll always regret doing this, but I told them I was a willing host and that they were welcome on our property.”
“Uh uh,” I breathed.
“They seemed harmless,” Alston said defensively.
“You said you were terrified of them,” I pointed out.
“You’re right,” he acquiesced, “I should have trusted my first instinct that morning, I-” he paused and glanced over at Sigourney before admitting, “I truly thought they were they to kill me and I think they would have if I hadn’t been so, uh, welcoming.”
Sigourney looked down, she was crying.
“What exactly have these things done to you guys?” I asked.
“They’ve taken over everything,” Sigourney whined. “We can’t do anything without them interfering.”
She wiped tears from her cheeks and took her own cleansing breath, “I let them in completely and their meddling was very positive, at first. People began showing up to my yoga classes and asking me to be their life coach. Opportunities came up out of nowhere, an editor contacted me and wanted me to write a book on my yoga lifestyle. I was able to fall into meditation upon a moment’s notice, I could manage poses that should have taken me years to master. It was a whirlwind.”
“What about you?” I asked Alston. “Did they give you good luck too?”
He nodded. “You name it. Our investments grew, a knocking noise in the Wrangler that I’d been meaning to have looked at just stopped. Problems disappeared and good things happened in their place. I no longer have to take a medication for high blood pressure that I’d been on since I was thirty. My hair is growing back, getting thicker-”
“Yeah,” Sigourney interrupted enthusiastically. “I can’t gain weight now even if I try. I’m in better shape than I ever have been and I can eat like a pig and it doesn’t affect me at all.”
“So then what’s the downside of all of this?” I asked. Careful not to talk too loudly or move, the dogs were asleep and I didn’t want to disturb them even though they were putting off an incredible amount of heat.
“It wasn’t just positive emotions that they wanted to feed off.”
“Then why were they doing such good things for you?” I asked.
“I think they are somehow vulnerable in a way that I don’t understand and they need, like, a home base. It’s like they need the protection of a host. I invited them here and they are willing to make our dreams come true, but they thrive off negativity and the more of it they get the more powerful they become.”
“But where do they get negative energy?” I pressed. “You guys seem thrilled about what they’ve done for you.”
“We are sort of the yin so they can yang. It’s like, when they do good for us it gives them license to do bad to others. For some reason it has to be a balance, because they create positivity in our lives they are given the permission or ability to balance that out by creating negativity and chaos in other people’s lives,” Sigourney explained.
“How did you figure that out?”
“It took us longer than I’d like to admit,” Alston said heavily. “I did notice that people around us, especially acquaintances, you know people that we come in contact with often enough but aren’t close with, there just seemed to be a lot of bad luck swirling around our outer circle of friendships.”
“For example?” I said, subtly trying to make a little space for myself in-between the heater dogs.
“Um, well for instance, our favorite barista, she had a black eye this one morning and I asked her what had happened. She told me that she’d been in a car accident that had totalled her car. Then I saw another accident that same day in the parking lot at the studio. It was one of my students and wouldn’t you know it, she got a black eye. Then when the gardner showed up with a black eye and a dented fender I recognized the synchronicity for what it was and I began to pay attention,” Alston said.
“It’s the three’s,” Sigourney pointed out. “They create chaos in groupings of three and they seem to like to play around with different topics or, like methods. Three black eyes from three car accidents, or three broken bones from three bad falls.”
“Couldn’t you just be reading into those things a little bit? I mean it could just be weird coincidences, right?”
Alston took a deep breath, gaining patience. Sigourney said, “It wasn’t like that. I know we aren’t explaining it well because some of it is simply intuition but I think the best example is the boat,” she looked to her husband to explain.
“Right,” he agreed nodding his head, “Do you remember that huge wind storm we had this summer?” I didn’t remember. “It hit the lake hard and all of the neighbors lost trees and had some pretty significant property damage. Our boat took on a lot of water and the insurance company declared it totaled so we got the full amount for it.”
“Okay,” I said slowly, suspecting these people just had a bad case of magical thinking.
“The engine had died earlier in the summer. To replace it would have cost a fortune. The boat needed other work that we’d been putting it off. We basically got to just buy a new boat because of that storm. The thing is, our closest neighbors, over there to the right. They lost their boat, falling trees caused major damage to their roof and they were without power for two weeks.”
“Storms are weird,” I said. “Couldn’t you just chalk it up to luck of the draw?”
“No,” the couple said as one.
“What we gain, other people lose.”
I wasn’t convinced.
“The better our fortune, the more grand the gift the fairies give us the worse the punishment for the people we come in contact with,” Sigourney said firmly.
“But not your close friends and family,” I said, “Why?”
The husband and wife exchanged a glance and Sigourney began to cry again.
“We made a deal,”Alston said blowing out another cleansing breath. “As we came to realize that they needed us in order to receive the negative energy they craved, I asked that they keep our close friends and family out of their scope.”
“What did you give them a list or something?” I asked with a laugh.
The Mercers just stared at me.
“Please tell me you added my name to that list,” I said quickly.
“Oh, of course we did! Right after Alston called me this morning I requested your safe passage here,” Sigourney said in a tone meant to be reassuring. She sighed, “The fairies are getting more… creative. I am so grateful for all they have done for us and I certainly don’t want to cut off this positive energy flow. But we just aren’t sure that it is the best thing to continue on at this level. We, I mean I thought that maybe you or one of your friends might know how to sort of curb their power a bit.”
“Wouldn’t it be safer for everyone if you just got rid of them?” I asked.
“We tried that already,” Alston admitted.
“And they wouldn’t go?”
“No, they went, but we just, well I missed them,” an edge had crept into Sigourney’s voice.
I stared at her. When she didn’t elaborate I sighed heavily and said, “Out with it. What happened?”
Alston shook his head and looked down at his lap. Sigourney prattled, “We, you know, we got a little overwhelmed because it felt like things were a bit out of control. I mean I had to let the staff go because it was becoming an insurance liability with the rate at which people were getting injured here.”
“We stopped mail delivery so now I have go to the post office to pick everything up. It isn’t safe for strangers to come onto the property,” Alston added.
“What about me?” I blurted.
“Oh no, I told you, we have you covered,” Sigourney waved away my concern. “But, we reached a point where, though we were so grateful for all they had done for us we felt it best to part ways.” She spoke about it as if it were a matter of firing a landscaping company didn’t work out.
“So where’d they go?” I asked.
“I moved them onto a couple that we know.”
I raised my eyebrows.
“It was a gift, really. The husband ended up getting elected.”
“Did they know they had the fairies with them?” I asked.
“Neither were enlightened enough to see them, you understand. But they were totally the type of people fairies are attracted to. The couple was very goal driven and focused on success. It seemed like a nice match.”
“Then why did you change your mind and bring them back?” I asked, my view of this zen couple having completely deteriorated.
“I missed their company for one thing,” Sigourney said, “And I realized that ultimately it was too… dangerous for them to attach to people who didn’t know what they were dealing with.”
“The woman’s mother was living in their guest house. She fell down the basement stairs and they didn’t find her for over forty-eight hours. Her back was broken and she swore that someone pushed her,” Alston said, the edge now in his voice.
“Guys, you know these things aren’t fairies,” I insisted.
“Of course they are, I see them. We see them. They are fine, we just need to find a way to tone things down a bit, maybe put a few more safety nets in place. They are still being incredibly generous with us-”
“But if they have to maintain a balance of bad and good energy output-” I began.
“Right, of course, we don’t want anything bad to happen to anyone, but when they first started helping us we were really benefiting from the small blessings they provided and it only caused minor disturbances with other people. Stubbed toes, lost contact lenses, minor illnesses, you know just little extra upsets.”
“They might little upsets when they happen to other people, but do you want them to happen to you?” I asked.
“Of course not,” Sigourney said quickly, “and we don’t want them happening to anyone else. The thing is, these fairies are here and they’re not all bad it’s just that the speed at which things have escalated might be a little concerning. At first it was yoga poses and good luck, but now… Someone just reached out to me from the Gaiam Network. They want me to have my own lifestyle program, kind of like the Kardashians but for spiritual people. It is everything I’ve ever dreamed of. Think of how many people I could reach, showing them the benefits of clean living and yoga. I could expand my influence and together we could begin to heal ourselves and the planet.”
“Sigourney,” I said, shifting in the seat hoping that the dogs would move over a bit. They basically had me pinned in place and I would never even consider shoving them off the couch but I was steps from having a panic attack. “Okay, so you’re telling me that these spirits cause serious problems for anyone who comes into your orbit. If you had a television show do you think they would be able to affect the people who watch you?”
She was silent. Alston said, “I hadn’t even considered that.”
“I just have to learn to contain them,” Sigourney said quickly. “ Maybe I could even change them.”
Alston appeared to be getting more and more uncomfortable with the conversation. I asked him, “Do you think she can control them?”
He took one of his maddening cleansing breaths then turned to his wife, “I trust your intuition and your abilities one hundred percent, Sig. It’s just-”
Sigourney snatched her legs back off of his lap and pushed away from him a bit. “It’s just what?” She challenged.
“I know you hold incredible intuitive power but I am afraid that your vision might be clouded on this one. I’m just not sure that these things are what they appear to be.”
“That’s ridiculous, you’ve seen them yourself. What else could they possibly be?” Sigourney demanded.
“Demons for one thing,” I pointed out.
“Demons? Why is everyone so convinced that every spirit is a demon?”
I made eye contact with Alston, then said calmly, “Maybe demons is a strong assumption, but there are levels, you know higher and lower negative entities. I’m only drawing upon the stuff I’ve heard on the Dead Files, okay, but it sounds to me like these are almost like tiny little energy vampires. They’re getting off on your excitement over these ‘blessings’ or whatever you want to call them, but I think they really want bad things to happen. If it truly comes down to a fifty-fifty positive-negative energy swap then think about it – they are making your dreams come true, you’re getting a television show, right? Then won’t they have to ruin someone else’s career or dreams in order to even out the energy?”
Alston had been staring at his hands in his lap, he looked up and said, “It’s true, Sig. And, the other thing that’s bothering me is their appearance. Why do they look so scary now? I’m sorry honey, but I think they tricked you into thinking they were these beautiful glowing creatures but now they walk around here looking like freaky little evil twigs.”
“Walk around here?” I asked, startled.
“Yeah, you never know when they’ll just be standing there, watching. And Sig, honey, I’ve never really gotten a loving vibe from them.”
Sigourney’s arms crossed over her chest, “How long have you doubted them?”
Cleansing breath. “Since I saw them in the forest, every fiber of my being wanted to get away from them. I felt, in my bones I felt that they wanted to hurt me. But I sort of fell for it when they acted kind because I think I was just so relieved they weren’t there to kill me.”
Sigourney looked really pissed. Alston looked relieved and worried at the same time. I felt like a marriage counselor.
“Have you ever gotten a bad vibe from them?” I asked.
Sigourney uncrossed her arms. “There was this one time when I was down on the dock. I was leaning over the water to grab Bella’s tennis ball and when I pulled myself back up they were there, two of them standing right behind me. I swear the look on their faces wasn’t right, but then they started glowing pink and I figured they were just there to watch us play catch. They’ve always seemed to get a kick out of the dogs.”
Chilled I said, “To quote Oprah quoting Maya Angelou, ‘when someone shows you who they are believe them the first time.’ Trust me, those things are nothing but bad news.”
“How do we get them out of here?” Alston asked.
I’d begun to shrug my shoulders and mention Biddy as my go-to fixer when Sigourney growled, “We are not kicking them out of this house. Where will they go?”
“Honey, we need help. This has gone too far.”
“Too far? You didn’t think things were going too far when you filled up your yoga classes or when you stopped having to take that little blue pill.”
“For Christ’s sake Sig, they are running us. I can’t even have the damn trash service to the house anymore after that poor man’s arm got caught in the truck. I’m spending half my days running garbage to the dump the other half tip-toeing around this house trying to avoid those freaky little bastards.”
“Shhhhh!” Sigourney hissed. “Be quiet, what if they hear you?”
I interrupted the quarrel. “Where are they right now?”
“In the theater-“
“The theater?” I asked.
“We have a little home theater in the basement, it’s small,’ Sigourney said dismissively, “just sixteen recliners.”
What in the hell had these people done for work before becoming yogis? I thought, not for the first time.
Alston explained, “I put the television on for them, it will hold their attention for a few hours.”
When I realized he wasn’t kidding I asked, “What do they like to watch?”
“Real Housewives,” Sigourney replied, “of Atlanta mostly, though New Jersey sometimes does the trick.”
I held back nervous laughter and considered the couple for a moment, their faces clouded with worry and what I hoped was a little guilt.
“So what do you want me to do?” I asked. “If you don’t want to get rid of them-”
“We do, we want to get rid of them,” Alston held up a hand, silencing his wife, “This has gone far enough. Honey, we’re in over our heads.”
Sigourney looked like she had a whole lot more to say but she kept her mouth shut.
I wanted out of there. I offered to put them in touch with Biddy. They, well Alston thanked me and walked me to the front door alongside the dogs. I was jumpy, worried that I was going to run into one of the little stick creatures. It was the same feeling I used to have when walking down Marlborough Street in the Back Bay. Only then it was the fear of encountering a rat that made me skittish.
I rang the gong after I put my shoes on, making Alston laugh. As I walked to my car I checked my phone to see if I’d missed any texts while I’d been in the house. When I looked up from the phone I saw that my car looked funny, it was sort of leaning to one side. On closer inspection I found that both of the tires on the driver’s side were completely flat.
Son of a bitch, I thought.
I froze, unsure what to do. I decided I would call AAA and wait in the car. I didn’t really feel like dealing with the Mercers. As I was searching through my bag for my wallet so I could pull out my AAA card Alston and Sigourney rushed out of the house.
“What’s wrong?” Sigourney called, worry in her voice.
“It’s nothing, my tires are flat, I’ll just call AAA.”
“No!” The couple yelled.
“What do you want me to do?”
“You can’t have those people come here, it’s not safe for them,” Alston insisted. “I’ll put the spare on and then you can drive it to a shop.”
“It’s two flat tires, I only have one spare,” I said, feeling trapped and increasingly panicked.
“Then I’ll go buy you another spare,” he said quickly. “It will only take a moment you can wait inside with Siggy.”
“No, no way. Why did this happen? I thought you said you put me on your stupid protection list,” I snapped Sigourney.
“I did, I did. I guess maybe they just wanted to cause some mischief.”
As she said that the front door to the house slammed shut and we heard the deadbolt click into place.
“Damn it,” Alston said, “They’ve locked us out again.”
“You people are crazy, I’m calling AAA and I’m getting my car fixed and I’m getting the hell out of here.”
“You can’t, it’s not safe,” Alston pleaded.
“We could just make a swap,” Sigourney said quietly.
Alston considered her for a moment, “How about Bill? He’s been such a shit about fixing that pothole.”
Sigourney nodded in agreement. She walked back to the house and sat criss cross applesauce on the steps, held her hands in front of her heart and closed her eyes.
“What in the fuck is she doing?’ I demanded.
“Shhh, just give her a second. She just needs to offer the fairies an alternative.”
“The AAA tow truck guy.”
I stared at him and then I climbed into my car and shut and locked the doors. To distract myself I Googled “yoga studios near me” as I waited for help to arrive.