Ghostly Mr. Tooley

My name is Regina and I am an African-American woman with two young children, Brianna and Jesse. They are the love of my life and I want to provide the very best life for them that I can. We used to live with my mother in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania until I earned enough to get our own place. My mother looked after my two children while I work as a personal assistant to a fashion designer. I work long hours and sometimes I have to miss school plays or homework, but I love my children very much and they know that I would do anything for them.

I am thirty-five years old with a curvy body that makes a man beg for it. I have a caramel complexion with brown eyes and long braids down to my waist. I wear glasses which do come in handy when I have to do a lot of reading for my boss. I love my job and wouldn’t trade it for the world, except for my kids. I love watching television, going to the clubs every blue moon with my girlfriends, and I am an avid reader of books. I especially like fictional books which have you on the edge of your seat.

My daughter Brianna is the oldest of the two and is seven years old while my son, Jesse, is only four years old. Brianna is a skinny girl with dark brown eyes and loves to have her hair in pigtails. My son is completely the opposite where he is a little chubby boy with a shaved head and he wears glasses as well. They are a handful but my mother loves her grandchildren to death.

I have been working as a personal assistant for about nine years now and my boss is the coolest person. She gives me time off when one of my kids are sick or if I just need some down time. I personally run all of her errands for her and make most of her business calls. She is always so busy running around making deals and designing new outfits, and she does dabble a little in home decorating, so I guess you could say she has two professions.

She is a remarkable person who is quite a bit older than I and all that gray hair on her head shows it. She is an older woman who has a brilliant mind and a creative flair for fashion. One of my jobs is to make sure all the models are on time for their fittings and that all of the events are well planned. I have even had the opportunity to mingle with other famous designers and celebrities. That’s one of the highlights of my life other than my children being born.

After working for about the last three years I have saved enough money to move my family into a place of our own, so my mother and I went to search for a place for my kids and I. We finally found an apartment big enough for my children and I to thrive in. It was on the first floor and it had three bedrooms. It was in a subtle part of Philadelphia where there was not that much crime and I didn’t have to fear for my children’s safety. My mother liked it and I was pleased with how clean and organized it was, so I signed the rental agreement and went home with my mother to begin packing up my family for the move.

The next day I rented a moving truck to load my family’s belongings into to take to the new apartment. Box after box we put into the truck and almost bumping into each other a few times, but we were getting it done. The kids were excited about having their own rooms and I was excited about being on our own, even though I love my mother, I just felt that my children pushed her to her limits most times.

Once the truck was packed and we were ready to go, my mother followed us in her car to help us unpack. My boss knew the situation and was okay with me taking a few days to get settled in. We pulled up in the apartment complex parking lot and got as close to the apartment and remotely possible. There we started carrying boxes into the new apartment and the kids were just too excited for me. I felt they were running me ragged at first. Then came the fighting and arguing over who got which room. It took all I had to get through this day.

Well, we were all unpacked and it was time to take the rental truck back, so my kids jumped into the car with my mother and followed me back to return the truck. Then, I got into the car and headed back to the apartment to sort through the mess. My mother helped out by unpacking the kitchen and putting things away while the kids were tackling their rooms and I rummaging through mine.

It took the better of one whole day to get most of everything where it was supposed to be. We ordered pizza for dinner because I had not bought any groceries yet for the apartment but would go shopping after we got through taking care of the apartment. My mother finally got the kitchen done when the pizza arrived at the door. I opened the door to a young delivery boy with my hot pizzas. He didn’t look like much, but hey he had a paying job which is more than I can say for most young boys. Most young African-American boys think about being thugs and drug dealers, so it’s nice to see an honest hard-working one make it in life.

I took the pizza to the living room and called for my mother to bring plates and napkins while calling for the kids to come eat.We all sat around the coffee table on the floor and dug into the hot pizza. Everything was turning out okay at this point. The kids made a mess while eating and my mother just laughed. They were enjoying themselves and seem to be a little happier in our new place.

After finishing the pizza and getting done with unpacking, my mother gave her hugs and kisses as she departed for home. I really appreciate the help that my mother has been. I don’t honestly think we would have made it this far without her. After she left the kids went back to their rooms to finish cleaning it up and putting things away while I cleaned up the pizza mess.

It was getting a little late now and the kids needed to have their baths before bed. I got Brianna into her bath while chasing Jesse around with his clothes in my hand. He was more of a mischief-maker than Brianna, who was more level-headed. After getting Brianna out of the bath, wrapping her in a towel, and sending her to her room to get her pajamas on, it was time to get Jesse into his bath. Bath time was always fun with Jesse but they really need to make a bath apron for parents so we don’t get all wet when bathing a child.

Picking Jesse up and out of the bath tub and wrapping him in a towel I thought I heard Brianna calling for me. I grabbed up my wet son wrapped in his towel and carried him into Brianna’s room. I asked her if she had called me and she quickly replied “no”. I thought it strange because I definitely thought I heard her calling my name, but anyway, time to get Jesse into his pajamas and into his bed.

Once I got him tucked in it was time for his nightly story of pirates and swashbucklers. I got his book from the shelf and sat down on the bed next to him while wrapping my arm around him to prop up his head. I opened the book and began reading it to him when I felt this cold chill that seemed to linger. I got up and checked his window and then went into the hallway checking the thermostat to see what the temperature reading was. It said that it was seventy-nine degrees in the house and I thought that very odd that there was a chill in his room.

So, I went back into his room and got comfortable with him and again began reading to him. He was very assertive and excited about the pictures and my reading to him, but soon he was fighting sleep and his eyes getting very low. I think I read about another ten minutes before noticing him fast asleep. I closed the book and gently got up from his bed not waking him. I placed the book back on the shelf and picked up a few of his dirty clothes from the floor. i made sure he was sound asleep before closing the door and heading to Brianna’s room.

Brianna was dressed in her pajamas and ready to be tucked into bed. So we got her under the blankets and I leaned down to kiss her forehead telling her good night. As I began leaving the room she stopped me and asked if I would close her closet door for her before turning out the light. I walked over to her closet looking inside and felt the eeriest feeling. So I closed the door and again told her goodnight before leaving her room.

As I walked towards my room I started hearing soft little voices but I couldn’t make out what they were saying. I pushed it off as a figment of my imagination and the fact that I was exhausted from the move. I went and soaked in a nice hot bath and relaxed the muscles for a bit. As I lay there with my eyes closed relaxing, I could feel that cold chill again even with me being in a hot bath. I couldn’t put my finger on where it was coming from. I went ahead and got out of the hot bath so not to get pneumonia and wrapped myself up in my towel.

As I walked back into my room I could sense that someone was watching me but how, there was no windows in my bedroom. It felt like piercing eyes watching me and making the hairs on my arms stand up and tingle. I couldn’t let go of this feeling and decided to call it a night and get into my warm bed.

I climbed into bed and I don’t think it took long for me to fall asleep but it seemed like I was dreaming just that quick. It was as if I had just closed my eyes and opened them into another world which was hazy and bright. I could see a shadow of a short man walk by and all I heard were whispers, just like the ones I heard earlier. It was eerie enough to force myself to wake up. I sat up in bed and looked around but saw nothing so I laid back down and tried to go to sleep again. This time it was uneventful and peaceful.

When morning came, I woke up smelling coffee brewing and hurried to the kitchen to find out who was here making coffee. I arrived in the kitchen to find my daughter standing on a chair over the coffee maker where she greeted me with a huge grin and said that she had made coffee for me. When I looked in the pot it looked awfully strong, so I asked her how she made it. It wasn’t the answer I had hoped for but she said she put three scoops of coffee in the filter which is a bit much even for me, being that I live off of coffee. To keep her happy I drank what she poured into my cup and went over to the table where my son was eating some cold cereal, which by the way, had more milk in it than a cow could possible produce at once. He did enjoy his cereal so as long as he was happy I remained happy.

It was then time for me to take my daughter to school and my son to daycare. We grabbed everything we needed and ran out the door to get into the car. I first put my stuff into the front passenger side seat before opening the back passenger side door for my daughter to get in. Meanwhile my son was running around the car yelling at the top of his lungs that his shoe was untied. I grabbed him on his second time around the car and got him into his side and into his car seat where I could tie his shoe so he would calm down.

I quietly got inside the driver seat and took a deep breath. I had a few days off from work to do some things around the new apartment to get more settled in. So, I dropped my children off and headed for the grocery store to stock up the refrigerator and cupboards before they came home that afternoon. I remembered that I left my cell phone on the kitchen counter and decided to go by the apartment to get it before heading to the store. When I walked inside the apartment it felt like twenty degrees in there. I walked over to the thermostat and checked it again and it told me the same thing, that it was seventy- nine┬ádegrees in the apartment. I could not figure it out so i went to get my phone which I knew I left it on the counter but wasn’t there when i got there. That boggled my mind because I could have sworn I left it on the counter.

I searched and searched through the apartment but still no luck on finding it. I called my mother using the house phone and asked her to call my cell so I could retrieve it. I waited about fifteen minutes and then she called me back and said she tried calling it but it just rang and rang. I didn’t hear it at all. I could not figure out where I left it and tried looking through the house again, but no luck. I told her thank you and hung up but then tried calling it myself thinking maybe my mother must have dialed the wrong number.

When I dialed it from my house phone it rang only three times and then this man answered it. I was dumbfounded as to how this man got my cell phone. He sounded a bit like an older man and when I asked him how he got my phone he just hung up. I tried dialing it again because I thought he was so rude but this time he didn’t answer it and it just rang several times. I went into my bedroom and searched in there looking under the bed, in my sheets, but then it dawned on me how could it be in my bed when a strange man answered it. So I headed back out to the kitchen and when I arrived it was sitting right there on the counter where I thought I had left it. That was strange, it wasn’t there a minute ago.

Instead of thinking too hard about it, I headed out to the grocery store. I walked up and down the aisles picking up food my kids would like when I noticed some people staring at me. Instead of being rude I just politely said hello but they quickly turned and hurried away. I think I remember one of them from the apartment complex I live at. Could that be one of my neighbors? I thought, but they could have said something nice back instead of running away like I was some leper. When I got to the checkout stand, the checkout girl looked at me funny and then smiled weirdly at me. I asked her if there was a problem and she politely but nervously said “no, ma’am”. She asked if I was the family who moved into apartment two o seven at the apartment complex down the street. It astounded me how she knew exactly which apartment I had moved into, but I acknowledged her with a yes and a smile.

Once I checked out I started taking my groceries to the car when I noticed that people were still being weird and staring at me. I couldn’t let it stress me so I finished putting my groceries in the car and got in buckling up and starting the car. As I drove through the parking lot toward the exit, I noticed how people were still watching me. It was like being in one of those creepy horror movies with pod people or something. I drove past them smiling and saying hello until I got out of the parking lot.

Once I got back to the apartment and started carrying the groceries into the house, the minute I walked into the house i dropped the bag of groceries on the floor. I looked around and every cabinet in my kitchen was open, they were empty but wide open. I did not leave my cabinets open when I left. Did someone come into my apartment while I was gone? I got on the phone and called the rental office asking if the maintenance guy came in for something but they told me they never sent anyone. Who could have been in my apartment and opened up all of my cabinets?

I discarded the thought quickly and began picking up my groceries off of the floor. I sat them on the counter and began going around and closing all the cabinets. I turned around to go use the bathroom and when I came back all of my cabinets were open again. I could not believe what my eyes were seeing, I just closed those cabinets and now they’re open again. What is going on here?

I closed them again and put the groceries away and started finishing the unpacking I had left to do. I went into my bedroom and grabbed some boxes to unpack and placed them on the bed. There I stood next to the bed and began taking items out of the boxes and putting them away. As I was going through a box I could feel something standing directly behind me. It was a cold chilling feeling and I could almost feel someone’s hot breath on the back of my neck. I dropped everything and quickly turned around to see what was behind me. There was nothing. I thought to myself could I be going crazy, am I overworked, or what?

I quickly finished unpacking and doing a little cleaning before getting dinner started. My daughter will be getting off of the bus soon and my mother is picking up my son from daycare to bring him home. It is so nice to still have her helping us even though we don’t live with her anymore. I guess this is her way to still be able to see her grandchildren. I wasn’t going to stop her or complain about it, it was taking some pressure off of me.

It was exactly three fifteen when my daughter came in the door from school and anxious to see me. She had her report card from school and my daughter had made all A’s except for one B in her class. I was so proud of her and told her to go put it up on the refrigerator so I can always see how proud I am of my baby girl. She walked over and took a magnet off of the refrigerator and placed her report card right in the middle so I could see it. Then my mother came in with my son and saw that I was in the middle of getting dinner cooked so she got him settled and playing with his toys while she came back in to the kitchen and helped me with dinner.

She joined us for dinner at the kitchen table and after the children had eaten and left the table, I offered her some coffee so that I can talk to her alone. I started telling her about what has been happening and the man answering my cell phone and told her that I felt like I was going crazy. She asked me if anything else has been happening and did I feel the children were safe. I hasten to tell her I did not feel threatened or that my children were in any kind of danger. I told her it was just little things that were happening. She replied to that statement with if anything else happens or it gets worse for me to bring the children to her house until we can deal with it correctly.

We chatted for a bit longer before she got up to leave for home. I called the children in to give grandma goodbye hugs and kisses and after that I followed her to the door and said our goodbyes. As I closed the front door after saying goodbyes, I could hear the children talking so I headed for the living room where they were. When I arrived into the room there was a silence as if they were hiding something from me. When I asked what they were talking about, they just said they were playing. I went ahead and accepted that and headed to the kitchen to wash the dinner dishes and clean up before it was time for the children to take a bath.

While I was in the kitchen I had gotten that eerie feeling like I had earlier about someone watching me, but this time it came with a sense of being cold. It was almost like standing outside in the snow kind of cold. I couldn’t shake it but went ahead and finished the dishes, got the kitchen cleaned, and started bath time.

Brianna was quick to take her bath and head to bed while with Jesse it was an every night thing with chasing him through the house. I love my children but bath time can be so exhausting at times. While in the bath, Jesse had asked me about the man in his room. When I asked him “what man?”, he told me of the man who visited him in his room the night before. I started to wonder if my son had an imaginary friend or if he was so tired that he started seeing things that were not there.

He described this man to me as being short and chubby, but he said he couldn’t see his face and that it was like a shadow of a man. I asked him if the man scared him and he replied with “no”. So, I got him out of the bathtub and took him to his room to put on his pajamas. After getting him dressed and telling him his bedtime story, I went to check on Brianna who seemed to be fast asleep when I got to her room. I leaned down and kissed her forehead and left the room closing the door behind me.

I headed for my bedroom and as I walked through the hallway, it felt like a walked through something very cold. It was enough to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up but shook it off and headed for bed. I got myself into my night-shirt and climbed into bed. As I reached to turn off my lamp on the night stand I caught what appeared to be a shadow leaving my room. I held off on turning the light off and waited for a few minutes to see if it was real. After about ten minutes I decided it was nothing and turned my lamp off to go to sleep.

Sometime in the middle of the night I woke up to my covers being in the floor and wondered if I had a bad dream or got too hot and kicked them off. I reached down and grabbed them pulling them back up on me. I tried to get comfortable to go back to sleep when I saw the shadow of a man just like Jesse had stated standing at the foot of my bed. It scared me to death and then I started screaming at it “what do you want?” and waited for it to answer me. Which I thought was a little crazy that I expect a shadow to answer me, to which it didn’t. I yelled for it to leave and not bother my children or myself anymore. It just stood there for a few minutes before disappearing right before my eyes. I waited a few minutes before laying back and going off to sleep.

The next morning when I woke up, I put my robe on and headed for the kitchen to make some coffee. When I got into the kitchen every single cupboard was wide open and I noticed the children were still asleep. I thought to myself, “could this shadow be doing these things?” I went around and closed all of them and started making coffee when I turned around and right in front of me was the shadow man again. I didn’t know what he wanted and didn’t know how to find out. It was not like I was psychic or anything to be able to translate what he wanted. I calmly asked him again what he wanted and again he just stood there.

Then my son, Jesse, came running into the kitchen and stopped in his tracks when he saw the shadow man. I looked over at my son who couldn’t take his eyes off of the shadow man and I asked him if this is who was visiting him in his room? He just nodded his head and finally looked at me and then walked over to get his cereal like it was no big deal. I asked him if he has talked to the shadow man and he said “no, he just stands there”. Well I didn’t know what to do so I carried on with my morning of getting the kids ready and off to school.

Once I dropped them off at school I headed back to the rental office to ask some questions. When I got inside I asked teh receptionist if I could speak directly with the manager. She obliged me and went to get her. She offered for me to come have a seat in her office and then proceeded to ask me what the problem was.

I politely informed her there was no problem as of yet but that I was curious as to who lived in that apartment before I moved into it. She looked at me kind of oddly and then started to smirk and asked me if Mr. Tooley was bothering me? I asked her who Mr. Tooley was and she replied that he was an old tenant in that apartment who had died. I asked her what he died from and she just stated he was old and he died of natural causes. He was a pleasant man to be around. There was a nice couple who lived in that apartment right before you who couldn’t get past the fact that there was a ghost in it. She reassured me that Mr. Tooley was harmless and from what she can tell he was just lonely and enjoyed company. That was how he was in the living.

So I thanked her for answering my questions and began walking out the door when she quickly asked me to tell Mr. Tooley she says hello. I looked at her and then shook my head at the matter. I went back to my apartment now knowing what or who the shadow man really was. As I walked in, I got that same cold feeling again and quietly said “hello Mr. Tooley” as I closed the door. When I turned around he was standing in the hallway and I just went by him to get my day started.

As I started cleaning and folding laundry I had quiet conversations with Mr. Tooley which yes I know it might look like I’m crazy but it was comforting to know I wasn’t alone in the apartment. So we had conversations everyday and sometimes he would sit in my overstuffed chair and it seemed like he was listening. He never spoke a work so I kept the conversations one-sided and it was nice. Now I know some of you think I’m crazy already being a black person living with a ghost, when I should be running down the street screaming and dragging my children in tow. Mr Tooley never tried to hurt us or cause any harm, so we cohabited together peacefully.

Now trying to explain this to my mother was a whole other story because she would be frantic knowing there was a dead presence in the house. I finally got around to telling her and even invited her over to meet Mr. Tooley. She was frightened and uneasy at first, but then she warmed up to Mr. Tooley and everything went on as normal. My children are pleased as punch to have a real life ghost in the house and my daughter Brianna is trying to figure out how to take Mr. Tooley to school for show and tell. Everything is running smoothly now and we are happy being in our own apartment and give thanks everyday. Also, we have invited Mr. Tooley to stay as long as he wants.