At that time I was expecting my first womb squatter...(or 'child' as some prefer to call them *shudder*)...and given circumstance had left me with no other plans that evening, I readily accepted my Mother's invitation to stay over. Not just 'cos she's a great cook but because she's good company too, lively, funny, crazy and a great cook...did I mention she's a great cook?
Anyway, outside the night was cold and miserable but inside, near the roaring fire, sitting with a steaming mug of hot chocolate between our hands me and my Mum were cosy...(though I never understood why we didn't each have a mug!).
Gradually, as the evening wore on, the heat from the fire and the general ambience of snug began to take effect and soon we were ready for sleep.
My Mum had offered me the spare room but in there there lurked a gargantuan chest freezer which held within its maw the remains of a cryonically suspended herd of cattle which she'd purchased from the local abattoir at a discount...and the motor had a strange hum to it that could easily be mistaken for muffled moos...so I declined.
Mother then suggested I sleep in bed with her but...here's the thing. We are each entitled to our own little foibles and I respect this, however, my Mother's foible was to sleep in a cat suit so she'd look presentable should someone break into the house!
Yep! That's what she did, I jest ye not!
Don't misunderstand, she wasn't dressed as if she was auditioning for a part in a Batman movie...it was an all in one trouser suit thing, you know, the kind of outfit you'd expect if Coco Chanel did Onesies.
With it she wore a headscarf to keep her hair neat AND upon her lips she wore a subtle shade of salmon pink lipstick ( smudge proof )!
Don't know about you but I've yet to see a crime report proclaiming 'Burglars outrage at facing unkempt female!...."We're scarred...we may never burgle again"...lamented Slasher Smith'...
Regardless, I simply couldn't face that sight so I very happily settled for the couch, falling instantly asleep.
In the early hours of the morning I was awakened by the pronounced chill in the air. The only illumination came from the window facing me through which, amidst a subtle glow, the moon cast silvery shadows around the room. Gradually I became aware of a slight movement by the couch near my feet.
I squinted my eyes to make more sense of what I was seeing.
With disbelief, I witnessed a twist of mist slowly forming from the floor towards the ceiling...narrow at the base and a shoulder span in width!
Silent, scentless...just there! I was absolutely frozen not with fear...with incredulity....FEAR came shortly after when the wispy shape of a horses head started to nose its way out of the wall!!
Never have I moved as fast as I did that night...and as an ex dancer and school Games captain, ( back in the day ), ...that's saying something!
Sprinting up the stairs, I charged into my Mother's bedroom....gasping for breath but still functioning enough to notice that she lay sleeping, perfectly centralised upon the bed, arms folded like some funereal sculpture...scarf neatly in place...cat suit unruffled...lipstick un-smudged..
"Uhh? Wa...whosat...wassup??"...unconsciously her hands were checking out her dress status for neatness...( just in case I was a burglar )...then mild panic entered her voice as sleep began to melt away...
"Lynn! You ok?"
"Mum...there's a horse in the living room"
"There's a HORSE in the living room!"..I repeated, aware of how mad this must sound...but not really caring!
"Oh right"..she said, in the same casually accepting tone she used when the local shop was out of bread...."I'll get the torch"
Now then...I was so relieved to get any reaction from her it didn't cross my mind to question why we would need a torch. It was an average sized two bedroomed house...with electricity...and if a horse was lurking in there...we'd know!
But downstairs we went...Mother in Ninja mode...torch in hand...horse hunting.
It wasn't there, quelle surprise, but still Mother continued to check every nook and cranny of the place as calmly and as casually as you would search for misplaced reading glasses...in fact she'd be more frantic had that been the case!
Well, I wasn't going to risk another visitation by the ghost of Mister Ed...( any child of the late 50's 60's will know what I'm talking about here)...so I succumbed to Mothers suggestion and climbed into bed with her...resplendent, as she was, in her burglar friendly attire.
The rest of the night remained uneventful, apart from the contented snores of Mother who had resumed the rigid, centralised position of her perfectly neat and tidy slumbers.
The following morning, as I enjoyed a breakfast of pickled red cabbage on toast, ( it was a craving thing ), we went over the nights events. Without a doubt I had seen what I had seen, the twirling smoky mist and the wispy horses head coming through the wall. I knew the houses in the area had been built post World War 2, having been fields prior to that but I didn't know much else of the area's history, so I remained without answers.
Mother insisted that whilst she believed me she'd never had any such experience in the house but then she'd never spent a night on the couch. She couldn't provide answers either but she did offer to investigate further by asking 'Maureen'.
"Who's Maureen?"...you ask...So did I!
"Maureen from next door... there's a good chance she'll know what it was all about"
I perked at this information, thinking that Maureen must be some kind of psychic or at least have further historical knowledge of the area. I couldn't wait to find out more!
"It makes sense really"...continued Mother.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, if the head was sticking out of my wall...then the other end must have been sticking out of Maureen's wall!"
I never did get to the bottom of it all. All Mother said was that nothing came of her asking Maureen other than she'd stopped popping round for a coffee and tended to avoid eye contact in the street.
Maybe if I'd spent another night there I'd have been able to find out...straight from the horses mouth...who knows?
© Copyright Lynn Gerrard