I was working for a lady, a friend of mine named Janice, in her home the Hollywood hills. She had just rented the place from a nineteen-year-old kid, a loose, affable stoner type of guy whom I'd met a few days ago. It seemed a little unusual that this kid owned this huge house in the Hollywood hills, but everything was a little unusual in Hollywood and therefore not particularly noteworthy by default. In situations like that, it seemed best not to ask too many questions.
One day I was downstairs filing for her in her office near the laundry room. As I passed by, I noticed a woman in there with her back turned doing the laundry. My friend was somewhat wealthy and could afford a housekeeper - I'd just never seen this one before. I said 'hi" and she just kept working, so she must not have heard me over the sound of the washer she was piling clothes into.
The slim, dark-haired woman had on khakis, and a crisp white blouse. I remember assuming, since this was California, that she was an illegal immigrant that Janice had recently hired, but didn't really think much about it beyond that. She was working quickly and efficiently.
I filed for a while and peripherally noticed her from time to time but we let each other do our work and didn't speak.
Eventually, I had to go to the bathroom, which was in the hall between the office and the laundry room.
The moment I stood up and started walking towards the bathroom, the woman quickly walked out of the laundry room and darted into the bathroom before me, slamming the door.
She was in there for a good fifteen minutes. Finally I walked over and timidly knocked on the door. No answer. I went back and tried to concentrate on filing, but finally I went over again and knocked louder, asking if everything was alright. Nothing.
At last I tentatively turned the doorknob, peeked in and looked around. No one was in there. There was no door or window in there or any other way she could have gotten out. She hadn't left by the main door because I'd been watching it like a hawk, waiting for my turn.
It was too weird, and I mentioned it to Janice. She got this look on her face.
"Black hair? White blouse? Khaki's? Doing laundry?" I nodded.
"Ahh, so you've seen her. Hey Mike - " she called her assistant. "Guess what? She saw her. She saw the mother."
I felt a shiver go up my spine.
Apparently, when Janice's teenage landlord was six, he hid under his bed while his uncle went berserk and murdered all five of his family members. He was the only survivor. No renters would stay in the house for a very long time until Janice, who thought it was all just fascinating. We speculated that the mother had been doing the laundry when she'd been murdered.
I really wish at the time I'd thought to ask Janice if the mom did a good job on the laundry and if she found her clothes washed and neatly folded from time to time, or if the whole scenario had just been some kind of weird energy glitch I'd witnessed.
As Janice and I were talking intently about all of this, getting ourselves more and more spooked, we both looked at the doorway and screamed bloody murder
at the same time!
(Her assistant Mike had quietly left the room, silently reappeared and stood patient and motionless with a sheet over his head until we happened to see him. He was richly rewarded! I have never laughed so hard in my life, and never was I so relieved!)
Okay - this is really stupid - as I'm sitting here remembering all this from years ago, it's late at night. I'm completely alone in the house this weekend. I just heard a major thumping on the side of the house where there is no walkway or windows! No one should be out there! I'm shaking and I get up to lock the back door. I turned off all the lights in the house, and turned on the back porch light. I'm so silly. It's one of my cats at the back window demanding to be let in.