29 October 2010
Day 216: The House of Dead Maids
This is obviously a ghost story, so I can't get away with covering this book without talking about ghosts. The character known as Himself (and later Heathcliff) states that he would rather die and come back to haunt everyone than leave the house he will become the master of. Himself is actually a fabulous character and far more amusing than Tabby. I really wish this story had been told from his point of view instead, he seems so twisted and out of the ordinary through Tabby's eyes, but I get the feeling he's just a little more imaginative than her English countryside chambermaid sensibilities allow her to be.
In any case, I can kind of identify with the desire to come back as a ghost and haunt people. It's something that greatly appeals to me, being able to mess with people with no consequences. What's the worst thing you can do to a ghost? Exorcise them? Okay, great, I get to go to heaven!
In the meantime, that slight mean streak I have would get a chance to run its course. I doubt that I'd do much more than try to spook obnoxious children, I'm more mischievous than malicious after all. But I definitely get a perverse thrill from the idea of moving around personal items, slamming kitchen cabinets, and showing up in mirrors in otherwise empty rooms. None of these things actually hurt people directly, but they don't exactly make for pleasant living experiences either.
I suppose in someways I “haunt” whatever cat I am living with at the moment. I very much enjoy surprising them. There's something absolutely hilarious about this supposedly very dignified creature (as dignified as you can get when you lick your own butt) jumping two feet in the air just because you moved your foot when they weren't expecting it. Clawtooth, my roommate's cat, is especially easy to scare when he's in Freakout Mode. When he's already worked up it's almost too easy to scare him. Sometimes all you have to do is say “boo!” and he crouches down with his ears laid back before sprinting off into the next room, the sound of his nails gripping the carpet all the way.
There's just that sick and twisted part of me that wants to see if I can make another person react that way. Not out of any particular meanness, but because I think it might be fascinating and hilarious to watch the reaction. How big is your mean streak? Would you continue wandering the earth just to mess with people's heads? Would you haunt a particular person? Why? Have you ever been haunted before?
My review can be found on Goodreads.