The pine needles have fallen this week, a thick carpet, suddenly silent footsteps when I walk Baxter, mounds of them on the highway, scuttling across in the wind. October always feels unreal, wavering, storms putting puddles of the sky on the road, the sun making menacing shadows out of everyday trees. Red sunrises, red sunsets. No wonder they believed once that the world is just that much thinner at this change of the seasons, when fall goes from gorgeous and warm to a little wild.

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I’ve had nightmares of ghosts, and of unreal things myself. My speaker turned on by itself in the middle of the night one night; was I sleep talking, turning it on? I heard tapping on the door when I was getting ready one morning, but nothing was there. Dreamed of a spirit who looped me into more and more dreams, impossible to struggle out of. It wouldn’t let me turn on the lights. Stole my voice. Pressed me down so I couldn’t move. “The one thing you blamed me for in childhood that I never did,” it told me. “Any guesses?”

I don’t believe in ghosts, in spirits, but I feel haunted.