Lately, I've been having sort of a problem. Less of a problem actually, but more of an annoyance. The annoyance occurs almost every night and never ceases to bother me as I sleep or try to fall asleep. It's not only growing very old, but is almost to a point where I begin to worry for my own safety.
You see, I live in a large, seemingly ancient, Victorian-era house just at the outer brim of my small town. The dense forest covers the backside of the house and in front there is a road running horizontally which links my house to all the other similar ones on the street. It's a nice old neighborhood that most likely existed a century before I was born.
The inside of my house has an ornate sort of quality that is mixed with all the modernizations of the 21st century. It's lavish and large and the halls echo when someone speaks or creates a noise.
There are large open rooms, decorated with lusterless wallpaper and hardwood floors. A large antique staircase leads to the upstairs where my room is located. I still can hardly believe that I could ever afford it, even though I'm not even thirty yet.
The house is fantastic and since I've purchased it, I thought of it as my safe haven from the threats of the outside world. However, as I stated, recently there has been an odd characteristic of the house that has puzzled me ever since I first heard it.
For the last few nights while I am lying in my bed trying to pass over into sleep, something interrupts me. Through the threshold of my door, a very faint, yet distinct ringing sound crawls across my room and into my ears. Once it reaches me, it penetrates my head and immediately wakes me up. I usually look around to see what is making the noise. I sometimes even walk across the cold hardwood into the dimly lit hallway to investigate, but before I can uncover what is making the sound, it stops.
This cycle has grown rather tedious as every night I can hear the faint ringing and am unable to stop it. During the days, when I have free time, I search the house to see if there are any unused home phones that I don't know about. I even called the realtor who sold me the house and asked her if she knew anything about any phones. She didn't.
Also, I should mention, the noise would always come to my ears when I was in the same state. Every night when I am just about to fall asleep and my mind is on the cusp of making the transfer, the ringing sound always wakes me up and returns me to reality. I don't know how it is consistent every night, but it is. Maybe it's simply in my own head, but I can't say for sure.
One night the ringing finally brought me to my breaking point. I was lying in bed, thinking about work or my family or something, when I was awoken by the ringing once more. This time it was louder than it had ever been before. I could hear it bouncing and echoing off of all the walls in my house.
I peered over at my alarm clock to see that it was a little past midnight. I listened as the sound continued longer than it usually does. In my mind, the sound was tempting me, calling me, begging for me. I decided that I needed to go see what it was and end this whole irritation.
Carefully, I crossed the slick, dark, floor as the ringing continued in my ears. I bridged into the dim hallway, which was only illuminated by a small light and the natural brightness streaming through the window at the end. The stairs at the end seemed endless as I took them one at a time. As I stepped down the wooden path to the first floor, I noticed that the ringing had stopped. I paused for a moment, but then kept going. I needed to see what the noise was coming from.
When I came to the large open area at the bottom of my staircase, I flipped on a light switch. The elderly light flickered once and then fully came on. It unnerved me slightly.
I began to search around the room, checking my end tables and cabinets full of silverware and other dull items. After determining that the noise had not come from that room, I moved across the carpet into the study near the back of my house.
It looked like a mess when I stepped in, with papers and documents I had been working on scattered all over the floor. Beyond the mess, I could see the abysmal forest through the window in the back. The forest was thrashing and shaking from all the gusts of wind we were receiving that night. It appeared as a raging storm made up of thousands of evergreens.
The ringing brought me back to reality as I stepped backwards at the sound. The culprit of the noise was close and the ringing was louder than I had ever heard before. I quickly began throwing open drawers and cabinets to try and find the noise, but to no avail. The ringing continued as I frantically searched.
Finally, as I looked behind a lamp on my end table at one o' clock, I could see a very out-of-style, old fashioned telephone sitting there. It was black and had the receiver on the top along with a number circle, for dialing I suppose. I guess it's possible that I had missed it when I first toured the home, since it was sort of hidden, however it struck me as being very peculiar.
The phone was screaming louder than it had ever before, as if it knew it was so close to being answered. The sound was almost so intense that it hurt my ears. I wasn't sure whether to answer it or not. I had no idea of who might have been trying to call me. It could have possibly been a repeated wrong number though.
Deciding that I needed to answer the phone to end the annoyance, I grasped the receiver with my cold hand and slowly raised it. The ringing immediately stopped and I cautiously delivered the phone against my ear.
“Hello?” I asked through the line in a shaky, unnerved tone. I anxiously waited for a response, hoping there would not be one. A few seconds passed as I breathed into the receiver heavily, looking around at the unkempt study.
“Why haven't you been answering my calls?” a voice came through the other side. The voice was overrun with a tone of concealed anger as it quietly spoke. I was in a wordless state of fear at the voice's question. My face turned white and my arms were fiercely trembling. I didn't know who it was or exactly what to say, but I had the feeling that the voice knew who I was.
“Is there anything wrong?” the voice questioned as the reception made his voice crack slightly.
“N-no,” I managed to divulge through my overlaying terror.
“Well,” the voice said as if he had already known my answer, “I think there is something wrong. I'll be over very soon to check on you.” A cold wind blew through my body as I slammed the phone down to end the call, however I managed to knock over the whole thing.
My eyes grew extremely wide and my heart thumped wildly when I saw that the phone's wire had not been plugged in. The phone didn't even have anything to plug into an outlet. It was merely a broken cord!
I stumbled back in my horror and fell onto the cold ground. My mind panicked as I lay in the dark house, alone. Immediately, I forced myself to get back up. I ambled over to the door near the staircase and made sure it was securely locked. In my mad rush of fearful adrenaline, I checked every door in my house, to make sure no one could enter. For extra safety, I stacked bookcases, chairs, and tables in front of them.
When I had finished, I grabbed a dark, gristly poker from my fireplace and drew up a chair in front of the main entrance. I kept guard almost all night, awaiting the arrival of the caller, however he did not come. There were no knocks or forced entry. The only thing out of the ordinary were some odd lights which I saw around three in the morning, however they could be attributed to a car passing by.
When the sun finally rose, a wave of relief passed through me and I knew that I was finally safe. Tiredly, I drifted into my study, picked up the phone, threw it in my garbage, and watched as the men took it away.
I then went upstairs and slept in my bed. There would be no way that I was going in to work that day.
My problem does not end there, however. The night after the occurrence and every night since, I can still hear the ringing echoing through my halls. I am not sure where it is coming from, but I can hear it faintly and mockingly.
I don't know what I should do.