It was during the fall of my freshman year of high school. I was 14, and lived in a suburban neighborhood. I lived with my parents, my brother and his girlfriend, both in their mid-twenties, and my little Jack Russell named Blammo. I have another sister and brother too, but they were both off in college when this took place.

Due to some family situations, I usually just lived with my brother while my parents worked upstate, visiting on weekends and vacations and such. This was during one of the times that they were visiting after being gone for about a month. I had gotten quite acquainted to living independently, my brother and I hardly talked much, sometimes we would go days without saying a word to each other, and if I needed to go some place I would just walk or longboard. This meant that when I woke up in the morning I was almost always by myself, except for when my parents were there of course, then I would have to deal with my father waking up at 4:30 in the morning. I had come up with a morning routine with a complicated procedure of when to wake up depending on certain events.

Some things remained the same throughout the procedures though: I had to leave for the bus stop at 7:00 and I had to leave my phone charging on my backpack the night before so I would never forget it. Now here’s the thing about my house; it had two floors, in which pretty much everybody's room being on the second floor with the rare case of my eldest brother living in the basement. There were five rooms on the second floor connected by a narrow hallway, with a staircase coming up the middle. There were two bedrooms on each side of the staircase with a bathroom in the middle. On the left was my room and my parents’ room, and on the opposite side was my brother’s and sister’s. There were two vents on the floor too, which allowed you to see into the kitchen and living room.

One day I had come back from school to an empty house. My brother had left me a message stating that he was going to be with his girlfriend in Boston that night and that I was home alone until our parents arrived. I was excited, and started doing my usual 'home-alone' routine, consisting of smoking and playing loud music. The best part about it was that my parents were going to be home later that night, which meant that I wouldn’t have to go through the trouble of freaking out, hearing footsteps in my house that weren’t really there, which come whenever I’m by myself for a night.

There was only one problem though, my neighbors were having a barbeque next door. This meant I couldn’t smoke in or around the house, so I decided to go on a walk in the woods. I packed my shit up and left out the front door. There was a man sitting on a tree stump on the shared border of me and my neighbor’s house. I had seen him around before and around the house when I would go on walks when I was home alone. He looked a little weird, missing a few teeth and obviously a bit mentally challenged, but seeing him on the stump, checking his phone while outside of a party made me feel happy for him, as if he was normal.

By the time my parents came home at 9:30 I was exhausted, and they were too. I went to bed shortly after them, plugging in my phone and shutting all the lights off. I passed off into sleep pretty quickly that night, and when I woke up it was a strange morning.

First of all, when I woke up, it was still dark in my room. I checked my alarm clock to confirm that it was 6:30, yet there was little light in the room. It was a very gloomy day outside. I got up and opened up my door to see that there were no lights turned on downstairs by looking through the vent, which was odd considering my father’s habit of waking up at dawn.

I took one step forward only to become frozen only moments after. What I heard was chilling and unexpected. Music, piano music was being played downstairs. We had a keyboard near the living room, but who would be playing that at this time? I turned to my parents room, with their door wide open; I saw an empty bed.

I called out to my dog, “Blammo, come here.”

I spoke in a quiet yet firm manner. I wasn’t calling him for defense or anything, just to see if he was there. He had always been a terrified dog; if there ever was a burglar in our house, he would probably just whimper and hide behind my parents. After calling out a couple of times, I found that there was no movement, he wasn’t there, and neither were my parents.

I took a step back into my room, reached for my pocketknife, which I kept on my dresser, and slowly crept down the hallway. At this point, there was no sound, just the distant raindrops hitting the windows in my room. I tiptoed down each step until I reached the bottom. I took one last deep breath, keeping as quiet as I could to hear if there was any sound, then bolted to the nearest light switch. I flicked on the lights to the dining room, slipping my shoes on and grabbing my backpack within a minute. I rushed out the backdoor leading into the garage.

Before I left though, I looked back at the living room while backing up slowly just to see if there was a ghost somehow creeping behind me. On my way out, I noticed something else; the door into the basement from the garage was wide open. What was so odd about this was that there was already a door to the basement that was in the house, and the door in the garage was only ever used if we were carrying something heavy from the garage to the basement or if my brother was sneaking out. On rare occasions, when I showed up to the house with the doors locked, I would just go through that door and in the house. I bolted out the door and ran down the street to my bus stop, arriving twenty minutes early.

I calmed down when I reached school though. I was worried of course, but I had forgotten my phone so I had no way to call to check-in. The whole day I tried my hardest to come up with some sort of logical solution as to why things happened the way that they did. I just assumed that when I came back it would all be explained to me. Thankfully, when I arrived home, I opened the front door to my normal, lively home with my father sitting on his computer and my mother sitting on the couch with the dog in her lap. After a couple minutes of taking my shoes and bag off, I told my mom what had happened the night before. She sat there puzzled for a few seconds but answered my questions.

She explained that there was a thunderstorm going on that night, and my dog had woken them up wanting to go into the basement because he was scared of thunder. The piano sound was just my mother setting an alarm on her phone before she went downstairs with my father to go to sleep. I was still a little confused though.

“Why Dad too?” I asked her.

She told me that Blammo was shaking like crazy, and that it was the most scared she’d ever seen him during a thunderstorm; it was so bad that my dad had to go downstairs with her too.

After relaxing for a little while, I went to go grab my phone. I was so scared before I left that I must have forgotten to take it. I went to my charger in the dining room to find that my phone was not there. I searched my entire room too, finding nothing. I must have called the phone a dozen times, each time it immediately hung up. It must have been dead. It wasn’t until that weekend when my brother came home from college that he found the phone under his bed in the basement. The phone wasn’t dead though, just turned off...