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My family had been going through financial issues ever since I was born. We'd moved around more times than I can count, so it was only natural that we’d be moving again. Now, this house we moved to was different. By different, I mean it was old.
We had never lived in a house that was more than a decade or two old. This one was originally built in the 1920's with the house being nearly doubled in length in the 1980's for space. So, in short, it took a while to get adjusted to it. The house was falling apart. The appliances would go on the fritz. The house was not properly insulated. It would shudder when the wind blew at it. The floorboards would creak when you walked over them, and I swear my sister was a sleepwalker even though my parents and sister denied it. Her room was a loft above mine. I always heard creaking above me in the night.
As I said previously, my family had been going through financial troubles, and on top of that, the house was falling apart, so we had to move in the middle of my final semester of high school. Everything was smooth sailing after we moved until one little issue came up.
Just one single textbook prevented me from graduating until I returned it. It was a textbook from a class I had dropped. Being as forgetful as I am, I never returned it to the teacher. To make matters worse, I was pretty confident I had left it at our old home. No big deal right? Just call up the landlord and ask if they could take a peek around and see if it had been left behind by mistake? Unfortunately no. Life is never quite that simple.
No, the landlord and his wife decided that they were going to take a few week vacation in Florida leaving me in a bit of a situation. Normally we would wait and just have them look when they returned, however, they were slated to get back into the state a week or two after the return date, therefore I would not graduate with my class. I would love to say we could have just payed the bill the school threw at us, but it was a college class I dropped, so it was a $200 textbook fee we needed to pay. With our money being in short supply and already tied up in graduation costs and from the new house, we simply could not swing it.
My dad just told me to go and get it. As in go break into the house and get the book back before the landlord returns. I would say I was disappointed in my dad, but he had undoubtedly committed worse crimes in his day. After realizing that this would be the best course of action if I wanted to graduate, I decided to go through with the plan. A few nights after I talked it over with my dad, I went to the house.
It was a dark and warm night. The air brushed up against my flesh as I made my way toward the back of the property. The moon was nearly full so it provided some natural light. Not much, but enough that I could kind of make out where I was going without the need for a flashlight. The house looked dead, unalive, truly abandoned. The grass was overgrown and it grabbed at my legs as I walked. The garage door remained unlocked, as it did not have a lock to begin with. Reaching down, I grabbed the bottom of the door and I pulled it up slowly. I could feel the spiderwebs grasping around my hands as I struggled with the persistent and old metal barrier. Once I was inside, I lowered it back down, making sure not a sound was heard. As I brushed away the webs with a dash of fear, darkness met me as I looked into the cold and dry garage.
I began to feel even more uneasy than I had before. I knew that it was most likely due to the fact I was breaking and entering, but something felt wrong. Wrong in a way that I could not describe. I chalked it up to my morals being completely abandoned I had my lanyard in my hand and on it, a small flashlight I kept just in case. I pressed down on the button firmly and illuminated the dark room.
The far cement walls of the garage greeted me as well as a black and frameless doorway. The entire room was vacant. Two small and dirty windows were on either side of the room. The floor was covered with dead insects and leaves and weeds that sprung up from the cracks in the foundation. The gray walls and floors were splattered with different stains. Not an inch went untouched. Above my head was the wooden ceiling with spiders crawling in between the boards. I shuddered at the sight and tried my best to forget they were even there. I swallowed my doubts and my fears and I walked through the doorway and into the basement. With each step I took, another tingle went up my spine.
It was dark outside my scope of light and I feared of what would come into view as I slowly moved about. The entire area was unnaturally cold for being a warm eighty degree spring night. My footsteps echoed lightly. I could hear the house rustling from the gentle breeze and I could hear my own heart as it pounded heavily. The cement walls had cracks running along them that ran to the floor. Small cement rooms, sectioned off for reasons I did not know, were to my left and right with only vacant doorways to allow entrance. As I continued going further in, I noticed the lack of arachnids. I wondered why they had not ventured into the basement a bit more. As I delved into the darkness, my curiosity died.
I sighed softly as I rounded the staircase. I could smell the rotting wood emanating from each step. Pressing down, I could hear the heavy squeak the warped wooden steps made as I ascended the dilapidated staircase. Once at the top, I gave the light switch a few tries, hoping that the electricity was still running. Unfortunately for me, it was not, though if I didn't want to get caught, it was best that I did not try that again.
I pushed against the door gently, finding it a bit difficult to open but managed. I stepped through the frame and I closed the door behind me. The air immediately warmed up as I stood in front of the door. The air was mildly humid and the stale and dead odor of the basement was gone. All I could smell was the moisture filled air and my own sweat which clung to my body.
To my right was the kitchen. It was open and had plenty of storage space, but it was old and it seemed as if the landlord himself had built it with an unsteady hand. In front of me was a staircase that led the loft that my sister had previously occupied. It was always a good ten to twenty degrees warmer up there. I have no clue how she managed in the warm weather. And to my left was the second bathroom and a short hallway that led to my former room.
At night, the place was very unnerving. On top of the eerie feeling, it was empty save for my presence. The subtle shifting of the house would grab my attention and shake my confidence. Every step I took towards my old door, I felt as if a hand would grab me and pull me away. The feeling of eyes burning into your skin. The feeling of helplessness as you walked through the darkness. The feeling of complete and utter exposure as the unknown forced looked down upon you.
I twisted the knob quickly and walked in, closing the door behind me as I had done so many times in the past. It felt relieving being in familiar room, even if it was completely vacant and unnaturally dark. The air still smelled familiar, the room still looked like home, and the ground beneath my feet still reminded me of stability and protection.
Then I heard creaking.
Then complete silence. I remained completely still. My heart was pounding so quickly. Where had it come from? Had I been caught? Was someone else here? What should I do? Go out the window? I stood there for several minutes just listening for another sound. Nothing ever came.
And still I waited.
Eventually, I began to think I had imagined the whole ordeal and I allowed my body to move. I realized just how sweaty I had become with the lack of proper air conditioning and the fact I was scared beyond belief. I pressed down onto my flashlight again and looked around the room. It was as I left it. Completely empty.
The blood red carpets were still there and the several stains I had left were very apparent. Moving towards the closet, I pulled on the bi-fold doors. One slid to the side easily while the other loosely moved over, not even connected to the frame itself in some parts. I got on my toes and looked onto the shelf. I could not see anything until I moved towards the corner where a small book caught my attention. I fished around and grabbed ahold of it. Fortunately, it was the book I was looking for. I sighed softly, glancing around one last time to make sure I had not missed anything.
I stared at the door. My hand was around the knob. I was frozen. Darkness had engulfed me. the light was gone. It had returned. It was above me. I knew where it was coming from. It did not stop after a few simple creaks. It continued and it shifted around my ceiling. I could not tell if it was a person or an animal that was in the loft above me.
I backed away slowly and I went to the windows. Every step I took coincided with another creak above me. I looked at the frame and my heart dropped so quickly. The never had locks on them, so the landlord must have nailed them shut after we left. I wanted to drop right there and cry. I was terrified. I had never done something like this before.
Silence for so long I begun to think I had imagined it all again, even though I knew better. Maybe whatever it was had left. Maybe I could leave.
I truly did not know whether I should move or if I should remain where I was. I quietly pulled out my phone and I began texting my dad. I sent several texts hoping to get his attention.
“I think there is someone else in the house.”
“They’re in the loft above me.”
“You need to come get me.”
“Why didn’t you do this?”
“Dad I don’t think I can leave my room.”
“Should I call the police?”
“Dad seriously I’m scared.”
“What if if they realize I’m here?”
“Dad where are you.”
I waited for a half hour with no response. It was then I decided to move. There was no use in waiting for him to reply.
The door knob turned easily as the wooden door opened silently. I stared into the black abyss that was the hallway. I debated on whether or not I should turn my light back on. As quietly as I could, I crept down the hallway, my hand trailing the wall next to me. I was back at the basement door.
I stared up into the dark staircase that led to the loft. Nothing was visible save for the very dim light the moon provided. As I stared, I made out the shapes of the steps and the railings and the ceiling. With every second I stared, I feared I would see the darkness shift.
Turning around, I gently turned the basement door knob and pushed it open with a very soft groan that I had hoped sounded like the house moving slightly from the wind. As I turned to shut the door, I stared up at the loft. The darkness and the shapes and the room had not changed. I closed the door slowly, making sure it was completely shut before I turned around. Endless darkness met my gaze as I made my way downward.
What I feared most was not being heard from my steps, but from my heart pounding so quickly and loudly. My feet were heavy and my eyes were forced opened. Every single frame my eyes captured burned into my mind as I went down the stares in utter darkness, fearful of alerting anyone of my descent into the cold and dark and dead air. The humidity vanished. The dim light vanished. The feeling of home vanished. And still my sweat clung to my body. My breath caught in my throat as I heard the distinct sound of the basement door groaning as it opened. I turned my head around and I was met with nothing.
The door was closed. I could see the dim light coming through the crack under the door.
My breath slowly slid out of my throat and into the cool air as I turned away and flicked on my small flashlight once more. As quietly as possible, I walked towards the empty doorway of the garage. My back felt completely exposed. I felt like it was right behind me with every step I took. That itching feeling, that squirming sensation, that horrifying pit in the stomach. My body shuddered with every step. My eyes were scanning every inch of that room. I looked every direction within my field of view without having to turn my head.
A chill went up my spine. I could feel the burning sensations of being watched. The feeling of its stare cutting through my soul. It was branding the back of my with its searing glare. I slowly got up and I turned towards the burning.
Then it began again.
Right above my head. They were on the floor above me. I panicked and I moved forward, feeling cobwebs brush over my head as I walked into the garage. The creaking continued to follow me. I feared they could hear me walking under their feet. I feared they would see me leave the garage. I feared they would watch me go. Most of all, I feared I would see them, that their existence would be assured, that my fears were not just fears, but realities.
I slid open the garage door, hearing it creak softly as I gently pulled it up. I stepped out into the warm arm, surprised at the radical change. My heart slowly stopped pounding as I turned around. I grabbed the door and I pulled it down and let it gently press against the ground with an almost inaudible thud. I stared for a few moments at the bottom of the door, the textbook in my left hand, my lanyard in my right. There were no sounds. No sounds of late night traffic of the small town. No sounds of the bugs. No sounds of the birds. No sounds of life. Just the groaning of the house as it slowly moved.
Then I stood up. I looked into the glass window of the garage. I could see it on the ceiling. It was right above where I once stood. It remained there. I remained here. Neither moved. It stared at me with its eyeless sockets. It ‘stared’ back at me. It moved its elongated limbs and crept back into the house. Horror slowly slithered into my skin and terror gnawed at my stomach and shock clawed at my mind. It was the sounds that it made.
It creaked when it moved.