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Footsteps in the Silence

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I was no older than twelve years old, the house we lived in was way older than that but we had lived in it less then five years. And I hated it. I couldn't sleep well, I always heard things move around, my chest drawer moaning and shaking, my doors creaking. Mum used to say it was because of how old the house was, but I knew better and I think that deep down she did too.

The cherry on the sundae after those long and fearful years was when I had my final exams before summer break. I had been studying loosely since it was literature and I had a really good memory, no real need to cram in knowledge: if I knew it I would remember it at the right time. As I was heading to bed my aunt, uncle, and baby cousins arrived and started a racket downstairs: music, laughter, things like that. Mum came up to check in on me and I told her I had an exam tomorrow and needed an really rest. She agreed and left my door open in case I needed anything, I thanked her and went to bed. If you know me you know I don't sleep with my door opened and even less without a night light on. I'm not ashamed to say that because that night light has saved me countless of times and I'll continue to rely on it no matter what. But that night for some reason I decided to turn it off and my room was shrouded in semi darkness thanks to the light post that was very near my window.

As I was falling asleep, tossing and turning due to nervousness, I decided to face the Wall and try to close my eyes. As I did so, instantly the room fell very quiet, nothing could be Heard from outside or in, and that's with my family's racket downstairs, too. The silence was eerie, pressing on my ears as if it was a physical thing, no buzzing, no white noise, just... silence. Then, as if it realized I could take no longer of that deafening silence footsteps started to sound from the wall at the end of my room towards my door. They were the clicking of hard, thick heels. Not the needle ones, no, chunky hard ones like boot heels, but a bit tinkier. They proceeded up my room with unnatural calmness, as if the thing that was walking was slowed down, it even seemed as if it was savouring it's walk. As the footsteps passed next to my Little bed I started to feel a bone chilling cold, the type that comes from within not without, the ones that makes you think you're dying. The hairs on my neck started to prickle and stand as the steps drew closer to my bed and I noticed the swishing of long cloth touching my covers. I realized at that point I couldn't move, I don't know if I was even breathing, I wanted to scream but nothing came from my mouth. It felt as though I was immobilized by some strong energy that kept me pinned to my bed without being able to defend myself.

As the footsteps progressed, though, I felt the soft touch of a hand up my spine, tracing a line towards my hair and then caressing my tresses lovingly, as a mother would their child. The hand was cold as ice and strangely ethereal, it was there, but if I focused enough I stopped feeling it. The touch was delicate, yet strong as iron, and very scaring, like it would whisk me away in an instant.

As the caress ended the footsteps started to vanish out my door and into the hall way, and the noise gradually started to go up in volume till it was almost deafening after such a complete silence. I regained movement of my body, my heart restarted beating or so it felt and the footsteps finally faded into the noise around me.

I heard my mum make her way upstairs check in on me again and leave. I don't know when I fell asleep and if I ever dreamed that night.

In retrospect, I think that's about the time when the oppressing feeling in my home subsided. It never really left but it actually let me sleep. I still would sleep with a nightlight on, but it wasn't that horrible anymore. I did tell my mum and she proceeded to bless the house, like any religious mother would. I told a few more people and they all agreed it sounded like Death had passed through my room in a way to an errand. It left me thinking that maybe I was dead and didn't know it, and I battled for a long time with that feeling... All in all, I think I'll never know what those footsteps were and I think I don't really want to know. I haven't heard them again and I hope I won't, but sometimes I still feel that coldness and the small caress on my hair and wonder if it actually left me or not.

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