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For the Love of a Mother

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I am a young mom, 23 years old in fact with a beautiful little girl named Sophia, who will soon turn 3. We still live with my parents in an amazing double story house, in an upmarket suburb along the coast. We all moved in about 2 months before Sophia was born, and it was all very uneventful, just a regular life, doing the same mundane day to day activities. I was half way through my second year of studying when my baby girl was born, surprisingly everything always fell into place, she slept through the night from 5 weeks old and never cried unnecessarily so it was very easy for me to study with her with me. It was only when Sophia was about 4 months old when I began hearing footsteps around the house and unexplainable bangs and crashes upstairs when no-one was upstairs and nothing seemed disturbed.  I just ignored it as my imagination playing tricks on me. A few days later I was speaking to the gardener outside about the missing roses from our rose bushes, he seemed worried and had a look of guilt on his face, I kept prying until he finally told me what was on his mind. The previous owners of the house were a young couple and the husband had suffered a psychological break after the miscarriage of his first child. The wife did not seem to want her husband to receive any outside help and kept him home with her. No-one expected what followed, the young woman had subsequently hung herself in the master bedroom upstairs, and her husband was nowhere to be found, and is still missing. I asked what this had to do with the roses, to which he explained that rose bushes were the woman’s pride and joy and she was growing them for her unborn child, to show the love and patience she would have for her.

I thought it over for a second or two, to which I giggled. The gardener looked horrified, but I really did not believe in ghosts.

The weeks went by, still with the footsteps and creepy sounds upstairs, but I always just gave myself a rational explanation for them, which helped me feel better about it all. When Sophia was about 6 months old I began feeding her solid food for dinner, and from day 1 without fail I would put her on my lap in the dining room downstairs and begin feeding her, within 5 minutes of her eating, she would stop and stare up the stair case, her eyes darting around as if she was looking for something. After a week of this weird staring ritual I decided to feed her in the lounge, away from the staircase, the staring then stopped.

6 months went by and we celebrated Sophia’s first birthday, it went down quite well, with only one hiccup. The other children at the party all of a similar age would cry hysterically if they were anywhere near the staircase, bad juju in my opinion.  The very next day I had a horrible sense that someone was watching me and it seemed that I had a few items of clothing and underwear missing from my cupboard. This was incredibly odd seeing as my mom was 2 sizes smaller than me and my daughter had only began to walk let alone, going up the stairs into my room, hiding my clothes and coming down without me knowing. I just ignored it and eventually forgot about them.

I then found myself a full time job and Sophia went to nursery school full day, our lives were going perfectly, besides the fact that there were still incidents with missing items and clothes and make-up from my room. I just blamed it all on the fact that I am generally forgetful and probably left it somewhere and I couldn’t remember.

Over a year went by and it was late December 2014, my brother came to stay with us for the December holidays, Sophia was then transferred to stay in my room with me for the duration of their stay. All was well and we were enjoying our time together in the sun and swimming pool, during the beautiful summer days. My brother, who was staying in the bedroom next to mine, asked me one morning if I couldn’t sleep because he heard me walking around in my bedroom at about 2am. I assured him that Sophia and I were fast asleep as we both sleep like the dead. We both felt uneasy after the conversation, something didn’t feel right about it all. Every night after that my brother kept hearing noises in my bedroom at the early hours of each morning. As my brother knows never to come into my room without my permission he just stayed in his room waiting for the pacing to stop. We chatted to the family about it after the 4th day it had happened, we decided I was probably sleep walking or Sophia was waking up and playing around before going back to sleep. I still had a bad feeling about it all so my brother and I came up with a plan that if he heard the noises again he would knock and then come into my room to find the culprit.

Feeling more at ease about having this plan in place, I went to bed earlier than usual that evening, looking forward to finding out what my brother would find. At about 1.45am my brother was woken up by a thud and then listened to the familiar sounds of walking in my room, so he got up quietly and went to my door, after knocking a few times with no reply he slowly opened my door…

Where he found… Nothing, Sophia and I were fast asleep untouched in my bed, nothing was out of the ordinary, so my brother decided it was his mind playing tricks on him and went back to bed.

I woke up that morning feeling very uneasy, my cupboard door was wide open, and trust me I NEVER leave my cupboard door open, that is just inviting the boogie man to visit. I stormed out my bedroom and shouted at my brother for opening my cupboard door as he knows along with the whole family about my, I will admit silly, childhood fear about my cupboard being open at night. My brother then defensively pled not-guilty, he then added that he had checked on us early that morning and all 3 of my cupboard doors were shut. This did not help with my now growing anxiety. Is the ghost of the previous owner’s wife haunting me??

The last 3 nights of my brothers stay were uneventful, no thuds, no footsteps and thankfully no open cupboards. I decided not to think about it again and save myself the energy. We all tearfully said our goodbyes that Sunday afternoon at the airport.

Sunday evening, 04 January 2015 I decided to let Sophia sleep with me one last night before we got back into routine when she went back to nursery school that Monday, I lay in my bed watching some downloaded episodes of Stalker with Sophia sleeping next to me, I underestimated how loud the lady would scream when her rolling car burst into flames, of course Sophia woke up with a huge fright and saw the creep man in the shadows watching his victim burn to death. I promptly switched off my TV, got Sophia back to sleep and went downstairs to watch my recorded episodes of My Kitchen Rules, not even 40 minutes later I heard Sophia screaming for me, so as fast as I could run I got upstairs and opened the door, when consoling my now terrified toddler she pointed towards my door and sobbed “The man”, “The man”. It then clicked, the previous stalker moment we had, obviously gave her a nightmare, so I decided to put her straight into her own room, where she might feel safer and more secure.

She fell asleep within a minute of being in her own bed and I went back to watching my show downstairs. I decided it was time for bed at about 10.30pm however this night I could not sleep very well, I think it was the fact I was sleeping alone after 2 weeks with my daughter next to me each night. I eventually dosed off into a light sleep.

I woke up stirring in my bed, and immediately looked at my phone nearly being blinded by the light, it was 2.09am, so I immediately locked my phone and put my head back onto the pillow, It was only then that a shadow in the corner of my room caught my eye, there was a dark figure standing there staring at me, the size of a full grown man, I screamed with all my might and turned on my bed side lamp. Our eyes met, this man looked wafer thin and unkempt, he was wearing a tatty pear of boxers and in his 1 hand he was holding a pair of my panties. My screams turned into squeaks as my breathing became frantic, the seconds that it took my parents to run to my room and open the door felt like an eternity. My dad looked at the man and after the second it took for him to see my panties in the man’s hand he punched him across the face and slammed him to the floor. The man made no effort to fight; instead he turned his head and stared straight into my eyes, into my soul. A grin began to grow across his face and I felt a blanket of terror wrap around me. I was frozen; I could not even pull my eyes away from his. After what felt like an eternity my dad dragged the man out of my room and tied him to the stair banister with a piece of rope he had from an old cowboy costume. I don’t know much about the exact details after that, my mom tells me I passed out and didn’t wake up until 9am the next day. The police came and took the man away, after some investigation it pans out it was the young husband who had disappeared after his wife’s suicide, he had been living in the roof, and there was a trap door on my ceiling, something I had failed to notice.

In the roof is where the police found a shrine…

A shrine to me.

There were my clothes, underwear and make up and even an ultrasound scan picture of Sophia I had kept in a photo album next to my bed.  The man never said a word from the day he was arrested; he now stays in a mental hospital where he draws pictures of me and a baby in my stomach, everyday, day after day.

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