Sounds in the Night

Deb wrote a really cool story (as she usually does) and asked what our scariest or funniest memory from our childhood was. I’ve written a lot of them already, so it was a bit challenging, but there was this time when . . .

I didn’t need horror flicks to spur my imagination, or put a face on my fears that lurked in shadow. I just needed an empty old farmhouse in the dark.

I was ten, maybe eleven, when I flipped the lock on the door behind my father as they headed out. I turned around and scanned the ranch style farmhouse. It was all one level with stairs leading down to the basement, where my bedroom was housed. I snagged my book from off the table and flicked on the basement/stair light. I looked down the stairs and into the darkness beyond, my imagination starting to tug at my spine. Taking a deep breath turned off the warm, safe kitchen light and started down the stairs. Thump *thump* Thump *thump* Thump *thump*. I froze midway and spun around expecting to see someone behind me. No one was there. I continued a little further. After every slap of my bare feet against wood I swore I heard another. Someone, something, was following me down those stairs. I spun around again, my heart beating so hard I thought I could see my chest moving with its force. Again, there was nothing. I quickly descended the remaining stairs, diving for the light at the bottom. Just as the basement sprung into brilliance I saw a tall shadow out of the corner of my eye. Looming, and then, I thought, it moved!

All intellectual thought fled from my brain as my terrified heart seized my body and drove me into my room. Slamming the door behind me I leaned up against it my panting the only sound in the awesome stillness. *Creek* “It’s just the house. It’s just the house,” I chanted to myself. *Creek* *shuffle shuffle* I squeezed my eyes shut. *Scrape Scrape* “It’s just the house. It’s just the house,” I prayed. I walked over to my desk and fumbling with the switch on my radio I turned it on and then cranked the volume high enough to drown out all other sounds. I grabbed the flashlight hidden in my desk drawer and turned on my lamp. After looking in my closet and under my bed, I crept into the safety of my bed and drew the covers over my head. My hand snuck out for just a moment, seizing my book and drawing it in. I flicked on my light and began to read.

That was how Dad found me when he got home. Basement light, stair light, and every light in my room on. Radio blasting, and me cowering under my covers, fast asleep with a dead flashlight in my hand, and a book laying half open beside me. He asked why I left all the lights on when I went to bed the next morning. I just mumbled something about, “footsteps on the stairs.”

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