It has always been an auspicious prospect for most children. A new house means new neighbors, a new yard, new friends, and a new school. A new house, for a boy of nine, means a new adventure. Well, at least until one has settled in.
My parents and I decided to move due to a few contentious issues that had arisen in our previous town. More precisely, I had begun to fight with the other children.
Each time I would be sent to detention, my parents then called, and I would give a disingenuous excuse as to why I had started it in the first place. Every time was akin to acting out a scene from a script. Each line would be repeated on cue, and each time I’d be grounded accordingly. I must concede that at the time I had no real reason for my behavior. At least, nothing beyond acting out for attention. Back then I was merely a child yearning for more attention from my overworked parents. I knew no better.
Unfortunately for me the doctor my parents took me to believed he had an answer to my disparate behavior.
“A.D.H.D. Or better known as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.” Or so the man explained.
I was then prescribed pills in which I had to take each morning before school. I ceased fighting and often slept during class, but my parents were grateful that they made looking after me less arduous.
Never the less I had already developed an indelible reputation with the other parents and was thus banned from everyone’s house. In other words, I had no friends anymore. I don’t think that this particular reason was behind my parents decision to move, but it was my best guess at the time.
My parents were middle class workers and therefore frugal when choosing the house. It was located out in the country with a rather luscious lawn almost endemic to the yard. The house itself was allocated in the center of this emerald grassland. Clearly it needed yard work, but to me it was a jungle of opportunities. I remember spending that first day hunting down insects and lizards as well as any other creature I would notice during my cursory scan of the overgrown yard.
The house itself was quaint and held no basement or upstairs floors. I had at least hoped for an attic, but was left despondent when I realized it was nothing more than a small insipid abode.
Our beds didn’t arrive for a few days, so until then I slept in my parent’s room. I must admit that I miss those innocuous nights. They were the only calm ones I had back then.
It wasn’t until a few nights after my bed arrived that I noticed the erratic sounds. They began quietly at first and I was able to ignore this enigma for the time being. I imagined it to be some creature living within the walls, perhaps a lizard or squirrel. It didn’t take long for them to become difficult to ignore however. The sounds became thumps, and on occasion I could swear I heard someone mumbling. With no reason to believe this enigma to be malevolent I continued to ignore them up until the footsteps.
At this point my room was still void beyond the single twin sized bed, the head of which leaned against the wall. The source of the steps seemed to originate at the far wall opposite of me. I remember huddling in my bed, uncertain of how I should handle this imbroglio. The footsteps were getting closer and seemed to be directed towards me, yet no other being was revealed as the culprit.
The thought of this invisible entity somehow taking hold of me was enough to find my voice.
The sound ceased as soon as my parents burst into the room. I promptly explained the noises and was about to mention the footsteps before they interrupted me. They blamed it on my lavish imagination. Said it was all in my head and repeated this in order to lull me into a sense of security. As a child I took their words to heart and let their explanations cocoon me in a blanket of ignorance.
I didn’t hear the sounds again that night, or for the next few nights and by the first day of school I had chalked it up to a bad dream.
I promptly took my morning pill and made my way to the bus stop. At the corner by the end of the road I met my first friend Tommy Sears. He was cool and welcomed me to the neighborhood. We sat next to each other on the bus and he introduced me to a few other kids. All in all it was a great first day. Once I got dropped off I asked where he lived in case we’d be able to play over the weekend. He pointed up the road to the right of where my new house was. His home was at least a mile away from my own, the view barred by the scattered plots of trees that littered the pastures and valleys.
I should probably explain that the neighborhood was not very close knit. Each house was a mile or so apart and obscured by farms, trees and pasture. His particular house was also hidden by a wall of forested patches.
We said our goodbyes and I mentioned my implicit friend to my parents who approved of my new social life. By that night I felt none of my inane fear from before. That didn’t last long.
The sounds started again, this time more prominent. The murmurs, though indecipherable, were louder. They fell silent once the thumping began. At first it had a rhythm that slowly arose into a cacophony of muted noise. Eventually the footsteps started again, once more directed towards me.
The joys of the day drained from my conscious mind as fear overtook me. I tried to remember what my parents convinced me of, that this was all simply part of my vivid imagination. However that didn’t work for long when a blood curdling scream pierced the darkness. I in turn screamed in unison, once more calling my parents.
Silence fell. It was as though my parent’s presence was enough to ‘scare’ whatever it was away.
I was explicit this time, recounting every sound I heard since the first night. However my insufferable parents refused to listen. Once more they tried to coo lies of ignorance. Once more they ignored my pleas.
Our conversation turned tumultuous. Eventually they threatened to ground me and left me alone in the darkness of my room. It was at that moment I had an epiphany. My parents couldn’t help me. No, they wouldn’t help me.
The next day at school I confided in my new friend. I didn’t originally plan to go into strict detail and began with a vague description of the sounds, ending my explanation with “But you know it could just be a squirrel or something living in the walls. We did just move in after all.”
I expected him to make fun of me, possibly agree with the animal theory. Instead, he looked serious.
“That’s exactly what the last kid was talking about.” Tom mumbled.
“Who?” I asked, excited to illicit a possible explanation yet fearful of what he may say.
Tom faced me with what looked like fear in his eyes. “I heard about a boy who used to live in that house years ago. He disappeared and his parents ended up moving away with his sister. Up until then though everyone said he complained about footsteps in his room.”
“Only in his room?”
“According to my sister, his room was the one on the opposite side of the house from the living room. She said she’d been there before when the county was renovating it.”
My blood ran cold. He was talking about my room.
I was afraid, but continued to question him for the rest of the lunch hour. By the time I arrived home I had come to a revelation.
A family of four had lived in the house before use. Their son used to have the same room as mine and complained about footsteps every night before he disappeared. Before that, people in town speculated that the house was haunted by the first owners who had been brutally murdered in that room one night.
Naturally I asked my parents, but they merely shrugged it off and refused to look into the matter. It was frustrating, yet understandable. They never even bothered to watch television let alone look into local rumors.
A few nights after that the sounds started again. They seemed rather irascible this time. I was frightened, but as I lay there in my bed, prepared for the footsteps I had come to expect, I resolved myself to not include my parents.
Just as expected the footsteps started. As they reached my bed once more I braced myself for some unknown force. Instead I heard another scream.
This one was just as blood curdling as the first time, yet higher pitched and guttural. I covered my ears to block it out, but it did little to help. Then suddenly it stopped, as though it were cut short.
I listened intently for any further sounds, but none came for the rest of the night.
After that experience I came to learn that this thing could not cause harm. Rather, it was just there to frighten me.
After a month I became immune to the sounds. I got a fan to drown out the quieter ones and would no longer bolt up in my bed at the screams. As expected my parents never heard any of it.
Another month and I had developed a bond with Tom. He and I would explore the fields, trade scary stories, and make theories about what the ghost wanted from me. He seemed intrigued by the supernatural and showed me what he called the ‘ghost truck’ at the edge of a nearby pasture. According to him it would drive away of its own accord on random nights and reappear with blood on its seats. None of this was proven, though we did talk about someday camping out in the pasture to spy on it to see if it moved. We never did.
Months went by. The sounds and the footsteps gradually began to decrease in frequency. Originally I’d hear them three to five times a week, but now they only occurred at random intervals. Not that I was complaining. None the less, I never let Tom spend the night. I only ever went to his place. My parents never questioned this.
After a year the sounds stopped altogether and my parents had finally saved up enough money so that they could opt to buy a new house. Needless to say I was relieved. We ended up moving to the other end of town. I’d have to ascertain a ride from Tom’s parents in order to visit him outside of school from now on, but that was fine by me.
Years have passed and I’ve all but forgotten about that room. Tom and I still get in touch. We’re currently both attending the same high school and every now and then drift back onto the subject of the supernatural. I plan on getting my own apartment once I’m old enough and have taken an interest in cars, television, and girls.
You may be wondering why I’ve bothered to tell any of this to you. Well, there’s a reason.
About a month ago the house was being prepped for another renovation. We had been moved out for years and my parents still never bothered to watch the news. I did. What I learned was disturbing.
Our old house has been closed to the public and is currently under investigation. It would seem that while the renovator’s were attempting to remove a supposedly dead animal from under the house they had stumbled upon a cellar that had been blocked off by a board disguised as part of the outer wall. This Cellar was small, but deep enough for standing room. Inside they found butcher knives, axes, hooks, gags, and a mass quantity of blood.
Upon further investigation I discovered that around the time I was living in that house there had been a large number of missing children from the nearby counties. The missing children’s reports went back to before I ever moved in and included a young boy around the same age who had once lived there.
Naturally I wanted to look further into this and asked Tom what he learned. Aside from the fact that the ‘ghost truck’ has been missing ever since the sounds in that room ceased, I learned something even more frightening.
The small cellar had been located just under my room.