When I was young, I was always told the sounds I heard at night where made up. “It’s just a figment of your imagination” my Father would always tell me. But every night, as I layed tiredly on my stomach, covered from head to toe in blankets, I could have sworn I heard what almost sounded like someone tapping their fingernails across the floor of the attic above my bedroom. Whenever I heard it, (usually around the first night of every month) it would begin ever so quietly. It’d always start out with just a few taps, repeating themselves for hours some nights, and only seconds on others. That was usually enough for me to start jumping into my parent’s bed those nights. But, as I got older, my parents would start locking their bedroom door, insistent upon the belief that my imagination was just getting the better of me. But I knew something wasn’t right.
I usually would try to sneak out of my bedroom those nights. I’d wait silently under my covers listening until I heard the latch of my parents bedroom shut closed.
Then I’d silently sneak downstairs and sleep on the couch those nights, just to avoid the noises coming from the attic. Not long after, my eighth birthday finally came around. Being a kid, of course I was ecstatic, and at my party, after all of my friends had given me their gifts, my mother came out and said that there was still one last surprise for me, but I had to close my eyes. Reluctantly, I closed them, expecting my father to come out and pull some mean trick like shove some birthday cake against my face, but instead heard nothing but some silent giggling from a couple of friends as something hairy and what could only really be described at the time as wiggly was slowly placed into my extended arms.
After getting the go-ahead from my mother, I lifted my eyelids to see the small sandy brown puppy laying across my arms. I immediately loved the little dog I would eventually name Queenie after a song my mom would listen to in the car on a regular basis. Anyways, over the course of the next month, me and Queenie bonded completely, becoming practically inseperable. The only catch was in order to stop her from tearing the house apart while we slept, I had to keep her with me in my bedroom. Every single night.
The first of the next month came before I knew it and much sooner than I would have liked. At least this time, I knew I wouldn’t have to handle it by myself; I’d have Queenie with me. After an hour of trying to fall asleep with frustratingly insignificant results, the nefarious tapping started. Slowly at first, like a dripping faucet, but by the end of the two hours in which it took place, it was like thundering rainfall. Then, as if on cue, it stopped abruptly only to be followed by a deep scratching noise, as if nails were being dug into the floor above me. Instantly Queenie began barking like nothing I had heard from her before, an almost vicious, snarling bark that combined with the intense scratching caused me to hide the under my blankets with pillows on either side on my head, desperately trying to block out the terrible noises. After what seemed like forever, I finally poked my head out from beneath the covers to discover that the noise had finally stopped. I spent the rest of the night holding Queenie close, wishing my insomnia would fade just as the noises had.
I would eventually spend the next month desperately trying to think of a way out of staying in my room so I wouldn’t have to listen to those horrifying sounds coming from the attic above me. Being a child of course, I never really had any functional ideas, and before I knew it, the inevitable first of the month was this coming weekend, about to rear its ugly head. Terrified by the thought of spending another night listening to the noises from the attic, I ended up coming home from school in tears. Walking through the front door to greet my mother, I instantly recognized another figure in in the living room; my Uncle Mick.
Without delay, my Uncle came over to me and gave me a hug. “What’s wrong, bud?” He asked, obviously noticing the tears flowing down my face. I replied, explaining all the noises and Queenie’s barking. Figuring, just as my parents, that it was just my imagination and an overactive puppy getting the better of me, he came up with a solution. Plan was, since he was staying over the weekend he’d sleep in the attic above me to make sure the noises didn’t bother me.
Later, after a long dinner, I eventually made my way into bed with Queenie. Just as I was about to fall asleep a terrible thought came through my head. What if Uncle Mick didn’t get woken up by the noise, and whatever making them attacked him in his sleep? I wasn’t about to take a chance on losing my faavourite Uncle, so as fast as I could, I jumped out of bed with Queenie by my side, and ran downstairs to the living room where him and my parents were chatting and drinking coffee. I told my Uncle that he had better take Queenie with him to bed, just in case. Masking his frustration of having to sleep with what he thought was a yappy little puppy in his room, he agreed and finally comforted, I returned to my bed for the night.
I had just fallen asleep for the night when I was abrubtly snatched from my dormancy to the sound of the confounded tapping which within almost a second promptly drifted into the deep scratches.
I layed in my bed paralyzed with fear, hoping to god that my Uncle and Queenie were alright as the baleful scratches continued to get louder, each scratch more intense than the last. I couldn’t help but imagine some grotesque, gauntly creature slowly ripping my loved ones apart with its long claws while I lay in my bed, unknowing and helpless to anything that may be lurking in the room above me.
After 30 minutes, the scratching finally ended only to be replaced with a slow wheezing sound resounding off the walls in such a way that it almost seemed as if it’s source was directly beside me. I figured something terrible must have happened to my Uncle and I was trapped, hidden under the covers, forced to listen to his final breaths. I had remained that way for what felt like multiple hours until I eventually drifted off to sleep, awoken the next morning by the sunlight pouring into my room. Sitting up, my nerves quickly alerted me to a deep cut on the back of my neck that I must have gotten from a skrew astray in my bed. Suddenly, my thoughts were quickly redirected to the fate of my Uncle.
With tears slowly making their way out of my eyes, I leaped up, legs carrying me as fast as they could upstairs to my attic, where I imagined I would find the floor covered with the blood and entrails of my Uncle. Bracing myself, I slowly turned the doorknob open, only to be greeted by my Uncle and Queenie, freshly woken up. “Morning, bud” my Uncle Mick said, as Queenie quickly addressed my presence with a few licks of my hand. “How’d you sleep?” “Good” I replied. “Did you hear any of the noises I told you about?” I asked. “Nope. Heard you yell or something from your bedroom, but when I went to check on you, you were just laying there, fast asleep on your stomach.” “Huh, that’s weird” I murmured, then made my way down to my bedroom to get dressed.
A couple days later, my Mom was helping me clean my room when I noticed a puzzled look on her face. ” What’s wrong?” I asked. My mother looked at me. “Nothing, sweetie, I was just wondering how you got those handprints on your ceiling.” At once, I realized the truth. Those noises weren’t coming from the attic; they were coming from my ceiling.
Later that week, I moved out of my room and into the attic. My Dad would begin to use the room as an office, and eventually I got older and left for college, leaving behind my parents and 3 month old baby brother. A few years later however, I returned home for one of my regular visits to have my young brother come tell me about his “New bedroom that he got in Daddy’s old office!” My heart sank and as he turned around, I couldn’t help but notice a small cut on the back of his neck.