I have been amazed at how many people have had some sort of supernatural or unexplained scary experience. I did not realize how many people in my own family had one until last Halloween, when we were at my youngest daughter’s house for a Halloween party. We were roasting marshmallows around a bonfire and at some point someone said we needed to tell scary stories. We started with the usual campfire stories, but then somehow moved into telling tales from our individual experiences.
It is from those stories that I recently got the idea that a real life scary story blog would be a fun thing for a horror/dark fantasy writer to do.
With that in mind, my first story is one of my own and took place just last October (actually, not long before that campfire experience). It was my first “scary” paranormal experience. I’d had one or two before at another house, but they were eerie, and not scary) .
So … without further delay, here we go:
My Invisible Adversary
My husband, Neil, and I moved out of a house we were renting last fall. We bought a fixer-upper and were so excited to finally be getting our own place after so many years paying rent.
We had moved all of our stuff out of the rental house and all we had left to do was some final cleaning up of the rental house before we turned our keys in to the landlord. Neil worked really hard, along with my dad, the week before to get everything out of the house as I had no time to take off from work to help much. The power had just been turned off at the rental house, and I have a 35 minute drive to work each day, so it was always too dark to clean the house during the work week.
After a busy week, and being too exhausted to do it Saturday, I gathered the energy late Sunday afternoon. It was about 2 p.m. and a beautiful sunny day in the South. The leaves had turned and there was just enough of a crispness in the air to provide that happy celebratory feeling that I always associate with the late fall for some reason — maybe it is because of the serial holidays that fall during the season.
Because the power was off at the house, I knew it would be a race against time to finish all the cleaning I needed to get done before sunset. The previous weekend, I had already cleaned all the rooms that had no windows before the power was shut off.
The water was still on, so I filled up my mop bucket and opened all the blinds to let in as much light as possible. I worked up a sweat, despite the moderate temperature as I swept each room in preparation for mopping.
It was a very old house. We were grateful it had been available for us at the time we moved in because it was economical, but there had always been issues such as old wiring, mold, slowly sinking floors, and draftiness. The house was a typical single story old farmhouse style with a high pitched roof and a long porch that ran across the front of the entire house. It had two bedrooms, a large interior room that could serve a small office or a tiny bedroom with a single bed.
The walls were an old, dark paneling in the living room and kitchen/dining area. There was a laundry area in the back of the house that used to be a back porch, but had been enclosed many years ago.
The house was laid out so every room was open to the others with the exception of the bathroom.
One bedroom even had three doorways as it opened into the tiny “extra” interior room that led to the kitchen. Simply put – the front door led into the living room which had two doorways – one to the biggest bedroom and one to the kitchen/dining area. The biggest bedroom had a second doorway that led to the second bedroom; (that is the bedroom that has three doorways) and the second bedroom’s third doorway led to the laundry room (which, as I said before, was once a back porch).
If one is in the laundry room, facing the back of the house, the bathroom was on the right and the doorway to the kitchen/dining area was on the left. Near the kitchen door, there is a third door.
The door to the basement.
The basement was the one place I tried to avoid at all costs. I didn’t even like walking by the door. At night, I have been known to walk the long way around to the kitchen just to avoid walking by the door. I cannot explain why. I just know it gave me the heebie-jeebies. (I found out later, from my son-in-law who grew up in the house, he and his brother tried never to go in the basement area after dark.)
Anyhoo, so I finished sweeping and mopping. The sun was dropping quickly so I hurried to take care of the last project – cleaning the kitchen counters and stove. I was cleaning the stove when I heard the first noise. It was clearly a thump.
The sound came from the basement area.
The sudden noise startled me. The house is in the boonies. I was alone in the house and being alone in a house in the country is different than being alone in a house in the city. The silence is … utterly complete.
The noise was a thumping sound and my first thought was that an animal had gotten into the basement. I shrugged it off and kept working. A few moments later, there was some softer, shuffling sounds coming from the basement.
I looked out the kitchen window. I thought perhaps one of my kids or Neil had shown up and come in through the basement door. I could not think of any reason whatsoever they would do that, but it was possible.
There was no car near the house, but mine.
I went to the basement door, took a deep breath, and opened it.
“Is anyone there?” I called. (Don’t think the parallel to some of my favorite horror films did not occur to me in that moment.) Of course there was no answer. The steps down to the basement were homemade concrete and were uneven. I went down about halfway. There was a weak shaft of sunlight that came in through the window on the door located near the bottom of the stairs.
I could see most of the basement from halfway down the stairs if I leaned out far enough. I did not want to go any further. The basement smelled of earth, mold, and dust.
I went back up the stairs and shut the basement door, realizing I was a little shaky and feeling silly about it.
A glance outside revealed that the sun had just about set and it was getting dimmer in house by the second. I did a quick check of all the rooms to make sure the floors had dried and emptied out the mop water and gathered some of my things to load back into my car.
I came back in to spray down the counters and gather up the rest of my cleaning supplies.
I heard another thump from the basement.
This had seriously worked on my nerves at that point, but I was determined to finish the job. I was in the middle of wiping down the last counter top when I heard – DISTINCTLY – the sound of feet coming up the concrete steps in the basement. It was in a rapid succession – the feet were running up the steps and something hit the basement door.
I jumped with a small scream, gathered up my things, locked the door and left. (I did NOT follow the typical horror movie idiot behavior of investigating the noise when I am alone. I used good sense and just got out of there.)
My husband had to check on something a couple of days later. I accompanied him, but refused to even get out of the car. I would not go back into the house.
One of my daughters had an incident while staying with us when we were still living there … but, that’s another story for another day …