My junior year of
high school, my father moved to Singapore for a temporary teaching position. My
mother, younger brother, and I ended up joining him in the country several
months after he left. We were motivated not only by missing him, but by a
house. When my father got the offer from Singapore, we were living happily in
West Virginia. We got rid of everything except suitcase contents, and flew 27
hours to help him settle in. Then the rest of us moved into a rental house near
my grandparents’ in Oregon.
I am almost twenty, married, and have a house of my own now,
and the experiences in that tiny yellow suburban hell-hole haunt me to this
The house was right down the street from my grandparents’
home, and seemed perfect. Three bedrooms, one story, incredibly cheap rent, a
nice backyard for my little brother to play in, and walking distance to both
the local elementary and high schools. We moved our meager belongings in, and
started to settle in.
It was a very seventies house, with the terrible fake
wood paneling, and orange-tinted carpets, but it fit us well. The garage was a
bit beat-up, but we didn’t have a car anyway, so who cared? It took two days
for us to notice anything wrong. My little brother was seven at the time, and
went to bed really early, around eight thirty.
My mom and I, dealing with the
emptiness of our new house, and missing my dad, would spend the evenings
snuggled under blankets in front of the TV, watching terrible girly shows like
Drop Dead Diva. The third night in the house, with the only light provided from
the TV, which was muted for commercials, we heard it. Footsteps. Distinctly
slow, heavy footsteps in the hallway from the bedrooms. We assumed it was my
“Peter?” The footsteps stopped. “Peter, come
Nothing. We got up and turned on the lights, looking down
the hallway. Empty. Peter was fast asleep in his race-car themed bed. Weird,
but whatever. We turned back on the sound and snuggled up when BAM. I shit you
not, it sounded like people were banging on every single window in the house.
The panes rattled, the blinds shook, and my mother and I screamed and ran into
Peter’s room. The sounds stopped after about ten seconds, and Peter, still
pretty much asleep, blearily told us to go away and let him sleep. Freaked out,
my mother grabbed a maglite and we headed down the hallway. We turned on the
back porch lights, all the lights in the house, and shined the flashlight
through all the windows. Nothing.
Every night for a month this continued. We called police and
had them do drive-bys to check up on the place. They found nothing. We would
hear the footsteps more often, after the window-banging, and were convinced
someone was breaking in. We started suspecting ghosts. We tried asking
“the being” questions and shit, to no avail. We bought new locks.
Peter, a heavy sleeper, continued to sleep through all these hysterical
nighttime adventures, and, not wanting to scare him, we never told him about
it. My grandmother, a skeptical, hardass southern woman showed up with an
aluminum baseball bat and stayed the night to hear what we were going on about,
and left in the morning telling us to move out. My mother and I were averaging
about an hour or so of sleep a night. I was doing badly at school.
night we were sitting huddled in the hallway, armed with mace and the trusty
maglite, when we heard those slow footsteps in the living room, and a light
dragging sound. Step….. drag. Step…… drag. It was a
sickening sound. When we had gathered up the courage to look in the living
room, the curtains from the far window were off their rod and on the opposite
side of the room. Like someone had dragged them there.
decided to take grandma’s advice and get out of dodge. We had to give the
landlord some notice, however. He was surprisingly fine with it, and told us
he’d be coming by with a few people who wanted to check the place out. It was
fine with us, and the very next afternoon he came by with an interested couple.
We showed them around, gave them snacks and all, trying to be as helpful as
possible for the landlord since we were breaking his lease.
The couple was checking out the garage when we heard a muffled exclamation.
“Everything okay in there?” My mom opened the door
to the garage. The couple looked at us strangely. The man looked concerned.
“Have you folks seen this?”
He pointed, and my blood went cold. Next to the side door of
the garage was a fist-sized hole in the wall, partially blocked from view by
some plywood. The hole lined up perfectly to allow someone to put their hand
through the wall and open the door into the garage… and subsequently the door
into the house. Gauging from the splinters on the ground, it looked fairly
fresh. That was it. We moved our stuff out that very day and met my ecstatic
father in Singapore about a week later.
A few months ago, sitting in my living room talking about
that terrifying house with my family, my brother, now eleven, looked suddenly
“I remember that!” He said.
My mom shook her head. “No, honey you were always
sleeping while we were freaking out.”
“No…” He said slowly. “While you and
Noramacsbitch were freaking out, I could hear you sometimes. Other times, the
man in the leather jacket would visit me.”
“The man in the leather jacket?”
“Yeah,” Peter looked slightly confused. “I
always thought he was a dream, but maybe he was real. He would stand in the
corner of my room whenever you guys were in the living room. He never said
anything. He just watched.”
this day I don’t know whether we encountered an actual individual, a spirit of
some type, or what, but I know that when I’m visiting my grandparents, and
drive past that house, and see the FOR RENT sign that is still there,
I get that same tense, sick feeling in my stomach, and I can almost hear those
slow footsteps again.