405 Madison

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
A paranormal experience in the house where I grew up.

Submitted: February 28, 2016

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Submitted: February 28, 2016

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The house where I grew up was already old by the time my family moved there in the early 90s. It had stood on Madison Street for nearly one hundred years when we got to it. Aside from what went on in the nineteen years we spent there, I was unaware of its past, other than it being the home of the neighbors to an old man at our church. For all I knew, happy little families like ours had occupied it until the parents became grandparents and moved on to a smaller home just right for the two of them. Or maybe they stayed until Death came a-callin so their little grandkids with the pinchable cheeks and infectious laughter had a familiar place to play on those special occasions. 
 
When my family first moved to 405, there were six of us: Mom, Dad, my three brothers, and baby me. My oldest brother was gone before I can remember. A few years later, my next oldest brother was out of the home due to unorthodox circumstances. It was just my third brother and me from then on, apart from the rare housing emergencies of my other brothers and fringe family members.
 
My brother and I shared a room once I was big enough to leave my crib. It was a small room connected to the dining room and right next to our parents’ room. We had a small bathroom to ourselves, and just behind the south wall was the kitchen. There was even a small storage room in the closet. Late at night I would wake up, and every now and then I would hear footsteps out in the dining room heading into the kitchen. And if I listened real hard, I could hear the shrill slide of a sharpening knife. 
 
As we grew older, my brother and I relocated to the second floor. He went first as soon as one of the two bedrooms became available, and it was during this time before I too went up that the noises seemed to grow louder and more frequent. Almost every night, it seemed, I could hear those phantom footsteps and the prepping of the knife. Soon, even the little closet within the closet began to draw my attention more often than not. I never heard anything move around in that little space, but it felt as though something waited in there, just itching for that moment it could be set loose.
 
It wasn’t long before I made the upward migration. My brother had a room to himself, I took over another, and the third room, which we called the Library, remained uninhabited. The Library was more like an extra storage room, but every now and then my brother, our friends, and I would go in there and play. Most nights I would look to the white door and just stare, hoping no monsters hid there in secret. For good measure, the door remained locked most of the time. 
 
Years passed without incident. I moved into my brother’s room again so mine could be a Play Room. I kept my bed on the eastern wall, the closet to the playroom just on the other side. There was a small hole in the wall that we used to look through whenever we played. I couldn’t help but wonder if someone peeked through that hole every now and again to watch me sleep.
 
My brother became a teenager and moved to the one place in the house that all children fear: the basement. Throughout my childhood, I was reluctant to venture down. At one point, I was certain the Devil lived in our basement (possibly due to my second-oldest brother’s brief time living down there before he was gone). The unwillingness always seemed to disappear as long as someone else came along, or was already there. I thought that, if anything were to happen, they could protect me from the unseen forces that surely hid in the shadows.
 
The witching hour had stuck one summer night, and I sat up awake in my bed with a book in my lap. The hero had just solved a riddle critical to reaching the end of his journey when a quiet tap reached my ears. My eyes flicked up from the page and darted around, but I could not locate the source of the sound. My attention went back to the hero, but not a minute later did the sound return. It came back in a rapid burst of three, and this time I was able to pinpoint its origin. I slipped off the mattress and open my window blinds. My hopeless romantic’s heart flittered as ideas of which of my crushes it could be, never settling on just one possibility. I peered down into the dark, only seeing the tree in the front yard and the neighbor’s driveway. I stepped away from the window and returned to my bed and the hero, disappointment accompanying a sigh. 
For many months, the room next to mine remained vacant. Yet on this night, as I followed the hero’s quest, faint footsteps neared my door.
 
“You’re silly,” came the voice of a young girl. My heart stopped as she giggled, and soon silence took over.
 
I froze, eyes glued to the door, waiting for the voice to return or for a rational explanation to come to mind. I don’t know how long I sat there, but I eventually gave in to the fact that the girl was gone. I went back to the book, ever eager to hear that voice again out of strange curiosity. The giggling girl only ever made that one appearance, but in the quiet of the night I would find myself hoping I would hear something beyond my bedroom door. 


© Copyright 2020 Tyler Gohde. All rights reserved.

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