I sat there on the sofa, late night, alone. The only light in the room came from the television. The house was a 1960’s three story brick that sat at the end of the street, or the start depending on the direction of travel. Several people lived there, including a beautiful Rottweiler. On that summer night it was me and the dog. The lower level of the house was a full size apartment. The upper, an attic with two large rooms. The Rottweiler stayed downstairs. Comedian Sinbad was on the television where I sat, in the living room on the middle floor.
The sofa faced the fireplace, and behind the sofa was a hallway to the bedrooms, and the stairs to the lower level. I laughed. One of those stupid laughs, mouth wide open, loud as hell. Just what I needed after a hard day at work. If you watched Sinbad’s YouTube video above, you can imagine where my mind was as I sat on the sofa that late summer night. I was relaxed and goofy, not a care in the world.
I heard the footsteps. It was loud as if intentional. The steps started on the lower level. I froze, but not in a relaxed leaned back position, no, I leaned forward, my back was straight, feet planted well on the floor. Someone was in the house, and that someone stopped at the top of the stairs. The door was locked. I looked back at the door handle. Whoever was on the other side of the door never turned the handle. Sometimes we do things we can’t explain.
It never occurred to me to run out the front door. Instead, I stood and tiptoed to the kitchen, pulled the drawer open and grabbed a knife. I guess in a fight or flight scenario, I’m fighting. I was scared out of my mind. I crept back to the sofa, knife in hand. I never heard the footsteps go back down the stairs. If was as if whoever, whatever it was on the other side of that door, never left. I didn’t close my eyes until daylight. I maybe slept an hour before I had to get ready for work.
Thinking about it now, if I had chosen to open the basement door, would that have been my last act? If I’d run out the front door would someone, or something been there, waiting? I can’t explain that any more than I can explain why I didn’t run out of the house screaming. I don’t know what was on the other side of the basement door. The only thing I know is what I’ve told you. It happened and it was unexpected. The following night it was gone. It never returned.
Maybe it was a person and not a ghost on the other side of the door. Like I said, the footsteps were loud, intentional. Maybe he, or she, thought I’d open that locked door to investigate. Maybe, when I didn’t he, she, it, whatever it was, snuck back down the stairs. Maybe my stand, with knife in hand, saved my life, no matter who, or what, was on the other side. The experience leaves me with many questions, like where was the Rottweiler? I only offer one answer to all questions. No, I will never forget.