Thursday, January 29, 2009
The Sixth Stair
Two of the worst nightmares I had as a child took place in the setting of my grandparent's home. One entailed going down to the wine cellar and being attacked by some strange wolf-like creature. The other involved a strange energy-based alien life form that was roaming through the house searching for me. I can vividly remember hiding in absolute terror under a chair in the parlor while it passed through, trying to find me.
Typical, childish foolishess that we have all experienced.
However, what was once my grandparent's home is Upham Manor, the home I now own and live in. It's a wonderful place filled with my fondest memories, first Christmases, and the echoes of the laughter of loved ones.
So why is it I cannot walk up the hall stairs after 11pm without being frightened?
I'll come downstairs to the kitchen for a drink or a bit of a snack after a few hours of playing World of Warcraft, turn the lights on and make my way to the kitchen. I'll grab a drink and then make my way back upstairs giving each room a looking-over and shutting the light behind me.
I get as far as the sixth stair when, invariably, it hits me. A tingling sensation that runs up my back and stands my hair on end. When I take the next step, I hear it, I always hear it: the steps below me start to creak. A few times I've whirled around (something I no longer do) and I always catch a bit of a shadow flittering away back into the parlor, but then stopping before it quite goes out of sight. And then, slowly, it begins to move back toward me.
At that point I'm taking the stairs three at a time, bounding up onto the landing, throwing myself into my room, and closing the door behind me. This is an almost daily routine, and it has been for quite some time.
However, in recent weeks, things have gotten even stranger. And last nite, well, last nite almost sent me over the edge.
Objects have been showing up in the baby's crib. Simple things. A toy. A book. Something from the baby dresser. My wife and I have always been told not to put anything in the crib with the baby. We don't even use blankets for him at this age because we don't want to risk him becoming entangled in them. So the first time I found a toy in there, I didn't think much of it, I just put it back in his toy box. The next time it was one of his shoes. I asked Janet about it and she denied having anything to do with it, which was a bit disconcerting and almost resulted in an argument. I let it pass again.
The next time, it was the remote control from the small TV we have in his room. Janet found it and she asked me how it got there. At that point, we became concerned, and I think a little bit spooked.
So last night we stayed up and watched the baby monitor for about three hours. We could see the baby was asleep, resting peacefully, only moving now and then to roll over as he tends to do. We layed in bed, thinking how silly this was, but without talking. At one point, when we were both getting pretty sleepy, the speaker on the monitor crackled. Then, with no explanation, a shadow passed in front of the camera completely obscuring our view for about 3 seconds. I can't even express the shivers that went through my body. I looked at Janet and her eyes were as wide as saucers.
I leaped out of bed and ran across the hall to the baby's room, threw the door open and turned on the light. There, in the crib next to the baby was a hair brush.
Janet is taking the baby and staying at her dad's tonight. I'm not sure what it is I'm going to do.