The Footsteps

I’m someone who gets very freaked out. My family liked to make fun of me because I’d always be up late and would get freaked out by noises coming from the house. Occasionally my brother would come home late and I’d think it was an intruder until he turned on some lights.

Well on this surprisingly relaxing summer night, I didn’t have work the following day. I always get unnerved by windows at night, so I have my bedroom door closed and my blinds shut. More than likely I was simply playing some music while gaming so I was very blissfully unaware of my fear.

Now, usually my old dog would start barking for no reason in the early morning while looking into the backyard. I would at first get very tense and anxious but over time I learned that he was seeing some small animal or maybe tree movements he was unable to identify.

Of course, this night he starts going wild. Just barking up a storm. As a precaution I’d turn my music down to hear if anything weird was going on.

As my music gets low, I hear the dog stop almost immediately. Highly irregular compared to a normal night. Normally he’ll be at it until he tires himself out but never in mid frenzy has he stopped.

Suddenly I heard something akin to my back door closing.

I instantly turned my music off and grabbed my sword (more of a bat since it’s not sharp and I don’t know how to use a sword, but it’s something!). I walked over to my closed door and waited.

I heard light footsteps and my dog walking, as if keeping pace with someone. At this point I had gone the full leap from terror to accepting I would have to confront someone in our house. My room was positioned in a way that you would have to walk by it to get to the rest of my family’s rooms.

To alleviate some of my fear, I text my brother as usually it has him coming home that would do this. Of course, he said he was still out. This was not him.

I then heard silence. No footsteps. No dog. Just uninterrupted nothingness that filled the air with unending horrific possibilities. I turned off my light to feign going to bed in an attempt to stir any events.

And then I sat for at least two hours facing down my mortality. Seems a bit over the top but as I said before, I had heard the door close  and had already fully accepted someone was in the house. I didn’t know what they wanted or if they meant any harm. I thought about the times I have had with friends and family. I thought about the stories that would come from this night if I was killed defending my family. How I would never graduate college or get married. I would never have kids.

Then I thought about what would happen if I did manage to kill this intruder. What if it was someone so high on drugs that they didn’t know they were in the wrong house? I’d have to try and pull together a defense case and who knows how that would go down. That and the fact that I’d have to live with ending someone’s life which would change me forever.

What if they had gotten by me using some stealth technique beyond my comprehension? They’d be able to rob our family blind or even worse hurt my parents. I would have to deal with losing both of them due to the fact I was terrified.

I recall after awhile with no action, I figured it would be too late to burst out and surprise whoever was there. They obviously have either already won or are hiding waiting for that to happen. I’d have to wait until my brother came home to create a chance for me to go out there.

So when I saw headlights come into the driveway, I knew my brother had arrived on the scene of my nightmare. He walked inside casually where I burst out and quickly did a check of everything in the front where I had heard the steps. No imprints on the ground. Nothing was moved out of place.

Then I checked the back door. It was not locked as usual that night. As if I needed another reason to dive into more paranoia.

I finished looking in any quick places someone might hide and went back to my room. I locked the door and had to turn something on to distract myself. At some point I must have fallen asleep because I woke up the next morning and the sun was up.

I told my parents about the situation and they seemed to be alarmed the back door was unlocked but nothing was missing and no one was hurt. I couldn’t bring myself to check the basement at night, so I checked during the day and no major signs of anyone being down there were present.

So what did I hear that night? I still think about it now. My old dog was never one to just stop barking and walk slowly. I truly felt an aura of death during those few hours. As if my life was going to change or end suddenly right then and there.

Then again, I’m super jumpy and easily terrified. Maybe it was all just in my head.

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