far too much writing, far too many photos

runswithscissors


Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Well. I am not making the following story up.

During my 20 or so months in Madrid, I had someone housesitting here. A good person, a hyper-conscientious woman named Kit. Capable, consistent, reliable. Not given to flights of fancy. After she'd been in the house about a week, she experienced something many might consider pure nonsense.

The house: long, rectangular -- the kind of building that might be called a raised ranch. At this moment I'm sitting in the top floor at the eastern end of the building, the end containing the main living spaces: the kitchen, the dining room, the living room -- three conjoined rooms more or less arranged in the shape of a U. A hallway begins at the inner corner of the living room, running straight down the center of the house from there, away from the main living spaces toward the building's west end. At the point where the hallway abuts the living room a stairway begins, descending to a landing and the front door. From there a second flight of stairs extends down to the lower level of the house. You don't need to know anything about the lower level just yet.

Back in the upper level, the hallway stretches away from the living room, passing first the bathroom on the left, then two small bedrooms, situated across the hallway from each other. Kit stayed in one of those two bedrooms, the one to the front of the house, facing the amazing view this place has. That's all you need to know about the top floor.

So. About a week into her stay here. Nighttime. Kit's in bed, the light on. Reading, thinking. The house is quiet. Until Kit hears the sound of footsteps ascending the stairs. The bedroom door is six feet or so from the stairs, the footsteps did not sound distant. A second person was in the house, climbing the stairs, approaching the top landing, the hallway, Kit's room.

Kit lived alone here. That night she had locked the outside doors before heading to bed. No one else should have been in the building, no one should have been coming up the stairs.

After a moment of confusion and frightened surprise, Kit got to her feet. The footsteps stopped. She hurried out of the bedroom, turned on the hallway light, turned on the stairway light. No sign of an intruder, no sound of anyone moving, nothing. She may have gone downstairs to check the door to the garage, finding it locked, just as she had left it. She went back upstairs, turned out the lights, got back into bed. The sound of feet ascending the steps began again.

This went on for a while -– she'd get up, the sound would stop; she'd go back to bed, it would start up all over again. Finally, she had a talk with herself -– she knew no one else was in the house, she knew that whatever was going on couldn't hurt her. She managed to settle down, eventually fell asleep. The next day she found no sign of anything out of the ordinary in the house. The next night the footsteps did not return, she never experienced them again. She never told anyone about the experience, including me.

Shortly after my return from Madrid, I lay in bed one morning. Alone in the house, early a.m., all the outside doors locked. Somewhere off in the house -- sounding like it came from downstairs -– a door closed. Not slammed -- closed with a solid, firm impact. I felt it more than heard it, if you know what I mean, the way you can feel when someone walks from one room to another in a lower floor of a house, the way you can hear a door close. Feeling the vibration of it through the floor, through the bed, in addition to the distant sound. My eyes opened -- I lay still, listening. I got up, went downstairs, found the door to the garage locked as I'd left it the night before. The other doors on the lower level –- to the bathroom, the toolroom, the guest room, the large rec. room where the coal stove sits in front of the fireplace -– were all open, exactly as they normally are.

This was early April, still late winter here. No windows were open, no errant breeze was at work anywhere in the house.

Kit stopped by a day or two later to drop off her set of keys. In passing, I told her about the door closing. She stared ahead as I spoke, then shifted her gaze to me, the words tumbling from her mouth, telling me about the footsteps on the stairs. She then said that Mo, my downhill neighbor (a relative term here -- Mo's house sits almost quarter mile away, across the road from the extreme downhill corner of my plot) had mentioned to her one time that someone in this house had fallen down the stairs and been killed. First I'd heard of it. This house is 30 years old, during its three decades it's had several owners. I had no idea who the original owners were, neither did Kit. We puzzled over the story a bit, then dropped it.

Every now and then I hear odd noises in the house. Not the refrigerator, not the furnace, not the water pump, not something outside. Not the house reacting to the long hours of direct sunlight or cooling off at night. Nothing big, nothing threatening or truly creepy. Nothing that feels malignant. Just odd, clear, distinct sounds, every now and then -- the kind of sounds that another person might make, the incidental sounds produced by someone else in one's living space. It gets my attention, makes me wonder.

I stopped in to say a quick hello to Mo and his wife Kay today. Mo's lived in this town his entire life, his family has been here for generations. He and Kay have resided in their small house for most of their nearly 60 years of marriage. I asked him about what he'd told Kit, he confirmed the story: the wife of the first couple to live in this house -- a woman named Mary -- had fallen down the stairs and been killed. I told them about Kit's experience with the footsteps, which came as news -- Kit is much closer with Mo and Kay than with me, but had never mentioned it to them. Maybe because she expected the kind of reaction Kay displayed: disbelief. I told them about the door closing, about the odd sounds I occasionally hear around the place. They laughed nicely at it all and didn't really seem to know what to say, though Kay appeared to find the death that happened here a touch mysterious –- Kay had been in this house once and didn't think the stairs covered enough distance to be lethal in a fall.

So there you have it. I seem to be living in a, er, haunted house. Not a highly active one, not a disruptive one (I've never experienced anything as dramatic as Kit has) -- mostly polite, well-mannered. Inoffensive. But still.

Who knows -– there may be perfectly logical explanations for it all. It's possible. I haven't encountered them yet, but that doesn’t mean they're not out there.

In the meantime, the summer goes on, the days slipping rapidly by. The house feels pretty good in the middle of it all. That's all I care about.

rws 10:52 PM [+]

Links to this post:

<\$BlogItemBacklinkCreate\$>

BLATHERINGS

August 2001
September 2001
October 2001
November 2001
December 2001
January 2002
February 2002
March 2002
April 2002
May 2002
June 2002
July 2002
August 2002
September 2002
October 2002
November 2002
December 2002
January 2003
February 2003
March 2003
April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
June 2009
July 2009

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .


MORE FOCUSED BLATHERINGS


Travels:
London '01
Pamplona
Italy '03
U.K. '03
Sevilla
Casablanca
Stoke-on-Trent
Barcelona
Québec/Ottawa
Boston/Lisbon/Madrid
Italy '04
Montréal
La Sierra

Events:
Madrid -- arrival
9/11
Emergency Room I
Holidays 2001
Holidays 2002
Holidays 2003
Holidays 2004
Holidays 2005
A neighbor's passing
Madrid -- March 11 bombings
  and aftermath
Emergency Room II
Israeli friend/Madrid Marathon
Madrid -- Royal Wedding
The DELE exam

GONE, a novel:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10

THE BASTARD CHILDREN OF
JOE ROCCO, a novella:
-- Part 1
-- Part 2
-- Part 3

BURBANK SHRUGGED,
a screenplay:
-- Part 1
-- Part 2
-- Part 3
-- Part 4

Short stories:
Murphy's Wife
Another Autumn
La Queja de Una
  Hermanastra Muy Conocida

Autobiography
-- Personal History
-- Hormones On Parade
-- Accidents, Random Mishaps,
    Personal Problems

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .


OTHER SOURCES OF WHOLESOME ENTERTAINMENT

People/Weblogs:
dooce
foxvox
fudge it
fear not
rebekka
bookslut
802online
idle words
madhaiku
wockerjabby
grow-a-brain
rebel market
letting me be
out and about
kung fu grippe
fanatical apathy
baghdad burning
wfuv's music blog
kexp's music blog
mimi smartypants
between the miles
just a hippie gypsy
the impossible cool
tomato can brushes
vermont homestead
sugar mountain farm

Good Clean Fun:
gizmodo
futurismic
postsecret
dave barry
human clock
mcsweeney's
spaceweather
book-a-minute
internet archive
self-portrait day
my cat hates you
out of context quotes
surrealist compliment
  generator
strindberg and helium

Makin' Musical Whoopee:
last fm
stereo8
pandora
soma fm

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .


ABOUT RWS/CONTACT





This page and all its contents copyright © 2001-2011 by runswithscissors unless otherwise noted.


runswithscissors would like to thank everyone who's ever lived for everything they've ever done.



Syndicate This Site


Blogarama

BlogCatalog

Bloggapedia, Blog Directory - Find It!



technorati profile

Subscribe with Bloglines

www.flickr.com
runswithscissors' photos More of runswithscissors' photos