Oct
29
2000

The Footsteps

It was 2:30am when the footsteps woke me up.

The footsteps were an unusually harsh, jarring sound—sort of like wood being ripped apart. They echoed throughout my room, filling every crevice, ever corner. Everything in my room shook with each horrible step.

CRACK CRACK… CRACK CRACK…

I looked up from my bed and scanned the room. Without my glasses, all I could see were dark blurs.

Nothing appeared to be moving.

The steps walked into my kitchen, and I could hear the slap of slippers on the kitchen tiles.

SLAP SLAP… SLAP SLAP…

Then the footsteps walked into my room.

CRACK CRACK… CRACK CRACK…

The sound was maddening. I closed my eyes and imagined terrifying thoughts.

(By the way, this is a true story. This all happened three days after I moved into my San Francisco apartment.)

CRACK CRACK… CRACK CRACK…

The footsteps entered my bathroom. Then they paced back and forth from the bathroom, through my bedroom, to the kitchen.

SLAP SLAP… SLAP SLAP…

Every muscle in my body was clenched. My brain conjured up any rational explanation it could. It also conjured up irrational, ghastly explanations too. Such is the vice of an overactive imagination.

The sound seemed to come from my room. From my room or above my room.

Could it just be someone above me walking around? No, it can’t be. I’m on the top floor. Only the roof is up there.

Could someone be on the roof? Other than the grating footsteps, there was the gentle pitter-patter of raindrops. Why would anyone be walking around up there in the rain? Wouldn’t they slip off?

CRACK CRACK… CRACK CRACK…

My building was built in the 1960s. Ancient wood coated with modern paint surrounded me. Could some ancient spirit be caught inside these walls?

CRACK CRACK… CRACK CRACK…

That last thought gripped my mind like a hook in a fish’s mouth.

I kept my eyelids as tight as possible. Every breath was kept at a minimum for fear that this entity would hear me and walk over.

I felt a trickle of cold sweat drip down my forehead. I slowly pulled the covers up to my face.

The urge to turn around in bed and face the wall was strong. I didn’t want to be facing the entity. But I was afraid that if I made any stirrings, it would realize that I was awake and approach me.

SLAP SLAP… SLAP SLAP…

Back in the kitchen.

CRACK CRACK… CRACK CRACK…

Back into my room. The footsteps kept a hauntingly regular pace. Back and forth. They went on for what felt like days.

My mind began to rattle out choices. Perhaps I could get up and try talking to the entity? Reason with it, ask it if it wanted some coffee, find out what it wanted?

Perhaps I could run out of my room and knock on a neighbor’s door? Surely someone else in this building would have noticed such an entity. Maybe they would know more about it.

Perhaps I could run out of my room and sleep in the hallway? I’d surely get more sleep on the street than in this room.

CRACK CRACK… CRACK CRACK…

Or perhaps I could just lie in bed, frozen in fear, until the footsteps ceased.

I opted for the last choice.

SLAP SLAP… SLAP SLAP…

“Why is this happening again?” I thought to myself. “Why does this always happen to me?” (See, back in college, I had a ghost in room.) “Am I a ghost magnet? Why the heck is this happening again?!”

CRACK CRACK… CRACK CRACK…

I waited to feel a cold draft or smell rotten flesh. My mind went on alert for any tell-tale signs of the living dead.

On one hand, I wanted to be absolutely sure that this was another spirit that I was dealing with, and not just my own crazy imagination.

On the other hand, WHAT? Was I crazy? Do I really want to feel a cold draft or smell rotten flesh? Hells no!

CRACK CRACK…

The footsteps subsided. My heart did somersaults.

I peeked from under the covers and quickly examined the room. Everything seemed to be in order. The usual dark blurs sat in my vision.

CRACK!

The footsteps entered my bathroom.

And what I saw next paralyzed me. (I’m getting the chills right now as I write this.)

A light glowed in my bathroom.

SLAP SLAP… SLAP SLAP…

Then the footsteps walked into my kitchen.

And a light glowed in my kitchen.

CRACK CRACK… CRACK CRACK…

The footsteps were returning to my bedroom again.

I immediately shut my eyes and pretended to be fast asleep. I was terrified that the entity was now aware that I had seen it and was coming for me.

I cannot even begin to describe the absolute horror I was feeling at this moment. Absolute and utter horror. I did not stir after that. I didn’t even let my breathing get too fast or loud.

CRACK CRACK… CRACK CRACK…

The footsteps did not approach me. They continued their kitchen–bedroom–bathroom cycle for another five minutes or so before slowing down.

CRACK CRACK…

Then they stopped.

I waited for another ten minutes or so before taking one last peek.

Nothing.

I looked at the clock.

It was almost 4:00am.

I finally turned around in my bed to face the wall. Then I pulled the covers over my head even though I was drenched in sweat. My muscles were aching.

My exhausted body finally fell asleep a couple of hours later.

The next morning, I awoke to the pitter-patter of rain on the window. All of my muscles were sore.

I got out of bed. A little more courageous than last night, I walked around my room and studied everything.

I checked the position of the things in my room to see if anything had moved. Nothing appeared out of the ordinary.

I tried to mimic the abrasive footsteps in my room. The soft carpet produced a soft thud and was nowhere near the cracking wood sound of the ghastly footsteps.

Then I entered my bathroom and looked at the walls. And I remembered that I have a skylight in bathroom.

I walked into the kitchen. And remembered that I have a skylight in my kitchen.

And on the skylight in my kitchen was a large, muddy footprint.

A muddy footprint. On the skylight.

I sighed.

Apparently, someone WAS on the roof last night, despite the rain.

Maybe there was a leak and someone was up there to fix it. Maybe this person had a flashlight and was using it to help navigate the roof. Maybe that flashlight had shown through my skylight, causing the glow that I saw.

And maybe the wood up there is old and prone to loud cracking sounds.

I sighed again and let out a whimpering laugh.

I’ve really got to do something about my overactive imagination.

(However, I slept with the lights on for the next few nights. Just in case.)

. . .

Ever hear some scary footsteps?

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