I remember seeing the house for the first time. I was a child of seven. My young parents had just bought their first home. I remember I used to hate living in the cramped, dingy apartment we previously inhabited and opened the door to our new home with wide eyed wonder. It blew my young mind how spacious this house was. I went upstairs to scope out my bedroom. I was so excited that I was getting my own room and did not have to share it with my infant brother.
On my grand tour of my new digs, I finally made it down to our basement. The basement was nothing like the rest of the house. The upstairs was elegant and classy. The basement was cold, metallic, and sterile. The ceiling covered in ancient pipes winding in grotesque angles. The floor covered in rough cement. I recall taking a look at the stairs for the first time and being immediately struck with how odd they were.
The stairs were surrounded in drywall which clashed with the rest of the basement. One particular section of the wall was colored differently than the rest. It stood out like a sore thumb. I inched close to it and felt the texture of it. It felt very strange. I then knocked on it. A hollow sound pervaded the empty air of the basement. Something about that sound immediately put me ill at ease. I walked up the stairs as I could hear that same hollow sound echo in the emptiness of the basement.
As we settled into our new home, I began to get comfortable with my surroundings. The house began to feel familiar. Everywhere, that is, except for the basement. It just always put me off, and I avoided going down there as best as I could. Our family couldn’t be happier. My loving father and mother doted over me and my little brother. My life was perfect.
Then it began.
I would hear errant noises. When I pointed it out to my parents, they told me the old standby that the house was settling in. One night in particular indicated that something wasn’t right. I snuck downstairs to the kitchen for a late night snack. As I closed the refrigerator, I heard a tapping sound cut through the silence of the night. I craned my head to see if I could pinpoint where the sound was coming from. Dread began to wash over me as I realized that tapping was coming from the basement. I inched my way over to the basement door. I opened it to see the blackness of the depths below.
My ears perked up. There it was again. That hollow tapping sound. The same sound I had heard on my initial visit to the basement from hitting the drywall. I turned on the lights steeling myself to go down the stairs and investigate. The tapping continued as I took the first step. Fear overtook me. I ran back to my room and hid under my covers until the morning light gave way to a new day.