My aunt asked me to housesit for two weeks while she went away on vacation. Staying at her house alone undisturbed didn’t sound too bad, so I said yes. Her house is an old Victorian mansion built in the late 1800s. After years of renovation, the mansion became one of the few historical homes in town still standing. It now has an indoor pool, built-in theater, and a beautiful patio which was perfect for reading.
Besides housesitting, I was also responsible for their sweet old dog named Bear. I loved spending time with Bear, he’s a sweet well behaved mellow little guy. The only downside of taking care of Bear was all the extra attention he needed. Bear was almost blind and sometimes hurt himself if he strayed out of his safe spots. I was looking forward to some quiet time alone. I wanted to get away from all the stress of school, work, and roommates.
The first couple of nights were alright. Nothing odd happened, other than the creaking sounds of the old house, the wind and the sound of branches hitting against the windows. The nights were silent. Bear would nap next to me, and at times he would lift his head up randomly and stare at the bedroom door. I didn’t pay much attention to him when he would stare off for long periods of time. I’d pet him and continue reading my book until I got sleepy.
The third day was different. It was around noon when I lost sight of Bear. I went downstairs to look for him, worried that he had gotten lost somewhere in the house when I heard voices coming from the theater room. I walked inside and found the projector running. The projector was not playing anything on the screen. My aunt had a thing for antiques, so the projector was most likely something she found at an auction.
I left the theater room and shut the door closed behind me when I heard whimpering next to the stairs. Bear huddled in a corner cowering, his tail between his legs. Confused, I looked up at the gate on the top of the stairs. I had closed the dog gate behind me before venturing down.
I picked up his frail fluffy body and hugged him tightly, he was visibly shaken up and wouldn’t stop whimpering. I began walking back upstairs when I felt a cold chill behind me. Bear started whimpering louder as I stood there frozen. I could feel someone watching me, panic slowly crept in and Bear began shaking, I knew he was just as terrified as I was. I could feel something getting closer, I ran up the stairs without looking back.
After leaving the basement I began looking through Bear’s things, hoping to find a tiny collar bell. My aunt bought him the collar bell a while back so she could hear him around the house. I put the small bell on his collar and decided to watch some TV to ease my nerves. Bear and I snuggled in the living room. I had my back turned from the basement door and sat on the couch with Bear close to me. I flipped through the channels, trying to find something that could make me laugh.
As I switched channels, I began hearing the basement door open. A crackling sound from behind me set my heart racing. The sound reminded me of a wood candle wick burning. Bear lifted up his head and began to growl; his growls made me nervous. I turned up the volume, hoping to zone out the noise. The volume was up high; I could feel my body tense up as I nervously held Bear.
The TV images began to freeze. They would stop moving, go mute and look fine for a few seconds before freezing again. Bear stopped growling and began whimpering again as the cracking noise stopped for a few moments. After the brief moment of silence I started feeling the same cold chill I had felt downstairs. The TV screen images were still frozen when the entire screen went dark. During the split second that the TV shut down I saw something reflecting from the TV screen behind me.
The moment couldn’t have lasted longer than two seconds before the screen turned on again. The show began playing normally, its characters filled the living room with empty laughs. I didn’t have the nerve to turn around and sat on the couch terrified. When I finally built up the courage to look behind me, I turned slowly. No one stood behind me, yet the basement door was open slightly. I picked up Bear and grabbed my backpack before running out of the house. I called my mother and told her what happened, but she laughed and told me to stop messing around and get back to the house.
I reluctantly returned to the house and locked myself inside one of the guest rooms. The room was closest to the front door in case I needed to run out again. I stayed awake; after what I saw and felt, there was no way I was able to sleep. Bear laid next to me, resting his head on my leg. I was reading when I saw his ears perk up, however this time he wasn’t looking at the bedroom door. Bear was looking straight up at the ceiling, I closed my book and set it down. We were on the first floor and directly above us was another bedroom. He began to growl. I sat there on the bed, scared out of my mind and holding him close, hoping to keep him quiet. The entire house was silent. I couldn’t even hear any normal outside sounds.
Bear eventually stopped growling, and we were both sitting there in silence when I heard a loud thump hit the upstairs floor. It sounded like someone had dropped something heavy above us. I didn’t make any sudden movements, but began eyeing my things and the window. I was getting ready to make my escape with Bear when the lump made another sound. This time, whatever was upstairs sounded like it was dragging itself. The sound of the lump dragging itself across the floor was clear and loud. I looked back at Bear noticing that he was shaking and saw his head moving slowly across the ceiling. That’s when I realized that whatever was upstairs was making its way slowly out of the room upstairs. I immediately got up, began gathering my stuff and ran over to the window. Earlier when I had arrived back to the house, I tested the window making sure that it was easy to open in case I needed to escape.
The window, however, wouldn’t budge as I tried to open it. I heard a small bell coming from upstairs around the same spot as the thumping sound; I realized it sounded just like Bear’s little bell. I looked over at his collar; the bell was still attached to it. Whatever was upstairs was trying to trick me into thinking Bear was up there too.
Bear stood on the bed still looking up and quietly growling as I continued to try and open the window.
The thumping suddenly stopped.
I stopped moving and grabbed Bear. I stood silently trying to figure out where the thumping sound would come from next when I heard it again. This time, the thumping was louder than before and came from the stairs. I could hear the noise going from one step and sounding like it was falling onto the next step. I kept trying to open the window and was getting ready to break it open when the sound changed. The loud thump sound went from a steady bump to what sounded like someone running full speed towards the door.
The window cracked just as the door swung open. I jumped out with Bear and ran as fast as I could without looking back. When I was finally able to catch my breath out of exhaustion, I looked back. The house is large enough to be seen from a distance. Bear was still and quiet in my arms; he wasn’t moving clearly frightened like I was. I looked back at the house, and all the lights were turned on. There was a dark silhouette coming from one of the upstairs windows. I took Bear back to my apartment and called my aunt.
After explaining what had happened, I told her I wasn’t giving Bear back and that I would never housesit for her again.