Living in a haunted house is not like it’s depicted in movies and TV. You don’t just move in and suddenly experience the terror. And sometimes the haunting is rather minimal and barely noticeable. And then there are the places plagued by something truly terrifying. I’ve lived in one; actually, I currently live in one and have lived in a different one as a teenager. At barely fourteen it was something I didn’t know how to handle.
We moved into the townhouse at the end of the four unit building on Trails End Drive when I was in middle school. It was exciting as the multi-unit area housed some of my best friends, who were now only a short walk away. And it was a prime location for babysitting with a plethora of single mothers needing a little extra help with their kids.
Having the end unit meant it was slightly bigger than the others and my upstairs room was the largest of the three. My room was huge compared to the tiny room I had previously been in and I loved it; all except the giant burn mark on the carpet that the owners swore they had covered with brand new carpet prior to our moving in. Rather than question it further, I merely covered it. Little did I know that the burn mark had a history.
One day, I was going door to door, giving out a card with my phone number on it for babysitting services when I stopped at our neighbor’s door. They were a quiet bunch who I had barely seen and through their cracked door, they took the card while asking if I lived next door. When I told her ‘yes’ she began to tell me of the previous tenant and how they had been into some rather dark things and even practiced witchcraft. She wove an unbelievable tale that included animal sacrifice; although, at the time I didn’t believe her.
I shrugged it all off. It wasn’t as if I didn’t believe in ghosts, I just had a belief formed by movies and TV. We had already been living there for a few months and everything was normal, I never anticipated that hauntings weren’t immediate.
At first it was nightmares. A plague of images that would leave me waking with a scream, but with no memory of exactly what I had dreamt. Every night I would fear sleeping, terrified of what I might see that would scare me. I could never remember the dreams, but the terrifying feeling always remained.
While I laid there in bed trying desperately to stay awake, the soft sound of footsteps could be heard around my room. Telling myself that it was just the house settling and all in my imagination would work long enough for me to drift back into those terrifying dreams.
Everything in that house hit a high note as we learned we were being evicted for having too many animals– or at least that’s what I was told. Stress in the house mounted with the urgency of finding a new apartment and my own stress of being forced to transfer to a new school at the very beginning of high school. The noises around the house intensified. Even my parents would come in my room at night thinking I was still up and walking around, only to realize I was sleeping. And every morning I would wake up with new bruises that had no explanation.
One day I sat in my living room, avidly reading a book for English class. I was home alone with more than an hour until my step-brother’s bus would arrive and with both my step-dad and mother at work. As most readers, the moment I was into the book the world around me disappeared.
My mother’s voice echoed down the stairs: “Come here please, hun.”
I didn’t even think about it, “Just a minute.” I wanted to finish the page I was on.
It was normal for my mother to be rather demanding and as we were packing she was constantly in my room trying to get my room fully packed. So I got up and went to the bottom of the stairs. With one foot on the bottom stair, I froze realizing I was alone in the house. A chilling gust of phantom wind came down the stairs and it penetrated to my bones, making me tremble in utter terror.
For several moments I was frozen in place, unable to move and questioned who– or what–was calling for me. From the hallway I could see a faint red glow, whether it was from the sun shining through my curtains or something else, I didn’t know; all I knew is that something was up there. Something that wanted me and it felt purely nefarious.
With a shaky step I stepped backwards and the voice that barreled down the stairs could be felt throughout every fiber of my body; entirely wicked and evil: “I said now!” It no longer mimicked my mother. Instead it had a deep low growl that was more terrifying than anything I had ever heard before.
Instincts kicked in and I turned to run, hearing my bedroom door slam with a strong force. I ran straight to my best friend’s house where I ended up staying for the remainder of our time there on Trails End Drive. I refused to step foot back in that house because I knew, somehow, that if I did, something worse would happen.
For years I attributed the haunting to just that place, but the truth was more horrifying than that. That shadowed nightmare seems to follow me.
Katalina is the Wattpad author of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfiction called Potential, and a fanfic inspired by the hit TV series Supernatural called Aphrodite’s Warrior. Recently Katalina revealed the cover to her original fantasy story Breaking Free. Start the journey to liberation with the mage, Adelia Cavanaugh, today! Read Katalina’s Wattpad stories here. Be sure to follow her on Twitter too: @aphroditeswritr. She’s always posting engaging content and creating a positive sense of community!