Saturday, 29 October 2011


Hauntings by Susan Price

          It was the Christmas when I was 15.  I usually shared a bedroom with my sister, but she was staying with relatives, so I had my bedroom to myself.  I went to bed last, and lay awake reading, my bedroom door closed.  Lying there, I heard my brother walk from his room to the bathroom.
          Then he walked from his room to the bathroom again - only without first returning to his bedroom.  After that he went up and down the stairs several times – sometimes without bothering to come back up before going down again.  Sometimes he started down the stairs without having walked across the landing to get there.
          At first I explained these gaps in the footsteps as my inattention, but soon I started to be annoyed.  Sometimes the footsteps started inside a bedroom, sometimes outside the door.  They made circuits of the house – across the landing, down the stairs, back up the stairs and back along the landing.  They’d do this several times in a few minutes, sometimes walking up the stairs without going down them, or vice versa.
          What were my family up to?  Were they tramping heavily one way, and then creeping the other?  And why?
          They were real footsteps.  At 15 I knew the difference between a creaky floorboard and a real, heavy footstep.  I called out to ask what the game was, but was unheard or ignored.  I didn’t get up – it was too cold.
          I heard my baby brother start to cry, and my parents wake.  I clearly heard my father get out of bed, walk round it, leave his room, cross the landing and start down the stairs.  Then my mother called, “Oh – the powder’s here.”  My father walked back into his room.
          And soon after that I turned off the lamp and went to sleep.
          Next morning every one slept in, except my mother.  I asked her why everyone had been tramping about in the night.  She was mystified.  She’d heard nothing, and swore that neither she nor my father had left their beds after turning in.
          I told her that I’d heard Dad get out of bed and go part way down the stairs when the baby had started crying.  “He never got out of bed,” my mother said.
Nightcomers by Susan Price
          I couldn’t believe her.  She insisted that when the baby had cried, she had asked my Dad to fetch the powder, and he’d started to get out of bed – but then she’d found the powder, and Dad had lain down again.  He’d never left his bed, let alone walked out of his room, along the landing and down the stairs.
          I didn’t know what to think.  I had heard the footsteps.  I’d been awake and reading.  When my brother got up, I cross-examined him, but he swore that, not only had he heard no footsteps, but had never left his bed.
          But my Dad, when he got up, said yes, he’d heard the footsteps.  “I got up about four and went round the house, I was so sure somebody had got in.”  There was no break-in, but even after he’d returned to bed, he’d heard the footsteps for a while.  He’d eventually dismissed it as some kind of dream or imagination and gone to sleep.
          But we both heard the footsteps.  It made me uneasy to remember that I’d called out, demanding to know what was going on.  There’d been no answer – but what had ignored me?  I was glad I’d stayed in bed.
          I wasn’t scared at the time, as I had no doubt that the footsteps were being made by some member of my family – though I was puzzled by their continual roaming of the house, and the odd gaps in them.  If my father hadn’t heard them too, I would probably have dismissed them as imagination.
          Happy Hallowe’en – and please leave an account of any ghostly experiences you’ve had.

          If you'd like to read one of the stories from NIGHTCOMERS, click on the links below.  One will take you to the story.
           The others will take you somewhere else.
           You click at your own risk.  This blog accepts no responsibility for any offence taken.

           Will you choose to click on  RAT or
                                                                      WITCH or
           IMP or

          My new ghost story collections, NIGHTCOMERS and HAUNTINGS will be published as e-books, available for download from Amazon, on Hallowe'en.
          My website:

          And here's Blot, trick and treating...
And if you enjoyed this cartoon, you may enjoy this post, over at Awfully Big Blog Adventure


Katherine Langrish said...

Excellent - both the creepy story and the freaky cartoon!

The footsteps phenomenon is an odd one. A friend of mine was working at a riding stables near Leeds once: the staff - mostly young women - lived on the premises, an old coachhouse. They had footsteps there, which used to run up the stairs in the dark. My friend heard them more than once. On one occasion she opened her bedroom on to the landing to see if there was anyone really there. The stairs were dark, but she heard someone begin to run up them towards her from the pitch black hall - and hurriedly shut her door.

madwippitt said...

Loved all the links - great fun, what a terrific idea - I especially enjoyed the music one -fabulous!
If you have trouble pushing Blot back in the box, let me know and I'll send the wippitts round ...

Susan Price said...

I've just seen the next Blot cartoon, Karen - and I think I may be sending for the wippets!
And Kath - what a gloriously spooky story! The thought of being that girl, hearing those footsteps running towards her, makes me shiver. There's something particuarly spooky about darkness and stairs, isn't there? I always thought 'The Dark At the Top of the Stairs' was a great title.

Susan Price said...

Oh, and madwippit - agree with you about the music. One of my favourite pieces. First time I heard it, it pinned me to the wall. I especially love, 'Why have you called me from my rest, to see that which I hate - this wicked world, and thee.' Some put-down!