Having recently purchased my home back then it was still in a state of disarray. The sunroom was crammed with boxes and appliances and plastic sheeting covered doorways to keep dust travel to a minimum. I was working fast to get the house ready because my fiancé would soon be moving in. However, I had quickly converted the sole third floor room into my office. I work from home on my computer all day and the bright sunny space was just what I needed to get my work done daily. Living alone, I enjoyed the solitude and freedom from distractions the office space afforded me.
One morning, while sitting in my office chair thinking about the next words I'd write, I heard the creak of a stair on the first floor. It was just a single creak and nothing more, and I thought nothing more of it. But a few minutes later I heard another creak, this time further up the stairs and I stopped what I was doing and listened. My fiancé loves trying to sneak up on me and scare me, and still does to this day. But that morning there was nothing.
Having lived in old houses before I'm all too familiar with their settling, the expansion and contraction of wood, the knocking of water in pipes, the odd sounds they can make. I'm also not one to be easily frightened. In 20 years of policing, I've walked into plenty of dark rooms and encountered people scarier than any paranormal entity. As a matter of fact you can say I'm a non-believer. I don't believe in ghosts, an afterlife, or any sort of supernatural beings. So the creaks on the stairs didn't scare me that I might have a ghost in my midst, but rather I was thinking more I might have an intruder.
One of the things they teach you in policing is to do nothing. Just stand there and listen. Don't move. Don't react. Don't breathe. You learn to outlast the other person so they make the first move. That morning I sat stock still in my chair. I didn't make a sound. Didn't type. Didn't move. I was hardly breathing. And there was nothing. I must have sat there five minutes listening, and didn't hear a thing.
Realizing it must have indeed been the house settling I was just about to put my fingers to the keyboard when it happened again, the sound on the stairs. But this was not just a solitary step of a creaking old house but rather someone walking taking several steps. In fact, no longer was the sound on the first floor stairs, but it was now in the second floor hallway and coming up to the third!
I sat there fixated. It was not training that kept me glued to where I was, nor was it fear, but the hair on my arms was standing up as I sat there looking at the stairwell waiting for the person who was clearly walking up the stairs. You could hear each footfall on the stair treads, a slow steady pace of someone climbing the steps, the soft scraping of a show on the tread. And they were heavy steps creaking the stairs beneath them.
Nor was this some distant sound I was hearing. My desk sat less than 10 feet from the stairwell. I could clearly and plainly hear each sound. And then, when the footsteps said someone should be appearing around the corner...nothing. They just stopped.
I was stuck in my chair. I'm sure my fingers were still poised over the keyboard where they had been the moment when the footsteps started. I was staring at the stairwell still waiting for whoever it was to appear. My heart was beating loudly in my ears. A few seconds more of staring and then I jumped up and ran to the top of the stairs to see who might have been waiting just around the corner. But no one was there. I ran down to the second floor and looked in each room. No one.
I ran down to the first floor, and still no one. The front door was locked as I had left it as was the back door. Down to the basement I went, running round to all the corners but still I could find no one. I was completely alone in the house.
There's no doubt even to this unbeliever's mind that there were footsteps on my stairs. To this day, whenever I walk down the stairs they creak loudly when I tread on them and it immediately brings back to mind that morning when the heavy footsteps had me waiting expectantly for someone to come around the corner, someone who turned out not to be there.