Again, memory veiled this until recently. This shoud be the last of my recountings.
It was nineteen eighty-six, and I was spending the night at Dave's home in Avon Lake. He'd grown up there, living with his parents, presently just his mother, as his father had passed away about four years previously.
Mister Rathmore had worked the steel mill for many years. That, plus a pack a day cigarette habit had given him emphysema. For the last three years of his life, he was bedridden, breathing with the aid of a respirator, the sound of which could be heard all over the house, as it pumped air into his frail form. He died in the fall of eighty-two.
The bedroom was closed off, and the respirator returned to the medical equipment renter.
Dave and I got to Avon Lake about nine-thirty or so-by then, he'd taken over the basement as his residence, with his mother sleeping in another first floor bedroom, across the hall from the one his dad had occupied. We made coffee, and sat talking and watching tv for about three hours or so, catching up on events, as we'd not seen each other for several months.
I'm not sure when the noise started- I just remember suddenly being aware of it, a pumping sound, quite audible, coming seemingly from the vacant bedroom above and to the right... I didn't place the sound at first, then I remembered... It was the sound of a breathing machine, a respirator. I looked across at Dave, who was looking across at me-plainly, we both heard the sound, and recognized it.
We bolted up the basement stairs, and raced to the bedroom; by then, the noise had ceased. Dave flung open the door, and turned on the light.
There was nothing to be seen but a stripped bed, dusty furniture, and no machine.
Dave's mother came out of the room across the hall. When Dave asked her if she'd heard the sound, she vehemently denied it, although the look on her face gave the lie to that. This would not be the last time she'd react thus.
Dave and I went back downstairs; the noise did not recur.