I am here to tell you a story that happened to me about two years ago in a neighborhood called Beaulieu, in the capital of Algeria, Algiers.
I'll start with a background story: In 2015 my family and I moved out of the apartment we lived in for nearly 18 years to a much bigger, newly built house. The apartment was in a closed neighborhood where only families of army officials lived. There were 3 very old buildings that were built by France during the revolutionary war, and from what I heard all my life from the elders, whatever happened there then and during the civil war of the '90s was not pretty.
Now, since I graduated from High School right before we moved, and since I was accepted in a university that was just 10 minutes away from the apartment, my parents decided to keep the apartment so my mother and I would spend the night there whenever we were too tired to drive over an hour to our new house. I had 3 days when I would finish classes at 6p. M and/or start classes at 8a. M the next morning, so my mom reckoned it would be better to stay in our apartment, which I didn't mind at all, seeing as I was a bit sad and bitter about moving away from my friends and childhood memories.
Around 2 months into my first semester, we got used to that routine, spending 3 nights in the apartment and 4 in the new house. Nothing seemed weird until the family that lived below us also suddenly moved out. I knew that family since forever, and the middle daughter and son were both very close to me. They often told me about their dad's drinking addiction, something that was rare in our culture, and how he gets very angry and aggressive when drunk. With thin walls, I didn't need them to tell me more about it, I could pretty much hear the screaming and banging all the time. They spoke a different language so I never knew what he was yelling about, only recognizing a few curse words I learned from my friends, but I remember clearly that one time I asked the daughter, and she replied with 'he keeps asking someone to stop annoying him.'
One day, my mother and I were just relaxing on the only bed we left behind in the apartment when we heard a noise downstairs. Gossip was a big thing in such a small neighborhood so it didn't take long for us to hear that a couple were planning on moving in the apartment below since my friends' family moved away. Before settling down, they sent 2 workers to renovate the place inside. It's very old and many things were broken so it was understandable. The workers weren't from the capital so the couple let them spend the nights inside the place until they finish their work.
On the first night, my mom and I couldn't sleep. We kept hearing doors slamming nonstop and by slamming I mean we could feel our own walls shaking with each slam. It went on for the next couple of nights we spent there, and when it was time for us to leave to our house, we told the security guard about it, and he promised to ask the workers to keep it down at night, as the other neighbors asked the same favor.
When we came back the next week; the two workers came up and knocked on our door. They had apologized first before saying that we needed to know that it wasn't their fault. They explained that they wanted to sleep as much as we did but the doors inside the apartment kept slamming on their own, and that they tried to lock them thinking it was probably a breeze but it didn't stop. They said that it was too cold outside so they decided to just pray until they fell asleep of exhaustion. That terrified both my mom and I. We both heard many stories over the years from our neighbors but the way these 2 strangers were looking at us, as if begging us to believe them and help somehow... It was honestly scary.
That night, the same happened. As well as the next one, and the one after. By that time I had huge circles under my eyes just like everyone else, and I considered never coming back there just because University was close, but I didn't discuss it with my mom yet. Instead, I had some hope when the security guard asked the workers to literally put big nails on the doors and just leave one room open at a time alongside the bathroom. My mom and I left to our home feeling a bit better.
Except, it didn't work.
Apparently, on that same night, the workers said that they were about to sleep when they heard the sound of metallic objects hit the ground one by one. The slamming resumed, and they were about to go crazy. They ended up dragging their mattresses to the staircase and sleeping out there in the cold. The next morning, they went inside to continue working when they froze. They found a pair of pink boots belonging to a little girl put in the middle of the room they were sleeping at. They knew for a fact that the whole place was empty as the previous family took everything with them and so that was it. They decided to take their tools and leave, letting the couple know that they can't deal with it anymore.
The next week when my mom and I came back, and after hearing about what happened, our hopes were crushed. I went to class feeling sick and my mom left to do some shopping. That night I came back home at around 6.15p.m and called my mom to see where she was. She said she was caught in traffic and would be back with dinner asap. I opened my laptop and started watching videos, keeping a couple of lights on since it was dark outside.
First thing I heard was the kitchen window open. My heart almost leaped out of my throat but it was normal since the old window couldn't hold well anymore unless a lot of strength was applied to close it, which I ran immediately to do.
The second thing I heard was my mom's headphones falling from the top of a wooden shelf to the floor, making me jump. At this point, I was sure it was not because of the wind, so I grabbed my phone and texted my best friend. He's someone who believes in ghosts but is never afraid of them, and he was the first person I thought of. As expected he started making fun of me for being a chicken but when I heard a bang from another room and voice-called him with a shaky voice, he understood that I wasn't okay. He instructed me to open the balcony door and stay close to it so I wouldn't hear a lot of sounds and echo from inside. I wore my jacket and did so, but things kept falling, and I kept shaking.
I didn't want to tell my mom since there was no point of scaring her when she was stuck in traffic and couldn't come right away, so I just stayed on the phone with my best friend. My laptop was suddenly shut close and I jumped, since it was really close to me, and I started crying. Whatever it was that was causing this was in the room with me, I wanted to go out to the balcony but decided against it, what if it tried to throw me off the building? I wasn't planning on dying anytime soon.
When I started hearing banging on the walls around me, I screamed and slid to the floor, sobbing into the phone. I guess the neighbors on the same floor heard me and came running to my door. I could hear their voices calling for me and my mom but I was too terrified to move. A few minutes later the banging suddenly stopped and I heard the door unlock and in came my mom running to my side, telling me that it was okay and that she was there. I was clutching on the phone so hard she had a hard time taking it away from me, reassuring my best friend that I was fine, and that I will call when I feel better.
My mom took me home that night, not uttering a single word about it. I know she wanted to ask what happened, but I was too out of it to talk. My dad went back to the apartment the next day to bring what was left of our things, and I eavesdropped on him telling my mom that the neighbors were still hearing the doors slam at night and that they will bring a raki (a Muslim man who uses Quran to chase evil presences away) to take care of this disturbing matter.
I came back to that place months later during the day to say a final silent goodbye since I was moving out of the country. I was too scared at first but figured I might as well see the place I grew up at one last time before we give the key to someone else. No one told me what really happened after, or if it all stopped, but when I was walking back to my car, I looked at one spot where I used to spend a lot of time with my friends and I remembered that time I asked my friend what her father always yells about when drunk. I remembered how she replied with 'he keeps asking someone to stop annoying him' and I stopped in my tracks.
It couldn't be a coincidence, her dad must've been the first victim.
(Thank you for reading this long story, I never felt comfortable telling it which is why it turned out so long I guess... Please let me know what you think in the comments.)