At the age of 25, I decided that it was time to pursue another career-a decision which led me to the capital city of Athens, sharing a flat with my 6 years younger brother-also attending university.
We lived in a quiet neighborhood surrounded by a small forest. The apartment itself was enormous; there was the old section of the house which included two large bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom and then there was a newer addition to it-another bedroom, a living room area and a hall. Half the apartment was made of cement and bricks while the newer segment was mainly out of wood.
The first night of my arrival and after an exhausting day of unpacking and getting settled my brother and I sat in the living room enjoying pizza while catching up. He had already been living there for a year and would occasionally call me in the middle of the night to tell me "someone was pacing about in his bedroom and breathing in his ears". I would do what every older and "wiser" sister would do to try and rationalize his experiences and after keeping him on the phone until the early morning hours, he would finally give in to exhaustion and say "good night".
This went on for quite a long time until he stopped complaining and had me convinced that things had "calmed down". But that first night of my stay in that peculiar house, I heard him describe a number of events I had no logical explanation for. Soon my own experiences would be added to the list. These are just two of them.
It must have been around 8-9pm one night when I was getting ready for a "wild night out". Harry, my brother, had gone to a friend next door while I was hitting the shower. I had closed the curtain behind me and turned the water on when at some point I heard someone's footsteps on the wooden floor in the newer section of the house. Not being sure if I had just imagined it, I turned the water off and remained silent for a moment before yelling to whom I thought was my brother coming home.
"Harry is that you?" No response. I repeated my question only to hear the footsteps getting a little closer but whoever was approaching kept silent.
"Harryyyy!" Again, no response.
I got out of the shower and started dressing in a frenzy when I realized I was listening to someone walking the same distance for two or three minutes, never reaching his destination, never walking away either. Just the same sound of shoes walking continuously from the same starting point towards the same direction and back again.
I ran to my brother's bedroom, picked up the phone and asked him to come home. I think the tone and urgency in my voice must have been more than revealing as it took him a second before I heard him turn his keys on the front door. He agreed to wait for me in the living room and so relieved that I had his protection, I once again entered the bathroom.
It was a little afterwards when I was standing in front of the mirror adjusting my make-up when I heard the footsteps again only this time inside the bathroom and even worse, right behind me. I didn't turn but kept my eyes on the mirror in sheer terror of what I was about to encounter. I don't remember calling out to my brother but I still recall my body being numb and the sensation of a thousand needles piercing through my skin.
The footsteps approached the toilet, I heard someone sitting down on it and then the toilet flashing! I regained my strength and made a quick escape out of the bathroom and out of the house with my brother following my tracks.
The second incident was during one of my sleepless nights as I was studying for my Rhetoric finals. I must have been completely absorbed in my book when I caught the sound of footsteps again outside my bedroom door. Within seconds I hear my brother getting up from the couch in the living room just outside my bedroom door, going past my front door, into the corridor on the left and knock on my side door.
"Tam? Are you in there?" I jumped up and opened the door to let him in. We stayed behind that closed door whispering for more than half an hour. The footsteps were heard for some seconds non-stop then they would stop and start all over again.
"Do you hear that?" he kept asking and all I did was to nod.
"I felt him breathe against my neck again before the sound of footsteps" my brother continued.
It was at that moment and only this once that we heard him approach the closed door on the side of my bedroom and stop behind it as if he had perceived us.