There are few things as upsetting as the sound of a footstep in a house you know to be empty.
Standing here in the attic, searching through boxes by the light of a single bare bulb, it’s all too easy to let imagination get out of hand. I can not have heard the sound of a foot lowered carefully to the old boards of the floor below. Before I came up here, I made sure that the doors were locked, front and back. I looked in every room.
But I also know what I heard. There was no mistaking it. A foot on bare wood. The only bare wood floor is in the hall beneath me. The bedrooms all have carpet. The bathroom is closed. So the sound could only have come from the hall.
Directly under me.
So now, I stand here, trying to decide which is the better idea: go down and look, or wait here for someone to come up the ladder.
Either way, I don’t know what to do if there is someone there. Because I know the house is all locked up tight, and I know that the old couple who own the place are completely, utterly dead, lying side by side on their gore-soaked bed.
“Inktober 2019 – Tread” ©2019 Dirck de Lint.