I remember…them talking about it at uni…or something…
Leon and I didn’t exactly believe in that sort of stuff – it’s all made up stuff for grabbing attention anyway.
If I..remember correctly, it was just at the start of autumn. Leon and I were having coffee when mum texted. After hanging up I told Leon “It’s Jules, the granny living in our neighborhood. She passed away.” It was a little upsetting..I mean, that lady used to play with us from time to time and brought us cookies and whatnot. It was nice…we didn’t really see much of her anymore when she got a bit sick. My parents didn’t really want us to go near her place anymore because she apparently started talking to herself a lot and no body had any idea where her family or relatives were. I guess it was just a matter of time before people grew distant and she was just on her own all of a sudden..
But…that’s kind of when things got weird. The community wanted to ‘sort her out’ if you get what I mean, so for a while every day there were always people in the neighborhood going in and out. Leon turned up to class a few days after that, and said he wasn’t sleeping too well. He seemed pretty off. Like..he would easily go from participating in the conversation to suddenly going into a trance of some sort. I often had to nudge him a little to snap him out of it. I just kind of figured he was low on sleep so it was only natural that he was acting so weird.
I remember I did end up asking him at one point later, that if he was getting any better with his sleep. You know when you know someone for a long time and the energy level and vibe…is all off. You’re always one of the first to feel it in your gut that something isn’t right. He told me he kept hearing footsteps. “Foot steps..??”
“It’s like over and over again. Different, but always the same.” He said. “Dude, that literally makes no sense.” I told him. How is it different, but the same. Turns out, a few nights after Jules passed away, when he got home late from watching the games he walked pass her place. He heard some noise from the house. That was really late, there shouldn’t have been anyone there at the time, everyone would have gone home to rest and attend their own stuff.
Anyway, he said when he walked up to the windows, he could hear it better. They were sounds of someone’s footsteps on the stairs. Weird. He went closer and peeped through where the blind was kind of parted, and saw someone at the stairway. Whoever it was…stopped dead in the track…as if knowing Leon was watching. He kind of freaked and bolted home after that. So, um…this was when it started. Leon said that night, he dreamed of walking down a dark street at night. It was completely empty. It was a very, very strange feeling of emptiness. The sort that consumes you sometimes when you lie awake at night in bed, and those heavy yet unexplained feelings weigh down on you. He felt out of breath – scared even. Don’t know why. That’s when he heard foot steps. So strange…they reminded him of the ones he heard at Jules place. I mean footsteps right? But he swore there was a difference and it kept making him think of that. I asked him..if he saw the face. He was quiet for a while. He said it was very dark in the house. Moonlight helped a bit but it was practically pitch dark from his waist up.
It didn’t stop there. Every night after he had trouble sleeping. He said he always felt like the footsteps became faster. Faster and faster each night. He could never see anyone, or even see himself. But he felt the need to run. Something triggered his sense of fight or flight…it was…threatening somehow.
But…few days after that, it stopped. In his dream…he remembered vividly, almost reaching his house when chased by the footsteps. They were already beyond ordinary by that point, with the speed it was walking at. But it stopped. He didn’t hear anymore foot steps the following night. He slept better, but he said that even then he felt really drained. Energy just wasn’t coming back even though he felt better rested. It was this ongoing fatigue that was eating at him. Most days he really just preferred to go straight home cause it was a lot for him to even just hang for a coffee. Well, definitely not for a coffee..
Things…got worse suddenly. He told me, after telling me to promise not to think his losing it..that some of his stuff at home have gone missing. His parents didn’t touch them. They were very specific things he had kept in specific places. Just gone. One day they’d be there, the next day they were just gone from the house. Then, sheets of paper just turned up out of nowhere, scattered in no particular place around the house in the following days. I didn’t think he was going nuts or….I don’t know. I just wasn’t sure what to think. Especially when he told me what the sheets of paper said. “I’m…here” Over and over again. Some unfinished, some just really oddly written. Dragged, strange font or style…it didn’t feel good. I considered maybe his parents wanted to play a cruel joke on him…but I doubted it. His parents are kind of strict and to be brutally honest…bit of a bore – they rarely did anything fun for themselves..haha..
I..shouldn’t say that. They’re going through hard times right now. Leon…sorry.
Leon is gone. We don’t know where he went. He got to the point where his parents decided he should rest up at home and see what the doctors could do. I got a bit busy with some class assessments and…I just kind of didn’t get around to him as much.
His parents said he stopped sleeping, altogether. He murmured all the time “It’s starting again..It’s starting”. He began to stare at the bathroom a lot the day before he disappeared. He would just stare. In a trance, at the tiles like something was there, or is there…
Strangely, that night…he set foot into the bathroom. He was awfully quiet by then. I don’t know if I felt something wasn’t right. I had come over to visit and see how he was doing – with everything else on hand settling down for me. The three of us were at the door, a brief chat ensued to brush me up on the situation and know the yes and no’s for this visit.
Just like that. He was gone. He never came near us at the front door. But he was gone. Looked all over the house and called the cops.
I stood a distance away from the bathroom. His parents, frantic in the background as the cops arrived and the neighborhood gathered.
For some reason, what the other kids were talking about at school that day came back to me. “You know how they’re like tearing down the old dormitory and rebuilding it right? I went home late after finishing up some studies and heard someone pacing around in there…it was like 12am at night, why would anyone still be there?”
“Did you see anyone?”
“Oh god no, are you kidding me?? I…no. I once heard a friend’s dad who studies mythology talk about something he read out of interest…some article about avoiding abandoned buildings, especially if you hear footsteps.”
“Can’t really remember, something like it follows you or like takes you or something. I didn’t like it. Scratched that memory big time.”
“Wow…you’re a wuss.”
……Chattering fades out gradually.
*Sounds of pacing footstep.