Shadows Strange and the Thing in the Yard
Submitted by Suzanne Madron
Listen to the audio version read by David Walton:
When we bought our house, an early 1940’s Colonial, there was a lot of work to be done on it before we could move in. We started on the upgrades while it was still cold outside, the spring thaw not yet arrived.
We’d work well into the night many times, and more than a few weekends. One weekend, while I stripped old lead paint off of the bookshelves in the living room, my husband reminded me it was closing in on lunchtime. He offered to go get sandwiches, and I went about cleaning the spiders from the windows in the living room while he was out.
A few minutes after my husband left, I felt as if I was being watched. The house was quiet, and I was alone. As I continued to clean the windows, the feeling became even stronger, until out of the corner of my eye I saw the dark shape of a man standing in the doorway leading to the dining room. I felt my skin prickle with gooseflesh, but told myself it must be my husband returned with lunch. I asked the man in the dining room to get me a soda from the fridge, but it continued to stand there, watching.
At last I turned to face it, but it was gone.
As the renovations continued, more strange things began happening. Again, I was in the living room area cleaning, and I heard a phone ring in the foyer. Without thinking about it, I went to answer it, only to realize we had not yet hooked up phone service. The sound came from an alcove in the wall, but there were no phone jacks near there. It wasn’t until later I noticed the old phone line stapled between the baseboard and the radiator, disappearing into the floor on one end, and neatly snipped and painted over.
Another day, I heard an old ding-dong style doorbell. I went to the front door, but didn’t see anyone through the leaded windows on either side, and when I opened the door, no one was there. It occurred to me then that our doorbell wasn’t a ding-dong style bell, there were two large brass chimes hanging on the wall (near where the phone had rung). I pressed the doorbell button, and the chimes sang out like churchbells, loud and not at all like the modest ding-dong that had summoned me.
The strangest and most inexplicable thing that’s happened to me in our house, however, was the thing in the yard….
It was a quiet winter night, and I woke, inexplicably terrified, shortly after we had moved into the house. I could feel it,
standing outside. It was waiting for me to wake up before it made itself known. The snow on the ground had frozen into a hard crust, and the sudden sound of footsteps crunching through the front yard brought me to a sitting position. I listened as the sound moved around the house before finally coming to a stop beneath the bedroom window. I broke out in a cold sweat as I felt the thing outside the house glaring up at the window in the corner of the bedroom just before the windowshade snapped upward.
I didn’t sleep the rest of the night. The next morning I went to investigate the footsteps I had heard. They began in the middle of the yard, over 10 feet from the sidewalks, and they wrapped around the corner of the house. I followed them until I reached the place under my bedroom window…. where they stopped, with no further footprints leading away.
In the spring and for years afterward, the two holes where the thing in the yard had stood in snow-covered ivy remained gray and dead, as if the leaves had turned to ash.