footsteps

The following account may or may not be true.

James and Cammie are good friends of mine from college. They got married right after graduation and had three kids-- two boys and a girl-- before James decided to go to seminary in the middle of nowhere. So they packed up the kids and rented an old farmhouse three miles from the seminary campus and much farther than that from anything else. They are crunchy types who home school the kids and do things like order their wheat in bulk and grind flour with a little electric mill in their kitchen, so they do okay out there.

The farmhouse is a great house-- the kitchen is enormous, there are two fireplaces-- one of them in the LIBRARY, and there's a porch with a swing that can fit all five of them. The water comes from a well, and the owners have even supplied them with a backup gasoline-powered generator in case the electricity goes out. Cammie's only real complaints about the house are that the hardwood floors, while easy to clean, turn the whole house into an echo chamber, and that the only staircase to the second floor, where all the bedrooms are, is ridiculously steep. Even though their youngest is three now, they still have a baby gate at the top.

One evening last summer, after a fun and exhausting family trip to a local peach orchard, Cammie and James got the kids to bed and then Cammie took a hot bath and went to bed herself. James stayed down in the library for some time, reading some Bonhoeffer until he couldn't keep his eyes open any longer. So he headed upstairs himself, carefully latching the baby gate behind him and taking a second to poke his head into the kids' bedroom and pray over them briefly before tiptoeing across the hall and into the master bedroom.

He had just snuggled in beside Cammie and switched off his bedside lamp when he heard several thudding footsteps in the hall outside the bedroom door. He waited a minute to see which child was going to try to sneak in with mom & dad, but instead of hearing the door open he heard the snap and sproing! of the latch on the baby gate, followed by more footsteps thudding down the staircase. Sighing, James rolled out of bed-- quietly, so as not to wake Cammie-- put his glasses on, and stepped softly back out into the hall. Sure enough, the baby gate was swinging open. He peeked into the kids' bedroom to see which one of them had gone tromping downstairs in the middle of the night like that.

They were all still asleep in their beds.

4 comments:

M. Robert Turnage said...

Behold the power of a possum.

Mary-LUE said...

If I knew how to type that ghosty, wooooooo-y, scary noise, I'd type that RIGHT NOW!

Julia said...

Aaaaaaaaaaaaah! This one scared me!

Beck said...

Whooooooooo! Spoooooky!
I grew up in a house SO haunted that it's listed in multiple Canadian haunted house books, going back to before my parents' owned it. Yeah. They bought THAT house. Knowingly. Good job, mom and dad!