Monday, August 1, 2011

The Fitzgerald House

As told by Alyshia

When I was 11, my dad told us we were moving.  When I found out which house Dad had bought I was totally mortified!  It was the old ‘Fitzgerald’ house and it was where a man (Mr Fitzgerald) had committed suicide about 6 years earlier.  I didn’t remember it myself (being so young at the time) but we lived in a small town so it was local knowledge.  No way did I want to live in that house.  And I knew my friends wouldn’t want to have sleep-overs with me anymore.  I pleaded with Mum and Dad not to move there, but too late  -  the deal was done.  And I dreaded it.

I felt uncomfortable in that house from the moment we moved in, and strangely enough I started enjoying school more.  Anything was better than being in that house.  I’d even taken up after-school sports because I didn’t want to be home alone before Mum and Dad got home from work  -  and I hated sports!

On the fifth night after we’d moved in I woke up to sounds coming from the kitchen.  I didn’t think much of it at the time and just figured it was either Mum or Dad getting themselves a snack or drink or something.

The next morning at breakfast Mum asked me what I’d been doing in the kitchen the night before.  I felt a chill go right through me and said that I’d thought it had been her or Dad.  She just looked at me perplexed, but I felt scared.  If it wasn’t Mum or Dad, and it wasn’t me in the kitchen last night, then who (or what) was it?

A few nights later I was woken by the sound of drawers sliding open and cutlery rattling, again coming from the kitchen.  I lay dead-still and listened.  I heard footsteps walking around and tried to tell myself it was just Mum or Dad, thirsty or hungry.  I shut my eyes tightly and tried to ignore the sounds and go back to sleep, telling myself all was ok.

I heard the footsteps get louder and louder and nearer and nearer and scrunched myself up under the doona.  My door opened.  The footsteps came right up to my bed.  I lay as still as I possibly could, huddled under the covers.  All of a sudden something poked me and I jumped and screamed.  Mixed with my scream was Mum’s.  I’d given her a fright almost as much as she had me.   She snapped on the light and I wrenched the covers off my head. 

“Was that you in the kitchen?” Mum asked in hushed tones. 
“No, I’ve been here in bed ... I thought it was you” I replied.

We looked bleakly at each other.  Heavy footsteps were coming towards my room.  Mum and I just stared at each other, holding our breath, frozen in fear.  Dad swung open the door and we relaxed momentarily.  He looked at us both in confusion.
“What’s the screaming about?”  he asked, looking from me to Mum and back again.
“We just gave each other a fright” Mum replied. Dad shrugged his shoulders and went back to bed.  Mum leaned in and hugged and kissed me, then silently made her way back to her room without another word.

It was quiet for a few nights until the end of the following week.  Then the footsteps and clattering cutlery would happen for a night or so, then all would be quiet again for nearly a week.  After a month or so I noticed that a bit of a pattern started to take shape.  It seemed every Thursday or Friday and Sunday nights the noise would come from the kitchen for an hour or so, generally between 2 and 4am. 

Nothing else ever happened ... nothing ever went missing and no one ever saw or heard anything else.  Just the noise and footsteps in the kitchen.  It seemed harmless enough and with time we just learned to live with it. We stayed in that old house for seven years before Mum and Dad sold up and we moved on. 

The old Fitzgerald house is still there and a young family lives in it today I believe, but I don’t know if the weekly kitchen clatter still goes on, and I don’t really want to.  I haven’t experienced anything like that since, and I don’t want to ever again.


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