My parents didn’t believe us. In their minds, we were 12 and 9. We had just moved into a new house that was “settling,” or so at least that was the excuse they gave for all the noises at night and the cold drafts that would come from nowhere. I was determined to show them we were not imagining it. I may have been 12, but I knew what I had felt, and a settling house could not be the cause for it.
For the next week, I stayed up as late as I could each night, determined that when I heard the sounds, I would wake up my parents and they could hear for themselves. My blanket was securely around me and my flashlight was in hand. My radio was on low. I found I couldn’t handle complete silence, but the low radio gave me just enough background that I could still hear the creaks of the house. For 6 nights I waited, and for 6 nights there was nothing. No sounds, no cold drafts. I started to believe my parents may have been right. We had just moved in after all, and maybe it was just the house, and everything was explainable.
On the 7th night, I went to bed as normal. By 10pm, I was drifting in that space where you weren’t completely awake, yet not totally asleep. As I was starting to dream, I heard the first thud. I jolted awake, my ears straining to hear it again. After a few minutes and no more sounds, I chalked it up to something that was possibly in my dream. As I drifted back to sleep, I was humming along to the top 40 hit that was popular at the time, my mind wandering to school the next day.
I don’t think I caught on right away, but as I started to listen again, I noticed my radio was no longer playing the song. The static was low and crackling. I reached over to adjust the radio, thinking it just came out of tune. As I turned the dial slow, trying to catch the radio station, I came across a station that was coming in faintly. I kept adjusting the dial, trying to clear the sound. As it started to come in I froze.
That’s when I heard my name. Very soft and very faint, I made out the word “Crystal.” My body wouldn’t move. My breathing was so labored, I could barely hear the voice as it kept repeating my name. I scrambled to the end of the bed, my eyes darting from the radio, to all around the room. I wanted to scream for my parents, but I couldn’t make a sound.
And as quickly as it started, it stopped. The radio, which had moments ago called to me in a soft manner, was now back to its regularly scheduled programming.
I waited a few minutes, heard still pounding. I needed to get to my parents. I know without hearing it, they would just say I was dreaming. But I needed their comforting presence. I slowly edged to the end of the bed, taking a hesitant step off the bed, touching the floor with a whisper of noise. I stood, slowly making my way towards the door, my eyes taking in the entire room, not really sure what I was looking for. I breathed a small sigh of relieve when my hand touched the door knob.
As I swung open the door I was frozen again, this time by a gust of cold air that chilled me to the bone. I was shivering before the gust even stopped. I started to turn, not being able to really help myself. Before I could get half way, a voice which seemed right next to me, sternly said “No!”.
I dropped to my knees, my heart racing, my lungs not able to gain enough breath to scream. I closed my eyes and started to rock, trying to prepare myself for whatever was about to happen.
And that’s all I remember. My parents found me the next morning, in the same position, still rocking, murmuring the word “no…” repeatedly. My mother, to this day, refuses to talk about the incident. I couldn’t tell you what happened in those few hours, and something tells me it is better that way. But what I can tell you is that it wasn’t the last time the house called my name, and it wasn’t nearly done with telling me its secrets.