What Caused Our Creaking Catwalk?

29 June 2016 | June 2016

I’ll tell you something that happened to me while I was growing up. When I was 5, we moved into one of those Cookie Cutter neighborhoods with cheap houses and only a dozen or so different floor plans. It was the first house my parents ever bought and they loved it. The floor plan was laid out with the bottom floor being very open. The kitchen and living room and dining room were all connected in a big oval. The upstairs had a narrow catwalk which was like a suspended hallway where the walls only went up to your waist. If you looked over, you could see down into the living room on one side, or the foyer and front door on the other.

The house had 2.5 bathrooms and 3 bedrooms. Right next to the top of the stairs as you got to the catwalk was a spare room that dad used for his “man cave” of sorts. My bedroom was at the opposite end of the catwalk at the far end from the stairs. My door didn’t face the study door though, if you walked in a straight line from the Study across the catwalk, you’d walk into the upstairs bathroom. This bathroom shared a wall with my bedroom and was deemed the “Cat Bathroom” as the cat’s litter box was in there. There was always litter all over the floor because the cat would kick it out of the box. That bathroom’s door was at a 90 degree angle to my bedroom door.

Now as I said, our house was made with cheap materials. The upstairs floors always creaked and moaned when someone walked around even though the house was less than 5 years old. My parent’s bedroom was directly under mine which made it hard to stay up late playing with toys when I was supposed to be in bed. My parents could hear every move I made. My bedroom door was always kept closed because I was a messy kid and my parents didn’t want the cat getting into my things.

When I was about 7, I stared noticing creaking down the catwalk at night. It would start at dad’s study, get to my bedroom and stop. Sometimes through the darkness I would see the slightest movement under my door. I was terrified. I told my mom and she brushed it off saying it must have been the cat walking back and forth to the litter box. I didn’t think for a second the cat was heavy enough to make the floor creak like that. Even if he could, the creaking never reversed direction back down the hall, and I never heard scratching in the litter box. (Which our cat did all the time as evidenced by the litter all over the floor) It was always starting in front of my dad’s study, and stopping in front of my room. I couldn’t even hear footsteps or thumping of feet, just the creaking of the floor. The stairs (also creaky as hell) would never make a sound either. You would think if the cat could make the floors creak, he could make the stairs creak too on his way up or down.

One night in particular, as I was laying awake, I heard it. Ever since mom had mentioned the cat, I had started to doubt myself. But I knew it didn’t sound like our cat walking across. I knew what I heard. I was going to face my fears and prove mom wrong. I gathered up my courage, and gave myself a pep-talk. I ran across my room and flung open the door. I peered out into the semi dark and saw… nothing. No cat, no shadowy shapes, nothing. I checked the bathroom and there was no cat in there either. Several more nights over the next few weeks I would get up and check when I heard the creaking. Most of the time the cat would be downstairs either sleeping or wandering around quietly in the living room. Whenever I left my room, the sounds would stop for the rest of the night.

I continued to tell my mom and she continued to brush it off saying the house was settling or I was imagining it. She claimed she never heard the creaking on the catwalk and I noticed it would only happen after they had gone to bed. Sometimes on nights I had a good full night’s sleep, mom would ask me the next morning if I was up playing or couldn’t sleep. I would tell her I slept fine and ask why she had wondered. She would quickly say, “Oh never mind, it must have been nothing. I just thought I heard your floor creaking.”

Submitted by Amanda.

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