Back in my college days, my friend and I moved into a newly renovated row of back to back houses in Glasgow, Scotland. The houses had sat as derelict empty shells for many years before being acquired by the University and renovated. When we moved in everything was new as the renovation had been completed just weeks prior. The smell of fresh paint was everywhere.
The flat comprised of two study bedrooms, small bathroom and kitchen. It was nothing much but we were excited as it was far better than any other residences on campus. I chose the larger room – not because I needed the space but because the other room felt a bit gloomy to me. We duly moved in and term began.
There were odd nights when I was alone there and sometimes even during the day. I’d catch noises from time to time which initially I took to be settlement noises after the renovation. But over time, I really began to avoid the darkened end of the corridor by my friend’s room. It felt, well, heavy. As time wore on, I was spending more time there (writing my thesis) and those noises continued. Once or twice, it sounded like scratching noises and I decided it could be a rat or something in between walls. It was that kind of a neighborhood.
One night, as my friend and I chatted in the kitchen, I mentioned the noises. He had a look on his face as I told him that disturbed me a bit. And he then told me why.
“I know you are a bit sensitive to stuff but Im not,” he began. “But, that room! It’s starting to get to me. I swear that sometimes I am awakened by bangs and scratching noises and I see something very dark in the dark.”
“Yes. I know it sound weird but I can see it dark in the darkness,” he said.
A few weeks later, my friend announced he was going to probably spend more time at his girlfriends. I was happy for him.
“I can sleep better there…” he said.
Often alone there, from that point at night, I avoided the bottom of the hallway. I could do so easily. The noises periodically caused the hair on my neck to rise. Once or twice, I thought I saw a dark shape in the gloom outside of my friend’s room. I too started spending more nights at my girlfriends…..
We were happy to move out at the end of the school year. Packing our stuff, my friend finally told me how his final straw was the night he has awakened having the covers pulled from his bed and feeling paralyzed and unable to move as the darkness hovered over him.
I was glad he had saved telling me this until move out day.
G. Michael Vasey
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