What Goes Bump in the Night

Rose closed the worn attic window to the cool night air outside, trying to retain the little heat still left in her small servants’ room. She always opened it in the morning when she woke to air out the sleep and stuffiness but would sometimes forget to close it again before she started her daily chores, as was the case today. Rose knew what her carelessness would bring: a poor night’s sleep coupled with a sore throat tomorrow and perhaps even a slight fever if she was particularly unlucky. She cursed herself under her breath as she crawled under her woolen blanket and blew out the candle on her tiny bedside table.

Just as she did so, she thought she heard the click of a door closing. How odd. Rose was sure she had been the last to turn in. It was late and the family of the house had retired long ago, as had the rest of the servants. Could it have been the wind? It did look like there might be a storm. Rose lay down, she needed to fall asleep before the cold really took hold of the room. Another noise. Screech; the sound of a door opening, this time followed by footsteps. Rose sat up. It sounded like the creaking closet door right next to her room. She fumbled slightly with the matches as she relit the candle. Perhaps it was one of the children out of bed, she would go and give them a stern talking to.

Slipping into her robe she started for the door. Tap, tap, tap. The footsteps came from right outside her door. She flung it open and stepped outside, into the dark narrow hallway. No one was there. The children couldn’t have gotten away that fast, could they? Creak. The small hairs on the nape of Rose’s neck stood up and she shivered, but not because of the cold.

The noise came from down the spiral staircase leading out of the attic. She hesitated, suddenly not so keen on following who, or what, was wandering around the house. Still, the candle flickering due to her unsteady hands, she slowly made her way to the stairs. As she did, she could hear the wind gathering in strength outside. The old stonewalls seemed to watch her while she gradually descended the stairs, finally reaching the door to the lower levels of the old estate. Rose’s free hand trembled a few centimeters above the door handle. She took a deep breath.

“There is no such thing as ghosts.” She whispered shakily to herself as she closed her eyes and slowly opened the door. It turned out she was wrong.

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