When I was very young (around the age of five), my mother divorced my father and remarried the father of my older sister. For a couple of months, we lived with my new step-grandparents while they went through the paperwork of acquiring a new house. We lived at the end of a cul-de-sac in a very small town and had next to no neighbours, especially considering we had a large sprawl of forest behind our house.
It only took about two months before my step-grandparents obtained their new home, which was directly across the street from ours. When they moved, it opened up the rest of the house for our four-person family. My sister and I received the two bedrooms at the opposite end of the house from the front door, where the kitchen, living room, den and our parents’ room were located. To reach our rooms, we had to walk down a long, narrow hallway. It was windowless and contained only a single light in the middle of the length; a dingy yellow overhead lamp that shed very little illumination.
I was terrified of that hallway. When I was that young, I couldn’t really explain why I never wanted to be in it, why I was afraid to walk down the corridor alone, but I absolutely refused to enter the hallway in the dark. The only light switch was in the kitchen (which connected to the hallway) and I would always turn it on and get down the hallway as quickly as possible. I would turn my bedroom lamp on immediately and then have my mother shut off the hall light. Any time you walked down the corridor in either direction, it felt as if someone was watching you. There were times when it even felt that whatever was there followed you. I was eventually so frightened by the feelings I got while in the hallway that I took to sidling down it with my back pressed flat against the wall to give myself an ability to see in all directions.
I used to tell my mother about my problems with the hallway, but I think that she was a bit frightened of it and my complaints and did her best to try not to scare me by agreeing with my troubles or acknowledging them in such a way that would make it sound like all the fear was a real, tangible thing.
At night, when the house was quiet, you could hear people talking in the hallway. It was like listening to a badly tuned radio; you could hear the voices, but you couldn’t make out what they were saying. There were four, sometimes five voices; three males and usually one female, occasionally two.
When I got a bit older and no longer needed a babysitter (probably around the age of ten or so), my parents would leave me alone at home on weekend evenings. My sister had a part-time job and friends, so she would often be gone, as well. On the nights when I was left there, my family would usually come home to find me huddled in one corner of the living room under a blanket with the television volume up as loud as I could get it without destroying the speakers. Every time I was left home alone, I would never go into my bedroom, even if there were things in there that I really wanted to read, play with, etc, because I would be too petrified to enter that hallway without someone else in the house. Along with the voices were footsteps. They would start at the beginning of the hall, where it merged with the kitchen, and go all the way to my bedroom at the very end. I tried to tell my mother about this, but she waved it away as the noises of the house settling. I didn’t believe this because I had heard the house settling and what I was hearing in the hallway sounded nothing like that. It sounded like what I heard when my sister or mother walked down the corridor.
I still have no idea what it was about that hallway, but I remember it very vividly, and once I had gotten older, I talked with both my mother and sister about it again. Both of them agreed that there had been something off about that one particular space in the house and they, too, had heard the voices.
One night, during the summer, my sister was staying at a friend’s house. She had a television in her bedroom, so I called her and asked her if she would let me sleep in her room and allow me to watch her TV. She agreed. I opened the window (we didn’t have central heating and air), and dozed off at some point during the night. The TV had a sleep timer on it, so it turned off a little after I had gone to bed. I woke up to hearing the hallway voices outside the window, just beneath it. They still sounded like a poorly tuned radio, but instead of being in the hallway, they were outside the house. Very slowly and carefully, I got to my knees and peered out of the screen, wondering who in the world could be outside (considering we had no neighbours to speak of), and saw no one. The voices were still talking just beneath the window, but there were no people for the speech to have come from.
I’ve since moved from that house, but I still very distinctly remember those evenings and that hallway. I don’t know what was there, but I do remember, when I was huddling in the corner of the living room, praying for my blankets to protect me, that I was absolutely certain the devil was in my hallway. Whatever was there seemed to be confined to the hallway, until that one night when I heard it outside.