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Footsteps (7)

November 2022

My first house was a little yellow 1950s bungalow in Layton, Utah, with original hardwood in the dining room that squeaked and creaked in places when you walked across it. We owned it from 2009-2017.

Somewhere around 2013, my husband was working graves in Magna, UT. I was home all night with two small children and a cat. He usually got home around 7am, though occasionally it would be slow and he'd come home a little earlier. I would leave the dining room light on for him, which was right outside the master bedroom.

One night, around 10pm, I piled the kids into my bed and we decided to watch a movie on the laptop. The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Forty-five minutes or so into the movie, I hear footsteps in the dining room. I can see the light shining under the door, and the master bedroom was three feet lower than the dining room, so I'm about eye level with it from my bed. I can see a shadow walking past.

I assume my husband came home early from work and ignore it for a while. The footsteps continue. They keep walking back and forth past the door. Squeak, creak, squeak, creak. Pause. Squeak, creak. Repeat.

After a few minutes, I wonder why he hasn't come in to say hi. I tell the kids to stay put and open the door. The footsteps stop; nobody is there. I glance through the window; no car in the driveway.

I tear through the house looking for the owner of the feet. Nothing. I check the windows and doors; still locked. I start looking under beds, in cabinets, in closets. Nothing, nowhere. It's not a big house. There's not many places to hide.

I walk past the kitchen and hear a meow. I start laughing at how silly I'm being. It was just the cat! But then I see the cat. He's outside on the porch. The sliding door is still locked and the stick is still in, holding it closed. My heart drops.

At that exact moment, my phone rings. It's my husband's work number, forty miles away. I answer, and my husband tells me to make sure the doors and windows are locked, as someone's house got broken into earlier that day a few streets down.

I started crying. I didn't know what to think at this point. I know for certain that no one was in my house, but where did those footsteps come from? A warning? Something else?

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