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Friends House

April 2001

About four years ago my best friend bought himself a house and a cat. It was the first time he had lived on his own properly, and Tarot was the first pet he had ever owned. I was used to him telling me about funny little incidents that happened occasionally, and odd coincidences that occurred from time to time - we all experience those kind of things, but several things stand out that suggest someone else is living in his house too.....

The house is literally within a stone's throw of the village church, it was even built on church land. I don't know if that has any significance.

The first thing my friend noticed was that objects would go missing - when he needed the corkscrew to open some wine, it was nowhere to be found. When he wanted a tin opener to open Tarot's dinner, it wasn't where it should have been. After hunting about vainly he would give up and forget it, and then the object would reappear in the very place where it should have been, or right in the middle of his kitchen table - I was with him once when his cigarette lighter turned up in the middle of the staircase.

Secondly, he would sometimes get up in the night if he couldn't sleep and make himself a cup of coffee and smoke a couple of cigarettes in his living room. A few times he swore that as he sat in his favourite armchair, and iridescent mist would slowly rise from the carpet in the middle of the room and form shapes in front of him. He said it was almost mesmerising and so pretty that he forgot to be frightened. I asked him if it was simply his cigarette smoke but he said that this mist was sparkly and shimmery and appeared not to move about randomly but with some purpose.

Thirdly, when he was in bed at night he would hear footsteps in his hallway which seemed to come from the back of the house to the foot of the stairs, where they would pause for a bit, before climbing the first five stairs....never more, never less. My friend said if he ever heard the feet tread on the sixth step, then he would be scared and would lock his door... this has never happened though.

Fourthly, Tarot seems to sense something. That cat is a little devil and you never know if he'll let you stroke him or take a swipe at you with his claws, but sometimes he seems to sit, looking with rapt fascination at something we cannot see. We can judge that what he sees is usually right in front of him and about four feet off the floor, and sometimes his eyes seem to follow something that moves quite quickly. On other occasions he'll fly out of the room as fast as possible and disappear through the catflap in the backdoor. This can be quite a chilling feeling when we can't physically see what's scared him so much.

Fifthly, my friend says he is sometimes awoken with the distinct feeling that his name has just been called out really loudly right beside his head. Most times he wakes up and awareness of surroundings etc. comes gradually because he has woken up naturally, but on other occasions he wakes with a start and is instantly alert, invariably sitting bolt upright in bed, with a feeling that he's heard his name being called.

Sixthly, and lastly, when I visited my friend a few days ago I experienced something that I couldn't explain. My friend had flu and was all bundled up in a big jumper and jogging pants, I had taken some much needed shopping round. As I left it was raining heavily. I told him to go inside and warm up by the fire and heard the door close behind me as I turned to go down the path. I opened my car door, threw in my bag and sat down in the drivers seat, suddenly aware that my friend was walking out of the garden gate and onto the road behind my car. From my rather low position in my car, I could only make out the area between his shoulders and knees but he looked to be wearing light summer trousers and a patterned shirt. I got out of my car, thinking that I'd forgotten my umbrella and he was returning it - and no-one was there. The road, the garden, the path, were empty.

I thought about it as I drove the five miles back home... my friend has closed the door before I had even reached my car, he was wearing a big black jumper and this person was wearing light summer clothes, and there was nowhere he could have gone in between me looking through my window and getting out of the car again.

That night, I think I saw the other person who lives in my friend's house.

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