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I Was Ten

November 2022
Corcoran, California

My parents moved us into a house whose previous owner had used a gun to take his own life. It happened in the living room of that house. I know my parents knew about it, because we lived in a small town. Everyone knew about it. I think I actually even remember driving by with my parents the night it happened. All the flashing lights.

I cannot be sure how long we lived there before it started, but I woke up one night because someone was in my room making noise. Like they were moving things, looking at stuff. I looked up, expecting to see one of my brat younger brothers, but I didn't see anything really. It was dark.

That was the beginning. It started happening often, and the more it happened, the more frighted I was. I would lay still and pretend I was asleep and try not to be noticed, but I guess I was noticed. Whoever it was knew I was aware they were there, because now they were really trying to get my attention.

I started hearing footsteps, loud stomping footsteps, that would come from the living room into my room. It was a straight line from the living room to my bedroom, no hallway or corners. I honestly did not know how I was the only hearing it! To me, the footsteps were so loud that my parents should have been able to hear it. Their room was only on the other side of the wall from my room.

I even remember once sliding out of bed, crawling on the floor hoping not to be seen, and going to my parents' room to wake them up. I was sure someone was in the house. But when the lights were on, there was nothing, no signs of anything.

I would ask, "Didn't you hear the stomping?"

One night, I felt whoever it was sit on my bed. I could feel the mattress dip under their weight and the blanket pull tight and go snug around me. I was so terrified I couldn't move or hardly even breathe. It stayed there for what felt like an eternity. I must have eventually fallen asleep because when I opened my eyes, it was morning.

We lived in that house for about three years, and I had regular visits the entire time. I can't say that I ever got used to it. As I have gotten older and continued to have experiences, I look back at it now and realize the man who took his life never left. I don't think he was trying to hurt me. I think he needed help. But I couldn't help him...I was ten.

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