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The Typewriter

Washington, USA
October 2000

In 1987 when I turned sweet 16, I became a little orphan. My parents had passed away due to an accident. My sister and I moved to Chicago Illinois to be with our Grandmother. My sister at the time was 21.

We had a good move and even though it was very hard, we adjusted very well. We loved our Grandma and she loved us very well. We felt comfortable with Grandma in her little trailer home off in the woods. However, we needed more room that was our next big step. Grandma searched all summer for a small house. Finally one afternoon, she surprised us by taking us there on the main Blvd.

My sister had met up with a nice man and moved in with him shortly after. Just Grandma and I lived in that house. It was a strange house. From day one when we moved in I could tell something wasn't 'right'. It was one story, a large attic, with no basement. Most homes in that area had no basements. It was well kept, a little old lady had occupied it for a good 30 years. After she passed away there one night in her bed her children sold it. The outside was cute, a tan colour it was, with a well kept rose garden. Small but nice backyard with a small metal shed. It had very dark panelling all over the inside of the house in every room. The livingroom and den had a deep dark red carpet. It had 3 bedrooms. One for Grandma, one for me, and the 3rd was our den. Complete with TV, phone, and a bunch of our junk. Neither of us had ever been into the attic.

After the first month everything was fine until one evening then it started. It was late. Grandma was in bed fast asleep. After doing my homework I fell asleep in my bed with my night light on. My room was right next to the den. I woke up around midnight to hear strange noises. It sounded just like a typewriter. I thought maybe the TV was on in the den. I got up, shut off my light, put on my robe and searched the house. Grandma was fast asleep. Nothing was on. I heard it loud and clear as if it was in the next room. Thinking nothing of it I went back to bed. This went on for days.

Weeks went by and I was getting restless. The same thing over and over. I told Grandma about it but she just chuckled and said things like, "it's a new house and new surroundings, you'll get used to it in time". I didn't agree.

I met new friends in school that fall and fit right in. After people got to know me and found out where I lived, My friend Amy would ask me over and over like, "Do you know people died in you house?" I just figured she was teasing me, I didn't really think anything about it. However I knew what I heard every night and that bothered me. I wasn't scared about the typewriter noises, I was more annoyed than anything. I decided to do some house searching. I found nothing. I couldn't find any history of the house. All I knew was it was 60 yrd old, and someone lived there that was a writer. And from what Amy told me, people died in it.

Later as the Holidays came, I got a ladder and decided to attempt going into the attic. I wanted to see what we had up there for storage space. We wanted to get our decorations out of the shed, and to put them into the attic. The only thing I found up there was empty boxes and a lot of dust. Then I found an old typewriter in the corner covered with dust and spider webs. I don't know anything about typewriter models, but it looked like an antique. It hasn't been touched in years. I dusted it off and plugged it in. It worked. Then I got chills up my spine. It was the same noises I had heard every night. The same Startled, I knocked it off of my lap and jumped to my feet. After a few moments, I brought it downstairs and put it on the floor in the den. I finished moving our decorations into the attic, after a good cleaning of the dust I was ready for a shower.

Grandma was out that evening at a card party. In the shower I started hearing the noises again. Spooked, I finished quickly and threw on a towel and ran into the den. The light was on, and I didn't put it on, and the typewriter was sitting on the desk, that I had put on the floor. I was scared at this point. I walked shakenly over to the typewriter and to my horrifying surprise, an old crinkled sheet of paper was in the machine and some letters where typed into it. It made no sense to me. I couldn't read them for the ink was bone dry. Just imprints from the old heavy keys punched indented images of letters. I was freaking out at this point. The typewriter was not plugged in, no paper had been in it, no one was in that house but me! Then, I reached to pull the paper out, to look at it thinking this was some sort of sick joke, and the machine was very warm. It was like it had been running for hours. I ran to my room, got dressed and called my friend over to come see.

Amy came over right away. I spilled the beans to her and told her all of my experiences. She believed me, and told me that an older man built this house and became a writer. He tried to publish romance books, but nothing ever became published. He married and in time grew 'mad'. He would obsess for days over the typewriter, and would write story after story. He then hung himself in the attic because he felt he failed. They never had children, and she never worked. Eventually years later she died in the house herself.

We looked at that paper more closely, and tried to make out what was being typed. We counted 15 letters, but nothing made sense. We could only make out a few. We both took that typewriter to the shed and put it into a box, and waited for Grandma to come home. When she did, we told her what happened. I went to the den to get the piece of paper to show her, but it was missing. I know Amy didn't have it because I laid it on the desk and we were together. Grandma had just walked in so we knew she didn't have it. We didn't dare part from each other. Grandma laughed, and said we stay up too late watching scary movies. We were angry.

I had Amy spend the night on my floor that night since it was a Friday night. I woke up again at midnight hearing those clicking noises. Amy was awake too. She could hear it as well. We went to tell Grandma, but thought twice and decided not to. Now what? we thought. So we did it. We got dressed and went out into that shed. We we're shaking. It was a chilly early fall night.

Flashlights in hand, and holding each others hand we slowly made our way across the lawn to the rusty metal door. I had to hold my hand steady to get the key out to unlock it. After I unlocked it, we stepped back, flashlights ready, and I kicked the door open and we stood there shaking. We walked in and I put the small overhead light on. All we saw was my bike, a box, and the typewriter on the ground that was out of the box I had put it into earlier. It had that same piece of paper in it that I saw before. We sat down next to it trying to figure this out. No one could of gotten into that shed. It was warm to the touch like before, and nothing written on the paper. It was unplugged. It was weird. We were both scared but yet interested. We shut the light off, locked the door, and brought the machine into the house. Perhaps 'it' was trying to tell us something. Then we quietly snuck back into the house and I put it on my floor. Amy spent the night again.

We lay there staring at it with my nightlight on. Nothing happened. We both must of dozed off around 2 am or so, only to be awakened by the noises again. Amy and I flew out of our skin. She jumped on my bed and we huddled together. We could hear it loud and clear as a bell. But no movement of the machine itself. The paper was still in it. After a few minutes of these sounds it stopped. We both ran for the light switch and sat down next to it. This time letters appeared visible on this old sheet of paper. It read 'rose garden, my house." It was in fresh black ink. In fact, I ripped the sheet of paper out of the machine, and as I touched the letters they smudged causing it to smear and my thumb to be black from fresh ink. We just sat there for hours looking at it.

With the paper clung to my hand we dared not to blink. What did it mean?

By 7am Grandma was awake and making coffee. She checked in on us, and there we sat starring at the machine. She was wondering how our night went and what we were up to. We told her everything. Laughing, she said we were tired from lack of sleep.

After breakfast, Amy and I walked a good mile or so to the nearest dumpsite with that typewriter and threw it away paper and all. We buried it in the heaping piles of junk. We vowed to not tell any of our friends. It was something only we had experienced together.

That evening I moved in with my sister and boyfriend. I felt guilty not living with Grandma, but my sister's place was 4 blocks down the street from her. Grandma didn't mind at all. We were with her during the days, but I was thankful to have restful sleepful nights. I was never bothered again by it, just the memories of it still haunt me today. When I hear a typewriter to this day it gives me chills down my spine.

A few years later Grandma moved into a rest home where she has lived out her time. My sister and I sold that house never saying a word. I never told my sister, for fear she would react like our Grandmother did. I just wonder what did it all mean, and why was I the target? As far as I know, the new owners of the house never reported any trouble, but who knows? Maybe they have.

Washington, USA
00:00 / 01:04
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