What Leaves, Must Come Back

It was already dark out and the house was dimly lit. My house, which had been built by my father in 1823, had never been furnished with electricity. If I wanted any light at all during the night hours, I had to rely solely on candlelight. I had only lit one candle that night in order to finish up some last minute work that I wanted to complete before daylight. It was the prime of the New England winter, and naturally very cold out. My only source of warmth was from the fireplace, but this didn’t bother me – neither did the cold.

I had been working on the project for quite some time by then. It was my life’s passion; almost bordering on obsession. My plan was to have it finished, or at least well enough documented to be passed on to another, before my own retirement. This project was of enormous proportions and could make me a fortune. My ingenious plan was to build an automated house for those of us who are even too lazy to open our own doors as we walk through them or to fix our own breakfast every morning. My personal favorite part of this plan was the automatic door feature. The idea was to be able to simply walk up to the door and have it open for you by stepping on a pedal at the foot of the door. This pedal would in turn trigger the start of a small steam-power engine located above the door jam, which through a system of pulleys, would pull the door open for you. Other such features included the automatic fireplace-lighter, the push-and-cook oven, and more.

Anyway, enough advertising my own genius and back to what I was saying. I had let the fireplace dwindle to red ashes as I was too entangled with my own work to even think about it. As I continued to work, I had a startling realization of what was actually going on around me. It was as though I had been whipped by reality; the cold began to settle in and coming from the dark were strange noises of all types that I had never heard before. The noises not only startled me, but also sent shivers down my back making me extremely cold as though I had fallen in the cold waters beneath a frozen pond.

As I began to investigate the origin of these noises, thoughts of what it might be, what it could be, started running through my mind like rabbits running from a predator. I walked across the room to discover that the door leading from the main hallway had been opened. This confused me profoundly, as I was almost entirely certain that I had closed it upon my entry into the room. I wandered out into the dark hallway and realized that there was nothing out there, however, I decided to investigate further. Turning and going down the hallway to the right, the wood planks that made up the floor creaking underneath my feet with every step, I stopped and gazed into each and every room of the 21 rooms on that floor of the manor. To my relief, I found nothing.

I started back to the room in which I was previously working before being interrupted, when I heard the same set of noises: only this time they were coming from the first level of the house. Against my instincts, I decided return to the room anyway and pass it off as being nothing. It wasn’t until I was about halfway back, when a strange glow came from the lower level. I could see it very clearly as I looked back towards the main staircase in the front of the house. It seemed to be coming from the parlor. Not even my imagination could draw a reasonable conclusion of what this mysterious glow may be. I decided to investigate, and headed towards the front of the house.

The year was 1997. Just out of college, I had purchased this house, which seemed perfect for me. It was an old house, but it was very large – even for today’s standards. Since childhood, I had always envied my parents for their riches and large, extravagant houses. They would never consider this one – it was too old – but nonetheless, it was perfect for me. It had been sitting empty, with only the occasional caretaker to come by and make sure it was still standing, for the past seven decades. The last owner to take up residence there had died in, what was claimed, to be an accident. He had been a very wealthy inventor who, at the time of his death, had been putting the final touches on his lifetime’s work. According to the records, he died doing what he loved – inventing something. No one knows for sure what happened, but his butler just one day found him dead in his foyer.

I had just closed on the house the previous day and had begun to move in. As part of the closing deal, the previous owner, who never did live there, had installed electricity and a central heating system – which was the first time the house had had either. The house was entirely furnished with old furniture that, I’m sure, was original with the house, so there wasn’t much for me to move in.

It was night out. The newly installed light-sensitive lamps began to turn on outside the house. I had been moving my personal items, packed in plain brown U-Haul boxes, into the house all day long. It was fairly dark in the house still, but I didn’t bother turning on the lights yet, as I was still moving my boxes into the parlor and the light from the exterior lights was illuminating the interior sufficiently enough for moving boxes. As I continued moving my boxes from the truck outside into the parlor, I heard strange noises coming from the upper floor. I wasn’t entirely sure where from, since I had not seen the entire second floor and I hadn’t even been on the third floor yet – part of which I had not even the slightest clue of how to get to. The noises startled me. At first I ignored them, but after a while, they were becoming too consistent to ignore any longer; they almost sounded like footsteps coming from one of the upper floors. Since I hadn’t done so yet, I flipped on my lights in the parlor, creating a warm glow that penetrated throughout the surrounding parts of the house.

I had just come to the top of the stairway, which extended out into the foyer, next to the parlor, when I found the source of that mysterious glow. It seemed to not only be inside the house, but outside as well. I had no idea what it was or where it was coming from. All I could see, after I made the heart-pounding decent down into the foyer, was the blinding white light as well as what seemed to be fuzzy outlines of strange objects – both inside and outside. Blowing out my now useless candle, I crept towards the parlor.

After I had turned the lights on, I heard the noises stop – only for a second though. It seemed as though whatever was making the noises was unsure about the light. I was still in the parlor, debating whether or not I should investigate the noises, as they once again started to get closer and closer. I froze as I heard the creaking seemingly come down the stairs and stop. I saw a dim light that was hard to make out, but seemed almost like it was flickering; perhaps a candle. A candle? Was I going insane? How could a candle possibly be floating? Even if that could happened, how would it be moving AND making noise? I had no idea and could not come to a reasonable conclusion that didn’t border on lunacy.

All of a sudden the flickering stopped. I immediately felt a sense of relief. Then the noises began again – this time only a few feet away from me in the foyer. I stared at where the flickering, floating thing used to be. As the noises continued approaching the parlor, I could slowly begin to make out a fuzzy figure as the light started to hit it.

As I crept towards the parlor, all of a sudden I froze. I noticed a fuzzy shape in the light. It moved, but only slightly. I could make out the outline of what looked to be a person and his eyes. It seemed like it was staring directly at me. I had no idea what to do. All of a sudden, I felt a sharp pain in my chest. I dropped to the floor, and that was the last I can remember.

I continued staring. Not knowing what to do. As I continued to stare at the faded, unfocused light that had moved, it suddenly stopped. I heard a WHAM on the floor. This scared me nearly to death. I jumped almost until my head hit the high ceiling of the parlor and ran like I had never ran before out to my car.