Don’t Tell Mom

One summer, years ago, I was hanging out in the basement with my older sister and our cousin, Andy. Andy was visiting for a few weeks, and the basement was operating as his bedroom and our main hangout spot. We were playing a game, probably on the Nintendo 64, when Andy heard a noise.

“What was that?” he asked.

My sister and I looked at each other. We hadn’t heard anything. A second later, we heard a small voice, like a little girl’s, say “Look.” At least, that’s what I heard. It was so soft we couldn’t know for sure.

Andy was clearly startled, but my sister continued playing the videogame. “You guys are being children,” she said. “There’s nothing there. It was probably just a weird sound effect from the game.” So, like any kid with a big sister, I did what I was told and kept playing the game.

Around fifteen minutes later, we heard something else. This time, it wasn’t a voice. It sounded like a nail or slender piece of metal dragging across one of the workbenches my dad kept in the back. We heard the object ping to the ground and bounce for a couple of seconds. Andy and I looked at each other.

“Uh, we’re gonna go upstairs,” I remember him saying.

“Okay, losers. I’m gonna play a couple of more games because I’m not a child,” my sister said.

Andy and I ran up into the kitchen. Ten minutes later, my sister came up.

“I heard something else,” she said, her face white. “It was a man’s voice, and it was definitely not from a videogame.”

When Dad got home, we asked him to go check it out. Next to the workbench, he found a single nail lying on the ground. He said it must have fallen out of the ceiling or wall, but he dismissed our claims when we told him about the voices. “Get over it guys. It’s not real,” he said. “And don’t tell your mother. It’ll only freak her out.”

We decided to let it go. We moved the Nintendo 64 upstairs, and Andy decided to sleep on the living room couch for the rest of his visit. Years later, when my sister and I went to college, our parents moved out of the house.

I recently visited my parents in their new home. Dad started teasing me about always being such a scared kid – I have to admit, I was – and brought up the basement incident. “You guys forgot about it and everything went away,” he smirked. My mom’s face went white.

“Why didn’t you tell me about that?” she asked Dad. “I told you to let me know if we saw or heard any other weird stuff in the house.”

“Other weird stuff?” I asked.

“I used to see a young girl and an old man around the house when I was home alone,” she explained. “They looked like shadows. Nothing ever happened, but it was scary. I didn’t realize anybody else had encountered them.”