Slow and Steady

📅 Published on January 2, 2021

“Slow and Steady”

Written by Micah Edwards
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 7 minutes

Rating: 9.14/10. From 7 votes.
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I bought a new house last month. It’s a lovely little place. It’s rustic, homey, remote—everything I wanted. The man I bought it from built it himself forty-five years ago. He told me that. He told me everything about it, from the depth of the basement to the pitch of the roof.

It wasn’t until closing day came that he told me the last thing about it, though. We were at the lawyer’s office in town, me in my suit and him in his overalls, and he looked nervous. Fidgety about something.

Finally, he sidled over to me and cleared his throat.

“Somethin’ I’ve gotta tell you,” he said. “Ain’t gonna sit right with me if I don’t.”

I raised an eyebrow at him, inviting him to continue, but in my head I was cycling through all of the potential problems he might be about to drop on me. Leaking roof? Termites? Septic system problems? Dry well? None of it was going to chase me away from this house. Everything about it was perfect. I definitely intended to wring some extra cash out of him for whatever it was, though.

“Y’ain’t gonna believe me, and that’s fine,” he said. “I wouldn’t neither. But do me a favor and listen all the way through. Then you can think what you like, and we’ll sign the papers and never see each other again. Or you can back out if you like, and I won’t hold it against you. But I gotta tell you, so you know going in.”

He took a deep breath and looked over my shoulder into the distance, as if deciding where to start.

“A coupla years back is when it all started,” he began. “My dog started whining. Ev’ry Sunday, 3 AM, just like clockwork. Well, Monday I guess it’d be, at that point. Don’t matter. The point is, he’d whine.

“Now Biscuit had a real specific whine. He’d only do it when someone was comin’ up to the house. I never heard it no time outside of visitors—and 3 AM Sunday.

“Don’t mind tellin’ you, it scared me somethin’ fierce the first time he did it. Woke me up out of a dead sleep. I was at the door shotgun in hand afore I was fully awake. Shouted out into the yard, but I got no answer. Gave it a few minutes, then went back to bed.

“Week goes, nothin’ happens, and then next Sunday, 3 AM, Biscuit’s awake and whinin’. I’m up and at the door, and same as before, nothin’.”

He must have seen my face at this point, because he said, “Look, I got a point, but this matters. I’ll try ta hurry it along.”

Another deep breath, and he continued. “It went on like this, and I started sleeping through it eventually. Dog was gettin’ old, is all. It happens. ‘Cept a coupla months later, maybe three, dog starts whining, and then the outside porch light cuts on.

“I had it on a motion sensor. Put it in years back to scare off raccoons an’ suchlike. Mainly it just turned on and blinded me gettin’ out of my truck comin’ home late at night. But it hain’t never turned on for no reason before. Light comin’ in through my window woke me up, and my hackles sure stood straight up then, I’ll tell you.

“I took it apart the next day, looked at the wiring, but it was solid as you like. Fair puzzled me, but eventually I figured that Biscuit musta been onto somethin’ after all. Some kinda critter prowlin’ round the house. It’d gottin’ bold last night, come close enough to trip the sensor. Easy enough explanation.

“Until next Sunday, when the light went on again. 3 AM, just as you like.”

“So this—” I began, but he held up a hand to stop me.

“Lemme finish, if ya would. No questions I can answer anyway, not rightly. I just gotta tell you how it is.

“The next week, I stayed up till 3 AM to catch whatever it was. I was sittin’ in the main room, gun at the ready, and when Biscuit started whinin’, I was by the door at the ready. I had my hand on the knob, and when I saw that light cut on through the window, I whipped the door open.

“There was nothin’ there. Nothin’ at all. Not a blade a’ grass moved, not a shadow twitched. I stood there lookin’ until the light went out again, and then I closed the door.

“I took the light apart again, but there was just nothin’ wrong with it. I tried to ignore the whole thing, but it was fair drivin’ me crazy. Woke me up every Sunday, did Biscuit and that light. And then one day, it got worse. I heard a creak.

“Now I know old houses talk. They settle in the night, groan and shift and talk to themselves, sure as shootin’. But I know every noise this house makes, and I know that creak. It’s the sound of the second floorboard inside the front door.

“Thing is, the front door makes a godawful creak all by itself. Ain’t no way to open that without alertin’ the whole house. I thought about fixin’ it any number a’ times, but in the end I figured it was good as any security system, so I left it.

“The front door didn’t make no noise that night. Not a solitary sound. But I know the creak of that floorboard sure as I know my own name, and something had just walked on it.”

He paused here to wipe his eyes with the heels of his hands. “I gathered up my courage and I walked through that house, turnin’ lights on as I went. Weren’t nobody in there.

“Next week, same thing. Biscuit whinin’, porch light on, floorboard creaked. It was startin’ to get me proper spooked, I don’t mind sayin’. And when, after a few months, that first creak started bein’ followed after a pause by a second one, I got me this realtor and I put the house up for sale. That was a month and more ago, and I ain’t been back since. I’ll go to get my stuff when this is all done, but I’ll do it midday on a Tuesday.

“You don’t gotta believe me. You think whatever you want. But that second creak comes from a board the far side of the main room, all the way to the hallway. You’re up this Sunday at 3 AM, you’ll hear it.

“If you’re man enough to stay in that house and find out what’s comin’, more power to ya. I built this house, and I’m dead sorry to leave it. But I ain’t gonna be there when whatever it is finishes whatever trip it’s makin’.”

I thanked him for his honesty, though I’m sure the skepticism was clear in my voice. I signed the papers anyway, of course, and took possession of the house. The man shook my hand, wished me luck, and we parted ways.

I didn’t give any credence to his story, not the least bit. I moved into my new house and I slept like a baby. Until Sunday, when I woke up suddenly in the middle of the night.

I was confused at first as to what had woken me. It was dark in the room, but a bright light was shining in from outside. In my disoriented, half-asleep state, it took me a minute before I realized it was the front porch light shining in through my window.

The old man’s story rushed back to me, and in the dark it seemed almost plausible. I held my breath, listening, and heard nothing. I was just starting to laugh at myself when it came: a creak from the front room.

I sat in bed, silent, listening. A minute passed before I heard it, the second creak. Closer, louder. Nearly from the hallway.

Surely it was just a ridiculous story. Just a tale a lonely old man imagined, or maybe even made up. I wanted to believe that.

Then came a third creak, this one right outside my closed bedroom door. And almost on its heels, a fourth one. This one was inside the room.

I sat frozen for a long moment, then shot out my hands and fumbled for the bedside lamp. It burst into light, casting its glow across the room, revealing—absolutely nothing. Nothing was there.

I got up and paced around, checking under the bed, in the bathroom, in the closet. There was no one hiding there, nothing that could have made the noise. And yet, when I crossed in front of the door, the floorboard beneath my feet creaked, an exact match for the tone I’d just heard.

My bedroom door was closed, my front door was locked. I checked it. But when I returned to my room from checking the front door, the floor squeaked under my feet in four separate places. Once just inside the door. Once right before the hallway. Once right outside my room. And once just inside. Each one a distinct, identifiable sound. Each one a sound I’d heard earlier that night.

I didn’t sleep any more that night. I turned on every light and watched TV until dawn. I told myself I’d call the realtor in the morning and put the house up for sale.

And yet, by the time morning rolled around, it had all started to seem a little silly. A new house, a goofy story, and I’d been ready to abandon reality and believe in ghosts. I made myself breakfast by dawn’s breaking light, went to sleep as the sun started up the sky, and woke up feeling foolish around noon. A few squeaks and creaks, and I was ready to move out? Embarrassing.

And so when the light cut on and woke me up last Sunday, I pulled a pillow over my head, determined to ignore it. And when the first creak came, I told myself it was a coincidence, a random noise that probably happened all night and I just didn’t hear most of the time.

Then came the second, at the same pause as before. Then the third and the fourth, in relatively rapid succession. And although I repeated the mantra that it was just an old house, just stray noises, I was having a hard time clinging to that thought.

Then the mattress shifted slightly as something placed its weight on the corner. I heard the springs groan, felt the bed sink a little beneath me, rolling me toward whatever had just sat down.

I lay there, pillow over my head, wide awake and frozen in fear for the rest of the night. I don’t know when the weight went away, but I didn’t dare move until I saw the grey light of dawn creeping in under the edges of my pillow.

First thing Monday, I was at the realtor’s office, putting the house up for sale. From there I went to the hotel in town and got a room. I lived in the same set of clothes until Wednesday, which is when I finally got the courage up to go back to that house and get some of my stuff. Even then, I did it at noon.

Some folks came to look at the house today. The realtor tells me they’ve put in an offer. I couldn’t be happier. I’ve woken in terror every night, dreaming that I’ve felt the weight of that thing joining me in bed again. On the good nights, I wake up when it sits down. On the bad ones, it has time to get in. To climb under the covers. To wrap an arm around me, its brittle fingers drifting across my face as I lie there, unblinking, trying not to scream.

I appreciate why the old man told me about the house before I bought it. He wanted to absolve himself, to know that I had a chance to walk away. I get where he was coming from.

I’m not giving this couple that chance.

Rating: 9.14/10. From 7 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Micah Edwards
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Micah Edwards


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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