Friday, December 16, 2011

Creepfest Mystery Game, Part 5

I’m going to step off from the trend here and write a non-fiction story for a change. This is a personal experience that happened to me and my family on Christmas Eve a whole lot of years ago, when I was just a kid. 

Now, remember the Mystery Game is still going strong. We're up to the fifth clue! For those of you who've just got here, don't worry, there's still time. The name of a thriller/suspense book made into a movie is hidden within this story, you have to guess who the author is and let me know on the 23rd. The winner gets a copy of John Saul's House of Reckoning! So, here we go.

My mother comes from a very large immediate family, nine brothers and sisters. Family events where never small, but as the brothers and sisters got married and had their own children, family gatherings became a thing to be reckoned.

My grandfather’s birthday was December 24th and even though he died when all his ten kids were very young, it became sort of a tradition that the whole gang would reunite and celebrate both anniversaries together (Jesus’ and my grandpa’s, of course).

I have five older cousins and, by then, seven younger ones. We're all one year apart or two at the most, so growing up there was always someone to raise hell with; Christmas time was always a blast. Now, I can’t remember my exact age or the year this happened, but I couldn’t be older than nine or ten; my grandma had passed away a few years ago but the family still used her house for this kind of reunions. It is an old house that was falling to pieces even back then, but the state it is in nowadays, ugh, you should see it. It is crumbling down like The House of Usher, and it has always been as eerie as the literary one.

But back to that night. We, the kids, were running all over the place because it was dark already and cold outside. The women were in the kitchen, setting everything ready for the big dinner, and the men were conversing and laughing in the living room. As dinner time came closer, most of the kids began to flock to the kitchen, a few helping set the table, others snatching food away so they wouldn't have to stop playing. You can imagine the craziness of it all, mothers screaming at the children to behave, fathers laughing loudly and making jokes, and everybody hungry. Above that huge racket we all heard like somebody with a cane hitting hard on the floor of the second floor.

After three or four hits, the party came to a stand still. The grown ups were looking into each other faces, trying to figure out what was going on. Of course, first everyone thought it was one of the kids making a stupid joke, but we were all within reach. So scratch that. Then we realized one of my uncles wasn’t among us.

“It’s probably Luis, trying to quiet us down. He must be sleeping.” My mom whispered.

“Luis! Stop being a Grinch and come down to have dinner with us,” added one of my younger aunts who we call Diana. There was no answer.

I was kind of scared just based on the fact that the house in itself was creepy, but add strange noises to that, and I was ready to eat my Christmas dinner on the car.

The strong thumps on the upper floor had stopped and we were about to just leave it be, when the echo of steps commenced. It was as if a big man were walking up and down the hallways to the bedrooms. My aunt Diana, who was in no mood to let a joke scare her, moved to the bottom of the stairs and yelled louder.

“I’m serious. Dinner will get cold and the kids haven’t eaten a thing!” The steps continued with the same rhythm as before, apparently not paying attention to my aunt’s angry shouts.

“That does it,” said my uncle Victor, climbing the stairs.

“Don’t worry, Vic. Let him rest, he’ll come down when he’s hungry!” said my dad, not too keen on witnessing a brotherly fight. The rest of the adults tried to defuse the situation by pretending to go back to their previous activities.

When my uncle Victor got to the point were the stairs turned to the left and he had a clear view of the upstairs, the sounds stopped.

“There’s no one here!” he said, calling out his brother’s name for good measure. “Luis! Quit it! Where the heck are you hiding?”

I, for one, always ready to jump on the paranormal train, went to the back of the kitchen, where a door led to the backyard. It was open but the lights were out, and being too much of a coward, I just yelled from there, “Uncle Luis! Where are you?”

That started a frenzy of kids yelling my uncle’s name, looking for him everywhere, from under the couch, to out in the street. All the yelling lasted but a mere minute, since my uncle Luis entered the house from the backyard door, making me jump out of my skin in the process.

“I’m here, just having a smoke. What the hell is all this racket for?” He had quite a puzzled looked.

My aunt Diana was right next to him in a second, and my uncle Victor ran down the stairs when he heard his voice. They were about to open their mouths and ask a million questions, when the echo of heavy steps walking back and forth restarted.

Everyone went silent again; I'm also sure my first white hair grew right then and there. The brothers and sisters looked at each other and suddenly, something clicked in their minds. A look of understanding shone in their eyes and the tension in the air lifted. My mom gave my sister and me a hug, as did my uncles and aunts to my cousins.

“Let’s eat, ok everyone?” Said my mother.

“But, what happened?” I asked intrigued.

“Nothing honey, it’s the neighbors. Don’t pay attention to it.”

The younger kids were satisfied with the explanation, but the older ones, like me, spent the whole night sneaking glances at the stairs and whispering amongst us about our crazy theories.

Dinner was a pleasant affair. Eventually, we went back to play, and the grown ups spent the night laughing and being all around merry. When midnight stroke, the family began the customary round of hugs. From upstairs the steps became a joyful laughter and then, the sounds of a woman and a man conversing in whispers. My aunt Diana cried a little.

“Why are you crying aunty? Aren’t you happy?” I said, voicing the question in every pair of young eyes.

“It is my father, honey. The Intruder?" she said pointing to the upstairs, "He's your grandpa.”

I didn't dare go upstairs alone ever again, but that Christmas brought us indeed one special gift.


1 comment:

Spot said...

That is a very interesting story. I'm pretty sure I would have never gone upstairs there after that.