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The Anthology Edition, Part 2

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More Shorts from the Valley of Shadows

“That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts.”

The October Country - Ray Bradbury


Night People, Night Noises

In honor of Halloween this month, here are a pair of stories—or perhaps, happenings—that will hopefully give you that desired chill down the spine.

Have you ever awoke in the middle of the night and heard a car pass slowly out on the street? Or had your window open on a warm summer night and heard footsteps on the walk, or the hint of someone passing even when there’s only grass outside?

Of course, a lot can be attributed to shift workers, early risers who get an early start, or work at one of the 24-hour stores. Perhaps you’ve heard a police car patrolling the neighborhood on Friday or Saturday or the night of a major holiday.

But some noises and things aren’t as easily explained. One person here in town often hears what sounds like the beating of a drum several times in a row, followed by a pause, then repeated several more times. Other times they hear what sounds like the idling of a large vehicle engine in the distance, usually in the summer when the windows are open. If they get up and go outside to listen, the sounds go away. Coming back inside, the noises return. Perhaps it’s something with the house, though that seems unlikely.

In what sounds similar to an account from the earlier days of this column, another party saw something startling looking out an upstairs bedroom window one night in late fall.

Suffering from recurring insomnia, this person would often just look out at the street, the yard, and part of the alley behind the house in the hopes of being bored and drowsy. This night, though, had just the opposite effect. A form appeared near the end of a line of cedar bushes close to the street. It was a human form, but was just one large, black shadow. Thinking it was a prowler, the woman was about to call the police when the figure began walking down the line of bushes toward the alley.

As it passed by, about 30 feet below the window, it stopped and looked up at the woman with eyes that glowed a yellow-green color. Gooseflesh ran up the woman’s spine as she quickly closed the curtain. After a moment, she peeked out and the form was gone. 

Shaken, the woman, whose husband was away frequently for work, wandered the house, checking to make sure all the locks were secured. Considering calling the police, she abandoned the notion. Telling them what she had seen would have sounded looney.

Finally tired, the woman returned to bed after taking a sleep aid. Just falling asleep, the last thing she thought she heard was the oddly distant banging of a drum... pause... bang, bang, bang... pause... bang, bang... pause... bang, bang, bang.

To this day a number of people, including myself, continue to hear these odd noises with no explanation.

Lost in His House

This brief tale comes from a relative and takes place in the rural, but increasingly developed area ten to 15 miles north of the Division Street ‘Y’ in Spokane.

A middle-aged man who had recently married and was waiting for his new wife to join him from Oregon, began spendig his nights in the older farm house. Planning on remodeling for his new bride, the first-time married man was very excited... until the first night he slept there.

The house was bare, but he had all the utilities connected. The only piece of furniture so far was his king-sized bed, and a kitchen table and chairs.

Most of the night was uneventful and he slept peacefully; at least, until just before 4 am when he woke to a noise, then went back to sleep.

He awoke again, having to use the bathroom, but this time there were no large, red numbers coming from his bedside clock radio. Well, he could feel his way, but in the complete darkness, and unused to the layout of the house, he began to confuse it with the layout of his house in Oregon. Soon, he was completely turned around. Not knowing where the door was, he made his way into the hall, but going down it he forgot where the new bathroom was. Being partly asleep didn’t help, but stopping to try and determine his position, he felt... it. Something in his hand when he had reached out and found something soft, and giving, like the outer skin and fur of... something.

Instantly awake, fear almost paralyzed him but he ran, fortunately down the hall, before coming to the kitchen with its old French doors looking east toward the just-lightening dawn sky.

Calming down, he turned to look behind him. The early, dim light of May 3rd showed... nothing. No monster, no ghost, just nothing. What had it been that he had touched? A product of a sleepy imagination? A monster, a ghost, the ghost of a monster? An interesting story, to say the least.

Happy Halloween!

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Author info

Lawrence Fury Lawrence Fury is an inveterate letter-to-the-editor writer, and a conservative conscience for this area of North Idaho. He's also an expert on local ghost stories, and is compiling a group of them for future book publication. You can read more about him in a Love Notes feature for the River Journal

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