There were plenty of warning signs when Stephen and Hannah put an offer in on their dream house in The Fan.Why was their first offer accepted so fast? How could the inspection report on a house built in 1885 come back clean? (Hannah would later find out the inspector spent 2 minutes in the house and refused to return) Why did the previous owners put a warning in the contract about not walking on the front staircase? No cracks, the boards seemed sturdy, so they chalked it up as the previous owners being overly cautious. After all, they could take the house's back staircase for the time being. They signed the contract.
They closed on the house in the afternoon. Stephen took a few car loads of boxes over that night to get a head start on moving. After a few trips he'd meet Hannah for dinner at Garnett's, but from the the number of missed calls found on his phone, he never showed up.
He arrived at the house around 7pm. A pre-storm wind was starting and any leaves left on the trees were rapidly falling to ground. It was dark. Clouds covering the soft glow of the moon dark. When he opened the door he hurriedly looked for the light switch. Fumbling with boxes and rubbing the walls with his other hand he found it. A single dim light lit an empty house. It looked different without all the furniture in it. It looked cold, empty. He had a history of thinking himself into being scared. The bumps and the creaks of the old house were all unfamiliar, but each one was starting to put him on edge. The light was just bright enough to view each board on the stairs he wasn't supposed to take. A shine danced across each one like it recently polished. He thought about going up them, but took the back stairs, until his last load of boxes. Tired, his arms hurting, he didn't have it in him to walk to the back of the house again. With his right foot he touched the first step, a decision he would live, or die to regret...
It was like every noise in the house went silent. The wind stopped, the hum of the old radiator silenced, and the footstep echoed through the house like someone yelling in a canyon. As he was halfway up them he thought, "Well, that was stupid. I should've been taking these the whole time." Then he felt the banister next to him shake like someone was holding it behind him. He quickly turned and no one was there. His heart rate tripled and he sprinted up the stairs to the top of the landing. Still, no one there. Hunched over catching his breath, the hair on the back of his neck began to tingle. With a jolt he felt a cold hand crab the back of his collar and pull him upright. He could feel the warmth of moist breathe in his ear.
Angrily it whispered, "You weren't supposed to take my stairs"
Never turning around, Stephen pulled himself free and sprinted down the back stairs and out the front door, or so we thought. His wife, Hannah, found his car still outside with the trunk open, the front door swinging back and forth in the wind, and an empty moving box scattered down the front porch. She never heard from him again.
So when your walking by a house in The Fan and your dog barks at nothing , or you see a stray cat outside hissing with its back curled up, just remember, if the owners of that house invite you in,