This is a true story. It’s a number of years ago now and, while I am able to talk about it today, it freaked the hell out of me at the time. Don’t read it now – save this story in your bookmarks and come back to it, when you are home alone, late at night, a few drinks, just finished watching Saw IV and you can hear some strange noises outside, only then will you truly appreciate the horror we experienced seven years ago.
Lottie and I moved out of Wicklow at the start of the Millennium, early 2000. We were independent, we were forthright, the world was our oyster…we hadn’t a clue.
Killester, north of Dublin, is where we initially settled. We moved into a huge house in Brookwood, which we shared with ten other people. We had the biggest room in the place and even had attic space. Rent was next to nothing and we had an abundance of disposable income. We went out a lot and had a good time. Life was good. But it could not last.
We shared the house with a number of characters. There was Mr OCD, who did exactly as it said on the tin. There was Mr Normal, who was a nice, sound, feet on the ground type of guy who we quite liked. There was Frenchy, a young French student who seemed more out of place there than a nun at a Marilyn Manson concert. There were a number of people who we never saw and one strange old guy who reminded me of Roy from Coronation Street. I suspect he like to train spot (ooh, look! another DART). And there was a couple in their thirties who we saw quite a lot – let’s call them Sally and Steve. Now, Sally was not a pretty girl. All the makeovers in the world could not help this woman. Her misshaped hips and Mike Tyson face is further proof that God does not exist. Her boyfriend, Steve, was no Lothario either and his Nordsoide accent was unintelligible at times. There was a large sitting room in the house for communal use, but everyone was aware that the sitting room belonged to Sally and Steve, and it was rare that anyone else would venture in there. It reeked of smoke, was covered in beer cans, had an ancient TV (it may have been black and white) and furniture that was out of style in the 1970’s. This was their abode. Jobless, senseless and penniless, this is where Sally and Steve spent their day.
It was announced that the house our little dysfunctional group shared was going up for sale and Lottie and I were devastated. Just settled in and getting our lives in order, we did not want to go through the flat hunting process all over again. So, as luck would have it, one of our house mates, Mr Normal, had quickly organised a new home for himself and there was a spare room going, so Lottie and I snapped it up.
It was a hole! It was a tiny room in a tiny run-down fixer-upper at the other side of Killester. We shared a half-built bathroom with Mr Normal and the Landlord, an old guy who had spent the last five years rebuilding this house that was no where near finished.
But, we were happy. We were young and in lust. Our hectic social life and excessive drinking habits made us blind to the inadequacies of the cesspit we lived in.
Late one night (a rare night when we hadn’t been out on the town, we finished watching an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on our big enormous 14” screen, and Lottie got out of bed to get a drink of water. Now, allow me to attempt to paint a picture of the house.
The floorplan of the entire house was in an L shape. Our room was at the top of the L facing inwards to the back garden (Point A), while the kitchen, where Lottie was getting her glass of water, was at the base of the L facing inwards to the garden too (point B). She went to the sink (Point C) to get her water but, turning around, she looked down the garden to see a small, strange figure perched on the window ledge of our bedroom, staring in. She described it at the time as like a goblin. She turned on the light which startled the figure and sent it scurrying away from the garden.
Lottie returned to the bedroom, nervous and pale, and told me what she had seen. At this time, I went up to the kitchen, keeping the light off so I would not be seen. It was a bright moonlit night, so the garden was quite clear, but I saw nothing. I stared down the garden for some time before giving up. I returned to the sink to get that glass of water and as I did, I looked out the window directly above the sink. It was usually a fairly pointless window, as directly in front of it were high bushes with a wall behind them. So this window provided no additional light to the kitchen. As I stared out, no more than two foot in front of me, a small, pale, round face peered in at me, wide eyed and bloodshot. I was frozen to the spot. Fear gripped every inch of me and as the face sank back into the bushes, completely expressionless, I realised what it was. It was our old housemate, Steve.
He must have followed us from our previous house. It frightens me to imagine how often he used to watch us, where he may have followed us, what he may have planned to do…eek!
Needless to say, we had moved out within about two weeks.