Although we had lived with my grandparents for several years, the time came when my family built a home of their own. Situated next door to my grandparents, it was a small, but comfortable single floor dwelling. Times being what they were, in the early sixties, it took some time to finish the landscaping, etc. around the home after my parents, and party of five children moved in. A tiny, concrete floored porch was added, but until a walk could be poured, a couple of two by eights served as a walkway through the muddy ground that then served as a yard. Warped by the weather, these boards had a distinctive sound whenever anyone walked down their length.
Being typical teen aged boys, my two older brothers, Scott and Richard, had what they would deem to be very active social lives, and being brothers, had the penchant to hold their own possessions sacred, while coveting those of the other. It was not uncommon for a family feud to insue when one dared to trespass into the other's sacred domain, and borrow a record, or article of clothing.
One evening, my oldest brother, Scott, was preparing for an important date. It just so happened that the outfit he had selected to wear, HAD to have Richard's new shoes to complete the look.(And they say women are vain.)(Grin)
The fact that the shoes were brand new, and had never been worn, didn't stop Scott from putting them on. Richard was not home, so he figured that he would be able to safely leave home with the “borrowed” shoes on, Richard being none the wiser.
My mother, my youngest brother, Danny, and I were sitting in the living room watching television as Scott prepared to leave. Standing by the open door, he made to leave, kissing my mom good night.
Suddenly, we were all aware of distinctive footsteps approaching the house along the board walk. Since it was about time for Richard to arrive home, we all assumed it was his footsteps we were hearing. Noticing the shoes, my mother warned Scott that Richard would have to be reckoned with when he found out.
“Not if he doesn't get the chance,” Scott responded, with a grin, and exited the door, his plan to meet Richard as he entered the porch, and fade away into the night, Richard being none the wiser.
From the sound of the footsteps, Scott and Richard would pass, as Scott had planned, on the unlit porch.
As he stepped outside, Scott said “Hey, Bro”, and quickly stepped off the porch, expecting to meet Richard there in the darkness.
To the surprise rise of those of us waiting inside, when the screen door opened seconds later, it was Scott, not Richard, entering the house. His face was white, and his eyes were wide. Though he had heard the footsteps of someone as they stepped up on the porch, no one was there. He had come face to face with…no one, which was far more frightening, in his (and our) opinion, than facing an angry brother, for we had all witnessed the footsteps, and knew they were real and not imagined.
It was a clear, moonlit night, and it would have been impossible to miss anyone there in the front yard. Our dogs, which made excellent guards, would have warned us with their barking of anyone unknown in the area. There had been no warning.
To whom did the phantom footsteps belong? I'm not really sure. Stranger things than this have occurred around here. Perhaps, someone, some thing, in search of a pair of shoes to borrow?
© Paulette Boyd
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