The haunted house

I lay in bed listening to the soft footfalls overhead. It was two in the morning. This was not the first time I had heard them. I was scared because I knew there was nobody upstairs. Yet the pacing continued. The unbroken tread of a tortured soul.
In 2000 we were desperately hunting for a house in Sharjah. In a short span of a month’s time, we had seen many houses, both flats and villas. But not a single one appealed to us. Finally, we stumbled upon a tiny, dilapidated villa, in a quiet residential section of Sharjah. No high rises here, but only sprawling Arab style villas. Hemmed in by two massive houses was this little forgotten place, straight out of a storybook. We settled for it.

About a hundred yards from our new home was a vast empty lot. Enclosed by a high wall it was covered with thorny desert brush. We later realised that it was an ancient graveyard. The first couple of months were spent in a whirl of delightful activities — doing up our home, visiting the nearby beach, having alfresco meals on the terrace — but slowly a sense of foreboding crept into our otherwise happy home.

Initially, it was the small insignificant things. But it was there, just enough to catch our attention. The pictures came crashing down from the walls, spoons fell off the tables of their own accord, vibrations were felt in the furniture and there was a  strong sweet smell pervading the rooms in an overpowering manner. Gradually, the activity increased. We could now distinctly hear heavy breathing from a particular corner of the bedroom. The raspy, laboured breathing was pronounced, when someone was alone in the room.
On several occasions, our two cats were seen crouching at the foot of the stairs. They would intently watch the stairway, and follow with their eyes the progress of something unseen, making its way down. The moment their eyes levelled with the last step, their soft growls would be transformed into full throated screams, and their fur would stand on end. We did not feel safe any longer in the house. One particular night there was an upsurge of activity. The footsteps grew louder and louder till the house seemed to fill with it. That night was spent with a friend.

There was definitely some paranormal activity going on in the house. But during our stay, it never harmed us in any way. All that the spirit wanted was to let us know of its existence. The moment we acknowledged its presence, our fear slowly vanished but the activity never really stopped.

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