My dad died last year. This story isn't about that, don't worry. That wasn't even particularly gruesome or unexpected, just one of those things, you know? But that's why we ended up moving.
I didn't like the idea of moving. I liked our home. I liked my neighborhood. More importantly, I liked my friends.
Now we have to live in a run-down part of town. Mom bought a duplex. She said that we'll be able to make money by renting out the other half, but I don't know anyone who would want to live here. The paint outside is old and chipped, and the other side of the duplex smells like mold. There aren't black spots or anything like that, it just stinks. We tried putting an air purifier and a dehumidifier in. Hoping that will do something about it.
This summer was the worst. I spent the first half saying goodbye to everyone and the second half working on this hell-hole. I swear, there is nothing right with this stupid house. I don't even know if my mom bothered to get this place inspected. It's like every week something else went wrong. First, the wiring was bad, then two pipes burst. Next, the water heater goes, and the other bathroom randomly floods.
When we fixed all of that, we started hearing scratching. You know what that means, right? Mice, or maybe even rats. So we start laying out traps. Sure enough, we catch a couple. Big ones, too. One of them was as large as my forearm.
Even after we killed a few furry ones, the scratching just got worse. We went so far as to fumigate the place, which should have been enough to kill any rodents as well as any bugs or any other foreign invader, but the scratching didn't stop.
It grew louder and more constant over time. It started only at night, and only right before bed, but slowly it started showing up at odd times. One morning, before school, I realized that the scratching didn't sound like scratching anymore. It sounded like a piano heard through an old radio. Almost like someone had gotten close to the station they wanted, but didn't quite get rid of all of the static.
I tried mentioning it to mom, but she didn't care. "It's just mice. We have to figure out how they're getting in," she said, but I didn't think so. "It's music," I insisted, but she didn't listen.
But over the next week, it grew clearer. It wasn't like a radio anymore. It was a piano. It was an old, out of tune piano that someone was practicing next door. Whoever it was was playing the same piece over and over, sometimes just a few seconds of it, sometimes the entire tune, but always the same song.
I tried telling mom that we had squatters, that someone is living in our house with us. I tried telling her about what I heard, but she kept insisting that this was all in my imagination.
Finally, I had enough. I waited until she was asleep and grabbed the spare keys and a flashlight. I needed to find out what the sound was, even if she wanted to keep her head buried in the sand.
I didn't see anything that night. I stayed over there until at least 3AM without noticing anything weird. But as soon as I got back into my room, the sound started again. I tried again, the next night, and the same thing happened: while I was on the other side of the duplex I heard nothing, saw nothing, but when I returned to my room the pianist began to work.
I tried putting it out of my mind, but that didn't work either. This person, whoever it was, had to be there, but whenever I would try to catch them, they, and their instrument, were impossible to find.
This cat and mouse game went on for at least two weeks. Over that time I grew more and more tired and more and more frustrated. Someone was messing with me, and I needed to catch them at it.
Tonight I decided to try again. I wanted to try to catch that jackass in the act, tell him he couldn't scare me, but then I fell asleep. I fell asleep in the other living room.
When I woke up, I saw a little girl, sitting on a piano bench, practicing. She was playing that same song, the one I'd heard from my side of the wall. She'd play for a minute or so and then she'd hit a wrong note. She'd stop and cringe, almost like she was getting struck. Then she'd start over.
I stared at her for I don't know how long. The scene repeated itself again and again. She'd make a mistake, pantomime getting hit, and then start over.
I tried to stand up quietly. I didn't know what was going on: I just wanted to be out of there. But as I was getting up one of the floorboards creaked.
Suddenly, the girl stopped playing. She turned around, and I saw her face. I swear to you, it was like the entire right side of her skull was smashed in. She had an empty socket where her right eye should have been.
And the terrifying part was that not only did she look as scared as me, but then it seemed like something hit her, and I mean really smacked her. Her body flew across the room and landed in a heap. I then saw her, the bench, and the piano all vanish.
That all happened about twenty minutes ago. I ran out of the house, I'm typing in my car. I don't know what to do at this point. I don't know if I should wake mom, or if we need to call the cops, or what, but I'm scared to go back in.