The Empty House
The Empty House
The Empty House :
Have you ever been alone in your house at night? Were you scared?
Share your feelings with your friend, if you have been in such a situation.
Tell your friend what you would do if you were to stay alone in a house for the whole night.
It was raining heavily. A man was travelling on a lonely road. His car broke down. He saw an empty house. Did he look for shelter? Read this story to find out.
It had rained hard all day. And now, miles from anywhere, the car had broken down. There was not a house to be seen. I was tired and hungry and did not want to spend the night in the car. But I could not go far looking for shelter, with the rain coming down like this. What was I to do?
I turned off the headlights and looked around for a light. I saw a small light, not very far from the road. Leaving the car, I walked carefully towards the light. I saw it came from one window of a large house – it looked like a farmhouse.
I knocked twice on the door, but no one answered. I turned the handle slowly, and the door opened.
Going in, I called out, “Is anyone there?”
There was no answer. Seeing a thin line of light under one of the doors, I opened it into an empty dining room. The table was set for a meal for two. In the middle of the table was an oil lamp, and at one end a chair had been knocked over on the floor.
Two people had sat down to a meal when something had happened, and they left in such a hurry that they didn’t even pick up a knocked over chair.
I went back to the door and again I shouted, “Is anyone there?” But no one answered. So, taking the lamp upstairs, I looked into all the bedrooms. But no one was there in that great big house. And yet, I had a feeling that someone was watching me from somewhere.
Cold, hungry, and a little frightened, I came back to the dining room. I sat down to eat. Warmed by the food and a glass or two of the juice, I felt better.
“Perhaps someone was ill, and the people who live here had to leave suddenly,” I thought. “They will be back in the morning.”
It was now late, and I was becoming sleepy. I remembered that in one of the bedrooms I had seen a made-up bed. Taking the lamp with me, I again made my way up the stairs. There was still no sound except for that of my own footsteps, but once more I felt that unseen eyes were watching me. Once I thought I heard someone following me, just beyond the light of the lamp.
“Don’t be foolish,” I told myself firmly. “There are always noises in an empty house at night.” And even when I turned the corner and saw something white waving for a moment in front of me, I refused to be frightened. “A curtain blowing in the wind,” I said, and walked on. But I was happy when I found the room with the bed, and had shut the door firmly behind me. Putting out the lamp, I lay down and was asleep soon.
I woke up with an uncomfortable feeling that there was someone – or something – in the room. I listened for a moment without moving. There was a sound near the window. Then silence. I remembered the movements I had heard behind me on the stairs earlier, and the white thing I had seen for a moment at the end of an empty passage. Was that really a curtain blowing in the wind or was it…?
At that moment the sound came again. Someone knocked his foot against a piece of furniture, and a deep voice said, “Oh!”
Another voice answered, “Shh! Be quiet, you fool. You’ll wake him.” These voices did not belong to a ghost.
I was about to call, “Who’s there?” when the first voice went on, “He’s asleep. Anyway, he saw nothing. He’ll do no harm.” After a moment or two, the footsteps moved away, and I heard the door close quietly.
As I lay there thinking about what I had heard, a different kind of fear took hold of me. What hadn’t I seen? What harm could I do that these men feared? Their voices had sounded rough and hard. What was going on in this strange silent house, which seemed so empty and was not? Whatever it was, I decided that the sooner I got away from the place, the better.
Very quietly, I got out of bed, put on my clothes, and went to the door. By this time, daylight was beginning to come in through the windows, and I felt my way towards the top of the stairs. Carefully and quietly, I went down the dark stairs towards the front door.
There was a light shining under the door of the dining room. The door was not quite shut, and I could hear voices inside. Holding my breath, I stood close to the door and listened.
They were the same voices that I had heard in the bedroom. “I tell you, it’s not safe, Fred. If we let him go, he might go straight to the police.”
“Why should he, George? He’s seen nothing wrong. As far as he knows, it might just be an empty house with the people gone away on holiday.”
“I tell you, it’s not safe. We don’t want to have the police looking around.”
“Well, what do you want to do about him?”
“Get rid of him!” And he made a sound which frightened me.
I decided it was time to go. I ran down the road towards where I had left the car. In a very short time, I had found what was wrong with the car, and was on my way towards the nearest town and the police.
When I arrived half an hour later, with three policemen, we found the two thieves still in the dining room. The handcuffs were on them before they knew what was happening. In a shed at the back of the house, the police found furs and other things which they had stolen during the past month. The police told me that the owners of the house were on holiday.
“I told you!” said George, as he and Fred were put into the waiting police car. “I knew it wasn’t safe to let him go.”
The Empty House by Frank Candlin
The Empty House :