The Witching Hour

I work odd hours and sometimes that means I get home after midnight. In the case of last night, I got home well after one in the morning. It had already been a long day and I was ready to get home and get snuggled into bed.

I pulled into my apartment complex parking lot around 1:30am but it didn’t feel a typical night. For a reason, I couldn’t explain at the time, and a reason I am still trying to explain, everything felt wrong.

The kind of feeling you get deep down in your gut saying something here is off and not in a surprise your coworker brought you a doughnut. I put my keys between my fingers (the way you are supposed to in case someone attacks you in close range), pulled my backpack onto my shoulders, locked my car door and took a very cautious step towards my apartment complex.

Being the hour I got home none of the close spots where available so I had to park on the back wall. My building sits in between several others so no matter what it’s always a small walk. The complex is adorably laid out in the fact that it has lots of trees, bushes, steps to walk up and down to get around. But that also means you sometimes cannot see around stuff, normally this isn’t a problem.

But last night with a panic spreading from my stomach to my lungs, the air around feeling heavy yet the wind blowing with a slight rage, and my feet feeling the need to run with intent and simultaneously walk cautiously, I started towards my front door.

I could hear the wind above me picking up while it sat still around me. I could feel that I shouldn’t look back or second guess my gut but just keep going. I took the steps all the way up to my third floor two at a time, my legs had never felt lighter. I could feel myself gliding up the stairs, my legs pushing me to keep going. I was almost home.

Once I got to the third floor I half walked and half ran to my door. Past the apartment with the yappy dog, as the wind was picking up, past the apartment that was empty where I swore the other night I saw a figure of a man standing inside, the wind felt like it was roaring beside me wrapping itself around me, all the way to my locked front door all while never turning to look behind me. I stuck my key in, my hands felt week and heavy but somehow I managed to get the door open and lock it behind me.

And then the world felt okay again. At least for a few moments.

I could hear what sounded like my roommate’s dog whining in her room. I was afraid I had been very loud coming in through the door and had woken her up. I took extra care to be quite as I went about.

I made myself a little snack and watched a feel-good show on Netflix so I could come down from the crazy encounter with nature I had just experienced. And it worked. I got ready for bed and started to fall asleep.

It was around three in the morning when I heard what sounded like a dog briefly whining and then what sounded like the kitchen faucet running. I figured my roommate was getting her dog a quick drink. But the water kept running and running and running. So I poked my head up and couldn’t see any light coming from under my door. But then it just stopped.

I started to drift off to sleep when it all happened again. The brief sounds of a dog whining, the running of a kitchen sink faucet, and no lights.

The only logical explanation, my roommate is up. So I texted her. Feeling better I passed back out.

I woke up to a text from her saying she hadn’t gotten up in the middle of the night. Strange. She came home for lunch shortly after that and we talked. She said she was already asleep before I got home and doesn’t remember her dog whining.

But she told me she was also getting weird vibes that night.

We chalked it up to either it being the neighbors running water in the middle of the night, wind chimes sounding like a dog whining or just the wind, that I was actually asleep the whole time and dreamed it (didn’t feel like a dream), she was sleepwalking, or we need an exorcism of our place (the only thing out of the ordinary from when we moved in is that she hung up a crucifix above our front door a few days ago).

Or maybe it was just the Witching Hour.

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