After selling out their farm and before moving to town, my parents moved the family to a place a few miles down the road. The house was located on the north side of a hill, surrounded by many trees. In all of my memories there it seems as if the sun was far away, filtered through an invisible substance that reduced the strength and warmth of sunlight. It was not scary but strange.
Sometimes at night, when my father was working the third shift at Boeing in Wichita, we would hear heavy measured footfalls coming down the stairs. My mother blamed it on a pack rat dragging something heavy down the stairs in the walls. The trouble with her explanation is stair steps do not extend into the walls of any house I have ever been in. Even as a child, I wondered how that rat found the same item to drag down the stairs again.
Usually the cool shade beneath trees is welcoming and beckoning, but not there. The shadow was unpleasant. We were not there long, maybe six months, and no one in the family was sad to leave. It all fell into ruin decades ago. There is no trace of the house or the barn but many of the trees that once lined the drive remain. Even now that spot retains its unwelcome, dark aura. I wonder if measured steps down the vanished stairs can still be heard?
Maybe the more worrisome question is why am I remembering that now... in the middle of the night... when it is so quiet that not even Duke is making his rounds?