In the early years of college (the first time around), I drove over to visit with Mandi at her parents’ house. For those of you who don’t know, Mandi lived way up in the north end of the county, in an area still heavily wooded and (at times) downright creepy. True, she lived right off of a U.S. highway, but the house was old and set back off the road. I’m not sure how old, but it was old enough that at the time there was no indoor plumbing other than the kitchen sink.
When I arrived, it was late afternoon. I’d never really been in Mandi’s house before; I knew where it was, I had been in the downstairs living room briefly to pick her up for us to head to a dance club in Cincy, but I hadn’t spent any real time there. Mandi and I headed up to her room to listen to music, chit-chat and the like, when her dad (I think) hollered up the stairs at her that she needed to get down to the kitchen and do the dishes. I got the feeling from his tone he was a little peeved they hadn’t been done yet. I could be wrong, though. Anyway, Mandi told me to go ahead and listen to the radio and paw through her books to see if there was anything I wanted to borrow and then went downstairs to do the dishes.
Mandi’s room was basically a converted attic, with lots of rooms opening up off of what she used as her main room. The stairs to her room were accessed by a door downstairs, then you climbed up a fairly steep staircase, then the whole upstairs just kind of opened up into several rooms. The ceiling pitched at steep angles in places (or so I remember), and there were lots of blind corners. I wandered around a bit upstairs, but stuck mainly to the room where Mandi’s stuff was. I could occasionally hear the clink of dishes and water running coming from downstairs, but it was mostly muffled because the door at the bottom of the stairs was closed.
After a bit, I got bored and went to listen to the radio. As I was sitting on the bed fiddling with the radio dial (her stereo was on a shelving unit next to the bed), I heard the door at the bottom of the steps open and close, then footsteps coming up the stairs. I turned around to ask Mandi what station she wanted to listen to, but there was nobody there – even though I could hear the footsteps approaching me across the floor. The footsteps stopped right beside the bed, then the mattress next to me sank down a bit, and the radio started flipping up and down through the channels. I don’t remember exactly what happened next; I remember thinking that I better not freak out too visibly, because obviously that’s what it wanted. I slowly walked downstairs and asked Mandi if we could go hangout elsewhere. I think I suggested we go to the movies or something. I don’t remember what happened after that, if we went to the movies, or Mandi couldn’t leave or what. My memory is fuzzy (this was, after all, more than a decade ago). However, I do know I never went upstairs in her house again.