** Disclaimer** or warning… or whatever you want to call it… I have been told that this post has caused difficulty for some readers to sleep… it looks like the scary noises I heard still have the ability to scare folks, so do not read this before bed, or having just finished fish tacos, or if you are particularly sensitive to scary stories…
And she laughed at us for saying that.
I loved her though. I felt like she was a distant step-mom in a way. Her son and I had been roommates for years… and years. We lived in Okinawa together, we deployed together, we did pretty much everything together. I would tell people he was not home while he hid in the bathroom, and he may have done the same for me.
We did a lot of growing up together… and because of each other.
So when his family would come up to North Carolina to visit, it was just natural that I would tag along. He spent Thanksgiving with my folks, I took my wife to spend a week with his family in South Texas even though he wasn’t going to be home. We were family. This guy is my brother… not as in, “He is close to me like a brother”… this dude is my brother. We don’t talk very often because he lives in a state that might as well be a different country from me and our jobs keep us ridiculously busy, but such is life.
So there we were… (the way every legit story begins)
Hanging out with his family, sitting on a screened in porch at a little cottage on a quaint lake in coastal North Carolina on a warm summer evening. So peaceful. Crickets chirping in the background, the animals bedding down, and that warm breeze coming across the lake. Everything felt right in the world. We were just sitting there talking as the night closed in around us and the last tendrils of conversation were working their way out as we started to settle down for the night. The tea glasses were mostly ice in the bottom and the last cigarette was smoldering out.
And then we jumped…
His mom started laughing at us, and then attributed our action to our combat experiences. We looked at each other and said, almost in unison, “Scary Noises.”
And she laughed at us a little more.
I understand. I laughed too. We had both deployed, we had both engaged the enemy, we had both treated casualties, and yet we were spooked by scary noises.
I also understand what noises my brother and I had heard before.
We were both very spiritual and pretty disciplined with our individual faith. His was not mine. Mine was not his. Somehow we forged a bond in spite of our religious differences. I really have no idea how.
I do not believe in Ghosts. I’m not sure what he believed. I am not entirely sure how to explain some of the things we heard. Sometimes it was just little stuff.
Coins falling in the hallway but nobody outside.
A girl talking and then calling for help in the laundry room… with nobody there.
We heard a cat stuck in the air ducts one night and decided to rescue that thing because it was keeping us awake. We could hear it out in the hallway, and followed the sound to the laundry room, and then it went quiet.
One night in particular, we stayed up talking and laughing until sleeping was kind of pointless. We both had to work the next morning and we were going to have to go about our tasks on a fewer than 4 hours sleep. I feel a little embarrassed to say it, but we kept giggling and then laughing and then trying to stop and go to sleep. Then one of us would say a word or make a sound and the other one would lose it again. Just like a couple little kids who share a bedroom and have to have their mom chastise them for not sleeping. Finally we let our fatigue get the best of us and we knew it was time to call it a night.
“Good Night Bro”
And then the conversation got started
From the foot of his bed I heard a voice, clear as can be, speaking calmly and deliberately in a language I had never heard. The voice started, spoke a few lines, and then stopped.
I was shaking…
And then another voice, very similar, answered in the same fashion, but this time from the foot of my bed.
I considered throwing up.
The voice from his bed responded, and then from my bed, and back and forth. The voice from the foot of his bed became more and more agitated each time until I genuinely thought my life was in danger. A response came from the foot of my bed that sounded curt, as though it was finished with this conversation and was invoking it’s authority or superiority. Then from the foot of his bed this voice was furious, made an outburst, and then silence.
I could not breathe. I could not cry. I could not scream. I would have urinated 2 days worth if I could have mustered the courage.
I just laid there.
I have never been that afraid in my life. Not on any of my deployments. Never.
I wanted to know that this was not in my head, but I did not want to wake up my brother because he needed to sleep for his shift the next morning.
As I lay there in my fear stricken turmoil, I heard the shakiest, fear drenched voice I have ever heard come from him.
“Did you hear that?”
That was all I needed. Like lightning I was out of my bed, had the lights turned on, and was in the hallway…
I don’t know what he thinks that was.
Quite frankly I do not care.
Sometimes I think my life would be a lot less complicated if I were not a Christian. Sometimes I think it would be easy for me to reason away my faith in Christ or the Bible since I have never seen anything tangible or concrete to affirm my beliefs.
But I cannot shake those voices. My hair stands up on my arms to this day when I think about that.
If I accept that we both heard this, that it was not a shared delusion, then I have to accept that there is a world beyond the one which I can see. Two plays on the same stage.
My search for answers to define and explain what I heard in that room that night has caused me to evaluate my spirituality and the way in which I practice.
That happened close to 11 years ago but I still remember it and feel it like it was yesterday.
That’s why we jump when we hear scary noises.