The sound of dragging chains was heard in every corner of the house, as if something was slowly pulling them from one side to the other. Over and over the sound came from the front yard, but Alan couldn’t see anything from his window. It must be somewhere, he thought. What’s making all that noise?
But the answer did not come—Alan spent a long time next to his windows, waiting for the source of the noise. Searching for the creature keeping him awake. Until it suddenly stopped and only the longlines of silence remained. It was sudden but the dragging of those chains disappeared.
I knew it, it was an animal, he thought. It was obvious that it was trapped and finally managed to escape. However, he had no certainty and doubt kept him awake for hours. At least that’s what Alan thought.
Time passed slowly in that cold cabin in the woods. There was no other person miles away, waiting until dawn was the only alternative he had. That worried him to—how sudden it was to find the fuel tank empty. It must have a hole.
But he wasn’t sure about that either. I’m trapped in this damn haunted house, he thought, walking into the kitchen to pour himself a drink. Everything indicated that it was going to be a long night, until he saw a shadow move through the kitchen’s door.
What was that? he thought and walked towards the door. It’s all in my head. He returned to get that drink, when he heard footsteps on the ceiling.
Alan looked up to search for the source of the sound. There must be an animal on the roof. Although, he had a slight suspicion that the sound came from inside the house. It’s just my imagination.
But the footsteps returned, this time they crossed the ceiling from one end to the other. Alan even looked up to follow the source of the sound, but couldn’t figure where it was coming from. He was sure they were footsteps, and they seemed to leave footprints. But they didn’t.
Alan froze, waiting for something to appear where the steps ended, but nothing. So he took a deep breath. It’s all in my mind, he told himself and walked to the bar, ready to serve a glass of liquor.
Staring at the tabletop, trying not to look up. Alan filled a glass with whiskey. This will do, he thought, raised the glass and drank almost half of its content.
Turning towards the windows he saw something—it was small, wearing pastel pants, a red plaid vest, and a navy blue jacket. The creature standing outside the windows also had a red top hat with a white feather. The skin of the little being was tan like a man’s. And his eyes, his eyes were deep—it was as if they could speak.
Alan stood still, analyzing the image before his eyes. The gnome standing still, looking inside the house, with his gaze locked on Alan.
Impossible, Alan thought, blinking. But the creature didn’t despawn. Fogging the window with its breath—until it was gone.
Where did it go? he thought, looking from one side of the room to the other. “What do you want?”
But there was no answer.
Alan sat down in front of the bottle and poured another glass. It can’t be happening, it’s just my imagination. Those things don’t exist. It must have been the reflection of the light, nothing more.
He drank slowly, keeping his gaze fixed on the tabletop. It’s just your imagination, he repeated over and over again. Trying, somehow, to forget what had happened. I better go back to bed.
When the footsteps on the ceiling returned, this time they moved slowly. Alan could see in his imagination the little gnome walking on the roof, as if gravity didn’t affect him.
Don’t look, don’t look, he repeated to himself. After all, he was no longer a child to believe in magical creatures. Keeping his gaze on the tabletop gave him peace of mind. I better go to bed and forget all of this.
When noise from the dragging chains returned, Alan wanted to make sure it was all in his mind and ran to the front door. There was nothing out the window. The sound of the chains got closer. However, the darkness didn’t let him see far into the night.
Don’t go out, don’t go out, he told himself with his hand on the doorknob. Everything is in your imagination, it must be some animal.
But he wanted to know and opened the door to see a bright light. Then, the chilly night turned warm and Alan was drawn towards a bonfire. Beautiful young people walked out of the bushes, they started dancing and singing around the fire.
Alan saw beautiful maidens approaching and allowed them to take him. He let the energy take over his body and dance without a doubt or fear.
His family never heard from Alan again—it’s believed that he got lost in the mountains.