For The Record, Episode 3: BARE
[FX: TAPE RECORDER TURNS ON. LIGHT STATIC]
Alright then, uhm, here goes.
Statement of Ferd O’Flynn, regarding a suspected home invasion.
Original statement given the 29th of November, 2007. Audio recording by Eleanor Creek, archival assistant of the Manchester Paranormal Collective.
I no longer live in Northamptonshire.
I do not care to disclose the exact location of my former home, nor will I comment on the profession that allowed me to invest in such a domicile. Suffice to say I had ample funds, and the house is of considerable size. Modern architecture. One may call it “minimalist”. Despite the price of the property, the area surrounding my house occupied a lower step on the socioeconomic ladder, and as such I had installed the necessary protection against those who would try to force their way up at my personal detriment. A sizable wall protected my house from prying eyes, with set in the middle a heavy pair of cast iron gates. The gates opened only remotely with the use of a passcode. The wall was topped with spikes to ward off stray teenage hoodlums from taking my wall as a challenge, rather than a warning. Every window and door of the main building had motion detectors installed. The lock on the front door was custom-made, Swiss, 15 kilograms.
I do not care for intruders on my property.
I had cameras installed in every room, save, for obvious reasons, the bathrooms. Cameras swept the garden from every side of my house. 24 hours a day. Every day. The security system was connected to a subterranean back-up power generator that would automatically activate in case of a power outage. A security guard watched over the property if I planned to be gone for longer than a day.
[THROUGH GRITTED TEETH] I do not care for intruders on my property.
And yet, on the night of Thursday, the 8th of November, somewhere between 2:13 and 2:30am, someone entered my home. I do not know why. I do not know how, and most of all, I do not know whom. The fact that I have come to you people should tell you something of my desperation. As we speak, several private investigators are working the case. A police team came to investigate the scene, but dismissed the case rather quickly. I have never believed in matters extra-terrestrial, preternatural, or supernatural, but as it stands, I have no other choice. I must know who set foot in my rooms, who laid their hands on my belongings and who soiled my space beyond recognition.
[TAKES A DEEP BREATH] It had been a long day at work. The high-profile nature of my job requires I sometimes work extended hours, and sacrifice some personal time to achieve optimal results. I don’t have any hobbies, per se, and I don’t find myself interested in most entertainment media, so this doesn’t bother me. Coming home, I drove through the gate, closed and locked it behind me, and parked my car in the garage. I exited the garage, locked it, and opened the front door, which I, again, locked behind me. I disabled the intruder alarm, quickly checked the system’s log for any suspicious readings, and, satisfied that it was practically blank, I headed straight up to the main bathroom. I locked the bathroom door behind me, undressed, and hung my clothes on their designated hook.
[FX: START QUIET AIR CONDITIONING NOISE]
The shower is placed in the corner of my bathroom. It has walls on three sides, and an opaque, navy blue shower curtain closes it off to prevent water spillage. I stepped into the shower, drew the curtain, and spent some twenty minutes alone with the low hum of the ventilator, washing away my fatigue.
[FX: START SHOWER NOISE]
Then I heard the click of a lock
[FX: LOCK CLICKING]
And a small draft moved my curtain ever so slightly.
I froze. No windows were open in the bathroom, and the ventilator would not have suddenly caused such movement. The only explanation I could think of was… well it was impossible. Very slowly, I turned off the water, and poked my head past the curtain.
[FX: STOP SHOWER NOISE. START STEADY DRIPPING]
The door, which I had closed and locked myself, like I do every single day, was ever so slightly open. Frantically, I looked around the room, expecting some masked cretin holding me at gunpoint, but there was nobody at all. That’s when I noticed my clothes were gone.
Still dripping wet, I exited the shower and crept over to the door, quickly closing and locking it again. My mind went haywire attempting to come up with any rational explanation. It couldn’t have been the cleaning lady, she only works on Saturday afternoons, and I make sure to be physically present at all times she is on my property. She doesn’t even own a key. I had not contacted my security guard, the gardener was out of town for a family emergency, and, as you have likely picked up by now, I live alone.
The cold air was starting to penetrate my soaked skin, and, now shivering, I opened the cupboard that holds my towels.
It was empty. So was the medicine cabinet. So were all the other cupboards. Everything was cold, and awfully, insultingly, bare.
I had been robbed under my very nose. Not three meters from where I had stood naked and vulnerable, someone had taken my belongings. The lock clicked. [FX: CLICK] The door slid open just a few centimetres, and once more I was aware of my complete and utter defencelessness.
I stood there, water dripping from my hair, from my hands, sliding icy cold down my neck and back, hitting the floor with a steady, rhythmic sound. Nothing happened. Minutes passed, and my teeth were starting to chatter. The shivering in my arms, my legs, and my torso had become uncontrollable. I was starting to slowly turn blue. I decided that, if these intruders had come here for me, they would have long since taken me, and if they were here for my belongings, they must have stolen everything already. My possessions are valuable, but they are few. I despise clutter.
My heart savagely beating, I carefully opened the door, and stepped out into the hallway.
[FX: STOP AIR CONDITIONING NOISE]
It was dreadfully quiet, and equally cold. The doors to my bedroom, dressing room, and home office were still closed. I walked up to my bedroom, opened the door, and was met with nothing but uncovered white walls.
[FX: START QUIET RAIN]
No bed. No nightstand. No art on the walls. No light but the faint glow of the neighbourhood outside. Rain was starting to fall onto the windows. Outside, the gate was undisturbed, and the garden empty.
[FX: RAIN FADES OUT]
Faster now, I moved to the next room. Nothing. The next room. Nothing. Only stone floors and bare walls.
I’d reached the stairs, and I was terrified to go down. I wanted to stay in the safety of these close walls, but the more I stared at them, the more they stared back and towered over my naked, shivering body. Knowing if I stayed here in this razed place I would only freeze to death, I carefully descended the floating spiral staircase into the middle of my living room.
[FX: START QUIET RAIN]
[GROWING INCREASINGLY FRANTIC] Of course it was empty. Of course everything was gone, and as I stood there, the glass walls looking out over the midnight garden turned on me, and I felt smaller than I ever had before.
[FX: STATIC GROWS STEADILY LOUDER]
Those dark eyes bored into every cell of my exposed being, and I could only curl up into a ball on the floor as I was dissected by the gaze of the cold outside. I lay there, burning up from the cold, unable to move a muscle, and I felt it. Nobody had broken into my home. This was not my home. It was theirs, and they were inside, waiting to get rid of the intruder. I felt them closing in on me, drifting, their icy breath turning me to stone, and their eyes so relentlessly on me. With nowhere to go, I shut my own eyes tighter still and I crawled, I wriggled, I bolted over the cold floor, bruising my knees, my arms, my head, as I bumped my flesh against the walls, the steps, whatever it was. There was no escape. This place was bolted shut and its walls were cold and full of eyes. When I could move no more, I collapsed into a heap on the floor, and as I started to lose consciousness…
[FX: STATIC SUDDENLY QUIET AGAIN]
I finally heard their footsteps.
I woke up on the floor of the shower, with an aching body. I figured I must have fallen and been knocked out as I hit my head on the floor, but as I stood and walked back into the bathroom, the door was still slightly ajar. [UNEASY] My clothes were back, I found, as were all my belongings, but none of them were quite in the right place. The bed moved to the middle of the room. The paintings slightly at an angle, or on different walls altogether. I checked the security footage. There was no evidence I had left the bathroom. None of the items had moved during the night. In fact, it seemed as though they had always been in these positions. I should have written it off as memory loss, but I knew. I knew this house had been disturbed. I could no longer rest inside its walls. I dared not change out of my clothes, nor lock a door, and I never again felt I was alone.
I left that house after three days, and I have not returned. My new apartment is better, but still I do not close the doors, and still I do not draw the shower curtain. Every night, still, if I leave my windows uncovered, I feel their gaze upon me, and it will not stop.
It seems mister O’Flynn does indeed own quite a large property in Northamptonshire, and he did file a report for Breaking and Entering on the 8th of November. The case was briefly investigated, but written off as a medical issue on mister O’Flynn’s part. He checked into a hospital that same day, and appeared to have suffered no lasting damage.
We have tried to contact the man, as usual, but he seems to have disappeared. Whom he worked for, and how he managed to accrue his “ample funds” are as of yet unknown. The facts aren’t exactly on Ferd’s side, regarding the truth of his account, but something about the fear he described, being exposed and watched by the world… it seems familiar.
[FX: TAPE RECORDER STOPS] CREDITS
This episode of For The Record was written and directed by Floris “Swiftly” Bordewijk, edited by Haley Markulin, produced by Lily A. Dewald, starred Miria G. as Eleanor Creek, and used sounds from freesound.org, under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License. For full accreditation, see the show notes. To be kept up to date on new episodes, submit your statement, or to get involved in production, you can follow us on Twitter @ftrecordpod, on Tumblr at fortherecordpod or view our website at fortherecordpodcast.co.uk. Stay safe, take care, and keep your eyes open.