I chalked the noise up to a malfunctioning air conditioner. As for the way the noise made my head throb and heart pound? A consequence of the unusually freezing winter and lack of heating. As I said, I am a sceptic. There was no way that my mind could conceive that the noise was in any way evil.
I did find it curious that the air con would work fine during the day. Every morning, it would purr away happily as though nothing had happened. I tried to research why an air conditioner would make an abnormal noise, but no one could explain why it would be inconsistent.
It also meant that I never knew if I actually needed air conditioning repairs. Brisbane was coldest at night, when the unit failed, but I was hoping I wouldn’t need to bring a technician in. I guess I just hoped the problem would… sort itself out.
I hate to admit it but I also didn’t enjoy thinking about the unit. Whenever I passed it in the corridor, my eyes would inadvertently glance toward the ground. It watched me as I strode past. Its presence sent shivers down my spine.
I chalked that up to the cold, too. The noise only got worse each night. It began to sound less like a loud buzzing. Somewhere in between the white noise, my ears began to make out particular sounds. A soft tapping noise, as though someone was rasping their knuckles against my bedroom door. Slow and consistent.
I was too scared to open it. When the knocking was joined with soft whispers, I knew that it was time to book a heating service near Brisbane. The cold nights must have given me a fever. Though I never dared to open the door, my house was always empty the next morning. The front door and windows were all locked.
As someone who would consider themselves a life-long learner, I know that the human mind is a powerful tool. We can decipher faces in random patterns, and imagine figures in darkness… My mind must just have been trying to decipher sounds in the white noise of a broken air conditioner.