Things That Go Tap Tap Tap in the Night


I hate having a baby monitor. The way it fuzzes with static after the baby has made any sound, leaving me spooked and waiting for the next whimper to come from down the hall.

Or at least that’s what I’ve always put that no-reason static down to. A slow response time. But now I’m not so sure.

Last night I clambered into bed just before midnight and switched the alarm on, hoping that Noodles would at least give me an hour of sleep before he stirred. I wasn’t to be so lucky. I hadn’t even dozed off before the monitor flickered into life.

But it wasn’t the sound of Noodles that followed. It was the sound of footsteps. And not sleepy, stumbly footsteps of a toddler waking and testing his luck by getting out of bed. But adult footsteps. Then they stopped. And then nine more.

Husband was still up, but they weren’t his. I would have heard him coming up the stairs for a start, switching lights on and off as he went.

These footsteps were a mystery. One I wasn’t overly keen to check out.

Similar has happened before. Not long after we moved Noodles from our room to his own. Unused to having him apart from me I’d sleep with one ear open. So I was immediately awake when I heard the monitor fuzz.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Three rhythmic rappings on the bars of the cot. Not the sound of a baby hand randomly banging against the side. More like the sound of a ring against the wood.

A pause. My heart thudding.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Three more.

No baby stirrings. No crying. Just back to silence. So I stayed in bed, no clue at what the rappings could have been, but not keen to find out. If Noodles was sleeping soundly then I was fine to stay where I was. (Chicken!)

But last night the footsteps were followed by a cry from Noodles. I couldn’t ignore it this time – I was going to have to see what was going on. I braced myself, checked that Boo was still sleeping peacefully in her bed next to Noodles’ and called ‘Its ok, Mummy’s coming,’ as I pushed the door to his room.

And there Noodles lay, bedclothes kicked off, on his tummy with his bum in the air, as per usual. He hadn’t particularly woken – just cried out in his sleep. My entering the room disturbed him more. But what were the footsteps? Nobody could have left the room without me seeing and I’d definitely heard steps in his room. But there was nobody there now.

I don’t particularly believe in spirits or ghosts, but as I climbed in next to him to settle him back to sleep I mentally willed away anything that might be with us.

A spiritual friend says that you can easily ask spirits to go on their way. But to say out loud, in the dark, snuggled up to the most vulnerable of my children, would have been to acknowledge something that I couldn’t explain. Somehow verbal acknowledgement makes it worse.

Like the time I saw a figure of a man in our hallway as I played with a baby Boo in the lounge.

‘Oh, look. Grandy’s home.’

But then I realised I hadn’t heard Grandy’s keys, it wasn’t actually anything like Grandy (who wasn’t due home at the time anyway) and nobody was actually there. So what had a seen? Even if it was just my mind playing tricks with a shadow it had looked enough like a person for me to say something aloud.

Or my friend who told her children to hold back whilst a car started up to pull out of a car park. Except the car didn’t move as there was nobody in it.

‘You just saw someone in that car, didn’t you? her friend said to her.

‘Well, I thought I did,’ she replied.

‘I saw him too.’

Can two people see the same thing that isn’t there?

I know that I could ask my spiritual friend to come round and see if she senses anything. If she did she could do a cleansing. But why would I do that when it’s something I don’t (want to) believe in? Would it make me sleep any better to have to question my belief systems? Can’t I just quiver under my duvet and put it down to reading too many Barbara Erskine novels in my younger days?

The only thing I know for sure is that I hate the sodding baby monitor.


6 thoughts on “Things That Go Tap Tap Tap in the Night”

    1. I think I’ll be lucky if I can sleep tonight. But please don’t have nightmares, Arthur. (Although they always say that at the end of Crimewatch, which guarantees that I’ll have nightmares.)

  1. Okay! Chilling and thrilling writing! One question. Here in the states, our baby monitors pick up and transmit other monitors in the neighborhood (plus other frequencies) so could that be it? Please PLEASE say you think so!

    1. I really hope it IS something like that, Steph. Funnily enough, that very thing occurred to me last night after more weird noises. Although the only family nearby with very young children moved out recently. Most of our neighbours are either single commuters or Eastern European immigrants. I guess if my ‘ghost’ starts speaking Russian that’ll solve it.
      Mind you, would that mean they can hear US too?!?! I think that’s possibly even scarier!

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