For a couple of days afterwards, things were pretty quiet. We thought maybe we’d just heard something out of the ordinary: wind in the pipes, maybe. It didnt happen again, so we just dismissed it and got back to getting life organized. Doc was starting a class in short story writing, and I was trying to get my French back up to speed… not that it was all that good to start with. Tsi-boo even settled down, finding new spots in the apartment to hide away when we didnt have the door to the roof open. Whatever had paid us a visit that night seemed to have gone.
Doc was at class, and I was on the bed, trying to stay awake as I parsed my way through conjugating “-ir” verbs. The radio was on — on a French station, as part of my immersive instruction. I had no idea what they were talking about. Something about le hockey play offs, but I couldnt only catch the occasional word. Tsi-boo had nestled next to me, purring as we shared each other’s warmth. Suddenly, she sat up, her ears straight up. The purr disintegrated into a low growl. I tried to follow her line of sight, but she was just looking at a wall. She bolted off the bed and ran into the kitchen, worming her way into a spot inside the cupboards.
Then I heard it. Just as before, a man’s voice, barely audible. I snapped off the radio. The voice was there, no doubt about it. It was almost like he was mumbling something, but it was so faint, I couldnt tell what it was.
“Hello!” I called out.
The voice stopped.
“Okay, look, whoever you are, come on out. I know you’re there.”
Then it started again. Faint to the point of now being annoying. “Dude,” I yelled, “if you’re gonna try to scare me, at least do it so I can hear you. Now speak up, or shut the hell up. Your choice.”
It was silent again. Then the doorknob gently turned, and —
… Doc walked in, throwing his satchel on the table. “God! You will not believe what we had — ” He stopped, looking at me. “It’s back?” he whispered.
Doc stood frozen in place, listening. The voice started again, still low, but now a bit more insistent. It spoke for some time, annoyingly soft, little more than an relentless buzz. Doc listened, straining in intent, then interrupted the voice before gesturing to me. “Get over here,” he whispered.
“Because I want you next to me in case anything happens.”
My eyes went huge. “You think something will?”
“Just do it!” he hissed. I stood next to him, putting a protective pair of arms around him as I looked at the space on the wall that had alarmed Tsi-Boo so much. Doc spoke once more, softly, almost encouragingly.
“What’s going on?” I quietly asked.
He ignored the question, instead continuing to talk to the empty space above the sofa. “Viens, mon ami. Viens,” he repeated over and over, as if trying to convince… whatever was there… that it was okay to viens. The room went silent again, but I could feel it: something was about to happen…