We heard them the first night after Javier left to go on vacation.

Our friend Hardy had just retired for the evening in the smaller guest room. Our other friend, also named Matt (I’ll call him Matt R. from now on in this blog to avoid confusion) had been asleep in the other guest room for a couple of hours. Matt and I just got settled into bed ourselves when I heard footsteps in the front hallway, near Hardy’s room. Instinctively, I just knew it wasn’t Hardy. Matt and I lived with Hardy all last summer and I suppose that I just know what his footsteps sound like.

“Did you hear that?” I asked Matt.

“Hear what?” he asked. (His hearing is bad from too many rock shows.)

“I’m going to see what’s going on,” I said. But, I didn’t want to know, honestly. I didn’t even put my glasses on. I was hoping I’d just see Hardy walking to the hallway bathroom. No one was there, but I didn’t hear any more footsteps either. I went back to bed and fell asleep.

I had forgotten all about the footsteps by the next morning – until Hardy mentioned them. “Were you guys walking back and forth past my room last night, in and out of Javier’s room?” he asked.

“No,” I said. “I heard something and came out and looked, but didn’t see anything.”

“Well,” Hardy said, “I guess there was an Inca walking up and down the hall all night long. It kind of freaked me out.” Hardy doesn’t get freaked out about anything, really.

I laughed. “Well . . . I suppose it could have been Javier,” I said.

“Yeah,” Hardy paused. “But isn’t he . . . um . . . on vacation? In Mexico? Didn’t he leave yesterday?”

“Yes,” I replied, “But he could have been checking in on us or something. You never know about these things when you’re living in a shaman’s house.”

Since then, we’ve been joking about the Inca footsteps, but we’ve all heard strange noises around here from time to time . . . sometimes when I’m alone in the house and asleep, I hear someone calling my name. I wake up and no one is there.