The following story was submitted by James:
The following event took place shortly after my wife and I were married. Due to the economic situation at the time, I could not land a job, and so we had a temporary bedroom set up in my father-in-law’s basement.
It was late, sometime after midnight, and we heard one of the cats tearing around upstairs, as cats are wont to do in the quiet hours of the night. There was nothing out of the ordinary in this; we were quite used to it.
Then we noticed two things. First, there was a cat lying in the bed with us. Again, nothing out of the ordinary there; he often slept with us. Second, we saw a pair of green eyes staring at us from across the basement—our other cat, who we recognized by her black and white fur.
At this point, my wife and I exchanged wide-eyed glances. We only had two cats.
The noise from upstairs continued, and for the life of us we could not come up with a suitable explanation. It was exactly the sort of noise an animal would make as it ran back and forth through the house.
Needless to say, we were spooked. The goose bumps had run their tingling course up and down our arms, and we had wrapped the blankets tight around ourselves. We were not, however, thoroughly convinced that anything paranormal lay at the root of the noises. There had always been, in our experience, a natural explanation for everything.
Then the basement stairs echoed with the frantic, stumbling sound of running feet.
Let me be perfectly clear: the sound moved from upstairs to downstairs, so could not have been one of the cats that already occupied the basement with us. Besides, we could still see both of them. The black and white one, whose eyes glowed at us from across the room, let out an unnerving, low whine, as cats often do when upset. This was an odd observation, because so far the only aberrations had been in the realm of sound, and this particular cat was deaf.
Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs, the noise abruptly stopped. All was quiet at first, save for the disturbed groaning of our deaf cat, but then we noticed that if we listened closely we could hear, drifting faintly from the darkness of the stairway, what sounded like breathing, or more accurately, panting. This went on for several minutes, and then gradually faded away.
My wife and I were too unnerved to investigate that night. The next morning we examined the stairway, but found nothing out of the ordinary. We considered several possibilities, including an intrusion by a wild animal, but none of our explanations held up under close scrutiny.
There is one last fact I must reveal, and then I will leave you to draw your own conclusions. Until recently, we had also owned a dog, but she had died a few weeks prior.
You can find more of James' work at Nox Requiem: Ghost Stories - a library of haunting tales and ghostly encounters to keep you up at night.