The Revenge of the Stair-Carpet

by Gillian F Taylor

My best friend, Francess, and I are two fairly ordinary girls sharing a small house in a village. I go to the nearby city college and Francess works in a shop.
It was on a winter evening in late February when a series of strange events shook our lives. We had been making some coffee before we went to our respective beds when Francess went to fetch her book from the lounge. I heard a startled yell from the hall. Of course I did not believe her when she said that the stair carpet had vanished. Following her into the hall, I was astounded to see that our carpet was indeed missing. The front door was still locked and all the windows were closed but we were standing on bare concrete. There was no readily apparent explanation, since it seemed very unlikely that a sneak carpet thief was on the prowl. Francess suggested that maybe it had been taken by someone who had just moved into a new flat, but I treated that with the contempt it deserved.
As I wondered what to do, I received a sudden bang on the ribcage. I glared at Francess, who was staring so hard her eyes were beginning to pop. I followed the direction of her gaze and nearly fell over with surprise. The stair carpet was in the living room and it was moving ! It moved with the looper motion of certain species of caterpillar; first humping itself together, then sliding out flat. I was so busy studying its method of movement that I almost forgot to act. The carpet reached the sofa and reared itself up, trying to slide over the obstacle. Francess and I came to our senses and raced after it. We wrestled it back into the hall and rolled it up, securing it with some of Francess' knitting wool. Having accomplished this, we retired to bed with our now lukewarm coffee.
Next morning there was a piece of frayed wool and a carpet rolled up on the living room hearth. We fetched a chain and left the captive carpet back in the hall. Our breakfast was accompanied by a battery of clanks as it rolled around, trying to free itself. After two hours, when I was supposed to be studying the use of pointers in C, I had had enough. Lying the carpet on its side and pinning it behind a chest of drawers was quite an effort and I was sweating when I finished, in spite of the chill in the air. The house was just as cold when we got back that evening. The house doesn't have central heating and the front door doesn't fit any too well, but the rent is cheap. The carpet was still chained up but it had battered open the living room door, leaving a few dents in the woodwork, and was back on the hearth. Francess and I took one look at the wretched thing, and opted to leave it where it was for the night.
It was still there in the morning, huddled forlornly against the fireplace like a creature in search of some warmth. I remarked on this to Francess, who agreed with me. We weighed the loss of some of our key money against the nuisance of a heat-seeking carpet, and decided that the carpet had to go. We put it in the back of her Fiesta and dumped it in the local tip.
The next morning, we found a slightly grubby carpet on our doorstep. I wonder whether any late-night revellers saw it on its way home, and vowed never to touch another drop. This time we took it to a dump a few miles further away. I got up first the next morning and headed downstairs for some coffee. As I opened the door to get the morning milk, the carpet launched itself at me from its hiding place behind the privet. It rolled itself over me as effortlessly as an oildrum going over paper flowers. Luckily Francess heard my muffled cries and freed me fromits musty embrace. Together we wrestled it into a roll and rechained it. Since it was obviously too difficult and dangerous to get rid of it, we put it back in the hall.
This time we nailed it down. It pulled the nails out and gave Francess a nasty scratch with one as we wearily pulled it away from the lounge fireplace again. For a time we tried weighing it down with books and ugly ornaments, but it just woke us in the early hours by shrugging them down the stairs. Besides, we were getting funny looks from visitors
Now, everything is quiet and the stair carpet is still. We had a heater installed in the hall.

I wrote this for my English homework way back in March 1982, when I was at High School. I've tweaked it a little here and there while typing it up, but it's essentially just as I first wrote it. It's not very sophisticated, but I still like it.

back to Original Fiction main page
straight back to my homepage without passing 'GO'.