Experience: a stranger secretly lived in my home

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Amber Dawn

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Late one night, I noticed the attic hatch was open. All the puzzle pieces fell into place – someone was in my apartment

In 1995, when I was 20, I moved to Enumclaw, a farming town in the US state of Washington, to be close to my brother and his family. I rented an apartment. My room was on the top floor but on my first night, lying in bed, I heard footsteps above me. Over the months, I started to notice things going missing. I would buy a six-pack of soda, drink one, come home from work and find only four left. It was the same with packets of soup and ramen noodles. I also noticed that doors I had left open were closed, or vice versa.

Mostly, I found it amusing – I assumed that my brother, who had a key, was coming over and eating my food. (Looking back, I should have known it wasn’t him because there would have been dirty dishes everywhere.)

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