I thought the scraping sound I’d been hearing inside the walls was just rats. I didn’t think much of it. My house was old and wooden, located by a small forest. Bugs and vermin were a bit of a given, but I bought the place at such a low price– it seemed almost a desperate plea for someone to take it off the realtor’s hands. I put traps around the house, wrinkled rat poison and pods, even had pest control stop by. The scratching continued weeks later. I ignored it the best I could– that slow scraping in the boards. Every night, the sound of something raking its claws along the insides of my home traveled in the air, almost similar to a knife sliding along a cutting board. The scratching would travel from room to room, taking its time to make sure nothing went untouched. Finally, it would start directly behind the headboard of my bed, dragging and made me grit my teeth. Even still, I pretended nothing was wrong, until one morning, I awoke to a frenzy scratching in my living room, interspersed with loud thuds. This was accompanied by a panicked wailing unlike anything I’d ever heard before. I skipped calling animal control; I phoned the police instead. It didn’t take long to find the issue. They pulled a small boy out of the wall as I stared in shock. He was covered in dirt with wild eyes that twitched with each shake of his body. I explained to the officer, “I thought it was rats that had been pestering me for weeks.” Luckily, he believed me. I called to check on the boy later that day. There wasn’t much to tell; he’d been delusional from hunger and panic. I was amazed–he hadn’t been affected by any attempts to get rid of what I thought were rats. He was able to speak but it hadn’t made much sense to anyone. He was convinced there was a thing in the walls that kept him there. He said it needed him because it had been hungry. Everyone thought he was been hallucinating. I felt sorry for him, but glad I could finally rest. That night I went to bed without a sense of dread. Things were okay and my phone rang out in the silence. I answered when I heard the shouts of the officer on the line. From what my brain could pieced together they found out the boy’s relatives after calling around. He’d recently been reported missing. He’d only been gone for two days. There was no possible way he could be making those sounds for as long as I had been hearing them. He wasn’t the cause, then neither were rats. Fear seized my chest as the sound of scratching, slow and taunting, began in the wall beside my head.