The House

I have heard stories of this old house; tales of ghouls and goblins, apparitions and phantoms. It was nonsense of course, for who believes in such silly, childish things? It was an old house full of history and rich in culture. And it showed. The floorboards squeaked with age and the grimy wallpaper peeled at the edges. The air swam with dust accumulated over the decades, and the rooms reeked with the stench of age. I found it cozy nonetheless. It had a certain old-style country charm that was seldom seen in these times. I planned to fix it up nice and proper, maybe replace a bit of flooring here and paint a few walls there. It was to be a pleasant project to take up my time. So when I finally bought the house it was with the certainty that these stories were nothing but locals’ talk, spun at the will of old men.

“Mr. Thomas, are you certain you want this house?” I nodded my head in irritation. It was the third time the old man had questioned me and the routine was getting old. “Quite certain Mr. Todd, now if I may, I would like to conclude our business here, I have work to do.” Arthur Todd studied me then, in a manner that was singularly unsettling. After what seemed like hours (but truly could have only been minutes) the man gave a solemn nod and shook my hand. He then proceeded to shuffle off the front steps with surprising speed for his age. At the end of the walk he halted and with a final wary glance at both the house and me he departed.

At this point I was quite relieved to be rid of Mr. Todd’s presence. The superstitious nature of the locals was vaguely disturbing in its intensity. They treated the place as if it was haunted. I laughed suddenly. Haunted! As if such fairytales truly existed. With a final chuckle to myself I entered the house to begin my venture.

I decided to start on the ground floor and work my way up from there. Entering the first room I began to survey the damage. It appeared to have once been a living room, given the moth eaten and mold ridden settees that inhabited the place. One look at this room and I knew I had my work cut out for me.

Hours later I had finished a complete survey of the house, listing items that could be salvaged and those than needed to be disposed of. It was with a weary ache in my bones that I finally settled down for the night.

I tossed and turned in the bed for several hours without the mercy of sleep. It was the strangeness of a new house I suppose. The mind aches for familiarity and the body responds by giving us enough energy to find that familiarity. However, my body felt more than just the typical away-from-home jitters. Deep inside myself I could sense that something was fundamentally wrong, and it made gooseflesh appear along my body.

It was the utter feeling of dread that occurred before you received the phone call that informed you of the death of a loved one or some other tragedy. The feeling put me on instant alert and it was like my senses themselves reached out to examine my surroundings, as if to search for some unseen enemy. I laughed then, slightly too loud and too long; hysterically. The local talk was getting to me. All these tales of demons, ghosts, and specters, why, they had gotten into my head! It was nonsense, absolute rubbish! I laughed again and settled myself down to attempt sleep once more. Alas the sweet blessings of sleep did not come.

A storm had started earlier in the day and the pitter-patter of the drops on the window continued. The occasional bout of lightning would illuminate the very corners of the room. With each flash I felt myself shift further away from the superficial calm I had established. Unease snaked its way into my body like some vile disease. Something wasn’t right and I knew it as certainly as prey knows it is being hunted. The predator was mere feet away. You couldn’t see them but you could feel them in the sheer terror that coursed through your veins.

Lighting flashed.

A figure.

Thunder.

A scream.

My shrieks of terror mingled with the clashes of thunder. The figure raised its arm and I saw eyes that spoke of utter evil. They were an indescribable color and seemed to glow from within as if the very fires of hell burned there. I screamed once more.

The arm swung down.

Nothing.





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PerfectMGymnast This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 6, 2011 at 8:14 pm
i love how this built up suspense and then ended really scary!! it was also very descriptive! GREAT JOB!
 
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