"Sorry, the line is busy."

January 30, 2012
Fading light and the waning of the twilight morphed the forest of Hodenthrush in a cloak of darkness, shrouding it in a deep blackness, as of the darkest of voids. No birds chirped, no insects sang, as a surreal silence filled woods. A single path cut through the tress and underlying green, withering in places, but always reappearing at another bend. It was on this path, that walked Robin, a student at the University of Metaphysics, and he was here to study some of the rumours which had originated, and decide whether they held water. There had been numerous deaths in the village of Wineshire which lay at the edges of the forest. Tales of a headless horseman, of a blood sucking vampire and even of a flying Dragon killing young maidens had come up.
‘Why only maidens? And that too young ones?’ he thought. He really didn’t believe in any of it, and thought it to be a c***-and-bull story made up for the heck of it. He didn’t think much of the villagers and was thought that they hated his interference, their gazes made him uneasy. This was all going to be for naught and he expected to go back by morning with the night wasted. Walking the forest path, such dank thoughts filled his mind.
“They’ll come up with stories of a flying goat head butting young maidens next. Pah! What a waste of precious time!” he said out aloud.
Suddenly, two yellow eyes light up the darkness. His world was frozen as he faced what was unmistakably a Basilisk. The serpent of death exists and it has come for me, he thought. The tales were true, he was going to meet his maker...it was all too soon! He had not even gotten his degree yet! He had studied for years; he at least deserved his degree! Death couldn’t be so unfair, dying without a degree! Fear filled his eyes, as he lay stupefied in shock. This was the end, the eyes were drawing closer, the entire area was slowly lighting up in their presence, when…
“Honk-Honk!” he heard a sound, and a huge yellow hummer came into the clearing.
There was no basilisk, his friends from the university had come to help him conduct his research, and he himself had called them in the morning! He was over reacting for no reason. Perhaps the atmosphere was indeed to eerie for him, and he finally shook himself free from fear’s grasp and fell on the ground eyes closed, laughing, his nerves finally calming.
His friends exited the mammoth vehicle, and were worried looking at his state.
“Are you fine Robby?” asked a female voice.
That’s Kathleen; she was the only one who called him Robby. He disliked the nickname, but he put up with it. Why? Well because he liked her. Kathy was his beloved. Pretty, dark haired and smart, she was perfect for him. Sadly, she was seeing another guy.
“Hey man, you okay?” asked a deep voice, hauling him up and shaking him awake from his reverie.
That had to be Carlos, her boyfriend of two years and one of his closest friends. He didn’t know about the feelings he had for Kathy, and even if he would have, Robin expected him to take it in his stride. That was Carl for you – as good a friend as you can have.
“He seems to be fine, just a bit of moon fever perhaps,” said a third voice. He didn’t recognize this one. Flicking his eyes open, he looked at the new comer, a guy with brown hair tied in a ponytail, brown coat, blue shirt with open buttons and khaki three-fourths, and a metallic scythe in hand. Well muscled and toned, he could have been a model or wrestler. Laura was in a sea green top, silvery skin and jeans; she looked as beautiful as ever, while Carlos was in his usual attire, a red sleeveless tee-shirt over his toned body, and blue shorts.
“No, I’m fine, just a bit tired”, replied Robin, “Let’s move.”
The group boarded the car, and off they went, the Hummer making short work of the road.
“Where are we off to?” asked Robin.
“To the Homer Mansion, we need to get this thing studied today so that we can be off from this place at the earliest” answered Carlos.
“We would never have found the route had it not been for Percy here. He knew the route and was going the same way, so we asked him to join us,” replied Kathy.
That was Kathy for you, sweet and easily trusting. Some would call it a flaw, but her innocence attracted me even more.
“It’s just around the next turn,” said the guy named Percy, wiping his scythe on his coat “We’re almost there.”
Rounding the bend, they saw a dark mansion silhouetted against the moon, standing tall and forbidding.
“Where’s the welcoming committee?” joked Carlos, as we parked in the driveway, “ No dragon, blood-crazed maniac or Dracula to greet us?”
“Looks like the monsters are afraid of us.” Smiled I.
“Sometimes the true monsters are we humans ourselves, my friend” said Percy, “There is no creature on this land as heinous as the human.”
“Oh take it easy Perce,” said I.
“Well, they better run then, cause Carlos Cage is here, and he’s going to set all the monsters and creatures in their places!” hollered Carlos.
Percy just smiled. Or rather, he smirked.
“Well Mr. Cage, we’re going in, why don’t you start unpacking while I go check the place out. Come on Robin,” ordered Kathy, and Carlos was left to do the tedious job of unpacking, while I again crossed out the positives of being in a relation with such negatives of listening to her Ladyship’s orders!
“I’ll help you out monster slayer”, winked Percy, “You all carry on. Let’s park the car at the back.”
“Sure, off we go, we’ll be back in a jiffy guys,” said Carlos, and they drove off.
Approaching the double-oak doors with Kathy, I couldn’t help but think about her beauty, when suddenly, a voice dragged me back to reality, “ If you’re done ogling me mister, then can we proceed to do the work at hand?” questioned Kathy, with a naughty gleam in her eyes, while I didn’t know whether to laugh or be embarrassed. Luckily, she smiled and taking me by the arm, began walking towards the stairs, when suddenly…
The oak doors slammed shut, though there was no wind, and a weird laugh filled the corridors of the mansion.
We ran towards the door and began banging on it and clutched and pulled at it, but to no avail. We were trapped. Kathy tried the windows but they were latched shut…from the outside!
And suddenly, a loud shriek caught our attention, a wail of pain and angst, of despair and agony. A blood curdling scream which sounded horribly like Carlos, while the laughter within the mansion increased. I began to run towards the back door, to search for an alternate exit, clutching Kathy in my arms, who was in the grip of total terror, as I dialed Carlos’s phone number, and a voice said –
“Sorry, the line is busy.”
The operator’s voice chilled my bones, as another sound brought me back to reality, that of the oak doors creaking open.
We turned to face the door, as the wicked laughter reached a crescendo, and I realized – we were finally going to meet our ghosts…

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