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Dead Bolted

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“I think we should turn around and go home, guys,” suggested Brian, as he looked at his surroundings in hopes of seeing something he may recognize. He and his friends, Walker and Travis, were now lost in the middle of the woods with no sign of home. The clouds in the sky had suddenly burst and the three found themselves caught in the middle of one of the worst storms they’d ever seen. The wiry brush and tangling weeds of the forest were all that the boys could see with their flashlight since the warm autumn sun had just buried itself behind the foliage filled mountain. The temperature in the air began dropping dramatically and the three friends had to come up with a plan to find shelter. And fast.
“Great idea, Brian,” Walker hissed, “if only we knew where in the hell we are.”
“Don’t start getting mad at me over this, it was your idea to go out farther, Mr. ‘I know this forest like the back of my hand.’”
“Guys, let’s just chill out for a second,” stated Travis as droplets of thick rain poured onto his face, “I mean, look around us. None of us have a clue where we are and there’s no way in hell that we’re going to find our way back in this weather tonight, so we need to focus on the most important thing right now, and that’s finding a shelter.” Travis was always the logical one out of the three. And since he was an eagle scout, Walker and Brian depended on him when it came to camping in the woods.
“Alright, look around for rocks that we can all fit under, and try to spot some that aren’t close to trees. We don’t want to wake up to a giant maple resting on our legs in the morning.” Travis tried to lift the spirits by being funny, but Walker and Brian weren’t too amused.
As they continued searching, the three noticed how much different the forest looked at night than it did during the day. The branches of the trees hovered over their heads as if they were about to snap at any moment. There was no sign of wildlife now, and they boys felt completely alone in the rural, desolate land.
“What if we can’t find shelter, Travis? What if something bad happens? No one will hear our screams, no one will be here to help,” Brian said through a whimper, his face turning as pale as a ghost.
“Are you serious right now, Brian? You need to pull yourself together. We’re in the middle of the woods at night, like, how many other people do you think could be around?” Walker was beginning to get aggravated, probably because he knew this was partially his fault.
Suddenly, Travis broke up the conversation and shouted, “GUYS! LOOK! I think I see a house or something.”
“Uhm, where? I don’t see anything.”
“YEAH WHERE?! Where is it, Travis,” yelped Brian, full of relief.
“Behind that huge oak tree, maybe about eighty yards away.”
The three boys thought about whether or not they should go up to the house. But due to the situation at hand, it seemed to be their only option, and on top of that, their camping gear began to weigh them down like a massive boulder crushing their spines.
“Am I the only one who thinks that coming across a house while we’re lost in the woods is a little too convenient? I mean, haven’t you all ever seen a horror movie? The people always find a house and go to it, but it always ends with the main character getting his head chopped off or something,” Walker said as he eyed the house in the distance.
“He is sort of right, Travis. I know I don’t really want to get my head chopped off, and this backpacks starting to kill me. I don’t know how much longer I can take it,” Brian whimpered as he fidgeted with the faulty flashlight, smacking the bottom of it so it would flicker back on.
“Well, this isn’t a horror movie, guys. This is real life, ok? And I don’t know about you, but I don’t exactly want to freeze my as* off in this rain. Pretty soon the temperature is going to drop to near freezing. If you’re fine with that then by all means stay out here, but I’m going up to that house,” Travis had a certain kind of coolness in his voice. He was the one who always tried to remain calm in any situation.
Travis led the boys through what seemed to be a never ending maze of trees, pushing their way through swampy mud and ducking beneath the swarming branches. Even if it wasn’t winter, it sure was beginning to feel like it. The rain continued to pour down on the three friends and eventually the coldness of the rain set into their baggy cargo shirts and loose fitting camo tees, causing them to shiver.
When they finally came up on the house, they noticed that it looked completely empty. The windows were busted out, the roof was caving in, and it looked as if the home had been abandoned for years. Mosses, trees, and vines of all sorts twisted their leafy fingers between the shutters on the windows of the eerie wooden house. What used to be white paint was now chipped off, leaving rotted wood to peak through all around. Even the porch was caved in, hardly leaving an entry way for the three boys to walk up. They stood and examined the house awhile and decided on what they should do.
“Huh. Looks empty to me,” said Travis, placing his hands on his hips and inspecting the house further.
“Well duh. It looks like this dump hasn’t been used since like, the 1600’s,” Walker remarked.
“It’s not that old, you idiot. It sorta looks like one of those houses that you see inside of like, Civil War books. Don’t you think? Travis glanced behind his soaking wet shoulder to see if either of the boys agreed.
“Uh…guys. W-w-what’s that on the door,” Brian managed to squeak out those words despite his shivering.
“Looks like bullet holes to me,” replied Travis confidently.
“Bullet holes?!” Brian began to nibble on one of his filthy fingernails.
“Yeah. Maybe from a hunter or someone who came up here to practice shooting. Who knows where they came from, but it doesn’t really matter. I’m going in. You guys with me?” Travis set his hand on the rusty doorknob and waited for his friends to respond.
“Yeah, I’ll come I guess, but if the killer jumps out and attacks, I’m using you guys as my shields and I’m saving myself first.” Walker would say something like that. He never seemed to take things seriously.
“Can’t we just camp out on the porch or something. I mean, you said it yourself. There are bullet holes in the door. Does that not creep you guys out?” Brian pointed to the six bullet holes and counted them each aloud for his friends to hear.
“No, not really, Brian. Travis and I are going in, but if you want to be a wussy and sit out on the porch then I guess we’ll see you in the morning,” said Walker as he waved goodbye to Brian snidely. “Try not to get too wet!”
“I’m not staying out here by myself, you jerk. So I guess I’m coming too.”
All of the boys carried their bags into the abandoned house and dropped them onto the rickety floor boards. The room they were standing in was considerably larger than the rest of the downstairs area. The only things that they saw were a few old, broken chairs, a filthy, worn out sofa, and a tiny kitchen with ripped up, floral wallpaper on the busted in walls. They decided to explore the house a little further, despite the condition that they, including their clothes, were in. Walker noticed that just through the foyer was a set of jagged stairs that led up to the top floor of the household, but something about the stairs intimidated the three boys.
“You go first, Travis,” Walker said as he pointed up the staircase with a blank expression on his freckly face.
“Yeah, Travis…go,” Brian repeated.
“Fine. You guys are pathetic.”
While Travis was easing his way up each step he got an unsettling feeling. The creaking of the stairs sent shivers traveling from his feet to his head. With each step he took he felt the floor gripping his shoes and not letting go. Travis felt the urge to stop moving as if the mysterious presence didn’t want him going any further and began to wonder if the other boys felt this way too, but instead, he kept quiet and continued leading the way.
The hallway at the top of the stairs was very narrow, like the other rooms in the house, just wide enough to fit the three boys through. Every inch of the walls was covered in a dark, musky dust that seemed to be inches thick and almost impossible to see through like a morning fog. All that was up there were three tiny rooms with old, rustic furniture such as towering dressers and a once beautiful vanity set inside. Also, none of the rooms had any doors leading into them, just door frames with rusty broken hinges poking out dangerously in all different directions. One seemed to be a children’s room; having ancient-looking toys scattered about the floor, the other looked like a bathroom, and the last room was completely emptied out.
“So, which of these lovely rooms do you fellas want,” asked Walker, motioning with his hands as if he was selling an infomercial product.
“I think it’d be best if we just stayed downstairs together. I don’t really trust this floor, and besides, we don’t need to be separating. Now that we know there’s nothing up here, let’s just head back down.” Travis tried to sound calm, but he knew deep down that something wasn’t right with the house. At this point he was just making up excuses as to why he didn’t want to be up there.
“Yeah, I agree with Travis. Let’s just go downstairs, Walker.”
“Alright. Whatever. I didn’t bring a sleeping bag with me though, so one of you guys is just going to have to--”
“Did you guys hear that?!”
A large slamming sound rang up the stairs and into the boys’ ears. Something seemed to be moving downstairs.
“Shh, Brian. Lemme listen,” ordered Travis as he gestured the boy to be quiet.
“I don’t want to go down there again!” You couldn’t tell Brian was sweating through his rain soaked shirt. “Let’s just stay up here. Right, Walker?”
“SHH! Let’s just head down there. I’m sure it was nothing,” Travis suggested, hoping that he was right.
He felt the presence once again on the steps, but still, he tried to ignore it. It crept along his spine and down onto the back of his legs, which was now making it almost impossible to forget about. They reached the bottom of the stairs and turned back into the foyer.
“Which one of you rejects left the door open?” asked Travis. “ I know the wind couldn’t have slammed it shut that hard.”
“I didn’t do it! I wasn’t even the last one in,” Walker replied. “So don’t try to blame me!”
“I know for a fact I closed it, Trav! I promise! Someone else must be in the house! They want us out!”
“Calm down, Brian.” Travis began to get a little worried. He did recall Brian shutting the door when they came in, and now he turned his concerns towards figuring out what was going on.
“Where’s all of our stuff at, guys? I put my stuff right here but now it’s gone.” Travis looked about the room for their camping gear.
“I put mine here too,” replied the other boys.
As they looked around the house, they found that their things had been piled on the floor in the kitchen. They were stacked up in front of what seemed to be the door to a cellar.
“STOP MESSING WITH ME GUYS! THIS ISN’T FUNNY.” Brian was beginning to get angry.
“We didn’t do anything, Brian. We’re just as freaked out as you so just chill out already,” demanded Walker with a hissy tone.
“Well it doesn’t seem like you all are, so just cut it out already.” Brian looked away quickly, hoping that he hadn’t angered his intimidating friend.
“He’s being serious, Brian. We didn’t do anything. Well, at least I didn’t. Not to scare you anymore, but I think there’s something going on here, and I want to know what it is. There must be a reason why our stuff is piled up in front of this door. Maybe it’s a sign. We should probably see what’s behind it, right?”

“There is absolutely no way in hell I am going down there. Uhm, hello! Shouldn’t we be running away by now?” stated Brian.

“Yeah. I agree that there is something weird going on, but I don’t want to be the one to find out what.” Walker looked at Travis and waited for his answer.

“Fine. I’m just going to open it, okay? We don’t have to go down there,” said Travis as he placed his sweaty palm onto the tiny door knob. “You all grab our stuff and take it back into the foyer and I’ll see what’s going on down there.”

As he got close to it, he was struck by a potent stench that tainted the air. The scent of dust and mold filled his lungs as he turned the knob and pulled open the squeaky door leading down into a pit of something unknown. He discovered by peering down from the top step that the room must’ve been an old cellar, now turned into a dark, damp, concrete room. He grabbed the flickering flashlight from Brian’s hand and peered further down the stairs of the blackened cellar room. Its battery was running out quick, so Travis decided to shut it off and close the mysterious door. Just as he pressed the button on the flashlight, an orb of light darted across the cellar floor just in front of the staircase, sending Travis backward and causing him to fall onto the boys behind him like a couple of dominos.

“W-w-whatd’ya see?” Brian’s whole body had been taken over by the fear.

“I don’t know what it was. I couldn’t really tell. It looked like a light of some sort, but whatever it was, it’s gone now.”

“Maybe your flashlight just reflected off of something. That could’ve happened, right Trav?” Walker was looking for reassurance, but he knew that the light was not from the boys’ flashlight.

“Just shut the door already!” Brian demanded, “We don’t want whatever that thing was to come out!”

“Chill, Brian. We don’t know what that thing was. For all we know it could’ve been my flashlight reflecting off of something, just like Walker said. I think the best thing to do would be to go into the foyer, nothing too weird has happened in there yet.
Walker looked to Brian and nodded his head. “It’ll be alright, man. Don’t freak out too much, let’s just listen to Travis and I think we’ll be set.” This was the first time that Walker had said anything positive to Brian all night, and by now he began realizing the seriousness of the situation.
“I’ve got an idea, guys. Let’s just go into that big living room and sit in a circle on the ground. That way we have a full three-sixty view of everything around us and if one of us sees something, we can just warn the others before anything else happens. Sound like a good plan?” Travis thought that his idea was sure-proof.
They headed into the large room and realized that it was one of the creepiest rooms in the house. Water was leaking in from the walls and windows and the stench of mildew was horrendous. Eerie family photos were framed along the walls and were slanting in such a way that they looked like they would drop off and shatter on the ground at any minute. The eyes of the people in the photos seemed to incessantly follow them around as they entered the vacant room and plopped onto the barren, dusty floor.

“Why can’t we just leave guys? Like, enough has happened to us already. Don’t you think we’d be safer out there than in this hell house?”

“Brian, you don’t understand. I think we’ll be a lot safer just going through with my plan, don’t you agree, Walker?”

“Yeah, he’s right, Brian. We’d freeze our a**es off out there, and by the sound of it that rain is pouring down hard.”

“Fine, as*****s. But if I die I swear to God I’ll-”
“ Shh! Alright, you look that way, Walker can look that way, and I’ll look this way. Okay?”
“What if something comes down from the ceiling?” asked Brian, who was still fidgeting with the faulty flashlight.
“I don’t think we have to worry about that. But just in case, be ready for anything.”

A few minutes had passed and so far everything was going as planned. The boys hadn’t seen anything going on and they were just about to get up to check if the weather had calmed down any. Just as they pulled themselves up to look they were startled yet again.

“GUYS! DID YOU HEAR THAT?! Come on, let’s get out of here,” Brian moaned, holding back his tears.

“Be quiet! Come on, Walker, let’s go up and see what it is,” whispered Travis as he quietly reached for the flashlight.

This time, the sound had come from upstairs. It was the sound of one of the bedroom doors slamming and they heard heavy footsteps pounding across the floor.

“Don’t think you guys are leaving me down here alone,” Brian whispered as he followed behind the boys who were darting towards the stairs. When they had gotten about half way up, Travis stopped and remembered that none of the rooms upstairs had doors.

“TURN AROUND! NOW!” Travis was now frantically shrieking, sticking his arm out to act as a barrier for the boys behind.

“What?! Why?!”

“None of these rooms even have doors! Come on, let’s go get our freaking stuff and try to get out!”

“Oh god! You’re right! Turn around, Brian!”

They sprinted back down the stairs and into the foyer to grab their things, only to find that they had been piled back in front of the cellar door. That was enough to make the boys run out of the front door and into the woods, leaving all of their belongings inside of the horrible house.

“Where should we go,” asked Brian as they ran deeper and deeper into the woods.

“Just run!” answered Walker and Travis to the boy who was straggling behind.

The three ran until they were sure they were far enough from the house. The rain had stopped pouring now and the boys stopped at a massive oak tree whose trunk had been hollowed out.

“What the hell happened back there?”

“I don’t know, Walker. In the morning we can go back to get our things, but until then, we’re staying here.”

“Finally, this is the first time all night that you two have had a decent plan,” remarked Brian.

“Just try to get some rest, guys.”

The three friends nestled themselves together underneath of a shelter, made by a tree that was knocked over during the storm, and awaited the following morning. The fear of the incident and the bustling of the forest made it impossible to sleep, but soon, however, the sun began to rise above the trees in the distance and morning had finally came.


“You must be crazy if you think I’m going back to that house, Travis,” Walker groaned as he dug around his pockets in search of his wallet in the morning. “CRAP! I think my wallets in my freakin’ bag.”

“See, now we have to go back. I’m definitely not leaving my things back there, I don’t care how crazy that house was. I’m just going to run in, look for my stuff, grab it, then leave. You coming, Brian?”

“I feel as if after the way things went last night that I don’t really have a choice, now do I,” Brian replied as he rolled over and stumbled to his feet.

It only took them about fifteen minutes to walk back to the house, and when they got there they noticed something really weird.

“Guys, come take a look at this” suggested Travis. “Check it out. The bullet holes in the door are gone.” Now there was a ‘NO TRESPASSING’ sign over top of the place where the bullet holes had previously been.

“Oh my god, they are. What the hell is going on here!?” Brian almost started to cry again.

“Let’s just grab our things and go. I never want to see this damn place again,” said Walker as he pushed open the front door leading into the foyer.

Upon entering the house, the boys discovered that their belongings were no longer stacked up into front of the cellar door. In fact, there was no longer a cellar door at all. Instead, they were just standing in an empty kitchen. They continued searching for their things, confused as to what was going on, and headed upstairs, only to find out that all of the rooms now had doors that were bolted up tight with deadlocks.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Parishrut said...
Mar. 28, 2012 at 1:57 am
If you didn't post it very recently, it is dissapointing that nobody gave any comments on this work. It was a read as smooth as silk. Very nicely written. It didn't creep me throughout until the last paragraph, which took me completely unawares! The dialogues and conflicts among the three sounded natural, as one is likely hear from three teenagers of the mordern age. Keep writing!  
 
cortney_oh replied...
Mar. 28, 2012 at 8:55 am
thanks a lot! i really appreciate it(:
 
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