The Open Door

April 29, 2013
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“Steve, stop!” I yelled. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“Oh, chill, Grace,” he replied.

I should’ve trusted my instincts. I should have put my foot down and not let any of us go in. Maybe then Steve would still be here…

“Hey, Grace, what’s up?” Preston asked. It was finally lunch, and I opened the door of the cafeteria to be greeted by a whiff of stale pizza.

“Aw, what’s wrong?” he asked as he kissed me on the forehead.

“Nothin’,” I replied.

Preston and I have been dating for about four months now, and he hated it when I was upset, especially for no reason.

He bent down and grabbed me securely by the shoulders.
“Hey, come on now.”
“What?” I replied, faking a half smile just for him.
He smiled back, his perfectly straight, white teeth dazzling between his thin lips. We continued to walk over to the lunch line, searching for something decent to eat.
“Next!” the cafeteria lady yelled. She was so aggressive. I mean sure, her life probably wasn’t that great, but she didn’t have to take it out on us.
“Cheese or pepperoni?” she growled.
“Uh, cheese, please.”
The cardboard pizza flopped on to my tray.
“Next!” she screamed again.
Preston and I soon arrived at our table, only to find Steve annoying Faith.
“Steve, stop! Ugh, you’re so irritating!”
Faith was my best friend in first grade, and ten years later, she still was.
“Preston, control your dog of a best friend, please.” Faith snapped as she threw her beautiful blonde locks over her shoulder.
As for Steve, he was on the football team with Preston. He was right tackle while Preston was quarterback. They had been best friends for as long as Faith and me. They were two peas in a pod, yet totally different. Steve was blonde haired, blue eyed, and loved to have fun. He was the class clown and couldn’t care less about his grades. Preston, however, was more reserved and cared about his studies a great deal; he was fifth in our class. His chestnut brown hair went perfectly with his tan complexion and muscular body that made him the dream All-American Boy.
“So have y’all heard about that creepy house on Oak Street?” Steve asked.
“No, Steve, we are not going there,” Faith grumbled at Steve before his sentence was even complete.
“Oh, come on! It’d be fun!” Steve urged.
Faith rolled her eyes and went back to playing with her green peas.
“So what do y’all say?” Steve asked. “We could go tonight.”
He bounced in his chair, eager to hear our answer. He reminded me of a puppy waiting to be picked up.
“I don’t know, man,” Preston said. “You know what they say about that place; once you go in, you never come out.”
“Oh, please, they’re just trying to scare us, and I, Steve Masters, do not fear anything!” He was banging his chest and standing on the blue flimsy chair before Preston even had a chance to calm him down.
“Look, nothing will happen, I promise,” Steve pleaded.
“Ugh, fine man, what do you say girls?” Preston asked.
Faith managed to whine out a timid, but bratty “fine.
As for me, I was unsure. I have heard about that house and it intimidated me. And I was never one to do anything so risky. I always had my homework in on time and I always made my bed. Doing something so…wild was a totally new aspect to me. But Preston wanted to go. It was obvious, you could see it in those big brown eyes of his, and well, you know what they say about peer pressure.
“Sure,” I said quietly.
Steve instantly slammed his sweaty palms on the table with an “Alright!” and a high five to Preston.
“Alright Grace, I’ll meet you after fifth period,” and with a kiss on the cheek from Preston and a head nod from Steve the two boys left for athletics.
“Faith, I’m not sure about this,” I admitted, but before she could respond the bell rang and it was off to Algebra.
? ? ?

The rest of the day went by quickly, from one boring class to another. The only reason the day seemed different was because tonight I’d be breaking the rules and doing something risky. Yep, I, Grace Bridgette Smith, would in fact be doing something dangerous. I was excited to do something ordinary teenagers would find fun, but I was scared. I knew this was a bad idea in my head, but for once, I was going to ignore it.

? ? ?

“Hey, Grace, Hey, Faith!” Steve and Preston greeted us simultaneously.

We were standing three blocks away from the creepy house and I already had shivers down my back.
“We gonna do this or what?” Steve pressured.
“Cool it, man! You don’t need to make the girls anymore anxious,” Preston stated.
It was nice to know he was at my defense, although, it made me think I wasn’t hiding my nerves as well as I thought.
“I’m ready,” I managed to choke out of my throat.
Preston grabbed my hand and with Faith locked arm and arm on the other side, and Steve leading the way, we made our way towards the house.
It was pitch black outside with the stars nowhere to be found. Instead, thin gray clouds slowly moved in the sky slightly covering the dusty orange moon.
As I took in my surroundings, I realized how beautiful the neighborhood must’ve been decades ago. It was full of the enormous houses that once were on the old southern plantations. The vines crept down from the peeled, white paint and ivory covered the red brick.
We turned left one more time, and that’s when I saw the open door of the house in which we were about to trespass.
It wasn’t like the rest of the houses in the neighborhood; this house was worn down worse than the rest. The wooden door hung slightly on a hinge. The porch was all torn up, missing and broken boards along with the wood pealing of the remaining ones. The house had a tin roof that was bent towards the left of the house. The windows were completely nonexistent on the bottom level, and on the top the glass was covered in cracks.
“Alright guys, you ready?” Steve asked.
“Not really,” I gulped, but they didn’t care; in a matter of seconds, they were pulling me through the front door.
My stomach sank. What if what everyone said about this was true?
As we entered the house the boards creaked. The broken stairway stood at the entrance. My nerves went crazy and palms went sweaty.
“Dude, come on!” Steve urged Preston. “Let’s look around! We came here for a reason, Man!”
“Steve, this place is frightening, Bro, we need to leave.”
As Preston said those words a door opened in the hallway below the staircase.
“Oh, my gosh!” Faith screamed.
A cold wind blew through the air leaving goose bumps on my arms. Steve walked toward the open door, and Preston grabbed his arm in haste trying to stop him.
“Steve, no man, this is too risky, even for you.”
“I ain’t no wimp, Preston. This is what I came here for. I’ll be fine!” Steve laughed.
He made his way towards the open door and with his steps a sound echoed through the house. It sounded as if it was a siren miles away, yet so close.
“Did you hear that?” Preston’s hands were started to get sweaty too. “Man, come on Steve, don’t be stupid!”
“Don’t worry about me, I’m Steve Masters! I do not fear anything!”
“Steve, please, no,” all three of us said, but it was too late. Steve went through the open door, never to be seen again.

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