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“You have the flashlight, yeah?” Shane asked as he slung his backpack onto his shoulders.
“Yeah, but are you sure this is a good idea?” There was a small thump as Ryan dropped the flashlight in his bag. They both froze, awaiting an angry parent to ascend the stairs and question their motives.
Shane broke the silence with a soft laugh, “Of course it’s a good idea, it is one of mine after all.” His words were met with a look of disgust from Ryan, which he brushed off, “Look, all I’m saying is that no one has ever mentioned this place, we might find something good, you know, like treasure or something.”
“We live in California, I highly doubt there’s treasure anywhere around here, let alone in an old rundown house, probably just an overwhelming amount of ghosts,” Ryan muttered as they carefully stepped out of the safety of Shane’s room into the blinding darkness. They had spent hours planning this little trip, analyzing anything and everything that could be an obstacle. The first obstacles, the staircase and floor, had taken a good chunk of their time, they’d spent at least two hours testing every spot and step for a board that could possibly give them away. All that time paid off however, as the pair made it down and out the door with little incident.
Ryan pulled out his phone once they were outside and quickly retrieved the directions to the house. He tried to ignore the glimpses of the articles he saw below, claiming that it was the most haunted in the area, or that countless crimes had been committed there once it was abandoned. It didn’t take long to arrive at their destination, and Ryan could feel the regret building up inside him as they parked down a side road where they wouldn’t be spotted. He tried to push away the feeling of impending doom he felt as they walked up the dimly lit pathway, but to no avail.
“It’s not that bad, a little dusty, but it just looks like any ol’ abandoned house,” Shane reassured Ryan as he stepped inside. However Ryan was still skeptical, any noise or object could be something paranormal coming to get him and he couldn’t rest until they left this terrible place and he was safe back at home. Despite the feeling in his gut telling him to run as far away from this place as possible, he pulled out the flashlight and stepped into the first room to his left. He was surprised to see a mostly intact living room, all of the furniture having been neatly preserved despite the decaying state of the house.
Their search went relatively well until they made their way upstairs, once on the landing there was a loud bang from down the hall. Ryan desperately reached for his friend in the dark, clinging to him once he found his arm.
“That was just like, the wind, or something,” Shane whispered, but the doubt in his voice was noticeable. They pushed on, down the hall and towards the room where the noise had come from.
“Oh, I don’t like this, I really don’t like this,” Ryan hissed upon their realization that it was a child’s room. “This is always where things go wrong in horror movies, child ghosts are the worst ones,” he scanned the surrounding area as if his words would’ve summoned the very thing he was afraid of. They remained silent for a moment, the only sound being the wind howling through some of the broken windows throughout the house.
“See, there’s nothing to be afraid of, and check this out,” Shane had wandered off without hesitation into what Ryan assumed was once the master bedroom. The floorboards were ripped up and it wasn’t hard to tell that it wasn’t from natural causes, Ryan reconsidered the possibility of treasure and made his way carefully over to where Shane was rummaging through an old dresser. “Ghosts don’t need this stuff, right?” Shane asked as he held up a ring and examined it.
“If you want them haunting you because you stole from them, then yeah, they don’t need it.” Ryan watched in horror as Shane shrugged and pocketed the ring. As he looked at the items throughout the room though he realized how pointless it was to be afraid of apparitions that couldn’t even touch him. He noticed a glint on one of the bedside tables from the moonlight filtered in. On the table sat a small item, it didn’t really look like anything however. Ryan glanced at Shane and picked up the small gleaming blob. It seemed almost too perfect and he knew he shouldn’t but something made him close his hand around the item before he dropped it into the pocket of his jacket.
“I think that was a good haul,” Shane mumbled as they traversed down the street. Ryan nodded, but he felt guilty about their unintentional looting of the place. He felt the same creeping uneasiness he’d felt when they first got to the house, but pushed it away as they arrived back at Shane’s. They snuck in the back and up to Shane’s room where they looked over their treasures again. “We should keep doing this, imagine the things we could get!” Shane dropped the ring on his nightstand and crawled into his bed.
Ryan made his way to his sleeping bag, “Yeah… maybe we should.”
These kinds of things never work out however, fictional or not, and the boys soon found this out. About 7 months after the looting of their first house they realized the consequences of playing with the dead. Being as vulnerable and afraid as he is, Ryan was the one targeted.
“This is fake or something, you’re playing right?” Shane paced in his room as Ryan had another one of his mini convulsions. There’d been about three so far and Shane had no idea what to do. Deep down, he feared Ryan had been right and this was the past coming back coming back to haunt them. He’d brushed it off so far until Ryan started babbling incomprehensibly and talking about a past that he knew definitely wasn’t Ryan’s.The ghost grew on him though and Shane decided to give him a name for the time being, Blake. For a while Shane wondered whether he should try anything at all, maybe this Blake guy would be fun. After all, he was a ghost himself, maybe he wouldn’t mind going to check out the places that entities like him made people fear.
Thus went on for about a week, Shane pretending everything was okay and trying his best to sneak Ryan around without making it look like anything was wrong. By the weekend though he realized he was not only robbing Ryan of his life, but himself of fun, as selfish as that sounded, he knew he had to do something. Shane invested his time in researching how to get his friend back while also conversing with Ryan, or not really Ryan, but the new person that was in his body.
“Can’t you just possess something else? Ryan isn’t exciting anyway.” Blake shook his head, disappointed that Shane still didn’t understand after he’d explained so many times.
“I need a host to live, what kind of life would I have as that ring there?” Shane stopped, the ring, that’s where this all seemed to have started. He knew he had to go back and return the ring, as long as it meant getting his friend back. After sending Blake downstairs to distract him, Shane devised his plan and began to get together the things he needed. “Ok, I’ve got the san-, what’s all that about?” Blake gestured to Shane’s bag and the clothing he was preparing.
“Well, I figured it’s about time we go on our first adventure together. Ryan really enjoyed them, plus I have a surprise for you,” Shane waited until Blake turned to set down the food before he tossed the ring into his bag. “Be ready by 11, it’s a long walk but it’s worth it,” he felt the smallest amount of pity for the spirit, but he wanted Ryan back, and he didn’t want to wait any longer.
They reached the house around twelve o’clock and made their way up the walkway. This time it was pitch black, no old street lamps dimly illuminating the path leading up to the house or anything. Shane heard Blake shifting restlessly behind him as he cracked open the door and felt that he too knew what was coming. They were making their way up the stairs when Blake grabbed his hand.
“Please, don’t do it. Let me live the life I didn’t get to,” he sighed, looking at the eyes that were threatening to spill over with tears. This only made him more determined, it wasn’t Ryan. was some spirit from who knows when. He pulled himself away, quickening his pace up the steps as he felt Blake lunge toward him again. Once he reached the room he slammed the door shut, hopping over the broken floor boards while tugging at the backpack zipper to get the ring out. The door slammed open and Blake ran in, perhaps just suddenly realizing he now had an actual body as his foot went completely through the floorboards. Shane threw the ring back into the dresser right before he was knocked to the ground again.
“Shane! Shane? Are you alright?” Ryan was shaking him frantically when he awoke. Shane sat up, casting a glance at his surroundings.
“Is that actually you or is this a new ghost?” Shane warily eyed the other boy in front of him, raising his hands in defense as Ryan stood up.
“No, no, it’s me. At least I hope it is.” He helped his friend up and they made their way down the stairs, into the hall where the rising sun cast a light on the objects that could make one forget about the tragedies that occurred there.
“You know, we never really found out what happened here, but after all this I don’t even know if it’s worth it.”
“Let’s try and just be normal people and see where it goes from there, ghosts are okay and all, but I’d like to keep possession of my body.”
“Okay, just as long as you admit my plan was genius enough to get you over your fear of ghosts.”