Everyone in the small town of Middleburg thought we were absolutely insane by moving into the large Victorian Mansion at the end of the street. At the time, we were completely unaware of the gossip spreading about the new family that was moved into the “Spooky House.” But in a small town, the whispers on the street eventually get around.
Mother bought the house several months ago and, of course, I didn’t have a say in if we should purchase it or not. I hardly saw any evidence it existed besides one picture of the back yard when mother just recieved the phone call that the owners took our offer. To be honest, the land was rather extravagant but I still showed no sympathy for our move. “Eliza you know we were ought to move at some point,” mom stated for probably the 100th time as she walked into my unpacked room. Of course, I just shrugged and stared down at the familiar soft cream colored carpet between my toes. I thought about my best friends Molly and Ingrid and realized how hard it would be to build new friendships. But once again, I never have an opinion and am expected to move whenever mother feels up to the task.
When my little brother Charlie, mom, and I arrived to the house, I was genuinely surprised. The castle-like structure of the home gave off a sophisticated vibe which I admired. The tall Tiffany stained glass panels, the clay colored brick, and the beautiful beige trim that surrounded the doors and windows, all added astonishing features to the mansion I was about to call home. “Oh how much lovelier in person!” Mom remarked to Charlie and I. I forced myself not to reconcile with her and just shrugged my shoulders.
That first night was when everything changed.
When the doors would randomly slam throughout the night, mom would state that it was the air conditioning cutting on and off. When things were misplaced, mom would say that her memory was played tricks on her again. When it felt as if whispers made up the inside of the walls, mom declared it had to be the settling of the old house. “Oh Eliza, stop being so paranoid,” she responded over and over as I kept bothering her about the activity I’ve previously heard. Charlie would constantly claim that he would see shadowy figures lurking through the dark, and would experience countless nightmares. But my mom would always shush him and say that it was him getting used to the new house and all the space it offered.
To top it off, numerous people would casually walk around our property as it was their own. They weren’t particularly normal people either, some had many bruises on their skin or were dressed as if they lived in the 19th century. My mom would constantly shout from the front door, “This is my family’s property! Would you please get off my lawn?” But the people hardly ever acknowledged her and would continue to walk the perimeter, through the bushes and on top of the flowers. When I would walk down the neighborhood sidewalks with Charlie, other neighbors would give me a hard stare or wide eyes. It creeped Charlie and I out. Little children would sometimes even come up to us both and would mumble, “Your house is haunted. Run.”
One quiet night, after dinner was served, we were all sitting in the main area of the house when a loud, fast knock occurred at the door. When mom opened the heavy front door, no one stood on the porch. She shrugged, locked it again, and returned to the sofa. “Who was it mommy?” Charlie asked her just as she settled into her new novel. “Oh I don't know, probably just some reckless teenagers,” mom replied softly. We sat there for a few moments in silence before I witnessed the most piercing scream that came from the upstairs. We all jumped in unison and charged up the spiral staircase. Bloody handprints covered the walls and bathwater flooded the hallways. Laughter was heard in the attic. Panic shot through my veins and my spine, which sent me into a pile goosebumps. “I cannot believe you haven't out yet,” cried a voice from above. “Don’t you understand what situation you’ve gotten yourself in! Don’t you know that this house is..” the voice stopped abruptly and I ran into my mother's arms, frightened. “This house is on the game show, We scare You! This is the replica of the house you actually bought which is at the other end of the block! The whole town was involved with this project! Happy Halloween!”