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House on Hawthorne Hill
May 15, 1995
The teen, girl slowly walked down the dimly lit hallway. The young child’s laughter filled her ears, making her heart race out of her chest. She needed to get Bruce before his parents got home from their date. The wooden floor creaked under her sneakers, the laughter growing louder as she neared the farthest door.
“Come out, Brucy!” she called down the hallway. When she made it to the door the laughing started transforming into something more unnatural than that of a child. She reached for the handle when it abruptly opened, slamming her onto the floor. She called out as her back collided with the floor. The shadows on the wall grew darker and larger.
“Help!” she screamed. She turned to run when she felt something grab her sneaker and begin to drag her towards the door. She clawed at the floor with her fingernails. When she reached the door frame she grabbed on, trying to pull away. The thing kept pulling. The wood chipped off the door, pulling her into the darkness forever.
May 15, 2012
Cole Williams sighed as he turned the lock on his locker. He couldn’t wait until the day was over. He knew his friends would be pestering him about today. It was the anniversary of the Murder on Hawthorne Hill. His friends teased him that he was cursed since his eighteenth birthday was the day after. Cole spotted his friend, Alex out of the corner of his eye. Hoping she wouldn’t notice him, he pretended to search for something in the very bottom.
“Hey!” she said, a smile stretching from ear to ear spread across her face. Her blonde hair was pulled up into a ponytail and she barely wore any make-up. He could tell she had gotten back from gym and he wrinkled his nose. Why was she always so giddy after forty-five minutes of running?
“Hi,” he mumbled. He continued to search his locker, not sure what he was looking for.
“Guess what today is!”
“Don’t remind me.”
“A few of us are going up there tonight to spend the anniversary with the house. We do it every year and, since you’ve never done it before, you should come! People say you can still hear the screams coming from that room.” Alex widened her sea-blue eyes as she spoke. Cole never did understand what her fascination with the murder was.
“Why don’t you just all jump off a bridge or something? It would be better than getting tortured by that murderer.” Cole realized he was still searching for nothing and sadly gave up. He turned toward his friend, her mouth turning in a slight smile. She abruptly began to burst out laughing, kids staring as they walked by.
“You don’t actually believe that stuff, do you?”
“I don’t know. Maybe?”
“Come on, Cole. It was just some psycho guy playing a trick that went wrong. You heard the news.”
Cole scoffed. “Alex, there is no way that was a prank. They never found her. The thing probably kidnapped-” Cole was cut off by a nearby teacher watching them. “Just forget it,” he said.
“Come on, it’ll be fun,” Alex poked.
“I’d rather be alive for my eighteenth birthday, thank you very much,” Cole said sarcastically.
“No.” Cole slammed his locker shut and headed down the closest hallway. He would be lucky to even make it on time. Alex slowly tagged behind, trying to keep up with his fast pace.
“So what, you’re so mad you won’t even walk to class with me? What did I do wrong?” Alex called behind him. Cole suddenly stopped and turned towards her.
“You’re being stupid, that’s what!”
“Excuse me? I’m what?”
“I’m not going to talk about this now. We need to get to class before someone catches us in the halls after the-” Before Cole could finish his sentence the bell rang throughout the halls. He sighed, knowing it would be another detention tacked on to the others for having three tardies in a row that week. “We better get to class,” Cole sighed.
“Fine. This discussion is NOT over, Cole Williams!” Alex yelled after him, smirking the whole time.
“That’s what you think,” he mumbled.
Mr. Smith was standing in front of the class, scribbling some math terms on the board as usual. His plump face was growing red as a few kids argued in the back. Cole and Alex slipped through the door, Mr. Smith’s eyes locking on them.
“Mr. Williams, Miss Baker, so glad you could join us. Now, everyone, open your books to page two-twenty and do numbers one through thirty. As for you two, you can go all the way to fifty. And figure out how to do it yourselves.” Mr. Smith turned toward his desk and grabbed two sheets of paper, He scribbled something onto them, peered up at Cole and Alex then back at the paper. Cole knew they were in trouble. He could tell by the look on Mr. Smith’s face.
Sighing once again, Cole opened his book. Mr. Smith had already erased the board and he had no clue what to do. Giving up, he closed the book and stared at the clock until the bell rang.
The last two periods of the day went by slowly. Cole was anxious to get home before his friends stopped to pester him more about the house. When the final bell of the day rang, Cole sprinted to his locker, hoping to get to it before Alex. He was too late. Alex was already crowding it along with his best friend, Trevor. Cole stopped running and shuffled his feet the rest of the way.
“So that’s all we need? Just a sleeping bag and a flashlight?” Alex asked Trevor. Cole already knew what they were speaking of.
“And an extra pair of pants. I heard it’s pretty scary,” Trevor smirked. “Hey, Cole, what time should I pick you up tonight?”
“Didn’t Alex tell you? I’m not going.” Cole turned the lock, hoping to get his stuff and make a break for it. He would hide in his house until Saturday so his friends couldn’t find him and he wouldn’t have to go tonight. He couldn’t figure out what made him so nervous about it but he kept getting a bad feeling about it.
“What?” Trevor screamed.
“I have better things to do.” Trevor glared his hazel eyes, burning a hole through Cole. “Would you stop that? I hate when you do that,” Cole said. He turned away and began shoving textbooks into his backpack.
“Say you’ll go and I will.”
“Come on, Cole!”Alex begged.
“What could you possibly be doing tonight without Alex or I around? Nothing. So, come on, ole buddy, ole pal!” Cole hated when Trevor used that reference.
“Will you two let me leave if I say I’ll go?”
“Possibly,” Alex smirked.
“Then fine, I’ll go.”
The short walk home seemed to take forever. Cole couldn’t stop thinking about what he had said earlier. It ran through his mind every second. I’ll go. Had he really meant to say the words or was it just to get his friends off his back? Maybe deep down inside he had really wanted to go. Cole couldn’t figure it out. Trying to stop his thoughts, he broke off into a sprint and didn’t stop until he reached his house.
His mother’s minivan was already parking in the garage and his mother was just stepping out when Cole reached the front lawn. Her blonde hair was matted at the side from the wind and she had a worried look covering her face.
“What’s wrong, sweetie?” she asked when she saw Cole.
“Nothing,” Cole lied. She walked over, holding onto her baby bump, and patted his shoulder.
“Are you sure?”
“I’m sure, just get off my back, would you?” he snapped. Hurt covered his mother’s face making Cole feel bad inside. “I’m sorry,” he apologized. She didn’t answer.
“Honey, you can tell me anything-”
“Just get out of my business! You’re always sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong! It gets so annoying!” Cole yelled.
“I’m just being a mother.”
“Well, could be a little less of an annoying mother?” Cole stomped off into the house leaving his mother in the driveway.
When Cole reached his room he grabbed his duffel bag out from his closet and began furiously shoving a night’s worth of clothes into it. He grabbed a flashlight from his dresser along with his phone and an iPod. By the time he was zipping it up, he heard light footsteps walking down the halls. Shoving the duffel bag under his bed, he laid down on his bed. The door cracked and a small knock rang out.
“Cole, what are you doing?” his fifteen year old sister asked. Her blue eyes were filled with concern and her hair was ruffled from napping. She hadn’t changed from her pajamas and her face was a sickly pale color.
“Nothing. Mom and Dad told me I needed to come up here and basically get out of their faces.” Cole saw his sister’s eyes lock on something on the floor. He peered down and saw the strap of the duffel bag sticking out.
“What’s that?” Cole swung his legs over the bed and shoved the strap back under the bed with his sneaker,
“Erica, leave it alone!” Cole cracked his window and stuck his face out, breathing in the fresh air.
“Are you leaving?” she pestered.
“For the night. I’ll be back by morning. Don’t tell Mom or Dad!” he ordered.
“Where are you going?”
“Hawthorne Mansion on Hawthorne Hill.” Erica’s eyes grew large and fearful.
“Are you crazy? You’ll get killed! You know ever since that woman left with-” she was cut off by a car horn sounding out the window. Cole peered down and saw Trevor’s corvette sitting in the driveway. He was getting out and waving towards the front door. Cole saw his father heading for the car. He walked toward the bed, grabbed the duffel bag, and headed for the door, leaving Erica behind, her last sentence going with him, haunting him.
“I’m telling you, Cole. Don’t do it!” she called down the hallway. Cole shrugged it off, shoving the bad thoughts into the back of his mind.
“………and then he passed me the ball and I just ran. I didn’t stop until I hit the touchdown line,” Cole heard Trevor telling his father. Trevor was leaning against the hood of the car and his father was standing, intrigued by the story Trevor had told a hundred times. Alex was sitting in the back along with her friend Molly. They were laughing and giggling about something, possibly Cole’s father.
“Hey, son. I was just talking to your friend here about him winning the game last Saturday. It was a close call. I can’t believe they pulled through.”
“I know, Dad. Can we just go?”
“I guess. Did you tell your mother and sister goodbye?”
“Yes, Dad,” Cole said. He hoped his father would catch on to how annoyed he was and shut up.
“Watch out for psychos, with the anniversary of that murder and everything, they will be all over tonight probably.”
“I know, Dad. Bye.” Cole grabbed the arm of Trevor’s shirt and pulled him to the driver’s side door. Cole threw his things into the trunk and slid into the car, trying to get away from his parents.
“See you later, Mr. Williams!” Trevor called out.
“Let’s just go,” Cole said through clenched teeth. Trevor put the car into gear and started pulling out of the driveway.
“Hey. Glad you made it without chickening out,” Alex laughed.
“Me too,” Molly chimed in.
“Can we just drive in silence please?” Cole asked. Everyone shut up all the way to the house.
Even in the sunlight the house looked creepy. Vines grew along the sides and shingles were chipping off. The windows had been broken out, the panes rotting along with the door, porch and trees surrounding the land. The grass had died and small, old baby toys were strewn along the grass. He wondered why the family had left everything when they found out the girl had disappeared with their son. Had they known she was killed or had she really just run off with him? Nobody knew. A few streamers were hanging from the roof, along with a banner that said Happy Birthday. Candles were sitting along the walkway that lead to the front door Graffiti covered the house. Cole shuddered. He knew people had been coming here for the anniversary every year.
The gravel was rough and bumpy from years of not being touched and getting washed out by the rain. The garage was still opened but no car sat inside. Trevor smirked and pulled the car in.
“Easy access,” he laughed.
“Yes!” Alex yelled, giving Trevor a high-five. Cole rolled his eyes and stepped out onto the old concrete floor. He couldn’t believe what he was getting ready to do.
A rotting smell filled the air, making the four of them gag. Old tools were strewn around on shelves and on the floor and the steps leading inside were rotted and cracking from the leak in the roof right above it. The wooden door was cracked down the middle and rotting. Cole wondered how hard it was going to be to open it after years of being nonactive. Cole searched the garage one last time as Alex, Trevor, and Molly made their way for the door and spotted a garbage can with stuff spilling over the sides. He knew that was the cause of the smell but didn’t know what was in it.
“Cole, you coming?” Alex yelled from inside. Cole hesitated then decided to leave the can alone and ran inside to join the others.
The inside was even worse then the outside. The rotting smell traveled into the kitchen were they stood in the middle of. Pots and pans covered the sink and old food was still sitting on the counter from where the babysitter was making lunch. A chair at the counter was missing and the walls were rotted and wilted like the rest of the interior and exterior. The cabinets were cracked open and the lights had been busted out.
“Wow, when people leave they really make it known that they were here,” Molly muttered. Trevor walked to the arch that was leading to what looked like the living room. Cole and Molly followed, Alex staying behind like usual.
Baby toys covered the floor, some matching the ones that sat outside while others did not. An old fireplace sat along one wall, covered in soot and dust and glass shattered the floor around it. A picture frame laid in front, probably the cause of the glass. An old, scratched up couch sat a few feet in front of the fireplace and a TV was in the corner below the window. A large thump sounded above them. Cole figured it was Alex.
“What was that?” Alex asked, popping up from behind him. His heart began pounding, knowing everyone was in the living room with him. Another thump sounded above them followed by a few more.
“We should go see,” Trevor smirked.
“Dude, are you crazy?” Cole screamed.
“A little. But oh well.” Trevor made his way toward an arch that connected the living room with the hallway that led to the staircase. Soon he disappeared, the echo of his footsteps remaining. Cole sighed and followed behind, dragging the girls behind him. He hated himself for doing it but knew he had to save his best friend.
The stairs were rotting from lack of people using them, a few dusty pictures along the wall. Some type of liquid descended down, probably another cause of the disgusting smell. A few footsteps sounded right above them. Cole knew Trevor was probably exploring, getting into stuff that he didn’t need to.
Cole made his way up the stairs, avoiding the cracks, the girls tagging along. The hallway was dark from lack of windows and it was getting darker outside with every minute so that wasn’t helping either. Another thud sounded down the hallway.
“Trevor, what are you doing?” Cole called down to him. There was no answer. Alex started toward the door at the end of the hall, Cole trying to grab her arm but failed.
“Trevor, this isn’t funny!” Alex yelled. Still no answer. Another thud echoed down the hallway making all three of them jump. Alex inched towards the door, slowly. Trevor jumped out, grabbed her, and broke out into a series of laughter.
“You’re a jerk!” Molly called, hiding behind Cole.
“Sorry, I couldn’t resist.” Trevor wrapped Alex into a hug trying to make things better. Alex shoved him away.
“That was wrong, dude.”
“So that noise, it was you then?” Molly asked, shaking in fear.
“Nope. I just started to play along with it. It was coming from one of those rooms.” Trevor pointed to the farthest two doors, provoking Alex to go check them out. Cole followed behind and stopped when he reached Trevor.
“Don’t worry, Cole. I’m sure your girlfriend will be ok,” Trevor smirked. Cole shoved him. Trevor tripped over a piece of flooring that was sticking up and toppled into an open door. Cole rushed over and slammed the door shut, not letting go as Trevor pleaded for his life. Trevor banged on the door before giving up.
“Fine! This is how you’re going to be? Great! I’ll just wait until you let me out! I’m not afraid!” Trevor hollered from the other side of the door. Cole shrugged, not caring and watching Alex as she opened the farthest door. The tapping grew louder and she stopped. Alex turned, relief covering her face.
“It’s just a branch scraping the window,” she reported, relief filling her face. Before she could move, something grabbed her and pulled her into the shadows of the room.
“Alex!” Cole screamed. He quickly turned to see Molly gone also. Cole opened the door, Trevor falling out of the room from leaning against the door, and ran to where Alex was standing. He searched the empty room, trying to find any clue of what had just happened.
It was a baby’s room. It didn’t contain many toys, probably since they were all downstairs or outside. It only had a rusted crib and a chipped dresser. Nothing to hide behind or under for someone to take Alex. The window was sealed and the room didn’t have any attics or closets.
“What happened?” Trevor asked.
“I don’t even know. Someone jumped out and grabbed Alex. They aren’t in here anymore,” Cole answered. Confusion covered Trevor’s face.
“Well, where are they?”
“That’s what has me confused. There’s no place in here they could have gone besides out the window but its sealed shut.” Cole’s eyes scanned the empty, dark room. Suddenly, a small doll on a toy bike rolled out from under the crib, carnival music filling the room. Cole felt his heartbeat begin to race inside of his chest. He turned to look at Trevor but realized that he too had went missing.
The door slammed shut, locking Cole inside of the abandoned room. He ran to the door and began beating on it, pleading for the person to let him out. He felt as if his heart might beat right out of his chest. He ran short of breath, sweat rolling down his face. He turned to lean against the door and slid to the floor in defeat. He knew it was useless.
“Cole!” he heard a distant voice call out. It sounded like Trevor. He sounded afraid and hopeless. Cole rose to his feet and began banging on the locked door once more. He frantically turned the doorknob, trying to get it to turn. He looked around for something to help him break free. The sun was descending making the room darker by the minute. The sun was almost completely gone and his eyes hadn’t yet adjusted to the darkness. He felt around, as if he were blind, for something hard to brake down the door.
When he reached the small dresser, the door slowly creaked open. Cole stood, staring out the window, before turning to peer down the long hallway. It was empty, no sign of life was anywhere near him. Cole made his way to the door, looked both ways, and stepped out of the baby’s room. A dark figure jumped from behind a corner into Cole’s view.
“Where are my friends?” he demanded, gritting his teeth. The figure never answered. Cole balled his fists, digging his nails into the palms of his hands. He slowly began making his way to the end of the hall. The figure didn’t move an inch. Cole couldn’t even tell if they were breathing. He noticed somebody cowering behind the figure.
“Cole!” It was Alex.
“Alex, hang on! Why are you doing this?” Cole demanded. The figure remained still, Alex squirming behind him. Another figure grabbed Cole's arms and began pushing him towards the one by the stairs. He dug his sneakers into the wooden floor, refusing to go. The figure shoved him harder and Cole plummeted onto the floor right at the figure’s feet. Cole slowly looked up, catching a glimpse of the figure’s shadowed face. He would recognize the blonde spiked hair, and evil smirk from anywhere.
“Trevor?” Trevor pulled the hood back over his face and turned towards the stairway, shoving Alex down. Cole reached out to help her but failed.
“Why would you do that?” Cole demanded. Alex came back into view and slowly made her way back up the stairs, an evil laugh growing in her throat. “What’s going on?” Cole asked, pushing himself onto his feet.
“It’s a yearly prank that goes on every year,” Trevor answered.
“But why me? I’m supposed to be your friend.”
“Cole, Cole, Cole, didn’t you hear me earlier? You’re knew to this and we always target the new people,” Alex replied. Molly stepped beside her, wearing the same hooded cloak as Trevor.
“And since you have a secret and all,” Trevor added.
“What? What are you talking about?”
We did our research, Cole. Haven’t you? Didn’t Mommy and Daddy tell you?” Molly mocked. Confusion covered Cole’s face.
“What are you talking about?” Cole demanded.
“You know exactly what we’re talking about, Bruce Hawthorne. You know all about it,” Trevor said. Cole froze in his place, shock smacking him in the face. Had he heard Trevor correctly.
“Sit down, Bruce. We’ll give you you’re whole bio.” Trevor motioned for Cole to sit down. Cole did as he was told and Trevor crouched in front of him, Alex and Molly sitting on either side of him.
“You see,” Trevor started, “when you were just a little boy Mommy and Daddy were always gone for work purposes,” Trevor said, as if he were talking to a small child.
“Talk normally, Trev,” Alex demanded.
“Fine. You’re real dad, Mack Hawthorne, was this big shot business man, that’s how he bought this house. After you turned one, you’re real mom, Sarah Hawthorne, got a job as a lawyer. They were always gone on business and hired a babysitter to watch you while they were gone at long periods of time. They noticed the girl started acting strange towards you. They knew she was abused at home so figured it had to have something to do with that. Well, trying to change her attitude towards you, they asked her to move in. HUGE mistake.
“When she moved in, strange things started to happen. Your parents felt nervous when you were left alone with the girl, they felt awkward every time they were in the same room as her. Then the real problems started occurring. You started getting random bruises and cuts on your face and arms. The babysitter claimed you just fell while playing outside. They believed her. She had some sort of power over them that they couldn’t stop.
“Your parents just shrugged it off, thinking it was nothing. Then the bruises and cuts got worse and more serious. The cuts turned to gases and the bruises turned to broken bones. Your parents just thought you were clumsy, the babysitter made them believe her. The babysitter started seeing things, keeping this from your parents, she didn’t pay much attention to it. She told you that there was an evil spirit trying to get you. She said the only way to get rid of it was to hurt you like she had been doing.
“And then, today just seventeen years ago, your parents made the mistake they have regretted for the rest of their lives. They went on a date and left you alone with the psycho. She heard noises just like we did earlier. She got freaked out and decided to play hide-and-seek, hoping to get her mind off of the noise. When she couldn’t find you, she freaked out even more and started seeing stuff. She thought she saw somebody and when she found you, you were in your room playing. She claimed that was where the thing was. When the cops found her, she had attempted to kill herself, trying to drive the evil spirit away from you. She told the cops she was the sacrifice for you. They found you curled up underneath your bed, scared to death. They sent her to a wacky house and they say the curse still lives within the house,” A large clap of thunder sounded outside, making everyone jump.
“If this is true then what happened to my parents? Why am I now Cole Williams?”
“Your parents blamed themselves for everything that had happened and thought that they put you in danger for not seeing the evil that lived inside the babysitter so, they took their own lives after placing you in a foster home. I guess your new parents wanted you to have a better life and changed your name and hid your background,” Alex told him. Cole still looked confused.
“How did you guys figure this out? I never knew any of this.”
“Research, Bruce, we did research.”
“Stop calling me that! You guys lied! What, do you tell all of the new people this story? It’s messed up so just stop!” Another loud clam of thunder shook the house. The door to the baby’s room slowly creaked open.
“Bruce, welcome home,” a hushed voice said. Cole noticed his friends looking as scared as he did.
“It’s not us this time, we promise!” A woman wearing all white appeared in the doorway, her hair blowing all over from some invisible wind.
“Let’s get out of here!” Alex screamed.
“Welcome home, baby boy.” Cole pushed himself to his feet and struggled to get away, failing.
“Leave me alone!” Cole screamed. The woman got closer as his friends ran outside. Cole’s heart began to pound. The woman outstretched her arms, inviting Cole into them. He felt his heart get heavy and felt it get harder to breathe.
“Just…leave…me alone!” he panted. The woman walked closer, her hand touching Cole’s shoulder. She began pulling him into a hug. Cole felt himself get light headed. His eyes began to slowly close, the world around him turning black.
“Welcome home, Bruce,” the woman whispered. Then everything went black…