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Strange Things Are Happening
“This town sucks in the fall,” said Mel as she blew her long blonde hair out of her face. Emily nodded in agreement. The two were walking home after school as they did every day, passing the hollow that led up the mountain to Shay Manor. Shay Manor was an 18th century era mini-mansion that the town’s founder, Nekola Shay, and his family lived. It was built on the side of the mountain surrounded by trees, supposedly in order to make it harder for Indians to find. After the Shay family died off, different people occupied the house for short periods of times, moving in and then moving back out only a few months later. In the 1800s, it was mostly squatters who would stay in the mansion, but even they did not like to stay overnight, often passing on spooky stories of ghosts and weird noises. Now, it had been abandoned for so long that no one could even remember when someone had lived in it last or exactly why they chose to leave. The only people who went in the supposedly haunted mansion now were teenagers looking for a scare on the weekends.
“Hey,” Mel said, grabbing Emily’s hand to stop her. “Let’s go up the mountain.”
“What?” Emily furrowed her brow. Mel smiled impishly.
“Come on! It’ll be fun! Let’s go hang out with the ghosts of Shay Manor,” she laughed. She dropped her book bag at the opening of the trail and started in. Emily rolled her eyes, but still followed. She was used to Mel doing whatever she wanted. It was like trouble was attracted to her. Letting her go by herself would potentially create a bigger problem.
The two girls started their mile and a half long trek up the mountain to get to the manor. About half way there, the girls began to hear music playing in the distance. The song sounded like something from the ‘50s, equipped with the scratching noise heard with record players. The melody was not unlike that of which you would hear in an elevator. The music was light and sounded like it would have been a happy tune, if the notes were not so off-key. To be honest, it sounded more creepy than anything else. Mel craned her head around, trying to detect the direction it was coming from.
“There!” she exclaimed, pointing to their left.
“But that’ll take us off the trail,” Emily stated nervously.
“Come on, Em, live a little!” Mel bounded off the path and through the trees towards the mysterious noise, Emily reluctantly following behind. As the girls strayed further away, the music continuously grew louder to the point where it sounded like they were right in the room where it was being played. They followed it until they came to the source, breaking out from the cover of trees into a clearing where they were suddenly no more than five feet away from none other than Shay Manor. The girls stood there, confused, listening intently to the music. Emily perked up bit when she heard another noise. She took a couple steps towards the building.
“Emily! What the—” Mel started, coming up behind Emily.
“Shh!” Emily hissed. “Did you hear that?”
“This sounds like that crap my grandma listens to,” Mel said, breaking the silence that had been going on for the past few minutes.
“I mean the thump. Did you hear the thump?” Emily asked. Mel listened closely.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
Mel jumped and then glanced from the mansion to Emily.
“What was that?”
“It’s coming from inside.” Emily started walking towards the window where she wiped off dust and peered inside. Mel followed her lead.
“Oh my God,” Mel exclaimed. “Who is that?” Emily did not reply, but instead continued to watch the mysterious girl dancing in the room, a resounding thump echoing every time her feet landed on the ground. The girl looked about their age; she was wearing a once white dress that fell just above her knees, the seam ripped and tattered like the bottom half of the skirt had been torn off. One of the straps was tanned with age and what looked like mud. Her long, black hair was ratty and unkempt, and her bluish-white skin brought out the dark purplish-blue circles under her eyes. Her arms were spread out like wings and she was spinning around like a toddler.
It was almost like she was gliding across the floor. She would start out slow and then gradually spin faster and faster, taking huge steps across the wooden floor. She would laugh every now and then, a tinkling, happy laugh. It was captivating to witness. The girls stood at the window, transfixed by the odd beauty of the scene. They seemed to become hypnotized as the girl kept spinning, spinning, spinning, spinning—
Then she stopped abruptly.
Mel’s hand snapped to Emily’s wrist. The girl’s back was turned towards Emily and Mel, unmoving, with the strange music still playing in the background. Her arms were stretched out. The two girls watched in anticipation, both holding their breath, to see what the girl would do next. Suddenly, the strange girl’s arms dropped to her sides. Slowly, she turned around, her eyes locked on the floor. Mel’s death grip on Emily’s wrist tightened. Somehow, the music sounded like it had sped up, but Emily wrote it off as her nerves play tricks on her. The girl’s head lifted until she locked eyes with the two girls. A slow smile spread across her face. Suddenly, she snapped her head to one side with a sickening crack. Red splattered across the window. The girls screamed and stumbled backwards.
“Oh my God, is that blood?” Mel screeched. “Where did that come from?” She was wide-eyed and practically in hysterics. Emily stood frozen in place, staring at the blood-splattered window. It was now near impossible to see through. “That’s it; I am getting the hell out of here.” Mel spun around and began running back down the hill towards the road. Emily glanced back at the window and did a double take. The blood was gone. She ran back up to the window. It was hardly possible to see through the dust and mud that was caked to it. From what she could see through the grime, all that was in the room was old furniture left behind from the previous owners, covered in crisp white bed sheets. Her eyes widened in shock. The only sign that the strange girl had been there was a single muddy footprint in the middle of the room.