It was at times like right then that I wished I wasn't so honest with my
parents, that I just kept all my secrets bottled up and let them out in
absolute angst only among friends, friends who might mislead me down
the terrible path of drug addiction and sex. That's the stereotype
anyway. Sometimes I want my own space, but I do love my parents.
It was early on Saturday morning that my mom found me packing a
backpack. I packed food, 2 bottles of water, a head light and a
hand-held flashlight, my cellphone (that I always keep in my jacket
pocket anyway) and I also found an iron rod in my house. It's just
decoration, honestly. But this time I knew I'd need it. I don't exactly
watch Supernatural to be educated about the paranormal but one thing I
have learned is that ghosts can be...at least sent away when hit by
pure iron. That I couldn't pack though. Anyway, when Mom found me
packing I had 2 choices: either lie and say I was going to a friend's
for a sleepover or tell the truth. Well I wasn't gonna go anywhere
dangerous without at least somebody knowing where I was. My parents didn't like my decision, of course, but I made it clear I needed to try.
At this point I was sitting at the front of the car and my dad was driving me
to the house. We didn't say anything. I didn't want to. I didn't want
to give the impression that I wouldn't be coming home, but I also knew
what (stupid) risks I was taking. I was planning to just cycle 'cos y'know,
healthier and better for the environment and stuff. However my dad was
feeling really overprotective and insisted on driving me.
We arrived at the house. The sun was shining really bright that day and
amazingly, the house didn't look that bad. Well, it looked depressing
and abandoned, but I suddenly wondered if I was overreacting with all
my preparation. No, definitely not. I distinctly remembered what I felt
when I walked up to that door the day before. My dad looked as if he was
suspicious of the house. At this point in time, I felt that as soon as I would
leave the car, I would be right in the dangerzone.
"Tanya, I'm telling you again, you don't
have to do this." Parents always do that, don't they? Try to stop you
making a bad decision I mean. Unfortunately, a teenager never listens.
I looked at him regretfully. "You remember how you felt when Grandma
had her cancer? You often went around distracted, you said it was
because you didn't know if she would survive or not. Well that's how
I'm feeling, right now. I don't know how Ray died or even why, so I want to find at
least one clue for the police." I sighed. "It's not that I want to do it."
Dad gripped the steering wheel. "Well you're coming home you hear me?"
That confused me. Is a rational, wise adult like him afraid of a
haunted house? "Of course I'm coming home. I promised." And I really
wanted to stick to it.
He just nodded. "What time should I pick you up?" he asked tightly.
I didn't know how to answer that one. How much time did people spend in
a haunted house on average? Suddenly I wished I was a horror buff, then
I coulda given him a rough idea. He ended up answering for me.
"As soon as it gets dark you get out of that house. Sunset should be
about 5:40 today. I'll pick you up about then. If you're not here then I'll
assume something has happened. So what should I do then?"
"Call the police," I told him automatically. "Get an ambulance too."
I opened the door, I saw his face as I closed it. He looked helpless,
like some kind of prisoner. It almost made me wanna hop back into the
car and beg him to take me home, but I had a mission. As cliché
as that sounds.
I turned away and walked straight into the jungle. Even in sunshine the
place was eerie, and I definitely could not see any insects. There are
supposed to be insects with plants. I headed to the door, telling
myself nothing was wrong and the house was just empty. I slowly climbed
onto the porch. Again, I felt it, the house seemed to hate me but I had
done nothing. Taking a deep breath, I grabbed the handle and opened the
Huh, what? I thought I saw a corpse in the main entrance hall. I
quickly double-checked. It was Ray's corpse, exactly how I saw it at
the crime scene and in the same place too, off centre and to my left,
and it blinked out of existence when I fully opened the door. Well,
more like flickered out of existence. The floor was empty, no sign of
anything having been there. That definitely wasn't a good sign. My grip on the iron rod hardened for assurance. I
looked around the main entrance hall, finding it completely devoid of
objects of any kind and I didn't hear a thing. It was well lit though,
thanks to all the windows. I definitely didn't want to spend the night
Well, if I was gonna meet my dad on time, I should make sure the door
stays open. Since there was nothing indoors, I stepped back out to look
for a heavy doorstop. It didn't take long to find a small stone angel
statue, and I managed to sorta drag it inside and have it stand by the
door. There, now nothing could shut it. I walked inside, trying to
decide where to look first. The bigger rooms are normally downstairs,
so I thought I'd try going upstairs first. And upstairs, I had trouble
deciding whether to go left or right. I chose right but didn't go all
the way down.
Normally I just either opened a door or looked through open doors. The
rooms were so empty, I usually just peeked then left. So I looked
carefully around the corridor I walked through too, getting out my
flashlight so I could shine it into the dark corners. One room had a
surprise though. I opened a door and found a painting leaning against a
wall. The painting was really well done, although a little bit graphic.
It showed a crowd of people, from about 4 centuries ago I thought,
standing around an execution site. You could see the prisoners lined
up, as well as the ominous, shadowy executioner, holding his axe and
wearing the hood of his robe up. The realism was awesome, but the
colours were faded, showing it to have been done years ago. I found it
weird that there was no dust on the thing. Come to think of it, there wasn't
any dust anywhere.
I left the room, walked further along and reached for another door
handle. As soon as I gripped it, I felt something wet. There was blood
on the handle! My hand too! Ew! I wiped my hand quickly on my jeans to
get rid of the stuff. Except the blood had disappeared; from the
handle, my hand and my jeans were still clean. My heart was still
pounding from the shock. I calmed down a little and slowly opened the
The shadow inside the room shifted as the door opened, so I expected to
find a man looking at me. There was no one there. I couldn't believe
it. I was staring at empty useless air and the sun was shining brightly
into the room. The shadow would not budge. What the hell was making it?
I slammed the door shut.
Okay, I didn't mean to slam it but right then, I was just so on edge.
Even after shutting the door my hand still gripped the handle. I forced
myself to let go of it at some point, just standing there frozen
accomplished nothing. I slowly crept forward, wanting to continue my
investigation but also hoping I didn't disturb anything. I just crept
along, causing the floor to creak at one point. It sounded really loud.
Someone screamed. It sounded like a man. I looked behind me, convinced
that was the direction it came from. It sounded so painful. I wondered
if I should call out, just to check he was okay. But that would be
pointless. I'm the only living thing here, right? I shivered. Is it
just me, or did the temperature just plummet?
I turned back around and carried on in the direction I was creeping. I
never stopped shivering. I gripped my iron rod harder, as if it would
protect me against anything. I finally got to another door and opened
it. This room was a bathroom. I stepped inside for the simple reason
that this room looked interesting. The toilet was still there, so was
the sink, with taps that needed a polish. I doubted the plumbing was
working though. There was no mirror and where the bathtub was meant to
go, there was just a big space with a pipe sticking up at one end. But
there was something else. Something was written in blood on the wall
there. 'Alicia' Who's that? I touched the writing. It was crusty and
brown, like old blood.
What was-? I looked quickly to the right, to try and find whatever I
saw in the corner of my eye. But there was just nothing. Good ol' big
"Ray!" I shouted, purely out of frustration. I wanted to find a clue,
some clue, anything that could lead to Ray's killer. The only things
I'd found were the painting that has nothing to do with anything and a
name written on a wall. 'Alicia' I needed more info than that. And what
if that name had nothing to do with anything either? "Ray!" I shouted
again. I stared right at a blank wall, challenging it almost. "You are
definitely here." Oh God, I was having an argument with air in the hope
that my boyfriend could hear me. "I came here so I could serve some
justice. To find your killer. There are weird things happening, so I can only assume you're here. But you're ignoring me?! The least
you could do is help me." I put my hand on my hip. Ray always called
this my 'boss stance', it got a reaction out of him every time. But
this time, nothing happened.
I sighed. I wondered if I should just give up.
"Last chance to help me Ray," I muttered. I followed my compulsion to
go back to the main entrance hall. But why was I feeling like this? I
still had so many rooms to check and I had still only wandered around
half of one floor. I just felt this need to go to the main entrance
hall. Going outside, into the sun, that would be nice. Maybe this was
stupid? Maybe I was
getting myself worked up and freaked out in a stupid creepy house for a
mystery that's ultimately unsolvable? And maybe Ray wasn't here after
all? Maybe he's already at peace and the only person with a problem was
me and anyone who worked in cold cases? I suddenly imagined calling my
dad and seeing his smiling face at my change of heart. And then once at
home my mom would suggest playing a board game. How about Pictionary?
She plays that game as frequently as possible. I smiled as I descended
the stairs. I stopped,
The door was shut.
The front door was shut.
The door was shut.
What? Why's the door shut?
In absolute disbelief I slowly, so slowly, went down the stairs. I
wanted to see for myself, up close. The door definitely looked shut.
And I couldn't move properly. I was so stiff. The further down I got,
the harder it was to move. I realised I was panting with the absolute
effort, it was exhausting. When I finally reached the bottom I...I felt
so lightheaded. I couldn't focus properly. The door doubled and swayed. I heard my rod fall on the
floor as I collapsed. I couldn't fight it anymore. I just panted and
panted as I stared tiredly at that stone angel, staring at me like I