Chapter 3

It's dark...


I'm walking in time to that rhythm. I'm trapped here. Where do I go? It's just dark. A corridor with no doors. No windows. No light. I'm going where I hear this noise. The sound of metal striking metal. So even, like a machine. But it's not a machine making this sound, this I know. Someone...


I do not fight it, I cannot. I keep going. The noise is louder now. At any time I will see this source. This eery green light will illuminate the one in charge. He will judge me. What can I do?

I see movement. This corridor has an end and he is standing there. His arm sways mechanically like a pendulum. This I can see. Something next to him he strikes with his weapon. I hear nothing but that noise, that noise, that terrible noise, the louder noise, always louder, I draw near with this noise in my head, with its clang, its echo its repetition why won't it stop it gets louder and louder and louder louder clang louder clang louder

clang. I move. clang. That pointed head of his has never moved. clang. He is looking

I gasped. I opened my eyes and reached out my arms as far as they could go. I realised I was just rubbing the floor and stopped. I just lay there a moment, breathing and shivering. I could still hear that clanging. Was it happening right now? In the house? No. It was just my memory right then. In fact, that was the clanging I heard when I first came to the door yesterday. But it was so quiet then, no wonder I forgot about it. I just looked up to find the stone angel still staring at me.

I sat up. Okay, I could see my rod and flashlight. I was still wearing my backpack. It was still sunny. And the door was still closed. Great. What the hell happened? I looked up the stairs and, well, there was no sign of anything that could of held me back. Not even some kind of cult symbol. I vaguely wondered how long I had been out and got out my cell to check.

Huh. Mighta been out for about 10 minutes, no more than 20 at least. I saw something else on the display: no signal. Shoulda known. (That clanging in my head, why couldn't I forget it?)

I glared at the door. I was sure, but I still wanted to know. I got up, marched over to the door and pulled. Locked. I rattled the door. I wanted out! OUT OUT OUT OUT! Still locked.

I kicked it in frustration. That did it! The door was officially my enemy. "You think you could screw me over like this? You think, you could get away with locking me up in here? Huh?! What've you got against me? I just enter in here, no bad intentions, I simply wanted you to stay open. With an angel no less. Some angel!" Silence. "No answer huh? Well maybe you're afraid of me? Yeah that's right! You're afraid of me! Well take that!" I banged the door once. "And that!" Twice.

I raised my fist but, you know what? Screw it. I yanked the stupid door back and forth as I screamed my head off.

"What're you trying to do? Wake the dead? Please stop!"

I definitely didn't expect to hear that. I completely stopped, swivelled my head to the right and saw a scared boy standing in the doorway of what was a closed door. I was still mad, so that made him my victim. "Did you close this door?"

He looked at me like I'd just spoken Japanese. "No."

That's right, he couldn't have. No one would put all that effort into moving a statue, closing a door and then moving the statue back in its exact position. I let go of the door and looked at this newcomer. He was about my age, with hazel eyes and blonde hair. His hair was kinda long, just stopping around his shoulders and hanging there happily, but it coulda done with a brush. His face was round, showing how not-skinny he was, but I could guess there was muscle under those clothes, he really was cute. But what was he wearing? His jeans happily clung to his knees and above, his hooded sweater was blue and baggy, and underneath he wore this white and blue shirt with no buttons done up, and it was so long it dangled round his butt. You could even see the collar round his neck, covering up what the hood couldn't. I just couldn't stop myself laughing.

He cringed, a little offended. "Why are you laughing?" He was even pouting.

"I'm sorry." Really, I did feel sorry, now was not the time for this. I shook my head. "It's just...what you're wearing."

He reddened. "Yeah well, I don't exactly follow fashion." That really showed. He walked forward. "I'm Luke, what's your name?"

"Tanya." I picked up my flashlight and iron rod.

"Nice to meet you, Tanya. Uh, was that you shouting earlier?"


"Well uh, I was gonna explore and try to find a way outta here, but I heard shouting coming from upstairs. I thought it might be a ghost so..." He shrugged. "I hid in the kitchen."

I looked at the open door. "That's a kitchen."

"Yup. You sounded angry then, too."

I sighed. "Yeah, that was me. I know I haven't explored much of this place, but it's just so empty. Plus I kept seeing weird things. I gotta little nuts and started arguing with my boyfriend. Sorry, I should start from the beginning. I'm a bit, um," I waved my arms all over the place in a really weird pattern. I was a little shakey, shivering a little, it was pretty cold in there.

"Scatterbrained?" he suggested. Luke still seemed a little unsure of me, as if I might attack him at any moment.

"Yeah, that. Anyway you musta heard or read it in the paper or something about the, uh, dead boy that was found here? Raymond Morano?"

The blonde shook his head as if he felt guilty. "No, sorry, I don't exactly keep up with current events most of the time."

"It's okay, honestly it's good to meet someone who doesn't know for once." I took a breath. "Ray was my boyfriend. A couple of weeks ago...almost a month actually, he disappeared. Then about 2 weeks ago his body was just found here. There were no clues. No one knows who killed him or why, and it's also weird that his body was found here. But the cops won't search the place, so I decided I will."

Luke nodded. He looked at the door. "So, the door is locked. What happens now?"

"We have to solve a mystery."

"A mystery?"


"How do you know this?"

I sighed. "It's the ultimate cliché. Someone gets trapped inside a haunted house and they cannot leave until they solve a mystery. Either they find out why it's haunted, solve a mystery so a ghost can rest, defeat a psycho killing ghost somehow or just face their own fear, or demon, or something. I really hope it's not the last one. Anyway, we'd better try finding clues. If we do nothing we'd most likely end up dead, considering I don't have enough food for both of us."

"You got food?"

"Yeah, I knew I'd be in here a while so I packed some." I started to wonder if I should have predicted meeting someone else and packed extra just in case. Then I noticed that Luke wasn't saying anything, just thinking, but I really wanted him to talk again just so that I didn't have to think about that clanging. I then realised that there was something about him missing. But what was it? What was I missing? I honestly couldn't think, I just kept hearing the clanging in the back of my head. Why couldn't I forget it? I didn't want to think about the thing I saw.

"Maybe we should look in the study?" he suggested.

Oh good, he finally said something. "Definitely, good idea, where's the study?"

"Somewhere on the ground floor." He seemed confident. But then he smiled sheepishly. "If 'Clue' is a reliable source of info on big houses, that is."

"It might be just a board game, but it's a well known fact that studies are on the bottom floor," I said seriously. "It's just that, I doubt we'll find anything or even be able to identify which room used to be the study, 'cos this house is so empty."

"We might get lucky. Besides, the kitchen still has furniture in it, so why not another room? I'm just gonna pick a door and I say we look inside. I'll pick um, that one."

With that we started our search together on the bottom floor.
© Ruth Hüneke 2009