Monday Stories: The House – Chapter 10

Anthony slides off the table and holds up a book, “Got something!”

“What?”

“The solution is to seal the symbol.”

“What?”

“According to this, the symbol opens a door. We need to close it and lock it.”

“And how are we supposed to do that?”

“Drawing another symbol.”

“Really?” Val narrows his eyes, “That seems too easy.”

“Maybe but I’m not complaining. Mike, where did you put the symbol?”

“Second floor, just outside the back window. On the roof.”

The trio of boys staring at him.

“What?”

“Couldn’t have been like, just outside the shed? Or the front door. Or somewhere easy to get to?”

“I wasn’t planning on getting shoved around by a house!”

“We do have a problem though.”

“What?”

Jacob drops a book between them. A shadowy creature is drawn on one page.

“What is that?”

“That is what is causing the problem. The writer doesn’t have a name but he does say ‘a door unlocked allows anything to pass through. Beware the beasts that wait for an opened door.’ Which I guess is this fellow here?”

“Maybe. Do we have to kill it?”

“Nope. He never found a way to kill it.”

“Oh, great.”

“Right? Jacob looks at the others, “So. We go. We draw this symbol. We avoid getting killed by this… beast-thing. We go home?”

“After a drink.” Mike adds, “I’m going to need a drink after this.”

“Right. How do we get back to the house?”

The walls groan and dust falls on their heads as the walls return to their proper place. The shed’s door swings open on creaky hinges. Mike leads the way out of the shed with Val right on his tail. The boys take deep breaths.

“I can’t believe how stuffy it was in there.” Jacob says as he begins to jog to the house.

“Right?’

A terrible wail fills the air. The four boys slide a stop. Lights flicker on and off across the house. They see the building visibly shake. Part of the house explodes, sowing wood and facade everywhere. A shadowy creature stalks forward. Lightning crisscrossing across its body.

“What do we?” Jacob yells.

“RUN!”

In a heartbeat, they split up. Jacob and Val head left while Mike retreats. Anthony dodges to the right. The creature howls and charges after the brothers. Anthony glances to the left as he runs towards the house. The brothers disappear around the corner as the shadowy creature chases after them. Lighting scorches the ground as he passes by.

Anthony disappears through the opening in the wall. Already, the house slowly repairs itself like a wound healing.

He slides to a stop in the kitchen. The door is destroyed. The edges are burned to a cinder. The pantry door and pantry has been torn apart. The ground is burned and now sports deep grooves in the ground.

“Chloe! Dani! WHERE ARE YOU?”

The teen slowly makes his way through the house. It creaks and groans as if it is in pain. Tony passes through the remains of the kitchen door and into the hallway. Scorched marks leave deep furrows on the walls.

Scratching noises appear behind him.

The teen turns around, waiting for some attacker.

Instead, he sees the old walls peeling. After a moment, the boy can read the words “hallway closet” formed out of the wood paneling.

Keeping his ear opens for danger, Tony makes his way down the hall. He comes to the closet and pulls on the door.

A body rolls out of the closet. A blonde hair with pale skin. Dead, black eyes stare at him. His stomach lurches at the sight. He drops to his knees and checks. Her flesh is cold and he can see a slice across his throat.

Tony backs away and tries not to throw up.

He fights against the rising bile and carefully puts the girl back in the closet. He shuts the door and tries not vomit again.

The teen turns and moves away from the door. Instead, he wanders down the stairs towards the basement. The door opens easily. He finds the ease suspicious but he hears voices from the basement. The teen follows the voices.

X

The two girls slam into the ground hard. The girls’ eyes adjust to the light just to see the ceiling close overhead. The last thing Dani sees is a dark mass of energy overhead.

“Ow.”

Dani rolls over and crawls off her sister’s legs.

“You okay?” Chloe asks.

“Yeah.”

“What was that?”

“I don’t know.”

A scream fills the air. It vibrates the very ground and shakes their bones. From above comes a terrible screeching noise. The screaming gets louder. The abruptly the house falls silent. A shudder runs through the house. Slowly the shaking slows to a stop.

“What was that?” Dani whispers.

“I don’t know.” She answers.

Dani pulls back and leans against the wall. She rubs the temples of her head. Chloe grimaces and scoots over next to her.

“Fun night, huh?”

“Oh yeah. Loads. Got a house that is either trying save us or kill us. Got a monster running around here.”

“Come on. We can pull through. We always do.”

“Yeah, but how many wounds are we going to get after this one? How hurt are we going to get when this is all over?”

“I don’t know.” She nudges her shoulders, “I know one thing though.”

“What?”

Chloe smiles, “We’ll be there afterward.”

“Right.”

The two girls hear footsteps coming down the stairs. The girls look up and tense, ready to run. Tony appears at the bottom of the stairs. He looks carefully around the room. He finds the two girls lying against the wall.

“Dani? Chloe?” He walks towards them, “Are you two okay?”

“We’re fine.” Chloe answers, “Just had a run in with an electricity, shadow monster.” She frowns, “What happened to you?”

“We got shoved into the shed. Later, we got released..” He looks up towards the roof, “Then we met that monster creature. I don’t know but it chased after Val and Jacob. No idea where Mike is. We gotta get going. We got a plan to end this.”

“You found something?”

“Yeah.” Anthony raises a leather bound book, “This one talks about what is happening here. And how to undo it.”

“Great.” A howl fills the air. The teens feel a shiver run down their spines.

“What is it?”

“The short version is this. Houses can come alive because of special humans. You can also open the door to a place where monsters live and let them into this world. Another symbol shuts that door.”

“Wow.”

“Three hours of reading.”

The sisters glance at each other, “It’s been three hours?”

“Since this started.”

Another howl fills the air.

“We gotta go.” Tony says as he helps the girls up, “We are going to draw this symbol and hopefully end this whole thing before anyone else gets hurt.”

Chloe hears something in his voice. She notices that he is pale and doesn’t look very well.

“What is it?”

“You know Jenny?”

She nods her head.

“I found her upstairs in the closet.”

“Is she…?”

Tony nods her head slowly.

“Where did you find her?”

“Hallway closet. I closed it.”

“Let’s go.” Chloe says, “I’m ready for this night to end.”

They wander up the stairs. The house shakes as they walk up the stairs. The teens brace themselves against the walls as the house shakes become violent.

“What is going on?”

“I don’t know!”

The girl struggles towards the wall and looks out. Tony struggles to a window and looks out the window. Below, a creature howls as it tries to catch Val. He screams as he tries to throw a rock at the creature.

“What is he doing?” Chloe yells.

“Not a clue.”

“What do we do?”

“We finish this.” Anthony struggles down the hall and pulls out a knife as he forces the back window open. Chloe and Dani hold on to him as the house vibrations become worse. Outside, the shadow creatures notice Anthony.

His howls fill the air, adding to the vibrations.

Chloe can see the shadow coming towards the house.

“Anthony, whatever you’re doing hurry up.”

“Why?!?” He grunts as he continues to carve over the painting.

“Because that thing is coming straight to us!”

“Oh great.”

They feel the house shift as the shadow creature comes closer. Val runs up from behind. He throws stones at him. His left arm dangles at his side.

“Anthony!”

“Almost…”

The shadow’s head appears. At this range, the girls can see sharp teeth in its mouth. Lighting dancing through its black eyes.

To Be Continued…

Monday Stories: The House- Chapter 7

The boys land in a pile. Among the groans and moans, Anthony feels cold. He straightens up. The brothers lie in a tangled mess. Mike pulls himself out from underneath.

“What just happened?” Val mutters.

“The house just went monster on us,” Jacob growls.

“Maybe.” Mike looks around, “Where are we?”

“I think we’re outside.” Anthony answers.

“What makes you say that?”

“This looks like a shack.”

The boys turn their attention from their aches and pains to the room. Like the house, the dust covers everything. There are tools attached to the walls. Their surfaces are coated with rust. There is an oily smell in the air. The windows are coated in grease.

“Okay.” Val mutters, “Stupid question. How do we get out of here?”

“Really?” Mike replies, “I thought it would be, ‘how did we get here?’.”

“Oh, I skipped that one since we don’t actually have an answer.”

“Good point.” Mike looks towards the door, “First. The basic solutions.”

“And if that doesn’t work?”

“We try breaking the windows.” He looks back, “I assume none of you tried to break a window to get out, right?”

“Also true.”

Jacob lifts a shovel and slams it against the glass. It bounces off with an unnatural thud. He tries three more times before giving up.

Val turns towards the others, “Plan C?”

“I got nothing.”

“Maybe we can go get out another way.”

“Really?” Val snaps, “Really? Because if you haven’t noticed, we’re in a shack outside a house that is coming to life. What do you think we are going to do?”

“Actually.” Jacob asks while raising his hand, “Why did it stick us here?”

“I don’t care.” Mike answers, “I want to get out of here and back to reality.”

“What about the girls?”

Mike takes a deep breath and slowly shakes his head, “What can we do stuck here?”

“I don’t know.”

“Any ideas?”

“Well. What do you all remember?”

Anthony frowns, “It was cold.”

“And fast.” Val glances out the window, “It shouldn’t have taken that short of time to get here. Do you know what I mean?”

“Yes.” Jacob replies, “What does that mean for us?”

“I think that means we’re in trouble.”

“Agreed.”

Val stomps his foot in frustration. The ground echoes metallically under the blow. The boys look down and stare curiously at the ground. Val and Anthony drag away the dirt, revealing an old metal door. Together, they pull the door open and reveal a black chamber with a ladder inside.

“Okay.” Jacob says, “Who wants to go down the ladder first and die?”

“I think there is a light switch.” Anthony reaches over and feels around the edges.

“How do you know?”

“Dad used to have something similar with our storm shelter.” At a soft click, yellow light fills the chamber below, “There it is.”

A cement floor is covered with dirt and boxes line the sides of the walls.

“What do you think?”

“I think we need to be careful,” Anthony says as he begins working his way down the old ladder.

In a few short minutes, the teens are underneath the shack. The boxes cover the entire left side of the wall. Opposite of the boxes is a metal door. Between the two of them is a desk covered with leather-bound books.

Anthony wanders over to the desk while the brothers examine the crates. Mike studies the lock on the door. The walls shake and tremble for a moment. Dust falls from the ceiling. The boys look up then at each other. Val turns to Mike.

“Can we get through the door?”

“Nope.” He says, “There is some freaky combo lock there.”

“Fun.”

“I might have found something.” Anthony raises a hand.

“What?”

“These journals.” He glances at the different corners, “They are about the house over the past few decades.” Anthony flips to the back, “Quite a few decades.”

“How far back?”

“Almost a hundred years.”

“Wow.” Jacob replies, “What is it about?”

“The house. It seems like someone has been watching the house and noticing weird stuff.” Anthony turns towards the others, “June 3, 1875. The house is once again changing. We haven’t discovered why but the house is alive. We are worried that the disease is spreading. The house has tried to kill three occupants. However, it was unsuccessful.”

“That’s good.”

The teens pick up different books off the desk.

Val flips through the book, “This one is talking about the house. Says here that the writer thinks that something is triggering aberrant behavior. But he also states that a house can change behavior by the events happening within the house.”

“And this one.” Jacob says, “There are markings that may be triggering the changes in the house behavior. Oh, they even drew a symbol.”

Jacob turns it and shows it to the others. A triangle with a half circle underneath. A single line goes from the top of the triangle to the bottom of the circle.

Anthony notices Mike has grown pale.

“Mike? What is it?”

“That symbol.” He points with a shaking hand.

Val raises an eyebrow, “You’ve seen it?”

“I drew it.” He steps back and puts his hands on the back of his head, “Today before everyone got here. I painted it so to scare the girls. The last big thrill before the end of the night.”

To Be Continued…

Monday Stories: The House – Chapter 6

“What are you talking about?” Val growls impatiently, “I am getting sick of this stupid plan of yours. I knew I should have stayed home but no, I had to let you talk me in.”

“Look!” Mike says and he points towards the wall.

The teens crowd around the hall. Mike pulls out a flashlight and shines it on the lower part of the hallway just before the stairs. Barely readable in the weak light are the carved words “Seal it. Free me. Undo what was done.”

“Oh wow.” Jacob mutters, “That makes so much sense now.”

The brothers glare at the taller boy.

“What? I didn’t do this!”

“So you claim.”

“Would I do this? Seriously?”

Without warning the house shudders. A great creaking noise fills the air. Cracking of noise accompanies each teen as they disappear out of sight. Dani’s wheels her arms as the floor beneath suddenly shifts. She lands on her back as the floor seems to move away from the others. She turns back just to see Val and Mike slide down the stairs. Anthony is swept into a room by a door. Her sister disappears through a wall. In an instant, Dani finds herself alone and in the dark.

A moment later, weak lights appear in the distance.

She winces in pain and checks herself for injuries. Save for a few scrapes, she is unharmed.

“Chloe!” She yells. Her voice oddly muffled in the thick air, “Anyone?”

Only silence answers her. The air seems heavy. It lies on her like a thick blanket. Carefully, the teen stands to her feet. In the distance, a lamp flickers on. In its light, a red desk is revealed.

Dani pauses, debating whether to follow the light or not.

“Well.” She mutters to herself, “I always say to the people in the movies and books don’t do that so I’m not going to do that.”

The light of the lamp is enough to walk down the hall. Like before, the walls are worn and dust lies heavy on the surfaces. But there are no doors. Only a cross section. With a sigh, Dani takes the right hall.

Once out of sight of the lamp, she is left in total darkness. Slowly she feels her way along in the dark. Occasionally her hands brush across the hard shell of a bug.

She turns away and wanders down the hall. She feels around with her hands. She rounds a corner and is suddenly blinded. She blinks her eyes as spots float before her.

After a moment her vision clears. At the same time, her heart drops down into her stomach. It is the same lamp that she turned away from. The same red desk. The teen turns around and looks back where she came from. However, only a closet stands open.

Slowly, the teen turns back to the desk.

It is unremarkable save it is extremely old. Like any desk, it has a surface to write on and drawers to keep things. There is no chair.

Dani turns away from the desk but the doors slam shut, even the closet. The light flickers for a moment.The young teen steps back from the desk. The darkness grows thicker and she feels an urgency in the thick air.

X

The ground suddenly moves and Chloe feels herself being thrown across the hall. The blonde teen braces herself to slam into the wall. To her surprise, she passes through the wall. She notices the very boards bending as she passes by.

She turns her head and Chloe can see her sister being dragged away.

“Dani!” She screams as the wall shuts in front of her. The ground drops out from below her and she rolls along. With a sharp pain, Chloe slams into a cold wall.

The girl slides the floor with a groan and she rolls onto her back. A naked light bulb burns overhead. The walls are made of stones with wood rafts overhead and cement flooring. The girl sits up and tries to get her bearing. She peers through a nearby window. The teen finds the world still dark and that she is facing the empty backyard. Chloe tries to open the window but it refuses to open.

With a sigh, she turns around and begins looking for the stairs.

The basement is simple in design with stone pillars holding the ceiling up. Like the rest of the house, there is dust and cobwebs lying on everything. Her steps sound strange to Chloe as she wanders through the room.

After a few moments, the girl finds the old boiler and the place where the washing and dryer once stood. Confused, she looks around the basement again. She counts the rooms and looks for unique markings in each of the rooms.

Four rooms. Four minutes. No stairs.

“What is going on around here?” Dani mutters to herself, “Hello? Anthony? Dani? Can you hear me? Anyone?”

The house rumbles and dust fall from the ceiling. One portion of the wall crumbles and a chest falls to the ground. Chloe stares at the ceiling. Fear fills her. The house shivers again and the ground moves. In a blink of her eyes, the chest and the teen are side by side. Another shiver and the walls close around her, trapping her with the box.

For a moment, Chloe stares at the chest.

To Be Continued…

Monday Stories: The House – Chapter 03

“What was that?”

Anthony looks up from his science homework. Chloe stares towards the hallway. Dani gives her sister a curious look.

“What was what?”

“I thought I heard a noise.”

“Probably a rat. Or the trees outside.”

Dani pulls the blind and looks out of the window. She turns her head back and shakes her head. Chloe gets to her feet.

“I’m sure it isn’t. Or it is Mike playing a joke.”

“Maybe.”

Bang!

The sound reverberates through the room. Anthony finds himself on his feet in an instance. Dani pales. A scraping noise fills the room.

“Alright.” Anthony yells out, “Quite that.”

“Not funny!” Chloe adds.

The only answer is a low moaning noise.

“Come on.” Anthony heads towards the hallway.

“Where are you going?”

“To find out who is making that racket.” The teen yells over his shoulder.

Dani and Chloe glance at each other then slowly follow him.

“How do you know?”

“Because there are thick, tall bushes all around the house. Bushes with lots of thorns. The only places where you can come up to the house is at the front and the back. Since Dani didn’t see anyone outside they have to be at the front of the house.”

“Wouldn’t they just run to the back then?”

“Maybe but if I hear noise at the back of the house, I would just send one of you to sound like we are going to the back and then wait here.”

His voice trails off as he comes to a stop. Curious, Chloe steps up next to him and glances to the left. She hears a sharp gasp from her sister. The once empty room has been filled with skulls and candles. A black pentagram decorates the floor while small bowls occupy each corner.

Chloe turns to her sister. She is backing away from the sight. Her skin pale and her hands trembling.

“Dani, Dani. Just someone’s bad idea of a joke. It’s okay.”

Anthony squats down and taps the edge of the pentagram. He stands back up with an angry scowl on his face. With a flick of his wrist he snaps out a knife.

“What are you doing?”

“Going to destroy it.”

“Oh come on.” Chloe mutters, “Just someone trying to scare us. I’ve seen those skulls.” She points to the pile, “I’ve used them! For theatre! Made of foam.”

She picks one up and gives it a twist. The skull resists at first but then splits, revealing white foam beneath a thick plaster.

“See? They’ve just props.”

“Maybe but there is a reality we can’t see. Even joking about it is dangerous.” He bends down and scrapes the paint, creating a gap in the design. He kicks over the bowls as well.

Without a word, Dani heads towards the door and tries to get it open. The door knob turns but it doesn’t open. She tries again with the same results. She slaps and kicks the door and tries to pull it open.

“Easy, easy.” Chloe wraps her arms around Dani and pulls her back, “Easy. It’s okay. It’s okay. Nothing is wrong.”

For a moment Dani struggles but she relaxes. Her breath comes in ragged gasps. A few seconds passes before her breathing returns to normal.

“Why don’t you wait in the living room.”

Dani walks away. Her shoulders slumped and her arms wrapped around her stomach. Chloe watches her until she disappears around the corner. With a deep breath, she turns to Anthony.

“You’re probably wondering what that is all about.”

“A little bit.” He raises a hand to stop her reply, “But it is not my business. We all have things that we don’t want to talk about or can easily explain.”

“Like your anger over some stupid arcane art joke?”

“Yes. Just like that.” He steps out of the room and over to the door, “I am, however, concern about this door.”

“Why?”

“Because it shouldn’t have gotten stuck.”

“Old house.”

“But the lock isn’t.”

Chloe raises an eyebrow.

Anthony gives her a weak smile, “Part of the reason why the tradition still goes on. The house, for the most part, is kept the same way. Except that the windows and doors are maintained. To ensure that kids on their initiation night can get out in an emergency. Ten years ago there was a kid who had to get to the hospital. Allergy or something. Anyway, the kid almost died because the door had gotten so badly warped and the lock was rusted that they couldn’t open the door. Luckily, the mayor at the time had arranged for the police to drive by every four hours. Just to check on the kids. The officer saw that they were in trouble and used an axe to break the door down.”

“Your town is so weird.” Chloe says as she gently kicks the wall, “So what is wrong now?”

“I don’t know.” He squats down and looks at the lock, “It worked fine when we got in.”

He tries the door and it swings open without effort. Only compliant is the creak of the hinges. They share an uneasy look.

“Maybe she wasn’t turning the knob all the way.”

Anthony winces at how weak the words sound. Both knew that Dani had turned the knob all the way. Practically tried ripping it off.

“Well. Door is working now.” He shuts it and reopens a couple of times, “Go on back. I’m going to finish cleaning this up.”

“Are you sure?”

“I am.”

Chloe walks away without another word. Anthony turns his attention back to the designs and sets about crushing the skull props and putting the little fires out. A groan echoes through the house. Anthony looks up at the ceiling and feels something cold crawl up his spine. It is low and seems to come from the walls.

“Please tell me that is not what I think it is.”

Bang! Bang! Bang!

The sudden sound makes him jump. He growls to himself and stomps over to the door. He waits a moment.

“Stop that!” Chloe yells!” He hears the window open from the living room. “Come on! That is getting annoying!”

The boy hears soft laughter on the other side of the door. He puts his hand on the doorknob but waits to open it.

He yanks the door open.

Two left legs appear in the doorway. The legs drop down as their owners stumble into the house. One of the owners ends up doing a poor splits. A groan fills the air as that particular owner rolls over onto his back.

Anthony shuts the door. He shines a light on them. They squint in the harsh white light. Both boys share dark hair and brown skin.

“Val and Jacob. I should have known. Does your mother know where you are?”

“Of course!” They answer. “We have thirty minutes until we have to go back home.”

“Hey Tony.” The leg-split boy mutters, “How are you doing?”

“Annoyed.” He extends a hand, “Why would you do that? You know how I don’t like witchcraft stuff.” He hauls to teen up.

The two new boys exchange looks.

“We didn’t. We were just making noise.”

“What?” Anthony looks between them, “Val. Look.”

Anthony shows the taller boys the living room with the broken skulls.

“Oh. Must have been Mike.”

“Mike?”

Val nods his head, “He wanted to do the whole scaring bit. But he said that we needed to keep you on the other side of the house while he sneaked in and set a prank up inside.”

“Well. That was stupid.”

“Not disagreeing with you.”

“And what about the door?” Anthony presses, “What was that for? And how did you do it?”

“The door?” Jacob asks, “We didn’t do anything with the door.”

“What’s going on out here?”

Chloe and Dani appear. Although Dani is still pale, she seems to be in better control of her emotions. Chloe, on the other hand, is clearly mad and ready to take someone’s head off. The two brothers step back and hide behind Anthony.

“Really guys?”

“What?” Val answers, “Nothing wrong with self-preservation.”

“Are you two chuckleheads the one messing with us? Putting up the witch stuff?”

“No!” They answer together.

Chloe glares at both of them.

“Look. We were told by Mike to keep you on the other side while he put a couple of pranks inside the house. We were supposed to keep you on the other side of the house to give him time to get in and set the jokes.”

“Where are the other jokes?” Anthony says,

“I don’t know.”

“Wait.” Jacob speaks up, “I think I might know.”

“You do?” Chloe, her voice laced with sarcasm.

“Yes. Like we said. We had to keep you busy. So we banged the side of the house to get you to investigate. To get you away from the back of the house.”

Anthony’s face lights up and he snaps his fingers, “Cellar.”

Jacob jabs a finger in his direction, “Bingo.”

“Cellar?” Dani’s voice shakes, she gives her sister a panicked look.

“You won’t have to go down there.”

“Right.” Anthony grabs Val by the back of the shirt, “Chuckle Brother One. You’re with me. Chuckle Brother Two. You stay here and finish up dismantling that room.” He shoves Val towards the back of the house, “Come on. We got to find out what Mike did.”

“Yes sir.”

“Sorry!” Jacob yells, “Just meant it as a joke.”

The two boys disappear down the hall. Jacob turns towards the two girls. A smile tugs at his face. He likes how the moonlight strikes Dani’s legs. His smile falters as his eyes reach the look on their faces.

“Hey.” He stammers, “We just wanted a little fun. Part of the tradition.”

Chloe snorts and spins away. Her sister glances behind Jacob. He sees her shoulders shiver before following her sister down the hall.

“Hey.” Jacob yells.

The brunette freezes in her steps. She turns towards him. Jacob is surprised to see the earlier fear missing. Replaced by He smiles uncertainly and holds out a hand.

“I’m sorry. We just wanted to have fun. You know. Scare you a little so you have something to laugh about later.”

“What makes you think I’m not laughing now?”

“Because you keep pulling your arms together. Like you’re cold. And since it is humid as all get, I take it you are nervous.”

“Maybe I am.” She says sharply before walking quickly away.

“Way to go Jacob.” He mutters to himself, “Way to go. Just. Keep your big mouth shut.”

Jacob quickly finishes cleaning up the room and rejoins the others in the living room. Dani is putting more firewood on while Chloe stares out of the window. From the kitchen he can hear the sounds of a conversation but cannot make out the words.

“So.” Jacob mutters.

Dani looks up at him then quickly away.

He would have missed it had he not been watching her.

“What are you doing here?” Chloe asks.

“Oh. Just like I said. Just trying to scare you.”

Chloe scoffs and turns away, “This was stupid.”

Jacob shrugs as his brother and Anthony returns. Val drops to the floor and sits Indian style. Dani and Chloe whisper quietly to each other in the corner.

“Well, we found a couple of practical jokes like a box full of spiders and some sticky mess that would have fallen on us had we not been looking for it.”

“Great, Anthony. Now what?”

“We cleaned it up.” He turns to the brothers, “And these guys go home.”

“Fine.” Val says with a smile, “We failed anyway.”

“How so?” Chloe asks.

“Didn’t scare you.” Jacob answers, “You got mad. Which was not our goal.”

Again, she scoffs.

“Anyway. You two have a great night. Uh, did you two want something to drink? We brought some beer. Or pop if you don’t want beer.”

“I’ll take a Doctor Pepper, if you have it.”

Val grins, “Of course I do you. You’re addicted to it, Tony.”

“Oh shut it. Your fault.”

Both brothers laugh. Val stands up as he says, “Fair enough. Come on Jake.”

“Right.” Jacob glances at Dani before following his brother down the hall.

“You three going to be okay?”

“We’re fine Val. Just trying to catch up on homework.”

“Already? This is why I don’t take those dual credit courses. You get homework all of the time. Even for spring break.”

“Maybe but it’ll help out later on.”

“With your grades?”

Anthony shrugs, “Having an easier time in academics doesn’t automatically mean an easier time in education. You still have to work hard at getting good grades.”

Val shrugs his shoulders, “Whatever.”

He turns the doorknob but the door refuses to open. The teen frowns and tries again. Finally he puts his foot on the door frame and pulls on the door as hard as he can.

“What the heck? Why isn’t the door opening?” He bangs on the door, “Mike! Come on man! The idea was for us to get out. Mike! We know you’re waiting to scare us as we go out the door!”

“Very funny.” Anthony says with a bit of annoyance creeping into his voice, “It’s late. Your mother is looking for you and you tried this before.”

“What are you talking about?”

“The door. We couldn’t get it open earlier.”

The brothers look at one another, “We never mess with the doors. Not what happened last time.”

“If you haven’t messed with the doors, then what did you?”

Without warning the curtains closest to the teens slide shut. Then the shutters slam close. Throughout the house they hear metallic clicks as window latches click shut.

“Oh this ain’t good.”

To Be Continued…

Monday Stories: The House – Chapter 02

The three teens slowly walk down the street. Chloe and Dani lead while Anthony follows behind with his own camera recording. The redhead glances over. Dani is nervous but not outright panicking. The teen decides it is a good thing.

“Hold up.”

“What now?” Chloe asks.

“I need to give you two your own cameras.”

“Seriously?”

“Seriously.” He smiles, “My dad said that when he did his tradition they had to keep a journal.”

The girls exchange surprised looks.

“What? You two really thought we were making it up when we said everyone in town had done this? The house has been built here before the town even got out here.”

“Well, we just thought Mike was pulling our leg. Being a jerk.”

“Oh he may be arrogant and little too in love with himself but he loves traditions and learning about them. I think it has something to do with his dad.”

“His dad?”

“Yeah, long time history professor.” He digs around in his bag, “Come on. I know I packed them.”

Again the two teens exchange surprised looks.

“I know, I know.” Anthony laughs, “The guy who goes to the football games in body paint and football jerseys holds a doctorate in history. I had asked him why he is so different when it comes to sport games and he said because of interests. He wants Mike to be interested in history. But he also wants to show Mike that he is interested in his life as well.”

“Interesting approach.”

Anthony shrugs as he hands them two small cameras. Although equipped similarly to his own camcorder, the devices are smaller and not as powerful.

“Thanks.”

“Your welcome. Let’s get this over with. We got a little over ten hours to watch mice scurry across floorboards.”

“What?”

“You don’t like mice?”

“Not particularly.”

“Well. We shouldn’t see too many.”

“How do you know?” Dani mutters as they get closer to the house.

“I’ve done some research. Talked to the adults that have done this as kids. Most of them say that they just sat around drinking pop.” He laughs, “I actually know a couple who did their homework.”

“Oh great. This is exciting.”

“It’s tradition!”

The three teens reach the end of the driveway. They stop at the same time without planning it.

To Chloe, the house looks old and broken down. Several windows are broken and the grass has not been cut in a very long time. The black windows give the house an empty, forlong feel and look to it.

To Anthony, the house is full of opportunity. Photographing an abandoned building is one of the things he always wanted to do. The age of the house can be seen in the worn steps and damaged siding. But it also holds a lot of history.

To Dani the house is familiar. A sad little building that fell from grace a long time ago.

“Well. Ladies first.”

Chloe glares at him.

“Joking.” He steps onto the small footpath. The two girls follow him.

A cold feeling flows over them. Chloe shivers and looks around. To her, it seems like the shadows have somehow deepened. The redhead glances back at the street. She rubs her eyes and looks again.

“Chloe? What’s wrong?” Dani calls.

She hadn’t realized she stopped walking.

“Chloe?”

“I… Just. For a moment it looked like the lamp post was further away.”

Anthony and Dani glance down the street. The small dim light source looks as it always has. Across the street, they can see Mike sitting in his car. He waves at them.

Chloe frowns and turns her attention back towards the house.

“Something wrong?”

“Your friend annoys me.”

“Oh. He’ll grow on you.”

“I doubt it.”

“Anyways. Shall we?”

“Right.”

The three teens stand on the porch. Anthony kneels and looks at the key. Dani looks around the front of the house. Chloe watches Anthony as he draws out a lock picking kit.

He glances up then smiles as he returns to picking the lot.

“You don’t seem to be surprised.”

“Should we be?”

“Well. Most people question why I am able to pick locks.”

She shrugs, “We can pick locks too.”

“Oh? YouTube?”

“Trial and practice.” She replies, “Dani? Where are you going?”

Anthony looks over and he sees the girl walking towards the edge of the porch. She is facing the woods. Her body stiffens and her hands balled into a fist.

“Dani?”

She takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. Dani turns back to them with a smile on her face.

“Sorry. My mind drifted. How are we? Can we even get in?”

“Almost…” Anthony murmurs. The lock clicks, “Got it.”

“Let the fun times roll tonight.” Chloe says as she pushes the door open.

It creaks. The teens flip on flashlights and walk into the house itself. The girls step into what appears to be an old hall. Off to the right is an empty room. To the left appears to be a dining hall. A wood table stands at the center, covered in dust.

“Cozy. A real fixer upper.”

Chloe scoffs, “Oh please.”

“Now what?”

“I don’t know. Just pick a room and chill for the night.”

“Great.”

The three teens walk further into the room. Anthony turns and shuts the door. It closes with a loud bang. Both girls jump at the show. They stare at him. He shrugs.

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to do that.”

“Well, a lot of the kids like the living room.”

“Why is that?”

“Fireplace.”

“Oh. But it’s warm out.”

“True but at least that place will have a place where we can light and fire and save our batteries.”

“Don’t really care.” Chloe turns to her sister, “What do you think?”

Dani shrugs.

“Alright, Anthony. Lead us to the living room.”

The teen nods his head and walks down the hall. The floors creak and groan beneath their footsteps. Paint peels in long curls. The wall and ceiling are stained yellow with age. Here and there, a forgotten painting or photo hangs on the wall. Thick dust covers the images.

“How old is this place?” Chloe says quietly.

“I don’t know. Maybe fifty or a hundred years ago? I am not really sure.”

“Feels old.” Chloe takes a deep breath. The air is thick and musty smelling. A silence seems to weigh on the house, “Feels very old.”

“I don’t know about that.” Anthony replies as he turns a corner, “I do know that this is the living room. I’d avoid the kitchen though. Mice tend to go there.”

“What do we do about the bathroom?”

“Outhouse out back or the public restroom in the park. There is a path that leads from the backyard to the park.”

“How do you know so much?”

“I like to do my research before I get into things.”

“I see. That would explain the good grades.”

He grins, “Can’t help it. I am a book dragon.”

“Or a nerd.”

The teens laugh and a low creak echoes through the house. Their laughter dies as they listen to the house groan.

“Odd.”

“Yeah.” Chloe notices Anthony’s voice has lost its mirth.

“What is it?”

“Well. A few years ago something happened. No one really knows what went on. Just the mayor, the chief of police at the time, and the kids involved. I do know that it was the only time the police showed up to stop the tradition. The kids never talked about what happened. Neither did the parents. All we know is that two of the kids died and the house was covered in graffiti. Ever since the house has been strange.”

“Strange? How?” Dani asks quietly.

“Odd noises. Odd lights. Kids say that the house has a lot of noises.”

“How would they know?”

“Well. After everything went down, older kids wanted to go with their siblings. To make sure they stay safe through the tradition.”

“Oh, lovely.”

Anthony chuckles weakly, “I’m sure it was just bad luck and bad rumors. Sorry for bringing it up.”

“No worries.” Chloe pulls out a deck of Uno Cards, “Anyone up for a game?”

Dani and Anthony smile as they settle down on the floor.

Monday Short Stories: The House – Chapter 01

What if buildings had souls? What if they could tell us their stories? What then? It would be great? Wouldn’t it? To go to England and hear the tales of bygone ages. Or to hear the war stories of forts and camps. To hear how King George III plotted to rule the greatest empire. Or listen to one who witnessed Einstein genius at work?

But what if those souls witnessed terrible acts? Whose very walls were coated the blood of innocent? What if the acts we make, both innocent and evil, could change the way the building behaves? What then?

How would the buildings behave?

Would they be things of evil?

X

Two small girls slip out of a small bedroom window. The brick house is mostly dark save the living room. The flicker of white light is the hint of a television. A door opens and closes. The two girls freeze in place. After a moment, they continue to slip down the roof. They drop to the ground soundlessly. The girls keep to the shadows of a hedge until they reach the sidewalk.

They step into the light of a street lamp.

Both girls share identical small faces, slender bodies, and waist long hair. One has red hair while the other has light brown hair. Although both wear tank tops, the redhead wears a skirt. The other wears short shorts. The brunette climbs up a tree then drops two backpacks down to the second girl. Once they shoulder their packs, they begin to walk down the street.

The redhead girl glances back at the house.

“Dani? What’s wrong? Are you worried? Do you want to go back?”

“No.” She answers softly, “Let’s go.”

“Are you sure?”

She takes a deep breath, “No, Chloe. I need to do this. If I don’t do this, I am never going to be willing to venture back out.”

“Okay. Then let’s do this.”

The two girls quickly and quietly walk down the street. The air is thick with humidity and the sound of insects. The either side of the street is lined with small houses. Warm, friendly light shines out of the windows. Some are made of bricks. Others are made of siding. Street lamps stand at regular points. Young trees provide a warm, homey atmosphere.

Ten minutes later, the two girls step around the corner on Fifth and South West. Without saying a word, the children come to a stop.

There is only one lamp on this street. Its weak orange light is barely enough to shine at its base. The trees that line the street are much older and wilder than the other trees. A few houses can be seen through the thick brush. However, at the end of the street is a single house.

Three stories tall with large windows. Its front porch is lined with ornate pillars. A wide path stretches from the porch to the street. Once it was beautiful and stood with dignity. But now the paint is peeling and parts of the porch are sagging in places.

The two girls come to a stop underneath the lamp.

A few moments later, they are joined by three other teens. The biggest and largest teen flashes a smile at them. The second teen is a boy that is getting some recording gear. The second is a tall girl. All three wear letterman jackets. The weak orange light casts deep shadows.

“Hello, all of you!” The tall boy says, “Welcome to your challenge.”

“Mike.” The tall girl says, “Do we have to do this?”

“Everyone at the school has gone through it. Regardless if they are born her or not.”

“What are we doing.” Chloe says as she folds her arms, “What are we doing?”

“Fine. Anthony. You ready?”

“Almost.”

“Hurry up.”

“Hey, you are asking me to do the job of three people. Give me a second.” He lifts a camcorder fitted with an external mic and light source. “And we are ready to record.”

“Good evening! It is just past ten o’clock.” Mike says, “We are here to witness the night of terror! Where Chloe and Dani must stay the night at the old Miller’s House. Eight hours. Recording this adventure is Anthony. Who also has yet to do this.” He looks at the girls, “Are you ready?”

“Yeah.” Chloe squares her shoulders.

Dani shrugs.

“The rules are simple. One. You cannot leave the house until you can hear the town square clock. Two. You cannot call for help. Four. You can only use what you have in your bags. And lastly, you must be recording at all times.”

“Got it.” Chloe says, “We’re ready.”

“Okay then. Good luck.”

“Wait!” Chloe says, “How do we get in?”

“That is what you three need to figure out.”

The two girls look at each other and roll their eyes. The three teens head towards the house. Mike laughs while his friend glares at him.

“What?”

“This is such a stupid tradition.”

“Hey, our parents did this. Even the mayor did this.”

“Yeah…” She looks at the house, “but… something feels different now.”

“Oh, you have just been watching too many horror movies.” He grins at her, “Come on. Sonic is still open. I’ll buy you a lime aid.”

“Fine.”

To be continued…

X

Monday Stories: A Forrest Meeting

An owl’s cry echoes through the night. A man stirs slightly. Hidden in the shadow of three old trees, he watches the forest. Twin moons give enough light to move without the need for torchlight. Here a deer slowly moves through the woods. A pair of foxes moves swiftly through the gaps in the underbrush. Still, the man waits. All around him the buzz of insects and the croak of hidden frogs fill the still air.

The man takes quiet, even breathing. He remains still. His brown skin is marked by countless scars from past battles. His leather armor is equally worn.

Abruptly the night sounds fall silent.

He carefully tightens his grip on a pair of daggers.

His dark eyes scan the forest, seeking anything out of the ordinary. Anything unusual.

Then he sees a shadowy figure move.

The figure moves carefully, silently, from one tree to the next. His black cloak gives him a shadow-like quality. The figure is hunched over, pausing every now and then. Little by little, the figure moves closer to where the man hides. The man keeps track of how slow time is passing by the shadows of the trees. An hour passes before the figure reaches his hiding place.

The man tenses, his hands gripping the swords.

“I smell you.” The figure hisses.

He straightens and faces the man’s hiding place.

“I smell your hatred. Your fear.”

Slowly the man rises and steps forward. His swords remain drawn but at his side. The figure nods his head in understanding. He draws his hood back, revealing pale skin and an aristocratic face. The figure’s black hair is pulled back and tied in a single ponytail. Despite his handsome human features, his eyes are little more than solid black orbs.

“Who are you, hunter?”

“I am Kal, Son of Anon of the O’di Clan.” The man answers as he assumes a combat stance. “And you?”

The figure throws his black cloak aside, revealing black armor. A red hand print adorns the chest armor. “I am Krishna of the Line of Lucia.”

For a moment, they stand in the moonlight eyeing one another. It is clear both have lived the life of warriors. And it is clear that both are skilled and seasoned by long experience.

“Why do you wait for me in the dark?” Krishna asks.

The question catches him off guard.

“Why do you wait to murder me?”

“You are hunting.”

“Am I? Do you see any humans nearby? Do you see any others besides me? Do you see the so-called war paint upon my face? The blood of our victims as your kind claim we do? Do you see bloodlust or rage?”

“You are killers–”

“By those of you who hate my kind! You cannot listen to the words of those who hate us! Me! Their words are tainted. Look to your feelings and hear those who agree with us. That peace can exist between our kinds. That we can live beside one another.”

A warning in Kal’s heart gives him pause. He takes a deep breath and tightens his grip on the steel swords.

Krishna makes the first move. He becomes a little more than a black whirlwind. Red blades appear out of thin air. Kal barely has enough time to get his own steel blades in place to parry. In seconds, they are lost in the rhythm of the battle.

Silver blade against red sword.

Their blows strike hard enough to send sparks flying. Their clashes echo through the night. Back and forth, the two males battle. Back and forth they struggle. A monetary weakness gives the other the advantage but a mistake quickly shifts the balance of power back. They become black shadows. Faster than any human could possible dream of.

A heartbeat passes and the two combatants split apart.

For a moment they pause to catch their breath.

Kal’s left leg sports a deep wound and is barely able to hold his weight. A blow to his ribs has caused him pain with each breath. His arm and forehead bear lighter wounds. Sweat dampens his armpits and back. Fear dampens his palms.

Krishna is little better off. His chest is riddled with stabs wounds. His right arm bear several deep wounds while his left kneecap is askew.

“Why do you hunt us.” Krishna snarls, “What have we done to you?”

“You are an evil that must be destroyed.” Kal wheezes out. His vision is darkening around the corners. “That is reason enough.”

“Evil? We did not choose this. None of us did. We became this because another was forced to do what they must to survive.” Krishna stalks forward, “We do what we do to survive! We have the right to survive and live as we please! As do you and your kind!”

“You are murdering innocents!”

“What innocents?” Krishna snaps back, anger giving him strength, “Have you heard of a man disappearing or a family found slaughtered? Have you heard stories where children vanish from their beds or whole villages disappearing? No! We are not murders!”

“Your kind has preyed on us for ages. Only the War Clans have risen to stop you.”

The black armored figure scoffs, “You fool. You War Clans fight among yourself. Was it not just three days ago where two Clans destroyed each other? And what of our deeds? Have we not lived in peace beside you? Have we not killed or hunted the humans?”

Kal prepares to continue the fight.

“You cannot be serious! Put aside your blades and your hatred. Hear me and the truth I tell you. Please!”

“Why should I listen to you?” Kal answers. “Everything you have said and done?”

“Tell me! What have we done to harm you? Have you seen us killed? Or maim? Or have you seen my kind react to you as you hunt us in our own homelands. As your kind kill us in our villages and homes. Have we not the right to defend ourselves?”

For a moment, Kal hesitates.

“You cannot think of an instance? Can you? Where we have hunted and killed humans. None because we have not acted so.” Krishna takes a deep, labored breath, “We wish only to live beside you. I know you have heard our pleas and our cries for peace. We are not evil though we act out of defense. All that we have done we have done so because of your aggression. Your hatred towards us.”

Kal’s blades drop as the truth of Krishna’s words takes root.

For Krishna is right. No humans had been slaughtered. No lives had been consumed. Krishna and his kind were staying away from the humans.

Krishna strikes.

He crosses the distance like a black lightning bolt, sinking his blade deep into his gut. Kal groans as he drops his swords. The hit the ground with a metallic thud as he sinks towards the earth. Krishna stands over him with an evil grin.

“You fool. This is why we vampires will win. You let our words blind you. You let your own doubts slow you. Tonight I shall dine on the blood of children. Because of you.”

Kal watches the vampire stepped out of sight. Above him, two moons slowly pass out of sight.

As the world grows dark, Kal hears children screaming in the night.