Chloe stands up and shoves Dani into the pantry. They shut the door just as the kitchen door breaks. The sound of energy crackling fills the air. The two girls kneel in the darkness. Something passes near the door. A heavy breathing fills the air. The doorknob begins to turn.
”Come out, come out to play.” A raspy voice whispers through the wall, ”Come out and join me out here. You cannot hide. You cannot run.”
A moment passes in silence.
”I know why you are here. I know why you left your home on the coast. You ran and you ran because you made your choice. But you can’t run from what you have done. I know what you did on the night of the August Fifth.”
Dani looks at her sister with wide eyes. Her sister cups her hand over Dani’s mouth to keep her from crying out.
“It doesn’t know.” Chloe whispers hoarsely, “It doesn’t know.”
“Yes, it has to.”
”I know what you did. He died screaming. Alone and afraid. Because you refused to be with him. He died because of you!
Dani squeezes her eyes shut and curls into a ball. She clamps her hands over her ears. The creature on the other side cracks laughter. Dani whimpers. Chloe pulls her close but her sister shoves her sister away.
”You are alive and he is dead! Why do you steal the lives of others!”
Dani shudders and crawls towards the pantry door. Chloe struggles to keep her sister from reaching the door.
“Let me!” Dani chokes, “Please!”
“No! I won’t let you!”
The girls struggle while the shadow laughs. The door rattles and the knob slowly turns.
“NO!” Chloe kicks at the door with her feet. She keeps the door pin. Dani fights again to open the door.
“No! I know it’s true!”
Without warning, the ground drops out from below them.
“I found something!”
The boys look up and Val raises a hand. He pushes off from the wall he was leaning against.
“This guy here. He says that he found the symbol and some kids drawing them. The symbol was used according to a fellow in the ancient world. According to this fellow, he and who ever he works with discovered that certain humans… could create golems. These humans could make things come alive, creating life with their history as their essence. It seems that these special humans continue even today. However, only those involved in constructing things with their hands are able to bring stuff to life. The humans have long since forgotten to truly make them alive. Instead, they become aware.”
“Okay. So… some guy who can build things that make them alive made these houses.”
“It would seem so.”
“So why are the houses suicidal?”
“Maybe because of bad stuff? If their history is bad then maybe their personality is bad?” Jacob asks, “Is that what they mean?”
“Maybe.” Anthony says quietly, “I don’t know.
“What do we do? To kill the house? Burn it?”
Val flips through the book, “I am not sure. He doesn’t say. Just a list of observations over a week or something.”
“I think I have the answer.” Anthony says as he pages through a book, “I remember seeing something about humans possibly triggering stuff.”
“Here. It didn’t make much sense to me either. Okay. Here. We observe a man painting a symbol on the houses who were behaving alive. The house then became hostile. Several houses have become sources for haunted stories. We have not discovered why these men are painting the symbols or their motivations.”
“Okay. So a human can make a house alive without realizing it. Then they are other houses making them angry?” Val says, “I feel like we are saying a bunch of stuff but not really going anywhere fast.”
“Maybe but that is how our little story is going.”
“Mike?” Val says, “Are you okay?”
“I… I there was a man in town. He had old books with hand made notes and images in them.” He takes a deep breath, “That’s where I got the idea of the symbols from.”
“You mean there is a man, in town right now, that knows about what is happening?”
“Okay. Great! Then let’s go talk to him.”
“How, Jacob?” Val waves his arms, “We’re still stuck in a shack in a space of three feet by five feet! Or have you found a way to get us out of here?”
“Um. Not yet.”
Anthony turns to Mike, “You know what you need to do now, right?”
“Yes.” Mike mutters, “I need to focus and remember what the guy looks like.”
“Wait. If houses are coming alive. Wouldn’t this person be watching this house?”
“True. So why hasn’t anyone come for us?”
“I don’t know. There is a lot I don’t know.” Anthony looks at the cramp space then back to the books, “Apparently we haven’t found what we are supposed to find yet.”
“Then we need to keep reading.”
“And hope the author wrote down the solution.”
To be continued…