24 Nutgrove Street was an address known by every child and teenager in Oakland Valley town. It was mentioned at least once in every household at Halloween. Its door was touched countless times on countless dares. 24 Nutgrove Street was the address to Oakland Valley's very own haunted house.
It was a very pitiful looking building. Its peeling walls were faded and discolored. The front porch was crooked and full of holes. Almost every window was either broken or missing. It smelled and looked stale, its garden overgrown with weeds of every sort. It had a sort of shabby yet sinister look about it. Rumor was that the family who lived in it were all murdered and their souls were forced to stay there until their murderer was unveiled. And I was about to enter it.
In my opinion that was all hocus pocus. I didn't believe in monsters, ghosts or aliens. My mind was purely rational, or so I liked to think. Then why did I feel a shiver run down my spine? My hairs standing up. It was just an old, broken, creepy house.
It all started with a dare.
It was a bright yet shabby looking morning with a pale blue spring sky and light grey clouds dotted around. I had tried the usuals "I don't feel well today, I think I can't go to school." but my parents never fell for any of it. I grudgingly got prepared and waited for the school bus. It had started raining by the time the bus came and I was glad to be able to sit in a warm place, even if the seats were hard and cold and covered with chewing gum.
I quickly looked around the half-full bus and found the face I was looking for. I trudged along and almost forgot to watch out for any feet that were just waiting to trip me. The class tricksters did it to everyone just in case they weren't paying attention. I slumped into the seat next to my best friend and sighed. This was going to be a hard and long day. Jenni, my best friend, looked over at me and said: "What's wrong? Today is pizza day. For once that we don't have tuna casserole from the cafeteria!" I stared at her round, freckled face was suddenly hit by the differences we had. She was enthusiastic, smart, pretty and had slightly curly blondish-orangery hair that she let loose around her shoulders. Her bright blue eyes contrasted with her rosy skin. I was the completely opposite. I was small, pessimistic, and dark-haired. My soft grey eyes were exceedingly pale next to my dark brown almost black hair. My skin never tanned, I had not a single freckle, and I was always deathly pale.
The bus stopped and we all got out in slow-motion. Shuffling our feet at every inch of space we got from the person in front. At last out of the bus, Jenni and I made our way to our lockers but we were interrupted by the school bully and his sidekicks.
The school bully was big. Very big. Most people weren't sure if it was because of his muscles or because of his fat. (Most girls thought it was because of the fat.) His sidekicks were the Brotherin Twins, renowned for the reputation of extreme stupidness and a taste for violence. Henry Jr. was the school bully's name but he changed it to "The Skull" for reputation purposes.
"Well, well, well, if it ain't Jenni and Emma." Skull sniggered. I just looked blankly at him in fear, but Jenni wasn't about to be knocked around by some stupid boy who's only way of communicating was with his fists. "Wow, Henry Jr." She put a emphasis on the Junior part. Skull had made it pretty clear to most of the first years that he hated that name and never wanted to be called that again. "Over eight words in one whole sentence, I'm impressed!" She let out a bell-like giggle as we saw the expressions on his face change. At first it was a frowning aggressive bully face, which quickly changed to confusion and then exasperation at not understanding. Then the dawning of understanding slowly crept across his face which just as soon turned red with anger. He jabbed his fat, stubby finger at her and said: "Oh yeah? Well, you ain't so great either Tinkerbell!" Tinkerbell was Jenni's nickname. She didn't really like it. It made her sound like a girly girl. She frowned. Skull looked satisfied and continued.
"I bet you couldn't even touch 24 Nutgove's door!!" My eyes widened almost in synchronization with Jenni's. She fired back at him with such aggressiveness that even I never knew she could stir up and unleash. "I could so! I could even stay in it for fifteen minutes!" She was glaring down at him and Skull had to be on tippy-toes to be at eye level with her. He answered back: "You couldn't stay in it for an hour!" . "Is that a bet?!" Jenni's usual soft blue eyes had turned an icy blue yet they sparkled and almost seemed fiery. All I could do was stare between the two of them.
Let me skip ahead in my story. You probably know that by now Jenni had agreed to stay in the haunted house for a full hour, and just to prove her point, she said she would go at night. Of course Skull didn't believe her to be able to do it, but they had agreed the time and date.
It was taking place that night at 10 o'clock. The worst part was that I had been brought in to all this as well. I had to stay in the house for an hour as well as with Jenni, courtesy of Jim, one of the Brotherin Twins. He had asked me to marry him in Montessori but I had called him fat and stupid and I would only marry a white prince. I guess I hurt his feelings and this was his revenge.
The school day went past in a blur and before I knew it I was finished my homework and was going to bed. I got ready in my jeans and a hoody, it was cold outside. And I had no doubt I would be shivering for the whole hour, mostly out of fear, but I could never admit that. I slipped out of my window and climbed down the big oak that leaned against the side of our house. It was very useful for getaways. I stalked my way up to that terribly famous house. Jenni was already there. And she was prepared. She was wrapped up in a coat and scarf and had a torch in her hand. "Where's your torch?" She stared at my empty hand. I looked sheepishly back at her and answered: "You never told me to bring one." She just rolled her eyes and muttered we would share the one torch. Skull was in a dark corner not quite wide enough to hide him in its shadows. He held a timer in his hand. He nodded us forward and pressed a button on the stop watch with a gleeful smile sketched onto his face.
We entered into the haunted house.
If it looked and smelled stale on the outside, then the inside was worse. The first thing that hit me was not the great big spider web in the doorway with lots of insect corpses drained of blood on it but the moldy, dusty, stale, humid air. I wasn't sure if it could be called air at all. I shivered at the gloomy aspect and was frightened of the moving shadows on the peeling walls made by Jenni's torch. I looked out for her but I soon realised she was already exploring the nearest room. Light shimmered out of the nearest doorway. I inched forward whispering her name. The room was bare apart from a large one seater sofa and a very large painting of a woman hung up over an even larger black ornament fireplace. Jenni was examining the portrait of the woman with great curiosity. I looked at the sofa and gave a little shriek of horror which made Jenni jump and turn around to place the beam of light onto what had scared me. Only she was a fraction to late. All she could see was a tail swish out of view and the pitter patter of little feet climbing the walls. We both stood still until the eerie silence came back and disturbed us. I trailed behind Jenni who wanted to see what the kitchen was like. I stared all around me except at the floor in case I saw another rat. But this was a mistake.
My foot caught in with the debris and I tripped head first. I got up slowly, my head turning. Jenni paid no attention. She was too caught up in her world of discovery. Suddenly, a shadow flitted past me and appeared in the corner of my eye. My head still dizzy from the fall automatically turned to where the shadow had appeared. Nothing was there apart from a pile of irregular wood. That was when I noticed that it was very dark. I called out to Jenni but no answer came. I saw no light coming from anywhere. I closed my eyes. There was scarcely a difference in the level of darkness between my eyes and the room.
I felt my way around in the darkness in the general direction of the kitchen. I felt a doorway and stepped through. My eyes were slowly adjusting to the deep darkness that consumed me. There was a creak coming from behind. "Jenni? Jenni are you there? It's not funny. Please stop!" My voice practically whimpered.
Another creak. The soft yet obvious sound of one's person shifting their weight. I felt cool breath on the back of my neck. I couldn't move, I couldn't speak. Every thing was silent apart from my beating heart and the slow even breathing of the unknown behind me.
I could hear the air shifting as something moved. I filled my lungs up with the stale moldy air. A cool scaly, dry finger brushed against the skin of my neck.
That was when I screamed.
I screamed and slapped the hand away when suddenly a brilliant cold light shone through. The clear harsh voice of someone who is extemely bored yet enjoys his work echoed out onto the set.
I ruffled up my hair and said to my manager,
"I'll be in my trailer if you need me."
And I walked out of the busy scene of cleaning up to go and refresh myself before shooting the next scene.