So, apparently my mind can't stick to one story long enough to get the motivation to finish it! I have another story, The Spring of the First Man, that I started...a long time ago. I read that working on another story can be a good solution to writer's block, and this idea's been floating around in my head for awhile, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and write this! I hope any readers enjoy!
Chapter 1: Why I Never Played Truth or Dare Again
This is the story of Alex Smith (I know, unique last name), a blonde, blue-eyed girl of fifteen years. Also known as, me! And how her life was turned upside down. All because of a stupid, immature game.
Okay. Here we go...
"C'mon, Alex! It won't be that bad!" My friend Morgan placed a "comforting" hand on my shoulder. The gesture would normally be nice, and send a bit of an electric shock through me, but with the devilish smirk on his face all I felt was dread. "And unless you go in, you'll have to tell us all about your mysterious crush!"
I groaned aloud. As a fifteen year old girl, even though I didn't understand exactly why crushes were so embarrassing to talk about, they most definitely were. And I also knew that I was a terrible liar and that I did not want to admit that Morgan was my crush. Morgan with his stupid short brown hair, and how stupidly tall he was compared to my 5 foot frame, and his stupidly nice brown eyes... Stupid.
My other friend, Sarah, nudged me playfully in the arm, making me re-adjust my grip on my book bag (its too big straps were always falling off my shoulders). It was late; the sun was just setting over the horizon.
"This feels like something I should be doing at night.." I murmured with a grimace.
Sarah rolled her eyes. "Well, we'll be here all night if you don't hurry it up!" she said. "Unless...You're too scared to go into the O'Harris Mansion!" she added a bit of a song into her voice when she said the place's name, and waved her hands.
A bit of background on the mansion. It was old, from colonial times in fact, and it's style reflected it. The enormous house and its grounds had been abandoned for decades, perhaps centuries (no one was really sure), however, and it showed in the dilapidated, and over all creepy as heck mansion. Oh, and there was that persistent and popular rumor that it was haunted. So, as punishment for me keeping mum on my crush, my stupid friends made me do a stupid dare and go into a stupid haunted house. Lucky me.
I breathed deeply. We were just about a hundred feet from the place, and I could feel its menacing air from where I was standing. Wind rustled through tree leaves and dark clouds crept in forebodingly. And yet, the house had a certain draw to it. I couldn't quite place my finger on it, but something was calling out to me.
"Alex," Morgan broke me out of my train of thought. "Just go in there for a quick peak! You'll be fine."
I huffed. I could never say no to him. "Fine. But if I end up murdered like in some cheap horror flick, I'll haunt y'all to your graves."
Holding the straps of my book bag so tightly my knuckles turned white, I headed towards the house. I focused on my breathing, trying to keep it deep and even despite my racing pulse, and on the sound of dead weeds crunching under my feet.
When I reached the rickety porch, I turned back to my friends. Morgan waved at me, shooing me along, and I reluctantly grasped a rotting railing and started up the wooden steps. When I reached the top, there was a sudden CRACK, and I shrieked as my foot broke through the old planks of the porch, barely reaching back for the step railing in time.
My heart beat so fast I thought it would burst out of my chest, but I was determined not to back down from the dare. Gulping, and steeling my nerves, I proceded, more careful in my steps.
I eventually reached the door of the mansion. I cautiously pushed it open, and when it swung inwards it was like it was being swallowed into a black hole. The mansion was pitch black. Closing my eyes and breathing heavily through my nose, I walked in.
The first thing I noticed, past the overwhelming terrifying suffocating darkness, was the smell. It was musty and damp, and I wrinkled my nose immediately after entering.
The next thing I noticed, once my vision began adjusting to the darkness of the room, was the decor. I figured I was in the old living room. The furniture I saw in the room was ruined, probably burrowed in by bugs and small animals, and also damaged by water likely dripping in from the ruined ceiling, but I could tell from the limited light coming in from the windows that it had once been very lavish. Yellowing, tarnished wall paper was peeling from the walls but had likely once been beautiful. I wonder what made everybody up and leave this place, I thought as I admired an expensive looking china teapot.
Out of the darkness, my eyes caught a curious glimmer of metal hanging around a door knob leading to another room. I slowly walked towards it, not wanting a repeat of the incident on the porch. When I reached the object, I took it off and examined it. It appeared to be a heart-shaped locket, with something...some word engraved on the front. Remembering I had a tiny flashlight key chain on my book bag, I swung it off my shoulders and placed it on the ground. Unhooking the key chain, I then shined its faint light on the locket, barely making out the engraving.
The word was barely off my tongue when the door the locket had been hanging in slammed open, swinging inwards. I screamed loudly, both at the door and what was revealed inside the room. In the middle of what looked to have been a kitchen, there was an ethereal, transparent woman. She was facing away from me at first, but when she turned back to me I was horrified. The woman was wearing plain clothes, like some kind of servant. She had raven black hair, and what likely would have been a beautiful face, if not for the fact that she didn't have a mouth. She stared at me, and I heard a raspy, disembodied voice echo all around me.
There is no justice. The wicked are not punished. I AM UNAVENGED.
At this last part she lunged towards me, breaking me out of my trance. I turned and ran, forgetting both my book bag on the ground and the fact that the floors could give way. Thankfully, they didn't, and I burst out of the house moments later to see Morgan and Sarah running towards me.
"Alex!" Morgan reached me first, his arms coming up to steady me as I panted and near collapsed from shock.
"Are you okay?" Sarah asked, pushing a strand of her black hair (unhelpfully reminding me of the...ghost) behind her ear. Her green eyes flashed with concern. "We heard you screaming!"
I shook my head. "There was... there was..." I trailed off. Who on earth would believe me if I told them? I looked away from the worried gazes of my friends. "There was a...racoon!"
Morgan raised an eyebrow in a way that made me sure he didn't believe me. "A racoon?"
I nodded. "Well, I guess it could've been a cat. I couldn't really tell, I just ran." I forced a chuckle.
He frowned and grabbed the locket that I hadn't realized I was still holding (the brush of his hand against mine sent stupid shivers up my spine, and I cursed myself for being so stupid). "Where did you get this?"
I shrugged nonchalantley. "It was just something I found in there. Forgot to put it back." Not technically a lie.
He nodded and let it drop back into my hands. "Well, looks like you left your book bag in there. I'll go grab it for y-"
"No!" The vehemence in my voice made Morgan and Sarah do a double take.
"Why not?" he asked.
I smiled as sweetly as I could, praying he wouldn't protest. "You don't need to do that. Tonight's Friday, I don't need it for school yet. I'll get it myself tomorrow morning."
He looked like he was going to argue more, but apparently thought better of it when he saw the look in my eyes. "Alright. Let's just get you home."
I nodded, and straightened up, noting that his arms had stayed on me (steadied me, I'm his friend, my logical side argued) the entire time.
Later that night, when I was in my room, getting ready for bed, I examined the locket.
Who was Emilia, I thought. Who gave this to her? And who was that..ghost? Again my thoughts stuck on the word ghost. I had always been a firm disbeliever of the supernatural (though of course I still found things creepy, of course), but this..was compelling evidence to the contrary.
Rubbing my thumb one last time over the engraving on the locket, I set it on my nightstand and got in bed, pulling my covers up over me. For the last time since I had been five years old, I left my bedside lamp on...
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"Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still."
- Henry David Thoreau