WEP - Youthful Frights vs. Adult Fears
I think quite a common fear right now is of darkness; it was certainly one of my fears growing up. I think it's less the lack of light and more a fear of the unknown; what's hiding in that darkness.
There was a house down my street growing up that all the kids were afraid of; a typical haunted house. We went one day to look through the window, and one of my friends swore she saw a face staring back at her. That, and my fear of darkness, are what gave me the inspiration for this story.
884 words FCA
I see them coming. They’re unsteady on their feet, the glass bottles they carry clinking gently. Every now and then they stop to peer at pumpkins and plastic ghosts lighting up windows all down the street.
“It’s so warm,” the tallest boy says. “Isn’t winter supposed to be cold?”
“Actually,” replies another boy, wearing glasses. “It isn’t officially winter until the 21st December.”
One of the girls comes to a stop outside the house, her blonde hair swaying in the breeze.
“Oh my god,” she says. “I wonder who lives there.”
“Nobody,” the boy wearing glasses says. “It’s been abandoned for as long as I’ve lived down here.”
The group stands on the path, gazing up at the house, taking in the broken windows, the overgrown garden, the ivy creeping up the walls. They don’t see me.
“I heard it’s haunted,” a dark haired boy says, grinning wickedly at the girls. “By a girl whose insane parents kept her locked up in this house, until she eventually killed them, then killed herself. Her soul’s stuck here, trapped in the house she longed to escape from.”
The tall boy jumps in. “I heard it’s haunted by the ghost of a girl who was due to be married, but her lover died before she made it down the aisle. She haunts the house, forever searching for his spirit. Some say she possesses anyone who gets close enough, so she can live again through them.”
“That’s ridiculous,” the blonde girl says. “Ghosts don’t exist.”
“I say we break in, and prove that theory,” says the dark haired boy, grinning.
“We can’t do that,” said the other girl, flicking aside her mousey hair.
“Let’s go round the back,” the dark haired boy says.
They head off down the street as I head to the back of the house, to the window that overlooks the garden. I hear them before I see them, laughing and joking. This should be fun.
The dark haired boy heads into the garden first, the rusty gate groaning loudly. The others follow, some looking apprehensive, some excited. I head downstairs, the house creaking and groaning around me as if in anticipation of our guests. I enter the kitchen to find them climbing in through the window, shining the lights from their phones around, examining the room.
“Definitely abandoned,” glasses boy says, shining his light over the cracked floor, the peeling wallpaper, the cobwebs stretching from wall to wall. “Nobody could live here.”
I creep amongst them unseen, examining them like they’re examining my house. Which one would be best?
The blonde girl shivers as I pass by, pulling her flimsy cardigan around herself. “When did it get so cold?”
“Winter is coming,” the tall boy says, laughing.
Grinning, I approach the girl, and she shivers even more.
She’s the one.
“It’s so dark in here, even our torches aren’t helping much,” the mousey girl says.
The boy with glasses gropes around the walls, looking for a light switch. He flips it on, but nothing happens.
I laugh, and the blonde girl whips around.
“What was that?” She whispers, eyes wide.
“What?” the dark haired boy says.
“Someone laughed,” she says.
“You’re imagining things,” he replies. He leads them through the house, all of them unaware that I follow. The house continues to creak and groan, pipes gurgling, each new sound making the group jump, especially the blonde girl. The others giggle every time they jump, but she looks terrified.
“Guys, I think we should get out of here,” she whispers, eyes darting here and there.
“I thought you didn’t believe in ghosts?” The tall boy says, laughing.
A loud thump sounds from upstairs, making everyone start. It’s followed by a dragging, clawing sound.
“What the hell was that?” The dark haired boy says, the smile wiped from his face. They head upstairs, the blonde girl at the back of the group. I pass my hand through her shoulder and she yelps, grabbing onto the mousey girl in front of her.
“What?” the girl hisses.
“Something touched me!” the blonde girl says, desperately looking around, trying to see me.
“You’re imagining things! Come on,” the mousey girl says, following the boys.
I chuckle again, but this time Blondie doesn’t say anything; she knows they won’t believe her.
They head into the main bedroom, where the bangings and scrapings are coming from, and I almost feel the collective sigh of relief when they realise what’s making the noises.
“It’s just stray cats,” the boy with the glasses says.
The group heads forward to fuss the cats, the blonde girl the only one who still appears nervous.
“Can we go now?” She says, jumping a little as I let out a breath next to her.
“Fine,” the dark haired boy says. “You were totally right anyway, there’s no ghosts here. Let’s go watch a scary movie at my house.”
I follow them back down the stairs, disappointed that they’re leaving so soon. I watch the blonde girl, the relief on her face as she climbs back out of the kitchen window.
She’s the only one who looks back at the house as they walk away, the only one who sees me standing in the window, watching them leave.
She’ll be back.
I’ll make sure of it.