It seemed sunny that night, so sunny that one would’ve thought the sun was trying to work a twenty-four hour shift. The melanic night sky seemed to be perforated with tiny holes that gave way to the albicant light from Heaven, allowing it to brighten up the earth’s surface. The moon made an equally appreciated but unethical contribution as it bathed the earth in the portion of light that it secretly stole from the sun.
The menacing gales payed The Lamar’s peaceful neighbourhood a visit every Autumn with the purpose of taking some bare trees and some rooftops along with them as holiday souvenirs; this year wasn’t an exception.
Thick bars of moonlight came slanting down into Marcel’s unoccupied room through the seven-foot French windows that afforded him a panoramic view of the entire neighbourhood. He was fast asleep, at least that was what his parents thought.
It was All Hallows Eve, and the darkness took on a special feel that night. While little kids were fast asleep, tucked away cozily underneath their sheets, fagged out from all the door-to-door trick-or-treating, the older more mischievous ones were busy teepeeing unknown houses, and egging random vehicles; a long-standing tradition they made sure to keep sacred every year around this same time. It was like a sacrament to these kids, so they kept it religiously. The air was cloyed with the savory scent of sugar-coated edibles and homemade pumpkin pie, which was befouled by the repulsive smell of post-trick-or-treat vomit. Fireplaces were lit as smoke belched out in sequential puffs from hundreds of chimneys, creating the proverbial ‘Halloween night haze’, which gave the neighbourhood an eerie look. Glowing jack-o’-lanterns with frightening excisions lit up front porches and added a festive touch to the entire scene. The entire town was decorated in the traditional orange, black and purple. From the street signs to the candy wrappings, everything revolved around the harmony of these three hues. The air was filled with the spirit of Halloween.
Marcel, Tyler and Ron were three off-beat teens who had bizarre inclinations, and loved to challenge convention.They didn’t belong to the fun-seeking festive lot, neither were they one of those mischievous post-pubescent imps that went about vandalizing private property on Halloween nights . They were mischievous no doubt, but never posed as a threat to private property or the safety of any individual. They were more interested in the supernatural, you know,things that go bump in the night.
Marcel was the exuberant one, he possessed a razor-sharp wit that was able to cut through practically any conversation. Ron on the other hand was more sober-sided, but still very likeable. His desire to unravel mysteries was as much a part of him as were his hazel eyes. While Tyler was the creative one. He had the kind of imagination that you would trade a kidney for. The three made a perfect trio. They had all snuck out of their houses that night to pay an unwarranted visit to an abandoned house built on a farm on the sequestered part of town, a house that was rumored to be haunted. It was risky business, but they weren’t going to back down.
They set off into the night with Ron leading the way. They had to pass through a lonely by-road winding through a bushy field whose width could only accommodate one person at a time on passing. Ron was the bravest of the three, Tyler was a bit of a yellow-belly, but still enjoyed the thrill of a good adventure. Then there was Marcel who definitely wasn’t as brave as Ron, but never allowed fear to kill his curiosity. They tread cautiously through the thick bush with the moon and the stars as their only sources of light, making well to avoid any holes and ditches that lay in their path.
The wind blew hard, giving the fallen leaves on the ground a chance to be a part of the higher atmosphere again as it lifted them up and sent them soaring through the air. The air was not only filled with dead leaves, but also with the sound of incessantly chirping crickets, hooting owls that surveyed the landscape looking for a free meal and other busy nocturnal creatures that kept the boys alert as their ears perked up, differentiating each in-coming sound so as to know when a threat was nearby. As their eager feet crunched through the layer of dry leaves that the trees annually did away with in Fall, their hungry eyes carefully scanned the surrounding area in readiness for the surprises that fate probably had in store for them.
Marcel gasped in shock, pulling back in trepidation as he began too see a black mass in the distance that had the semblance of a domicile structure.” You think that’s it ?”, he whispered apprehensively. “Only one way to find out”, replied Ron who tried to maintain his usual sangfroid . Tyler felt a chill run down the length of his spine as he simultaneously suggested that they turn back, his visage suddenly depicting morbid fright. His unreasonable suggestion forced a quizzical look on the faces of Marcel and Ron who thought that he had lost his mind, as he received their tacit disapproval. They continued on as they navigated their way out of the thicket and made for the house. It began to come into clearer view as they drew closer. No longer shaded by the concealing umbrage of the trees, they stood out like sore thumbs in the moonlight. They had finally arrived.
The tumbledown structure lay right in the middle of the overgrown field that was the farm, or at least what was left of it. It was dingy, uninhabited, and had probably been abandoned for years. One couldn’t help but notice the odd juxtaposition of its aged features. The odd meeting of parts, the unhappy coincidence of line and place suggestive of a facial expression, the house seemed alive. Whoever built it must’ve had something in mind when he was putting it up. It was almost as if the house was watching them through the blank windows of the broken dormers in the roof that looked like a pair of eyes, with a touch of glee in the eyebrows of the cornices. The vacant space in the broken front door gave the impression that the house had a mouth that was responsible for all the strange noises they heard that night. The shrill howling of the wind , the soft whistling of the trees, the gentle rustling of the leaves and the banging of the shutters, all created a frightening cacophony of sounds that seemed to be coming from the house. This made them reluctant to proceed, but still, they forged ahead.
As they approached the decrepit building, they were completely repulsed by the smell of rotting wood and carrion that hung heavily around the house like an aura, but they were determined to satisfy their childlike curiosity. As they came to the doorless entrance, the gloomy interior was partly lit by the moonlight beaming in from the exterior through the broken windows. Ron was the first to go in as he reluctantly put his right foot in through the door, which was followed by the left . As he moved a few steps further, his voice echoed loudly through the empty house as he yelped, gritting his teeth in pain. Apparently, he had stepped on a rusty nail sticking out from a plank that layed carelessly on the ground. It never occurred to anyone to bring along a first aid kit or even the most essential thing, a flashlight. He had no other option than to mask the pain, and continue moving. He now walked with a limp as he led them on. The other two trailed behind as they tip-toed cautiously leaving a reasonable distance between themselves, neither one of them wanting to be ‘the first to go’. As they carefully made their way through the house, the clouds started to ‘move in on the moon’, purposefully intending to cut off its light. It was almost as if ‘the house’ had it all planned out, or were some sinister forces working against them? Today definitely wasn’t their lucky day. The clouds gradually began to veil the moon as its light started to fade; leaving Marcel, Tyler and Ron at the mercy of the night as darkness swallowed the entire landscape .
” Where’d all the lights go ? ” ,Tyler asked tremulously. Ron kept silent. “Where are you guys? I thought I was right behind Ron ?”, Marcel said. “I’m right here”, Ron breathed. “Right where!?!”, Marcel and Tyler yelled in synchrony. Ron replied,” You know what, let’s just move around, we’ll eventually bump into each other sooner or later, and while we’re at it, let’s try to give ourselves some light in here okay?”. “Whatever”, Marcel replied, obviously ticked. They groped helplessly through the dense darkness in a bid to make contact with one another, but to no avail. They tried using their voices, but their echoes clashed making it almost impossible for them to make out their individual positions; it was a big house. Unknowingly, they gradually began to wander off in different directions trying to find a way to provide light for themselves; the darkness was dividing them. Tyler was scared out of his wits. The house creeped the living daylights out him. He began to panic as he groped frantically through the darkness. Then he tripped on an object and fell heavily to the ground, but his fall didn’t end there. The entire house was made of wood, weak wood at that; so the floor caved in as he went crashing down into the basement, landing with a resonant thud. The two others were startled by the sound of the crash, but were too afraid to ask if anyone was hurt or if anyone needed any help. Tyler was dazed by the fall. He lost consciousness for all of ten seconds, but came back to his senses almost immediately. He felt unnaturally heavy as he rose to his feet. He had the feeling that he wasn’t alone in the basement. He felt that he was being watched.
As he began to move through the dark basement, he heard a sound that dropped through his conciousness like a stone in a pool of water forming ripples of tension that spread throughout his mind. “W-w-who’s there?”, he hesitated. It sounded like the footsteps of a stalker moving around surreptitiously in the darkness, observing him, watching his every move.”Ron, Ron is that you?”, but he didn’t get a reply. “M-M-Marcel?”, but still the silence persisted.”If this is some sort of sick joke, you guys’d better cut it out !”, he exclaimed. His mind began to play tricks on him as he began to think that there was some sort of ghoul lurking in the basement, stalking him like prey. He trembled in fear, shuddering at the thought that he might not make it out alive if ‘it’ should get a hold of him. The thought continued to suffocate him with terror. He was being eaten alive by his own imagination, or was it just his imagination? His slender legs began to shake violently as if they were about to collapse under the weight of his upper body. Adrenaline raced riotously through his veins, circulating through his entire body as his pupils dilated rapidly. He began to feel currents of cold air run softly down the nape of his neck. His hairs stood on end and he immediately broke out in a coldsweat; they felt like exhalations and they had a cataplectic effect on him . He knew that there was a life-threatening presence in the room that was probably right behind him. As reluctant as he was to quell his unfounded curiosity, he had no other option than to do so. He turned around hesitantly to meet the evil surprise that lurked in the shadows. As he slowly raised his head up, his rounded hazel eyes became frozen by the stone-cold gaze from a set of two beady crimson red eyes with a sinister glint in them, forcing a blood-curdling scream out from the pit of his lungs that pierced wildly through the thick of the night, shattering the silence and progressively echoing into nothingness. His unmistakable voice was immediately heard by Marcel and Ron as they thought to themselves,” Tyler’s in trouble ! “