This is the last time I leave my door unlocked. While I was out trying to figure out what she was up to, my demon child cousin Tate King went into my room and took my gaming console. I’ll have a cow before I let her do anything to my most prized possession.
“Tate, where is it?!” I demand, after storming into her room on a fire-breathing griffin with a Valyrian steel sword in hand.
“What on earth are you talking about, dear cousin?” She asks facetiously with a rather high-pitched voice; her smile mapping out intentions as sinister as they are mysterious.
“Don’t start with me, Tate, don’t start! I know you-“
“Why do you always think the worst of me, Kyre? I know we have our differences, but I wouldn’t neeeever dream of doing anything like that,” she says. Oh, she’s really good. If I never knew just how maniacal she could be, I might have bought it.
“Where-is-my-console?” I demand, my rage now evident from the way I am breathing through my gritted teeth.
“Look, I don’t know, okay. Believe what you want. But that’s not gonna change what I know and don’t know. ” She goes to her door and opens it, indicating that it is time for me leave. “But, if you’re really nice to me, I might just think hard and try to remember if I saw anyone taking it.” I knew it. Not that I doubted it in the first place. I stand still for a moment, steaming with a fury I have never felt before.
“What do you want?” I say defiantly, trying not to accept defeat.
“There you go again, thinking I’m always trying to work an angle. But hey, since you insist, I will tell you to do something for me. I won’t tell you when, or where it will be, but when I say it, you have to do it. Agree?” Blast! I’m cursing under my breath because I know that her balefulness is only exceeded by her ability to rip me to shreds at the most inopportune moments. But I really love my console, and I’m afraid she just might sell it if I don’t comply. I could tell my parents, but you saw the act she just pulled. She could make them believe anything.
“Fine. It’s a deal. Where is it?”
“Not so fast. I need assurance.” I take a deep breath with fists clenched as tight as they can be; using up all the restraint I have right now.
“If I don’t,” I say, after much thought; “You can tell the parents that I’m the one who messed up dad’s computer, and it wasn’t caused by a surge like I told them.” The devilest grin I’ve ever laid eyes on creeps on her face, and I know she has me right where she wants me.
“Deal. Okay so I’m not sure about the specifics, but I while I was minding my own business, cleaning my room, trying not to be a both -“
“JUST-mmmmmmmmm! Don’t do it Kyre! Don’t do it!” I have to take a really deep breath to get myself thinking straight again. “Just, tell me what happened to my console.” It’s a miracle that I haven’t pulled all my hair out at this point.
“Sheesh! Fine, fine! You don’t have to go bald or anything, dang! Okay, so I may or may not have seen Old Simon Grange looming around; my best bet is that you’ll find your console in his house.”
No, no, no, no, no! Not the haunted Grange Villa!!!!
Tate, you Devil.
You’ve seen enough contemporary movies to know about the neighborhood haunted house. The Grange Villa at the end of the street isn’t any different. Legend has it that no one has ever gone in and lived to tell the-okay, okay, I exaggerate. At least one kid a year is foolish enough, or unfortunate enough to go in, and if they don’t run out howling and go crazy immediately, according to legend, they end up being haunted in their sleep and will be heard screaming through the night for months after their imprudent trespass. Some say that after you’ve fallen asleep, Old Simon comes with Marty Page, a kid that used to do mow his lawn and clean his pool, and they take your soul for horrifying tour of the undead world during the darkest hours of the night, and bring you back at six in the morning, only to return the following night to take you for another excursion. There’re a million theories as to why he does it, but I never want to hear them. I know I’ll be turning thirteen in a couple of weeks too but I have a hard enough time sleeping already. No need to make it worse.
“Dude, don’t do it; it’s okay, I’ve been dying to start riding bikes again anyways,” my little brother Halley says. It’s tempting, but part of me actually wants something bad to happen to me, even if it’s only so that Tate can get in real trouble for putting me up to this. It’s a ton of scary and I wonder if it will be worth it……
“I’m going. Stay behind and keep an eye on her this time, will you?” I say tiredly. “I’ll be right back.”
As I am approaching the Grange Villa, a few kids start peeping through their windows and over their white picket fences when they realize that I continue going up the road without stopping. I think the determination that is spelled out by the straight face I am wearing says everything.
I am going to be this year’s fool.
There is a possibility that I am being haunted already, even here, still tens of feet shy of the Grange Villa. I can hear clear footsteps behind me. My eyes widen as I start turning my head, and I am preparing to bolt from Old Simon faster than anyone he would have seen in any lifetime.
“Dude, you forgot the salt. Do you remember nothing from Kellerview Haunting?”
Relief floods my face.
It’s only Halley.
“Halley, why…….why would you scare me like that?” I grab his shoulders and shake him just a little, still trying to bring my heart back down from my throat.
“Just chill out, man. This isn’t the time to be getting pale-skinned. And don’t even think about telling me to go back, because you know me better.” He hands me a vial of salt and proceeds ahead of me.
“They didn’t even use…….never mind.” I am bewildered as to where eleven-year-old Halley got all his courage from because I could use a dab of it myself.
Halfway through the yard to the front door, I don’t feel any hairs standing on end or chills going down my back. So far so good. Halley and I are moving forward gingerly, as if not to upset Old Simon by making too much noise. I even give a quiet knock on the door before we enter the house.
“What….are you doing,” Halley asks. “There’s obviously no one around; let’s just get in and get out. It can’t be that hard, right? Tate is obviously the one who put the console in there. She went in and she seems fine to me.”
“That’s because she’s one of them,” I reply. “You can’t get tormented if you’re already a tormenter,” I say; my face cringing as the front door creaks open. We look around, and with all the windows blocked with planks, it is pretty dark in there. The stories I heard may have been all lies, but the one about Marty Page is true. Poor kid didn’t know that Old Simon had died, and he went by to mow his lawn anyways. This is all in the late eighties, by the way. Old Simon was an antisocial loner, but he gave Marty keys so that he could get to the basement where he kept all his cleaning stuff. Marty, unfortunately, fell near the top of the staircase when he was taking the mower back to the basement, and I hear it smashed into his skull as it went tumbling down. That’s when the cops closed off the place.
For Halley and me, thank God, we don’t have to go as far as the basement to find the console. The place is terribly lit, but from the doorway, I can see it resting on top of one of the first tables we see in the living room. Come on Kyre, think. This has got to be part of her plan. She wouldn’t just leave it there, right?
“Well, there it is. We might as well.” Halley goes ahead of me towards the table.
“Wait, Halley! It might be a-“
I almost have a heart attack when the door slams behind us, rendering the room pitch black.
“It’s old Simon!” Halley shrieks, and starts running to…….to someplace……I literally can’t see a thing with the door closed. And his is the courage I wished I had before.
“Don’t move, Halley! It’s Tate! She’s just trying to-“
After that, even I am screaming. I am hearing the sound of metal tumbling down the stairs from the first floor; it sounds like a machine……like a robot….no-a lawn mower. I can’t see anything, but I know that’s what it is. But now I am not sure if it’s one of Tate’s tricks, or if it’s the same contraption that killed Marty Page. And what’s making me lose my mind is that I can’t hear Halley anymore.
I knew it was a bad idea to let him come with me. Heck, with the latest turn of events, it was a bad idea for me to come myself! A gaming console doesn’t seem nearly as valuable as seeing what tomorrow will be like. I just wish-
“Kyre! I’m down here!”
“Halley! Is that you?” I know it’s a silly question to be asking, but it might just be Marty Page. I have to be sure.
“Kyre! Hurry!” Okay, it’s definitely Halley, and it sounds like he may need some help. I follow his voice and kick into a lot of things before I find a stairway that leads down to…..yup. Just as I thought. The basement.
The same place that Marty Page died.
The lawnmower has finally found the floor, and its broken parts aren’t sounding the house with fear anymore. My skull is intact, and I am in the basement hoping to not run into Marty Page. The air is thick and very dusty down here, and I feel the walls are pretty thick too, as if no scream could ever make it out. Mmmmm don’t think like that, just find Halley and get the hell out. I call out his name a few times but he doesn’t respond. I keep trying to feel my way around until I hear a thud, like someone kicking into a wooden chest or something. Maybe it’s a coffin??? No, no, no, it can’t be! Think positive, man! I remain stock still waiting for another sound, and when it comes, it’s the sound of footsteps.
I can now feel sweat forming on my forehead, but this doesn’t stop me from having chills. I see a small silhouette coming toward me, I’m not sure who it is until I spot a feather sticking out from the crown of its head. Definitely Halley. I don’t know whether to mad at him or thankful that he is alright.
“Of all the places, you just had to come down here?! Really?!!” Mad it is. But he doesn’t respond, he remains where he is, just looking at something. Could they have made him a zombie already? Okay, snap out of it, Kyre. You’re being ridiculous. I am still getting an awful, frightening vibe about this place, whether someone died here or not. I look at what Halley is staring at, and it seems to be a dim light that’s shining through the space between a wardrobe’s doors. But it’s not just any ordinary light; it looks strangely familiar. I know I have seen a light like that before, and I remember it being dark then too. Where was it?………Camping?……No……Birthd – aha! Now I remember! It was during a blackout. It looks just like the light from one of Tate’s glow-in-the-dark hair-bands.
“The jig is up, Tate. I know it’s you,” I shout. Suddenly robed in courage, I march up to the doors and swing them open, without giving even a second thought. But to my utter horror, the moment I open the wardrobe door, Bones fall out. And not just any ordinary bones.
A child’s bones.