Haunted: Part 1

For this one I’ve used a prompt from my sister, Charity! She asked me to write a story about a haunted house. It’s taking a bit longer than I thought it would to write, so I’m going to post it in bite-sized chunks. Here is part one, enjoy!

 

 

The house slumped dejectedly, crouched in a forest of weeds and tall grass. Grey paint flaked from warped wood, and the windows were foggy with dirt and grime.  Austin followed the realtor, Helen, up the dirt path to the porch. She stepped carefully in her high heels, grey skirt and jacket.

“I know it doesn’t look like much from out here, but the inside is really nice,” she said, touching her tightly bunned hair nervously and looking back at Austin with a pleading grin.

Austin nodded. They both knew it was a dump, but it was cheap. Cheaper even than a mess like this should be. Austin prepared himself for a drug den with strewn needles and feces smeared on the walls, or blood stains. Helen’s attitude so far had been one of masked desperation that didn’t mesh with the actual condition of the house.

The front door opened with a creak and they stepped inside.

“The furnishings are included, remove the coverings if you like.” Helen waved a hand at a couch and two recliners covered in dusty white sheets, they sat in a semicircle facing a dark fireplace. The room was dim, lit only by light from the windows.

Austin flipped a light switch with no effect.

“Ah, yes, the power has been cut off for a while. I assure you all the wiring is intact though.” Helen laughed and fidgeted with her hair some more.

Austin fingered through the books on a shelf near the fireplace while Helen went on about the solid structure, and ‘fixerup’ value of the house. A pile of books lay in a heap on the floor, knocked from the shelf. Austin replaced them.

A long moaning sound came from beneath them. Helen talked on, ignoring it.

“Um, did you–”

“Oh God dammit,” said a man’s voice with a groan. It came from somewhere below the house.

“Are you… you don’t hear that?” said Austin. Helen just smiled at him.

“The house creaks, sometimes?” she said. “Would you like to see the bedrooms upstairs?”

“Just great,” continued the voice. “Just when I was finally starting to relax.”

“Creaks?” said Austin, scratching at his chin. “You really don’t hear that?”

Helen’s face froze in the shape of a smile while her eyes darted back and forth. “I must have missed it.” She laughed and started to climb the stairs.

“Is there a basement?” asked Austin.

“Yes, yes this way.” Helen led him across the room to a staircase.

The scratching growling sound of someone clearing their throat sounded from below.

“Wooo, woahh, leave this house, leaaave.” The voice wavered and dripped with sarcasm.

“Now, it’s a bit messy down there,” Helen said, starting down the stairs. “A lot of stuff got knocked about by, uh, some hooligans.”

Austin stopped at the top of the stairs, staring down. A wispy, transparent figure stomped up the stairs toward him, waving his hands lazily above his head.

“Wooo, wooooo,” said the figure, stopping to hack violently into his hand.

“It could easily be cleaned up and used as another bedroom,” said Helen, continuing down. “Or a game room, or-” she looked back up at him. “Is something wrong?”

“I, uh…” Austin stared as the figure stepped up to Helen and waved his loose-sleeved arms in her face.

“Only death and danger lurk below,” said the ghost, his voice dropping to a low bass, but keeping the mocking tone. “Continue and you will be cursed and doomed!”

Helen shivered, her ever-present smile fading into a hard line. Her eyes scanned the bottom of the staircase and she retreated up a few steps.

“I think… I think the basement is not such a good idea today,” said Helen.

She climbed the rest of the steps to stand next to a bewildered Austin, then straightened her skirt and buttoned her jacket and forced her mouth back into the shape of a smile.  Austin looked past her, watching the figure climb up the stairs behind her.

“Is this house haunted, by any chance?” asked Austin, his eyes staying on the spirit. The figure stopped in it’s tracks and looked right at him; it’s features were foggy, but Austin could make out eyes clear enough.

“Oh, oh dear, of course you’ve heard the rumors haven’t you?” Helen said, maintaining her smile diligently.

The ghost gave up it’s stomping and floated right up to Austin’s face. “You can see me?”

“Yes,” said Austin.

“Ah, well,” Helen said, clearing her throat. “It is true that someone died here long ago, but of course no-”

“I’ll take it,” said Austin.

Helen cracked a genuine smile and fumbled for words while the ghost burst into laughter.

~

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