What Lurks in Shadows (Part I)

Posted: October 11, 2016 in horror, Uncategorized
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This week’s challenge, write part 1 (of 3) of a spooky story. So this is all atmosphere and set-up for what’s to come. Not too scary, yet, but hopefully enough meat on the bones for someone to come along and flesh it out.

“Are you sure this is such a good idea?” Leah asked, holding her arms tight around her body to ward off the autumnal chill. She and her friends, Jim and Fiona stood outside the old McMillian house. The house, one of those old classic Victorian structures, loomed out in the dark, thick ivy clutching its walls. The ground around it were overgrown and choked with brambles,  A light rain fell, pattering off the roof of the car.

“Don’t tell me you’re scared,” Jim said, turning around from the driver seat. “Come on, we’ve talked about doing this for years.”

“I know, I know, but how long has it been abandoned? Who knows what’s living in there.”

Fiona looked up from fixing her make-up in the rear view mirror. “Look, at most it’s a couple of homeless guys. We get a hint of something wrong, well, we’ll leave, okay? But how cool would it be to spend the night? We’ve got to do this.”

Leah sighed. “Okay, okay. But if my parents ask I was at your place all night, okay?”

Fiona rolled her eyes. “What are you, twelve?”

Leah smiled. “Only if you ask my dad. So we’re really doing this?”

Jim nodded. “Yeah. Get your bags. I’ve got a couple of things to grab out of the trunk. See if you can find an open door, okay?”

“What if we can’t?” Leah asked.

Jim chuckled. “Then we might just have to break a window. Let’s hurry.”

Leah grabbed her bag from next to her and ran to the house, Fiona following close behind her, the rain falling on them cold and soaking. They reached the sanctuary of the house, rain still dripping down from cracked, weather beaten eaves. Thunder rumbled in the distance.

“Hell of a night to break into a haunted house,” Leah said.

“Shut up and try the door.”

Leah grabbed the door handle and pushed, the door swinging open with some resistance from swollen wood and rusted hinges. “You’d think it would be locked.”

“What are the odds someone’s broken in before?”

Leah shook her head. “I’m more worried about the odds that someone is in here now.”

“You think?” Fiona reached into her pocket, pulling out a penlight. She twisted it on and shone the narrow beam inside, letting it play off the cobwebbed walls and bare floors. “Doesn’t look like anyone has been in here for a while.”

“Or they are being really quiet,” Jim said, coming up behind them.

“Christ, Jim!” Fiona said, slapping him on the arm. “Scared the shit out of me.”

“Sorry, sorry. Look will you go in already? I’ve got to put these bags down and I still have to go back and get the beer. I told you, no one is in here, all right? The most we’ve got to worry about is maybe a raccoon or two. Maybe some bats.”

“You didn’t say anything about bats.” Leah and Fiona stepped out his way so he could drop two duffel bags inside along with the backpack on his back in the front hall.

“Easy, Leah. It’ll be fine. It’s night so they’ll all be out anyway. You, uh, might want to watch your step though.”

Leah blinked at Jim. “Why?”

Jim smiled and shook his head. “Well, wouldn’t want you stepping in any guano.”

“You are sick, you know that?” Fiona asked, wrinkling her nose.

Jim smiled back. “Yep. Anyway, the beer isn’t going to carry itself. I’ll be right back. Don’t get lost okay.”

“I still don’t see how you convinced me to come along with you,” Leah said.

“What else were you going to do on a Friday night? Sit in your pajamas in front of the television with a bowl of popcorn?”

“What’s so wrong with that?”

Fiona rolled her eyes and moved deeper into the house, Leah following in her wake. A thick layer of dust covered everything, hinting that no one had been even squatting in the old place for years.

“You know why it’s abandoned right?” Fiona asked.

“Everyone knows that story,” Jim said, appearing from the shadows and setting two six packs of beer down. “Old man McMillan and his wife were the only two left of the old family. One night a couple of burglars broke in. Something went wrong, and about a week later the police arrived to find four bodies. Looked like the burglars had killed the wife, but the old man still had his shotgun. Managed to kill the two burglars, but not before he got shot himself. I hear he lasted three days before he died.”

“You really need to stop doing that,” Leah said. “Nearly gave me a heart attack.”

“Sorry. Hey, is that a fireplace? We totally could get a fire going in here.”

“With what?” Fiona asked.

“I’m sure there’s some old furniture around we could break up. Might be some old newspapers lying around. Worse comes to worse, I’m pretty sure I saw a wood pile out there. Some of that might still be good.”

“After fifteen years?”

“Have a little faith, babe.”

Leah hugged her arms around herself, the stopped, ears, straining. “Did you hear that?”

“Hear what?” Fiona asked.

Leah shook her head. “I’m not sure. It sounded like… I don’t know. Voices maybe?”

Jim frowned. “Probably just the wind. I’m sure this old house has all sorts of holes in it. If nothing else, most of the windows are broken as it is. Anyway, come help me get the bags, okay? We can camp out in the old living room.”

Leah and Fiona helped Jim bring the bags in. They set up their sleeping bags. Jim opened a beer, but the girls refused.

“Okay, I’m going to go see about getting some wood for a fire,” Jim said. “Want to come with me?”

“No, Leah and I are going to check upstairs. See if we can find anything.”

“We are?” Leah asked. “Uh, sure, okay.”

“All right, just be careful, okay?”

“Sure, come on Leah, let’s go.”

  1. Cameron says:

    That’s a good setup. I hope someone picks this up and continues. If not, you ought to.

  2. I like the setup. Although, compared to your other writing, this felt a bit like ‘talking heads’ without enough detail around the dialogue. Maybe that’s just my work addled brain, but it’s a thought if you decide to do more with this =) Keep up the writing!

  3. […] Part 2, again not finishing it. In case you missed it, my Part 1 is here. For my part 2, I chose this story by Matthew Gomez. It was a lot of fun to take someone else’s characters and run with them. […]

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