“You know tonight is the night, right?”
“Dude shut up.”
“What do you mean it’s the night?”
“every year, on this day, someone dies.”
Drew laughed, “Dude, do you know how many people there are in the city? Someone dies everyday.”
“No, but it’s different on this night.”
“How is it different?”
“Because they’re n-”
“Stop. I don’t want to hear the rest. It’s freaky enough out here as it is.”
“Don’t listen to him babe, he’s full of it. It was his idea to come out here in the first place. If something weird was happening and he knew about it, why would he want to come out here?” Drew pulled Chelsea into a hug, “don’t worry. Nothing is going to attack us.”
“Well, maybe a homeless guy.”
“I said shut up.”
Tony shrugged and grinned at them, “I’m fucking with you. Homeless people don’t even come here. Besides, it makes perfect sense to be in a place like this on a night like tonight. It’s freaky, it’s fucked up, no one is gonna come out here, right? So if you’re gonna kill someone, you’d go to where people are. If anything we’re safer here.”
“That is the most confusing logic I’ve ever heard. Also, horror movies?”
“Yeah, my point exactly. People don’t go to these places cos they know better, therefore killers and the like will avoid it too as they know there will be no victims.”
“If there’s no one out here, wouldn’t it make a good lair or something?”
“No, it wouldn’t ok.” Tony shook his head, “You’re not getting my point.”
“I think we got it. Your point is just stupid.”
Tony shook his head again and walked away, looking at the ground and muttering.
“I really don’t know why we had to come up here though.”
“He wanted to and he’s been having a tough time lately, Frankie dumped him, his parents are going through stuff. I felt bad saying no.”
“I guess. I still feel like I’m intruding a little though.”
He gave her a quick kiss, “You’re not, look he wanted you to come too, he told me to invite you.”
Chelsea smiled, “If he tries to kill us cos we’re still going out, you owe me a coke.”
Drew smiled back, “Deal.” He moved after Tony, grabbing her hand and pulling her along with him.
The ground was dry and dusty, it looked like no grass had grown on it for years. The house itself was large, the windows boarded up. It looked more dilapidated than creepy during the day, Drew’s biggest fear was that the floorboards would collapse or something equally mundane. It didn’t have the presence that he had expected. He had thought that the air would feel heavy and oppressive, that there would be hairs standing on the back of his neck. Now he was just slightly bored and a little cold. Everyone knew the story of the house. Rich couple, nasty divorce. Husband moved out and salted the land before going. Drew didn’t know how much he used, but it must have been a helluva lot as nothing had grown here in the last ten years. The wife had disappeared a few days after the husband had left, no trace of her had been found. The house had sat here ever since, the husband refused to sell and just left it rotting. Overall he felt underwhelmed with the place. From what he had heard and from what Tony had said, he had expected something much more exciting, but he had agreed to come and he was a man of his word.
“Ok, so how are we supposed to get in?”
“I’ve heard that there’s a way in around the back.”
“If no one comes here, how do they know how to get in?”
Tony ignored Chelsea as he climbed over the short fence separating the front from the back. Chelsea climbed over next, “Thank god I wore jeans here. I’d be scratched to shit otherwise.”
Drew followed, the back garden was worse than the front. Plants and grasses had started to grow, but they were stunted and patchy. It gave the place a much creepier feel than the front.
Tony came over to them, “Ok, so I think I’ve found two ways in. One through the basement and one through the first floor. Which do you guys think?”
“First floor. Definitely. We don’t want stairs collapsing or getting trapped down there. I don’t want to have to call someone to get us out.”
“Ok, first floor it is. C’mon.”
They trailed after him as he approached a window, he pulled and tugged at the board for a few minutes, Drew stepped forward and gave him a hand, together the two pried it from the wall, wincing as the rusty nails gave way with a shriek. The dropped the board onto the ground and Tony started to fiddle with the window.
“If it’s locked you are not breaking it open.”
“Jeez, where is your spirit of adventure?”
“If we get caught here I don’t want to be on the line for some shitty broken windows.”
He fiddled with it for another couple of seconds, “Aha!” He pulled it up slowly, it made stuttered grinding noises as it rose. “We’re in. Who’s first?”
“Well, you’re the one who wanted to come out here.”
“I just wanted to be polite. Ladies first and all that.”
“No, after you. I insist.”
Tony smiled at them both, “Chickens. See ya inside.”
He climbed through the window, “So, any broken floorboards?”
“No. Hang on a second.” A moment later a bright light illuminated the room. It looked dirty, but the floor seemed to be in good condition.
“Do you want to go in before or after me?”
“After. If some crazed junkie is in there, I want to have a clear line of escape. You two banging around will bring anyone out of the woodwork.”
“If you’re really nervous you can wait in the car for us.”
“God no, that’d be worse. C’mon, lets just get this over with. Also, I vote for beer and pizza when we get home.”
Drew stood aside and let Chelsea come through the window, Tony had wandered off to the next room. Drew was starting to get creeped out. The house still had everything. The room smelt of mould and damp. Couches were angled at an empty fireplace, a few rotting books sat on top of a small table. It looked as though it hadn’t been touched since the wife went missing. Drew had expected the place to be empty of anything but crumpled beer cans and some discarded needles.
Drew and Chelsea jumped as something crashed to the ground somewhere in the house. “Fuck!”
“Tony? Are you ok?”
“Yeah. I’m fine, I’m in the kitchen.”
They started to move towards the sound of his voice. The kitchen was large, with long, wide marble countertops. Tony was standing near a doorless cupboard, The door was lying on the tiled floor. “I think some of the hinges were rusted through. It broke off in my hand when I pulled it open.”
The cupboard was full of plates and bowls.
“Man, everything is still here. Who needs to go shopping when they get a new place, just come here.”
“What? Just wash it well and it’ll be fine.”
Chelsea shook her head, then had a look around, “Some of this stuff is really expensive. Like high end mixers,” she picked up a plate, “high end dinnerware. Who would just leave it here?”
“Rich people. Hell, you’d just go out and buy more.”
“But why has no one come in and taken everything? This house should have been stripped bare by now.”
“See, I told you, everyone is too scared of this place to come near it.”
“There has to be another reason. Is it patrolled or like, full of dangerous chemicals?”
“Not that I know of.”
“Maybe we should go, just in case.”
“I dunno, I mean we’re already here. We might as well have a look around the rest of the place before we leave, right?”
“I guess. Just make it quick then.”
Tony left the room, Drew trailed after him. Chelsea stayed in the kitchen, looking around. Nothing looked out of place, it was like they just left for an afternoon and never came back. She moved over towards the fridge and put her hand on the handle. After a second, she let her hand drop. God only knew what the fridge would smell like once opened. Though she didn’t open it, she knew that it was probably full of rotting food. Same with the freezer. She looked around herself, then moved out of the kitchen, trailing after the other two.
“Ok, we’ve seen everything now, can we go?”
“I guess. I mean, if you really want to.”
“Well, what else is there to do here?”
“We haven’t seen the basement yet.”
“And we’re not going to. I’m not falling through some old stairs, you already broke a cupboard and that bed when you sat on it.”
“Yeah well, it’s not my fault the thing was all rotten.”
“I’m not going down there. Besides it’s probably full of useless junk.”
“Like that jewellery box was full of junk? I can’t believe you wouldn’t let me take anything. Can I just look at least? The stairs could be concrete, that would be safe, right?”
“Fine, but if they’re wood we’re not going down there.”
They stood at the top of the stairs, “I’m not going down there.”
“Fine. You two stay up here, I’ll be back in a minute. God, where’s you’re sense of adventure?”
“It’ll be full of crap.”
“Yeah well, I’ll give a shout when I find the dead bodies or jars full of foetuses.”
“Yeah, that’s not making me want to go down there.”
Tony started down the stairs, shining the light in front of himself.
“There’s shelves of stuff down here at least. I think I see some tins. I’ll bring one back up to you guys.”
The light continued flashing down in the basement as Tony moved around, Drew was starting to get nervous. What if someone did come along? They’d been in the place for at least fourty five minutes. Someone was going to notice eventually.
They both jumped as there was a loud scream from the basement, then silence.
“Tony? Are you ok?”
There was a low chuckle, “Yeah, I’m fine. There was a mannequin down here, scared the shit out of myself.”
“Are you done?”
“Yeah, I guess. I’ll be up now in a minute. I was right, there’s a ton of canned food down here. I’d swear they thought they world was going to end or something.”
Tony appeared at the bottom of the stairs and started to make his way up.
“C’mon dude, lets get out of here.”
“I’m coming, I’m coming.”
Drew wanted to get out of the place, he had a weird feeling, like he was being watched. There was a faint itch between his shoulder blades.
They climbed out of the window without problems and leaned the board against it after closing it over. They made their way back to the car, checking to make sure that the coast was clear. With no sign of anyone they got in and drove off. Drew didn’t relax until the house was out of view, even then he had that feeling that someone was still watching them. He put it to the back of his mind, he was just paranoid, that was all. They had gotten away clean, but still that feeling lingered.