“You sure you want to go in?” He smiled down at me, a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.
I glanced up at the abandoned house. It looked like it was straight out of a movie. Scraps of wood covered the windows, some in tact, others rotting and falling off. The house looked like it was barely supporting itself, leaning slightly to the right, much less being able to support two people walking through it.
Did I want to go in there? Oh hell no. This is how horror movies started. That house radiated creepiness and I had no doubt that there was at least one ghost in there.
So, was I sure? Nope. Not at all. Tony patiently smiled down at me, his hair starting to collect the water from the drizzle around us. He reached out for my hand and took it gently in his. A tingle spread from my hand through my body. I was sure about wanting to impress him, and if I said no, he might just take me home and call it a night. I was sure I didn’t want that to happen. So, instead of listening to my gut, I clenched my teeth together and put on the most convincing smile I could possibly muster as he continued his story.
“I heard the ghosts in here are looking the next addition to the family. Legend is, the house waits for the next addition of the family to come, and then it takes them. But, if it doesn’t think you fit, then it lets you go. Plenty of people have come and gone, I’ve only heard of 2 missing since I’ve lived here,” Tony told the story with brazen casualty, sending a shiver through my spine.
“Two?” I whispered, my voice unable to power a clearly spoken word.
“Yeah, it was in the news about 5 years ago. This kid and his mom were going in the house to look into buying it to fix it up, and they never came back out. But, I suppose anything could have happened to them, it is in bad shape,” he shrugged, pointing to the lean of the house, “We’ll be careful.”
I swallowed down the lump in my throat, “Let’s go before my logic takes over and I run all the way home.” I squeezed his hand and pulled him towards the door. As we walked up the steps to the front door, carefully avoiding the termite-infested rot, a sense of dread and unease entered me. My hand immediately started sweating. I stood, facing the front door. He let go of my hand and reached for the handle whispering softly, “Here we go.”
The door swung open slowly, screaming in protest after years of stationary content. Tony swung the flashlight around the house, revealing dusty sheets draped over furniture, cobwebs, and rodents who had made this house their home. As the rats scurried back to their dark holes, Tony stepped inside, looking back at me with mild excitement.
“C’mon! Don’t be scared.”
I stood motionless at the doorway, my sense of unease growing. I was breaking all of my carefully crafted rules for this shaggy-haired football player. His lips raised in a lopsided grin, watching my hesitation. I stepped inside, and the moment I did, I knew I had made a terrible mistake.
The door violently shut behind me. I whirled around and tried to catch it mid-shut, but it was too late. I whipped my head around to look at Tony, who was smiling, “Finally!” He looked different now, his face sunken in the dark, his eyes expressionless and fixed, his perfect teeth seeming to have rotted in the second it took for the door to close. I gasped.
“Welcome to your new home. We’ve been waiting for someone like you to join us,” he lifted the flashlight up, the light radiating from the beam, illuminating an old portrait of a small family, two parents and a teenage boy that looked exactly like…
“You?” I choked out, my realization being met with an evil cackle. As he brought the flashlight down to my skull, the portrait changed before my eyes. The parents shifted to be next to Tony and I, and we had our arms out, on the shoulders of two children who had not yet been chosen.