I am glad to have friends. I know a lot of people find high school a really lonely and difficult time, but for me it was surprisingly easy. I wouldn’t say I was popular by any stretch of the word. Maybe there were just a whole lot of “outcasts” at my school so I fit in perfectly. The closest friend I had was Bridget. She and I both loved to play online games like WOW or GTA and that’s actually how we met. It’s nice to have a crew in GTA or a clan in WOW and so I joined one and she was the first person to help get me acclimated with both games. Little did I know that the beautiful and sometimes sarcastic voice on the other end, also went to my school. The other two of my friends sort of tagged along with Bridget but they were no less special to me. Ryan, who was into more outdoorsy things, and Alise, who was into online games just as much as me and Bridget.
Sadly, it was the summer after graduation and I knew that we would all be parting ways after four years of a wonderful friendship. Ryan, being the more ballsy of us, asked us to take a final roadtrip with him to an abandoned home he knew of. We were always into things like that. Old burned downed mansions or deserted hospitals, basically anything rundown and forgotten. I don’t think any of us were hesitant to say yes. The chance to see one final scary/interesting old home was incredible and it would also give us a chance to really say our goodbyes before we left for University in the fall.
The town where the home sat wasn’t far from our own and so we left at sunset, as we usually did, and headed out on our last great adventure. I took my Nikon with me just in case I saw something interesting to snap a picture of. As we rolled into the sleepy town we were feeling a little hungry so we stopped at a diner.
“Last chance to turn back” said Ryan as he chomped down on a burger.
“Hey none of us have pissed ourselves on one of these outings” said Bridget.
We all laughed as Ryan looked a little upset.
“I told you I had to pee. How was I supposed to know that a damn mouse would jump out at me” he shot back.
“In all seriousness, I’m really glad you found this place Ryan and I’m glad I could see it with you guys. I’m really going to miss you all” I said to everyone at our booth.
“Don’t worry Sean, we’ll see each other on break back here and I promise we’ll play online as much as possible” Alise said smiling at me.
I smiled back, “Thanks”
We finished our meal and headed out the door after dropping a tip for the waitress. I looked down to adjust my camera and get it ready when a wrinkly arm grabbed me.
“There’s more than brick and mortar in them walls!” he shouted at me.
I struggled and fought with him to pull my arm away but he held on tight and stared directly into my eyes.
“There’s more than brick and mortar in them walls!!” he shouted even louder this time.
Ryan jumped in between us, “Let em’ go you old fuck!”. Ryan pushed the old man away.
The man fell to the floor but continued to stare up at us. As I walked out to the car he never broke his gaze, even as we sped off into the night.
After shaking what the crazy old man said out of my thoughts, I continued to ready up my camera. I checked the SD card to make sure it was completely empty for our last trip. We turned onto a dark, dirt road surrounded by tall trees. The car slipped and slid all the way down it on the loose gravel. Then, all of the sudden the trees stopped and there sitting quietly under the full moon was the biggest and most beautiful brick, Antebellum home I had ever seen. It had a long driveway and nothing but clear pastures all around it. As we pulled up I almost could picture my dream home, minus the boarded up windows and caved in roof of course. The car came to a halt and Ryan quickly flipped off the lights. We let our eyes adjust and then slowly crept out of the blue sedan. I pulled up my camera and flipped on the flash. I put my camera right where I thought the front door would be and snapped a picture. The sound broke the silence.
“Wow”, whispered Alise staring in amazement and wonder at the scene that was before us.
“What she said” Ryan replied.
We walked up onto the porch and tried to keep the noise level to a minimum although the creaking floor boards didn’t help.
“I think we’re good”, Ryan whispered,”there’s still boards on the door and all of the windows are shut tight so no one can be in there.”
“Wait, I think I saw a basement door on the side of the house, couldn’t someone get in through there?” asked Bridget.
“Don’t think so, It’s probably all blocked off by fallen floor boards and stuff” he replied.
Ryan backed up and looked at the door, taking a quick breath.
I realized what he might be thinking “Wait, you’re not going . . .”
Ryan kicked the door in and smashed the hinges.
“You stupid asshole!” I shouted,”What if someone is actually in there?”
“There’s no one in there, now quit being a pussy and let’s go.”
Ryan led the way into the home. We stood in the marble foyer and in front of us, two staircases climbed up the walls to the second floor balcony. Directly in front of us was an opening that spilled into a sun room and then the back porch beyond that. I pulled up my camera and pointed it at the beautiful stairs. The flash lit up the room and bounced off the marble floor.
“I want to go see the back portion of the house” begged Alise.
I looked to my left and saw a sitting room full of old furniture and a dusty piano, “That’s where I’m going.”
“I guess we’re splitting up then?” asked Ryan.
“Yep” I said taking in the scenery in front of me. The room was ornately decorated with arm chairs and sofas that seemed to be at least a hundred years old. I walked over to the piano and took a picture of it. A smile came across my face as I got a little curious. I looked around to make sure the others were gone and wouldn’t get on to me for making noise. I lifted up the keyboard cover sending out an acoustic thud through the whole room. “Please work” I pleaded as I reached out for the ivory keys. *Ding*. “Yes they work” I thought. I put my camera down and pulled up the old stool. I thought back to the song my grandma taught me, Chopsticks. I think everyone who’s ever played a piano knows it. Surprisingly I remembered every note and finished it, proud of my work. I got in the mood for creepy and placed my hands on the lowest and highest black keys. It made an eerie noise and then . . .
“Aaaah, somebody help me please, somebody please HELP!” I heard Alise shout from the foyer.
I left my camera behind and rushed to her. She was dangling from the balcony and I got under her. As I did, she fell into my arms and we both collapsed on the ground. Ryan and Bridget came running.
“What the hell happened?” asked Ryan.
Alise jumped and ran outside crying as Bridget ran after her. I looked at Ryan, “Come on”.
I chased after the two of them as Ryan followed behind me with a look of irritation.
Bridget was consoling Alise who was buried in Bridget’s chest crying.
“What’s going on?” asked Ryan
“She said someone pushed her off the balcony” replied Bridget.
“Oh my god she probably just tripped and fell” Ryan said, rolling his eyes.
“FUCK YOU!” shouted Alise still crying hysterically.
“You’re and asshole sometimes Ryan” snapped Bridget.
I tried to take Bridget’s side, “Maybe we should just go.”
“No damn it” Ryan shouted back at me, “Look I guess I should stay here and watch after them. You just go get the pictures you came here for and then we’ll go.”
I promised to be quick, told Alise I’d be right back and then headed back into the house. I walked back into the moonlit home and over to the sitting room. I retrieved my camera and then decided to head upstairs. As I reached the second floor, I snapped a picture looking down at the foyer. I turned to my right and headed down a hallway. At the end of it was a large, carpeted bedroom with a big sleigh bed against the back wall. After snapping a picture all of the antique dressers and vanity I walked over to another door. Beyond the door was a gorgeous bathroom with a white, cast iron tub in the middle. The floor was white tile and one bowed out window was on the left. The window let in more light than any other part of the house so for me this would be the best for pictures. I snapped a few of the tub and then the sink in front of a large mirror.
After I snapped the picture and looked down to reset my camera I looked back up to see a figure in the mirror standing in the doorway. I gasped and quickly shot around. The figure was completely dark and I saw no features. “R . . .Ryan is everything okay with Alise?” I asked backing up to the other door across from it. Suddenly the figure began to bolt around the tub and I didn’t hesitate to turn and run. I shot out of the next bedroom as I felt whatever it was chasing me right on my heels. As I ran down the stair I looked up and saw it just at the top, feet away from me. It jumped onto the marble foyer as I ran into the kitchen. I looked behind me and saw him sprinting towards me. I rushed for the open door in front of me and then felt nothing under my feet. I fell down the steps and into the basement as my camera that was around my neck slid away from me. I shook the pain from my head and looked up at the door to see the figure and then the door closed. The basement was completely dark now as I heard its footsteps creaking slowly down the staircase then silence. My camera flashed right at me and nearly blinded me. I decided to get down on my hands and knees and crawl to where it came from. I felt the hard concrete and then finally my camera. I reached for it and quickly turned to the back screen. I saw the last picture. On it was me holding my hands up to block the flash but behind me were more hands reaching out for me. They jutted out from the brick wall and then I noticed Alise’s face, her eyes bulging out, her body stuck in the wall. Behind me in the picture I saw the face of the old man smiling and reaching for me. Then I heard him speaking into my ear, “I told you there’s more than brick and mortar in these walls”