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Take One, Pass It On

by Brittany Seguin 4 years ago in fiction

Chapter One

"Holden House," the large brass sign falling off of a steel post sat at the intersection between Cross Road and Parliament Street, its winding driveway leading down to what you could once imagine was a stately manor, was left by the hands of time to rot away to nothing more than a few solid boards and broken windows. If it weren't for the general interest it piqued with its numerous stories, the town would have condemned it long ago. It was nothing to say that among the few tourist shops and convenience stores, the town of Leader Valley didn't have much going for it, if anything at all. The people were nice—quiet, one would assume; mostly kept to themselves but still managed to be in on everyone's business. "The know" was something few people were out of, like any small town. That was what kept the legends of the Holden House alive.

There were stories of people going in and being forever haunted by what they had encountered, how Mr. Holden himself, the town's very first Mayor, had built this house back during the year of 1815 at the demands of his first wife who, as legend has it, was murdered in the very same spot the two celebrated on their first night. She was murdered by, not her husband, but her suitor; the man in the shadows who would have become furiously enraged by the idea that Mrs. Holden was in no manner going to leave her husband for the likes of him. But, of course, these were mindless stories, told by the elders to bring sparkle to an otherwise boring town. None of them carried merit. At least, that's what Isabella chose to believe.

She listened, though, emerald green eyes gaining curiosity with every new story, every new segment of this never-ending puzzle. Having done her own research, she believed there wasn't much more to be learned then what she knew, but she'd listen anyway. Like right now, well, her dearest friend Pamela was feeding her the fifth adaptation of what she knew to be true about the Holden House. The difference, this time, was that, even though it was pitch black and the night had pulled a cold chill down their spines, they were standing, perched in anticipation in front of the faded, crooked doors that would lead them into the object that forever piqued their interest.

"You do it." Pamela's voice was low, almost a whisper as her thin elbow nudged the other girl forward, closer to the object of their desire.

Isabella reached out, fragile fingers grazing the door handle as she inhaled deeply, fear consuming her excitement, her heart pounding viciously against the walls of her rib cage as she pulled the door—delicately at first, but once the initial shakiness had passed—vigorously. Hard enough that she was sure it would pull from rusted hinges, but it didn't. Instead, it gave way, opening to reveal a cloud of dust and the musky smell that old things carry, filling the young girls' lungs with such a density that both of them coughed, choking for the freshness of clean air before their feet tentatively took the first step forward. The flashlights they had brought pointed in front of them as though they were swords that would lead them into battle.

Their flashlights did meager justice to the front foyer. It was quite wide and from what one could tell, covered in dust, debris, and graffiti. The dim light that was provided couldn't tell them much beyond that, but they didn't need to know a whole lot; they had seen pictures posted online of what it looked like in the daytime, done library research to see it in its new, outstanding glory. It was safe to say they knew what to expect, for the most part. They also knew where they intended to go: the master bedroom.

Pamela was already making a dart for the main staircase, her voice beckoning behind her as she called to her brunette friend.

"Bells! Come on, I'm so excited!" Her voice faltered slightly, the fear still evident over the level of pure adrenaline she was experiencing. Isabella could hear her footsteps as she sauntered up the stairs onto the first floor. But she couldn't move. Her flashlight had landed on a door frame, the door half ajar. That had made her heart flutter in the oddest manner.

Isabella was drawn, drawn towards the void that the half open door pulled into her imagination, filling it with expectations of what could be beyond it. She marched over, without a second thought, swinging it the rest of the way open to reveal a staircase; broken down and missing a step. Dangerous, is what it looked. If she stepped on it it might shatter into a million pieces and send her plunging into the depths of the unknown darkness that lay beneath it. Intriguing. Her foot seemed to move on its own accord, stepping down onto the first step which resonated a soft creek, standing stalk still to verify that it could hold her weight before continuing her descent. Before she knew it, she found herself deep in the heart of the basement. To be exact, a room—a very empty room—the only thing that had any credit was a hole in the wall, looking just big enough for her to squeeze through. Perfect.

Graceful movements got her through the tight squeeze the hole provided, the dim light of her flashlight illuminating different objects as the light fell onto them. Old chairs, a desk, papers, and debris, were scattered this way and that. Nothing particularly drew her in.

The jar in the middle of the room piqued her interest the most, sitting on a table looking completely out of place but at the same time, belonging. Isabella took a tentative step towards it, floor boards creaking underneath the weight of her feet as she leaned in. Dust covered the object, not a fingerprint or smudge gracing the surface. It couldn’t have been touched recently. Her mind registered this as a conscious thought. Even so, there seemed to be something inside. A piece of paper? As her hand reached into the jar, the crinkled sensation verified this, pulling it out, she shone her flashlight towards the parchment.

“Take one, pass it on.”

Simple direction. The paper was faded, wrinkled as though the hands of time had tried to blotch out those five singular words, but to no avail. Isabella placed it back into the jar, her hand reaching instinctively in to see if the dirty confines housed anything else; fingertips touching the cold sensation of a small object; flashlight moving in to identify it as a solitary bead, a pearl, that was the only other inhabitant. As though it had been years since she touched something, she delicately grasped it between two fingers, rolling it into her palm, her eyes drawn to it as; suddenly, a light-headed, queasy feeling grasped hold of her.

The room spun and the environment changed, dust and debris switching out to the smell of fresh lemon and the cleansing look of a house that was adhered to; a dark sensation creeping up as shadows moved across a wooden wall, something hitting the floor like blades of glass, pearls scattering the floor, the dim light from a swinging chandelier cascading around them followed by soft flashes of light, like someone was taking a hoard of photos at the same time; screeching; the cold, dank stench of fear mixed with something that smelled like copper; blood—bright red blood filling the room. Then, nothing, an inevitable feeling of loss and emptiness filling the void left behind.

As her eyes flashed open, her brain tried to register the occurrence it had just experienced. Around her, the room had grown darker, the air felt as though the chill of it could cut through even the thickest flesh. Isabella took a breath, inhaling deeply, the sensation filling her lungs like they hadn't housed air in quite a while.

“Bells, you aren’t funny!” Pamela's fearful voice penetrated her ears, dragging her foggy mind back to reality.

Her eyes darted down, the cold pearl still sitting in her open palm. Shoving it diligently into her pocket, her feet made hasty work of finding their way out of the secluded room. Squeezing through the entrance and pushing herself towards the faltering staircase, she darted her way up them, as if the darkness behind her could swallow her whole, not stopping until she reached the top and firmly slammed the door behind her, alerting the attention of her black-haired friend. Straight locks flung as the girl spun around, the flickering, bright light of her flashlight illuminating them both in the darkness.

“I don’t know where the hell you got the idea to just run off…" Pam's voice was swaying between anger and panic as she shook a thin finger in the other girl’s face, “—but if you ever do something like that to me again…” She shook her head, more locks of hair cascading around the soft features of her face as she took a steadying breath, “You know what? It doesn’t even matter. Let's get the hell out of here, this place is giving me the creeps.”

fiction

Brittany Seguin

Just your average, small town woman. Mother of three- holder of the sanity. At least, that’s what I’d like to assume. Running around through life; trying to document and preserve all those beautiful little moments. That’s what it’s about.

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Brittany Seguin
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