The Haunted House on 7th Street
#GhostStory #LoveStory #Halloween
A young man dressed in a red plaid button-up shirt with jeans sat on the curbside just outside his high school. He wore a baseball hat backwards on his head that still had a tag on it. It’s possible he didn’t even notice that the tag was still there. His eyes seemed hollow as if a part of him wasn’t even there anymore. His hands trembled as he lit his cigarette. He continued to stare morbidly down the empty road.
The bell had rung a long time ago, but he didn't seem to be in any hurry to go anywhere. Probably because he didn’t want to go to class, and without school ... he has nowhere else to be. A young blonde woman, only about seventeen years old walked towards him. She had a weird little hunch to her from years of having her backpack full of books. Normally, she would never skip class … but today she felt especially brave for some reason.
“It’s Josh, right?” She asked.
“Yea” He responded. “You’re the chick from math class”.
“Yea … it’s Claire.” She said reluctantly.
“Thank you for helping me out the other day. That teacher really rides up my ass”. He said.
“Can I have a cigarette?” Claire asked.
“You smoke?” He seemed genuinly surprised.
“… yea,” she said hesitantly.
Josh pulled out a smoke and handed it to her. Claire put in her mouth as if she were guessing where it went. He pulled out his lighter and went to light it, but Claire leaned in and his hand lightly tapped her nose instead.
“Oh sorry,” Josh said.
“It’s okay.” Claire chuckled.
“Here, stay still this time,” Josh said as he stood up.
He pulled the lighter switch down and then used the left hand to move her curly blonde hair out of the way. As he lit her cigarette she looked up at him. His deep brown eyes looked back down at her as he smiled. Claire noticably blushed. He seemed to enjoy the distraction from his morbid thoughts. After all, she is pretty cute.
Then suddenly the moment was ruined as Claire inhaled her first-ever smoke from a cigarette. Which of course immediately lead to a coughing fit. She dropped the cigarette onto the asphalt as she gasped for precious air. Josh stepped on the still-lit cigarette to put it out as she coughed away.
“It’s okay, smoking isn’t for everyone. It’s best not to start that bad habit anyway” Josh said softly.
Her coughing fit calmed down and Josh sat down in the same spot and continued to morbidly stare down the empty street. Despite not being invited, Claire sat down next to Josh. Eager for his attention.
“Do you want to hang out sometime … or something?” Claire asked.
There was an awkward silence after this question. Josh was so intently focused on something else, it was like he didn’t even hear her.
“There is a haunted house down the street.” Josh finally broke the silence.
“Oh, yea” Claire mostly just looked confused.
“It’s the abandoned house on 7th street. It’s haunted by the ghost of a widow from years ago. I heard she is still seeking revenge for the murder of her husband”. Josh’s words trembled as he spoke. “I heard that both of their wedding rings are still in there, side by side and if anyone goes near them the widow will appear to protect them. That’s why they are still there.”
“That’s romantic.” Claire said.
Confused by this response, Josh broke his morbid gaze to look at Claire to see if she was being sarcastic ... she wasn't.
“You think so?” Josh asked.
“Yea, I guess even death didn’t separate them,” Claire said this with confidence.
“So you think that as long as two people are together, the situation doesn’t matter. No matter how dark or awful?” Josh asked eagerly.
“Yea, I mean … love conquers all. Doesn’t it?” Claire said this one with less confidence than before.
“I’m glad you think so” Josh spoke with a smirk on his face. “What would you say if I asked you to the weirdest first date ever? Let's ..."
“Are you asking me out?” Claire interupeted Josh as she blushed again.
“Yea, I guess I am,” Josh said with a charming smile. "Let's go on an adventure right now. How about you and I go to that haunted house right now.”
The next thing Claire knows, she is standing outside the front door of the abandoned house on 7th street. Josh opened the front door that screeched as he pulled it open.
“I don’t want to go inside,” Claire said, “ What if we get caught?”
“Do you trust me?” Josh asked as he put his hand out in front of him. Inviting her to grab his hand.
Claire looked into his deep, yet hauting hallow, brown eyes again and felt completely safe with him. He seemed like someone who has quite the story to tell and she just so desperatly had to know his story. She grabbed his hand and walked into the abandoned house.
For someone who has read a lot of ghost stories … this seems like a strange situation for Claire to willingly walk into. If only someone knew. If only someone warned Claire about the haunted house on 7th St. If only somone warned her about Josh.
The house was empty. Nothing but dust and walls as far as she could see ... the only thing that stood out was the fire place and it's odd section completly untouched by dust. Josh let go of her hand and stopped walking … but Claire saw the wedding rings. They were sitting on top of the fire mantle. She wasn't going to touch them, she just wanted to look at them.
The poor thing only took a few more steps into the house before she heard the front door slam shut. She gasped and turned to see that Josh wasn’t there anymore. He sent her into the house, he sent her in there alone.
“Josh!?” She yelled. “This isn’t funny!”
Claire ran to the front door and pushed and screamed ... then something happened, something that Josh knew would happen. Something that Josh remembers all too well. First, everything went dark … as if the sun itself was blocked by something dark. Something evil. Then the floorboards began to the creek. Claire felt the air get colder around her. She turned around to see ... her.
Meanwhile, Josh stood outside, not shaking for the first time in a long time. Listening intently for the inevitable. Claire screamed. The kind of scream that makes your toes curl. The kind of scream that you would never forget. A scream that would haunt the nightmares of the neighbours if they ever heard it … but they didn’t hear it. Only Josh heard it.
The front door opened on its own. Josh stood there patiently for Claire … and eventually, she stumbled out. Her eyes vacant, staring at the ground. Strand of her hair turned grey right in front of Josh's eyes.
Josh’s expression showed so much genuine care and concern. Then he said to Claire, and he said it with so much compassion; “I don’t think you can handle this …but I know that I couldn’t handle this alone either”.
Claire didn’t respond. She simply just stared at the ground. Josh took off his hat to reveal that he also had strands of grey hair ... but she didn't look up. She just stared at the ground, trying to process what she had just saw. Trying to process what is happening to her. He delicately lifted up her face so that she would look at him.
“I died the day that I saw her, I’m a shell of the person I used to be before. I needed someone else to see her too.” Josh spoke calmly. “I needed someone else to experience what I experienced. I needed someone else to understand what I was going through … but you don’t have to be alone like I was when this happened to me. I can help you through this because I went through it too”.
Needless to say, Claire didn’t feel so safe with Josh anymore … nor was she still eager for his attention. She never told Josh that what he did to her was wrong, although to be fair it took her days to even start talking at all. However, she did get what she wanted. She learned the story behing Josh's morbid eyes and their mutual trauma bonded the two together. Just like Josh wanted. It’s not a traditional happy ending, or even anywhere near a healthy relationship but at least they had each other. Now they are both hallowed shells of their former selves … together.
But at least they have each other … right?