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The Towns Haunted House

by Emma Diane McManus about a year ago in fiction
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Every town has a “haunted” house that has its fair share of grim stories

Every small town has that one “haunted” house that kids circulate scary stories about for generations.

Our town has one that used to be an asylum, so you can guess some of the stories that have emerged. It had also become like a right of passage that groups of brave (or stupid, depending on how you look at these things) kids had to spend an hour alone in a room of the once grand Victorian home.

My group of friends had decided that it was our turn to try and stay in the house with a final rally from our lead idiot - “Come on! It'll be fun!" Dylan urged as we headed up the forgotten road that lead to the house.

"How, exactly, will this be fun?" Amy, his girlfriend and my best friend, asked and it was a sensible question, considering that the gates were covered with No Entry and DANGER signs.

By Raúl Nájera on Unsplash

"Everyone is terrified of this house. It’s our turn to prove there’s nothing to be afraid of!" Dylan was usually good at rallying the troops but I could see the worried expressions on my friends faces.

"See those signs?" His older brother, George, asked while pointing at the gate; that was barely hanging on by a single hinge. "No Trespassing … Hazardous … Strictly No Entry? I'm willing to bet that they're there for a reason. Not because the house is haunted but because the thing is falling apart," he folded his arms. "You can go get yourself killed but I'm not joining you and when mum asks 'why I didn't stop you?', I'll tell her that you're too stupid to read."

"So, you're saying that you're not going in?" Dylan asked grinning at his brother who then took a swipe at his head. Dylan managed to duck down just in time and step in between Amy and me. "Come on girls. I'll protect you,"

"Dylan, you couldn't fight off a moth," Amy said with a raised eyebrow and I covered a laugh by pretending to cough. Dylan looked at me for support but I just shrugged.

"George is right. Haunted or not. That house is condemned." Dylan groaned and rolled his eyes.

Dylan looked at the house with longing eyes then turned to leave with the rest of us but before we could stop him, he turned and bolted towards the house.

"Dylan!" The three of us yelled in unison but there was no stopping him. George ran after him first, swearing under his breath and Amy followed. I stood watching them disappear into the darkness.

The house hadn't seemed as frightening with three others standing beside me but alone…

I felt the hairs on my arms stand on end as a sudden wind blew passed, sending my hair into my face and causing the gate to creek. I heard my friends shouts travelling towards me on the wind.

They somehow sounded miles away.

The wind continued to pick up, swirling leaves around my feet.

“To hell with this!” I thought as I decide that I wasn't waiting around by myself any longer. If the house was where I had to go to feel some kind of strange safety… then the house was where I was going to go.

I ran through the swinging gates and toward the house, the gravel crunched loudly under my feet. I reached the steps to the house, panting from the run and shaking from jolts of fear and adrenaline that surged through me as I looked up at the huge, decaying building.

I heard my friends calling me to come inside and look but I couldn't shake a strange feeling that I was being watched.

"Look at this place Emma!" Dylan called excitedly.

I walked up the crumbling steps and into a small entrance hall that lead into a large reception area with two grand staircase sweeping up the walls. Two hallways lead off the reception to the right and left and two doorways straight ahead. Hanging above the centre of the lobby was the largest chandelier I had ever seen. It was easily ten to twelve feet around. Some of the crystal droplets had fallen off and were smashed on the marble floor that was thick with dirt and dust. I nudged one of the broken pieces with my foot as Dylan bounced around talking about how creepy it all looked.

"Let's split up?" He suggested and Amy glared at him.

"Don't you watch horror movies? All the worst plans start with some idiot saying lets split up."

She had a point.

"Fine let's huddle together and explore one room at a time," he said sarcastically while rolling his eyes.

"How about we just go home?" George asked as he looked around. He looked as nervous as I felt. Dylan started to make clucking sounds like a chicken and I saw George’s hands scrunch into fists. He shoved his brother then pulled me along the hallway to the right, leaving Amy and Dylan to explore the one to the left.

The hall had two doors along it and one at the end. The outside wall was lined with floor to ceiling windows. Despite the amount of windows there was very little light coming in from outside. The moon would occasionally peak out from behind the clouds but the windows were so filthy that a flood light could've been shining in and still wouldn’t have much difference. George pushed open the first door to a spacious room with only one chair sitting in the middle. Paint had flecked off the walls and ceiling making it look like it had snowed.

"Not at all creepy," George whispered and I nodded in agreement.

We moved along the hall to the next room which looked much the same as the first only it had three sofas sitting in a semicircle facing a fireplace and each was covered over with a white sheet. We braved a few steps into the room but George was reluctant to go in any further. I ventured over to the window that was caked with grime and pulled my sleeve down to wipe a circle clean so I could see out into the overgrown garden. Some pathways were still visible under the tangled weeds and grass but everything else had been overtaken by nature.

"How long has this place been abandoned?" I asked George who was still stood close to the door.

"Fifty something years," George's voice was little more than a croak. I heard him clear his throat before speaking again. "Fifty something years,"

"Everyone tells different stories about who owned it and why it's been left so long without being sold on but apparently the lease is still owned by the same people. And after the Asylum closed, no one wanted to pay to fix it up. So unless they stick a For Sale board up, it's going to stay like this."

George joined me by the window and peered through the clear circle I had made.

"My cousin told me that the original family that lived here are buried out there in the garden. That the husband went mad and killed them all,"

I raised an eyebrow and asked “Is this the same cousin that likes to go into the woods and eat mushrooms?”

"He only does that on weekends," we laughed nervously to burst the weird tension bubble that had been growing in the room but we were stopped by a sudden rustling coming from the chimney.

"Did you hear that?" George whispered while inching closer to me.

"I dunno. Go look,"

"You go look!"

"So brave," I mumbled and rolled my eyes as I took a few tentative steps closer to the fireplace. When I was only about a foot away the rustling happened again and some loose grit fell down into the hearth. I leaned over and looked up into the chimney just as a crow flew out sending a cloud of dust and soot into my face. George let out a squeak when the crow flew towards him. I looked up to see him flapping his arms around his head to scare the bird away and I couldn’t help laughing. The crow landed on top of the door frame and squawked at us.

By Hannes Wolf on Unsplash

"You scream like a girl,"

"And you look like a chimney sweep,"

I wiped my face as clean as I could then nodded to George to follow me. We left the bird behind and went to the last room at the end of the hall. George tried the handle but the door didn’t budge. He tried with more force but it still didn’t move.

"Maybe it's locked?" George suggested and I shrugged. We turned to walk away but heard a long creeeeak. We looked back to see the door slowly swinging open to reveal the glass conservatory that could be see from the driveway.

"Maybe you loosened it?"

"Is that a wheelchair?" George asked while staring at the rusted chair.

"Looks pretty old,"

The wheelchair was sitting in the middle of the room with its back facing us.

"I don't want to go near that thing,"

"Agreed." We turned to leave again but heard the unmistakable sound of wheels turning. The colour drained from our faces as we glanced over our shoulders, half expecting the chair to be right behind us. But … it wasn't. In fact, it hadn't even moved. I heard George sigh with relief but I continued to stare at the wheelchair.

It looks different.

But I couldn’t place why.

Was it not facing the window?

I shrug it off and follow after George.

Amy and Dylan were already back in the main lobby, waiting for us.

"Find anything?" George asked and Dylan nodded excitedly. He brings his hands out from behind his back to show us a wooden prosthetic leg.

"That's disgusting! Why would you even touch that?!" I gawped at him but he just grinned then wiggled it up and down so that the ankle joint moved the foot about.

"Put that thing down!" I told him and he frowns.

"Fine," George threw the leg across the floor until it slammed against the wall leaving a cloud of dust in its wake.

"I said put it down. Not throw it!" I glared at him but he just grinned back.

"Let's just look upstairs quickly then leave?" Amy suggested and we all agreed.

We stayed in our pairs and each took a side of the house. Each hallway was lined with doors leading into rooms that were all the same shape, size and in a similarly poor condition. The only thing that broke up the sameness was a large bathroom that had a row of five toilet stalls, a line of shower cubicles and a row of five sinks.

I yanked across a shower curtain and gagged. Cockroaches, Millipedes and earwigs scuttled away from the disturbance.

Yuck, bugs. Can't stand them.

I shuddered and moved away from the shower as quickly as I could. George was examining some graffiti on a stall door while I tried one of the taps on the sink. I heard the pipes shudder and groan before spluttering out some dark murky brown water. I turned the tap back off and looked up into the mirror to see if I had gotten all the soot from the fireplace off my face. I used my other, clean sleeve to wipe a smudge I had left behind.

I looked back up into the mirror to see girl, no older than myself, wearing a filthy white dress with a grey apron standing in the shower cubical behind me. I screamed and whipped around expecting to see her standing there. George had screamed along with me and was over by my side in a heartbeat.

"What? What!" He asked, frantic.

"There… there was a girl! She was standing there! She was standing right there!" I pointed at the cubical right in front of us but it was empty.

"This house is giving me the creeps. Let's get the others and get the fuck out of here!" I nodded and George took hold of my hand and we leave the bathroom and practically ran along the hall. The others must've heard us scream because they were at the landing between the top of the two sets of stairs.

"W-what happened?" Amy stuttered taking my hand from George.

"I…I thought I saw something. But I don't know,"

"You saw a ghost?" Dylan asked eagerly.

"No. Yes. I don't know. It was dark. Can we just go please?" I begged. Dylan groaned but reluctantly agreed.

We headed down the staircase George and I had come up. Knowing it was safer than the other set that had a few holes in some of the stairs. Dylan and Amy were in front with George and me behind. When we had gone down a few steps I felt a chill go down my spine.

I looked around half expecting to see someone standing behind me but it was just the empty landing. I placed my hand on the banister to steady myself. My legs had felt like jelly since leaving the bathroom.

The others were now a few steps ahead of me when I felt it.

It was unmistakable.

Two ice-cold hands grabbed my shoulders and flung me into the banister. The force made me lose my footing and with the age of the wood, the banister wasn't much support.

I tried to reach out to grab something but all I saw was the same girl from the bathroom holding her arms out. The wood snapped against my weight, alerting the others that there was something wrong but they were too far away from me to help.

Everything felt as if it was in slow motion. I was grabbing at air, my eyes wide, mouth even wider as I screamed for my life. I saw George reach for my hand but he would never have been able to grab me.

I saw the marble floor coming closer and shut my eyes. I shut out the sounds of my friends yelling and screaming my name. I shut out everything and just waited for the pain.

The only thing I couldn't shut out was the image of the girl. With a somewhat blank expression on her face, her hands held out in front of her but she didn't look like she had the strength that I had felt push me.

I felt the impact and immediate pain then … nothing.


About the author

Emma Diane McManus

Hi! I’m Emma from Northern Ireland. I’m a tattooed, ghost hunting semi-professional photographer and aspiring author.

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