Continued from yesterday’s post:
One day David told us that he and his family were moving to another part of the city soon and that he would be leaving our school. That night we had a small party at his house and, when it was time for us to go, he drew Brian and myself to one side, out of earshot of any lurking adults.
“Before I go,” he said, “I need to find out about the house.”
We both knew, of course, which house he was talking about, and instinctively looked at each other, our faces a mixture of excitement and trepidation. David caught our attention again and explained that he was planning a late-night trip to explore the house and to finally put his mind at rest – after all, once he had moved he would never have the chance again. For a while no-one said anything, but eventually Brian broke the silence and then we both agreed that we would go with him. David’s face looked as serious as I had ever seen as he outlined his plans; we would sneak out of our houses and meet by the park gates at midnight on Friday night.
The week dragged by, but eventually Friday arrived. That evening I stayed in and told my mother that I was going to bed early. My mother was worried that I wasn’t well, but I told her that I was just a little bit tired because school had been busy, which she seemed happy to believe. Once I was safely in my room I made sure that my jacket pockets were full of everything that I thought I might need – a torch, a penknife, my front door key, a small note book and a couple of pencils in case I needed to take notes. I checked the batteries in the torch which, thankfully, seemed to be working well, and, after setting my alarm clock, and stuffing it beneath my pillow in case it woke anybody else, settled down for a couple of hours rest.
At a quarter to twelve I silenced my alarm, quickly and quietly pulled on some clothes, and checked my jacket one last time -m there was no turning back now. Silently I crept out of the front door, slipping my key into the lock and turning it as quietly as I could as I pulled the door to. I raced to the park as quickly as I could, but was the first to arrive, and, for a moment, thought that the others weren’t coming. My fears vanished though as I saw them emerging from the darkness together and heading towards me. We looked at each other and, without saying a word, turned and headed up our lane.
Soon we came to the blackness of the smaller, more mysterious lane; the lane which held the mystery that we were determined to solve. David whispered quietly as if he feared that his ghosts might be listening, and we set off, more slowly now, blaming the darkness rather than our own fears.
I shuddered when we eventually arrived at the blackened gates of the house. It looked, if it were possible, even more terrifying at night, as if it were one enormous, ghastly shadow which was throwing a deathly cloak over everything beneath it. I heard Brian swallow hard. Without speaking we could sense each other’s fears but knew that we had to find a way into the house.
We checked the silent driveway. There was nothing there, no vehicle and no sign of life, and, taking this as a positive sign, we set about climbing the gate. To our surprise, and horror, however, we found that the gate was not padlocked and, as we leaned against it, it swung open, noiselessly, as if it were new. Steadying ourselves we started to walk towards the house. The gravel beneath our feet felt hard and cold, even through our shoes, but made no sound as we tiptoed across it towards the front door. Before we knew it, we were standing directly in front of it. With an unusual show of bravery, I reached out and touched the wood. It felt cold and damp against the palm of my hand and I shivered – I had never touched anything which felt quite like it before. Brian stepped up next to me and leaned his shoulder against the door. He pushed as hard as he could, but we knew that it was locked and wouldn’t budge despite our efforts. Suddenly we heard David hissing at us. The sound, though it came as quiet as a mouse, nearly made me jump. He had discovered a small, unfastened window. Cautiously we pulled ourselves up and through it, our feet feeling tentatively for something solid to rest on. As our eyes became accustomed to the dark we collectively took in our surroundings. We were in a large, dust filled room whose walls were stacked high with books, stuffed animals and collections of mementoes which we couldn’t place.
I stepped forwards to look more closely at the volumes of books that seemed to reach out in every direction. I saw that there were books about witchcraft, the supernatural and ghosts. I turned to show David and Brian, but nearly yelped out as my foot cracked against a stuffed crocodile which had seemed to appear from nowhere and now lay in my path, its gaping mouth baring its teeth at me. Too frightened to speak, but driven on by nervous excitement, we opened the door to a second room. I was sure that I had heard the creaking of floorboards, but said nothing, hoping that my imagination was playing tricks on me. As we entered the next room I could feel my pulse racing through every fibre of my body but nothing could stop us now.