The House on the Hill
“Will you guys STOP hitting the tent!” Rose screamed as the canvas walls of their tent buckled and billowed around them.
The four girls looked at each other, rolling their eyes as they heard footsteps, giggles of laughter and the zipper of the boys’ tent being pulled.
“Where were we? Ah yes, Mia, truth or dare?” Rose said.
“I’m going to go with truth.” Mia responded.
“Hmm,” Rose pondered.
“I’ve got one! I’ve got one!” Khaia squealed in delight and making Mia squirm.
“Oooo, what?” Emma prodded.
“Mia, do you, or do you not, have a thing for Tom?”
“Oh, that’s a good one!” Rose agreed.
“I do not have a thing for Tom.” Mai lied as a scarlet flush crept up her face, betraying her steady voice.
“LIAR!” Khaia accused, pointing at her.
Suddenly the tent walls billowed around them again. Rose, snarling in frustration and Mia who was relieved at the distraction scrambled over the bedding towards the opening, closely followed by Emma and Khaia. They climbed carefully out of the tent to avoid tripping and headed, as a group, past the fire towards the boys’ tent.
Not one of them noticed the eerie silence that followed the movement of the tent.
They reached the boy’s tent and Mia went for the zip.
“I don’t know what the hell you lot are thinking, but if you do that once more then you will be...” She started saying to them loudly through the tent while following the line of the zipper. She paused when she saw all four of them inside.
Laughing, she stepped back to reveal to the others that the boys were reading a copy of Harry Potter to each other by torchlight.
Leaving them to it, the girls headed back to their tent, except:
The tent was gone!
“Erm... Where’d our tent go?” Emma asked, voicing the puzzle that the other three were considering but not expressing.
“Tom!” Khaia called.
“What?” Tom’s muffled voice replied from inside his tent.
“Our tent’s vanished.” She stated.
“That’s ridiculous, tents don’t just disappear.” Tom said, his muffled voice becoming clearer as he opened the tent, climbed graciously out and joined the girls, staring into the open space their tent had previously occupied.
“Well it has!” Khaia snapped back at him.
“Woah! I didn’t move it! It’s probably just blown away or something.” He replied defensively, holding his hands up at her.
“Where are we going to sleep?” Emma whispered.
The four girls turned to look at Tom.
“No. Not a cat in Hell’s chance!”
“Please Tom. Otherwise we’re all going to have to sleep out here in the cold. Even our sleeping bags have gone!” Rose pouted, sticking her bottom lip out, meaning she usually got what she wanted.
This time was no exception.
Smiling at Tom’s resignation, the girls climbed into the remaining tent, to the objection of the other boys.
“If you are going to sleep in here you need to join us.” Matt told them, handing the Harry Potter book to Rose.
Half an hour later, just as Khaia passed the book to Alexis, thunder rolled, lightening flashed and the heavens opened, pelting the tent with rain.
“Great! Rain! I hope this tent is waterproof!” Lucas groaned.
“It’s the best money can buy. Apparently it’s what what’s his name took to Antarctica.” Tom informed them, just as a drop of water dribbled through the seam and landed on Alexis’s face.
“This isn’t going to be good!” Emma told them as she started to tremble.
The rain continued to pound against the tent, adding to the eerie atmosphere created by the torches and small drops of water which were still sporadically dripping through the seams. There was a flicker from the torch and it went out.
Several things happened at once. The seams of the tent finally gave way, allowing in a torrent of water, soaking everyone and flooding the bottom of the tent and while they were all moving towards the door, the roof of the tent suddenly gave way, engulfing all eight of the dripping wet sixteen-year-olds in heavy, wet canvas, making it even harder to escape its tentacles.
Once they were all out in the driving rain they started searching for shelter, ruling out the trees due to the thunderstorm still rolling overhead.
“Hey! I see a light!” Lucas shouted over the storm, pointing in the direction of the soft, muted glow.
Tom took Emma’s hand to stop her trembling, earning a disproving look from Mia, and led them all towards the light. As they got closer they noticed a mansion loom up out of the darkness, the light illuminating the ornately carved door.
“I don’t like this!” Emma muttered as Tom pulled her up the cracked, overgrown path.
“I guess this place used to be nice, now it just looks abandoned.” Matt called.
Tom knocked on the door which creaked open at his touch. Glancing back at the others, he took a hesitant step into the foyer.
“Hello? Is anyone here? I hope you don’t mind, but our tent flooded and there was nowhere else to find shelter!” he shouted into the darkness.
“What are you doing?” Mia hissed.
“It would be rude to take shelter in a house without letting anyone know we’re here.”
“Yeah, that’s also how they all get killed in the movies.” Emma muttered under her breath.