The Race to the Top
Tom let go of Emma’s hand and led the now soaked and shivering members of the group to the bottom of the grand staircase, which would have, at one point in time, been considered beautiful and ornate but was now covered in cobwebs and cracked steps.
“We can go explore?” Matt suggested.
“Explore what? It’s a creepy old house covered in cobwebs. I doubt there is much to find.” Alexis scoffed.
“It’ll keep us warm.” Mia pointed out.
“How? This place is freezing!” Lucas added, forcing his breath out in front of him to form mist.
“I say we strip and huddle in pairs!” Alexis offered up as an alternate suggestion, putting his arms around Rose.
“How about no.” Rose squealed, pushing him away from her “I agree with Matt, we should have a look around to keep warm.”
Eventually it was agreed that they would explore the house, starting upstairs and working their way back to the door.
Matt led the group with Lucas, followed by Rose, Tom, Alexis, Mia, Emma and Khaia, the eyes of the latter pair fixed on the walls which appeared to shift and change shape, causing them to bump frequently into Mia and Alexis in front of them and jump at the slightest sound.
They reached the part of the staircase where it split into two and Matt paused, trying to decide which way to go. He looked up each staircase and saw that they connected on the landing over the door.
“Half go one way, half the other. Meet in the middle. See who gets there first?” Tom suggested, waggling his eyebrows at the others. As they were all shivering violently, Rose was even starting to turn a strange shade of purple, they all agreed. Tom, Emma, Rose and Lucas gathered at the bottom of one staircase and Matt, Alexis, Khaia and Mia gathered at the bottom of the other.
“So winning team is the one who has all four at that door in the middle of the landing.” Alexis confirmed.
The two teams set off scrambling up the stairs trying in vain to beat the opposition. Matt, Alexis, Khaia and Mia made it to the top of the stairs and headed towards the door. Whooping in delight at their victory, they turned to gloat, but were faced with a completely empty staircase.
“Where’d they go?” Mia asked, her face ashen.
“Maybe their staircase actually led somewhere different?” Alexis suggested, confusion clear in the dim moonlight.
“Maybe. We’d better go and find them.” Matt said leading them back to the stairs and walking carefully down them to avoid falling. The team reached the small, central landing and up the stairs on the other side, keeping their eyes open for hidden passages, corridors and other places where their friends could hide.
They encountered nothing as they ascended the staircase and found themselves on the opposite side of the landing that they were racing towards.
Lucas, Emma and Rose made it to the top of the stairs, but rather than come out on a landing, they found themselves in a long, dimly lit, narrow corridor. Looking at each other in apprehension they turned to head back down the stairs.
To their total astonishment the stairs had vanished.
“Where did the stairs go?” Emma asked, her jaw dropping to the floor as they all stared in horror.
“Forget the stairs – where are the others? Where’s Tom? He was on our team.” Lucas interjected, his voice cracking, making them look at each other again.
“He must have joined the other team.” Rose said as she set off down the corridor, muttering something about having a bad dream, her shaking hands the only indicator of how scared she felt. Emma and Lucas quickly followed as they realised there was no other way to go.
They stayed close together, trying all of the doors as they passed, until eventually one opened. Even though not knowing where they were headed, one by one they passed through the door.
They didn’t realise the floor was missing and on entering the room they fell through the hole, landing hard on the sandy floor of the storey below.
“Owwww.” Emma groaned as she rolled off Lucas.
“Owwww? I don’t think that owwww covers that fall!” Lucas groaned as he got his breath back.
“We need to find a door.” Rose told them, struggling to her knees.
It didn’t take them long to find that there was no door.