It hits me as soon as I walk through the doors.
"Seems cool," I drawl, trying to ignore the feeling in the pit of my stomach.
The high ceiling in the hall is made of glass, allowing the cloudy autumn sky to slightly illuminate the dull house.
"You're going to love it here," Mom beams, her red, curly hair bouncing on her shoulders as she brings the moving box to the kitchen. "I think it really suits your style."
"If by that you mean dark and depressing, then I totally agree." I say, walking over to a white table that stands beside the grand staircase. The house came fully furnished, but all the furniture is about a million years old and is either missing a part or will turn to dust if you walk past it too quickly.
"What your mother means, honey," Dad says as he walks in from the sitting room. "is that it's unique and. . . edgy."
I stop in my tracks and let out a laugh through my nose. "Please, never use that word again."
Dad holds up his hands in mock surrender. "As you wish."
As my mother walk past him to get to the kitchen, he takes the box from her hands, and gives her a peck on the cheek.
"Let me," he says. "It's heavy."
I suck in a breath, waiting for it to kick off- waiting for my mother to spit that she doesn't need his help. But surprisingly, it doesn't come. Instead, she gives him a smile, and turns around to pick up a lighter box. This is definitely a sober day.
I furrow my brows but give Dad a small smile as I turn to walk back to the table. As I look at the table in contrast to the rest of the drab building, I realise that it doesn't quite fit in. There are no visible markings on it, or anything to indicate that it's not from this century.
Mom must catch my interest in it, because she calls, "Oh, Violet gave that to us. She had no use for it, so I thought we may as well take it."
With a groan, I turn back around. My parents are expert hoarders, always afraid to let an item get away in case it will have a future function in their lives.
I sigh and push my light brown hair from my eyes. I then walk towards a pile of boxes near the stair case. I read a label on one that says, FRAGILE.
Probably another box of statues or ancient books.
As well as being hoarders, my parents are antique dealers- Greek mythology antique dealers to be precise. They're obsessed with the mythology from the country, and collect and sell weird statues and things that are in any way related to the subject. They are so obsessed, they even named my brother Eb and I after some of the characters from the stories.
My name is Nyx, but everyone calls me Nic. Nyx was the Greek goddess of the night. Personally, I think it suits my personality. I believe that I'm somewhat of a nocturnal creature. My hobbies include being awake when the moon is out and hiding indoors when it is light.
A flash of brown hair the same as my own rushes past me and I'm nearly knocked on my butt.
"Watch it!" I call to Eb who ignores me and runs upstairs.
Eb's real name is Erebus- I think it means something about darkness. . .
Yeah, my parents really win the 'Who Can Call Their Children The Weirdest Names' award.
I walk into the kitchen, my intentions set on helping Mom unpack.
"Want me to help?"
A clatter sounds a few feet away from me and my eyes shoot to where Mom stands, wiping her mouth- a drinking flask at her feet.
Mom places the box down onto the island unit and then turns to me, wiping her hands on her denim overalls. "No, honey, it's okay, you go unpack."
I gape at her- my eyebrows narrowed. "Mom you promised. New house, new you."
I don't give her time to respond before I run out of the kitchen and into the hall.
Just breathe, Nic. I tell myself. Just breathe.
I already knew that Mom wasn't going to keep her promise- I shouldn't be disappointed.
But, it affects a person. When they're repeatedly promised something by someone they love with all their heart, only to find that their promise has been broken once again. It hurts the first time- but it is the times after that hurt the most. You think a person can change, and you feel hope that they will, but really, no one will change for anybody when they're not ready themselves.
I take a deep breath before walking towards the staircase.
When you walk in through the front door of the house, you are greeted straight away by the staircase. It has a wide bass, getting narrower the further you walk up until you get to the first landing. The stairs and landing are covered in a disgusting dark green carpet which produces dust clouds every time you even look at it.
I guess now would be the perfect time to tell you more about the house and how we got it. The house is three storeys, not including the attic and basement. The house is locally known by the people of Harvey as Miller Mansion. It was built in the 1800's- owned by a man of the name Monroe Miller. It has a somewhat Gothic style to it with arches and turrets and all that stuff. It's in the middle of no where, on a really high hill and there's a woodland surrounding it. The house by itself is creepy enough, but it's surroundings make it worse.
Since my parents go on trips all over the world for their work, collecting stuff, we never bought a house- only rented. My parents didn't want to buy just in case their job needed them to move abroad, but then a few months ago, something unexpected happened.
While on a trip last year, my parents stumbled across a store. The store was very, very old and full of mostly junk items. They told the owner about their job and how they collected and sold antiques. The owner, an elderly lady, told them that they could take whatever they wanted, free of charge. When asked why, she creepily told them that she was going to die soon and had no use for any of the stuff any more.
My parents rummaged through the piles of things and eventually, came across a statue. The statue was solid gold, but had a variety of different gods and goddesses from Greek Mythology. My parents knew they were lucky that they found it, but didn't know exactly how lucky.
They tried to give woman some money, but she refused.
When they got back, they had an auction for the things they found while abroad. What they didn't know, though, was that a wealthy art collector had shown up, and spotted the statue they had found in the old lady's store.
Let's just say, he bought the statue from them for a lot of money. So much money, that they could buy this house and not have to go on so many trips any more. They also have enough that they can pay for my college and Eb's. So basically, a lot.
My parents bought the house at auction, for a cheap price considering the size. I told my parents that it's because the place is probably haunted, but I guess they were so desperate for a bit of stability in their lives after everything that had happened, they bought it. I think they bought the house to tell themselves that their marriage wasn't over- a new beginning, as Mom said.
All I have to do now is wait for it all to go to shit.
We've been staying with my aunt for the last few weeks, as she only lives about ten minutes away. I had to move schools, but I don't mind since I hated my old one.
I begin walking up the stairs, and watch the dust clouds form beneath my feet.
"Ew." I grumble as Dad runs past.
A cloud of dust rises up and hits my face, causing me to cough.
He doesn't stay for long- racing into the kitchen to do who knows what.
This is my first time in the house, as I had school every time my parents came to see it, but I've seen so many pictures on the internet, I know the map of the place like the back of my own hand- although, if someone were to ask me to draw the back of my own hand, I wouldn't have a clue. Figure of speech, I guess.
The landing is just as dusty as the rest of the house, but a lot brighter. A bay window greets me as I get to the top step, and a ray of sunlight shines through, hitting the carpeted floor. On either side of the window, are two long hallways. From what I remember from the map of the house, my room is to the left of the window. Eb's and my parents are to the right, which I don't mind because it means I get the bathroom on the left side all to myself.
A large, gold-framed mirror hangs on the left corner wall that separates the hallway from the railing of the stairs. I look into the large brown eyes staring back and make a face. A few of my hairs are sticking up at odd angles on my head and so, I smooth them down.
Now that I'm alone again, the feeling I got when entering the house grows larger. I can't really describe it- it's a feeling of dread mixed with anxiety and fear knotted into one inside my chest and stomach. Have you ever gotten a gut feeling that something bad is about to happen? I've heard that we have a sixth sense that warns us when there's danger near. The feeling is uncomfortable, but I take a deep breath to try to extinguish it. I put it down to being nervous about being in a new place. I get that sometimes- I like routine and I like knowing my surroundings.
As I turn the corner, I'm taken aback with just how creepy the hallway is. The windows on this side are boarded up which results in a dark, gloomy abyss waiting for me to walk into. Down this end of the house is my room, a study, a bathroom and the stairway to the next floor. Being my bad-ass self, I decide to pretend the feeling in my stomach isn't there and walk straight to my room, which is the door at the very end of the hallway.
At first, I think the noise comes from my room, but when it happens again, I realise that it's coming from above my head. Usually, I would come up with a logical explanation for it- say it was a mouse or something. But this. . . noise was loud and. . . deliberate, almost.
It happens again, and when I raise my head, my eye catches the golden border surrounding a vent that hangs near the top of the wall. It's coming from in there. . .
I hear Dad coming up the stairs, and swiftly turn on my heel towards him.
"Hey Dad," I say. "Where does this vent lead to?"
Dad scratches his chin. "I'm not entirely sure, but I think the basement."
I purse my lips. "Why would there be a vent in the basement?" I'm not really an expert on vents, so I don't know how they work.
"I'll explain the workings of vents another day, Nic. I'm busy. But why did you want to know?"
"I heard a really loud thump, though, twice." I explain, growing impatient. "Will you please check?"
Dad sighs. "It was probably just Eb messing around. Or maybe a bird or rat got in, I don't know. I don't have time, Nic."
Dad walks down the opposite hallway to his room and I sigh.
"Fine," I say quietly to myself. "I'll go check it out myself."
I make my way quickly down the stairs, determined to see what the hell Eb is wrecking today. When I find him at the bottom of the stairs, lifting one of the boxes to his room, I pause.
"Eb. . ." I trail off and he looks at me.
"What?" His wide brown eyes are annoyingly innocent as I walk towards him.
"Were you just in the basement?"
Eb shakes his head and I walk past him.
The door to the basement is attached to the side of the stairs- painted the same colour as the wood so that you wouldn't know it was there unless you were looking for it. Well, the door knob sticking out gives it away instantly, but whatever.
I hear another thump- closer this time. It definitely came from the basement.
"Did you hear that?" I call to Eb who is now halfway up the stairs.
He pauses. "Hear what?"
"That loud thump! Listen. There! Didn't you hear it?"
Eb shrugs as best he can with the box in his arms and continues upstairs. "No, sorry Nic."
He continues up the stairs, and taking a deep breath, I put my hand forward and open the door.
Once more, a loud thump comes from the bottom of the stairs.
"It's just a. . . mouse. . . or something," I try to assure myself, but as I put my foot onto the top step of the creaking wooden staircase, something snaps inside of me and I pull myself back, slamming the door.
As soon as I touched the step, a voice in my head told me not to go down. . . Usually, I would just ignore it and go down anyway. But it feels like my sixth sense is really coming into action today, and I decide to listen to it.
Another thump sounds from the basement and I walk away.
It's almost as if the thumps grow louder as I walk away. It's almost as if they're trying to lure me in there. . .
Stop, Nyx. I scream internally at myself. You know that that's crazy talk.
When I get to my room, I try to justify everything that just happened.
In the end, I settle on the idea of there being a mouse downstairs. . . Or a bird stuck in the vent. As unappealing as both of those ideas are, they're definitely a lot better than thinking there's a demon or something trying to eat my soul.
I try to laugh at myself for even thinking that, but as I take a seat atop one of my moving boxes, the feeling I got upon entering the house knots even tighter.