Nightmare

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Always Close The Gate

'We need to talk, Sarah.'

I pushed past her as she frowned, the flirtatious expression gone from her pretty face. She closed the door behind me, her arms folded over her chest as she watched me warily. I was pacing her hallway, pushing my hand through my hair anxiously. I didn't know where to start, what to say.

'James?' She said cautiously, her voice low. I swallowed, my mouth suddenly dry. My words seemed to be frozen in my throat, my mouth gaping as I tried to speak. She looked puzzled, as she tried to rack her brains for a reason I would be behaving this way.

'Since we played that game-' I managed, unable to remember what it was called. 'That board game.'

She shifted, nodding slowly.

'The ouija board?'

That's the fucker.

'Yeah. Since then, weird shit has been happening in my house.'

There was silence then, as she began to look worried, her eyes darting about as she pushed her hair behind her ear. She stared at the floor, as I noticed how pale she looked. How odd.

'What?' I demanded, my voice suddenly too loud for the quiet room, making her jump.

'Well, it's just odd you should say that. I thought it was just me.'

Ice cold fear dripped through my veins as I realised I was holding my breath. Was she fucking kidding me?

'Things have been going missing. Moving on their own accord. At first, I thought it was just paranoia. I mean, I live alone.' She waved her hand around us, as though to show us the house belonged to her. 'But then the footsteps started. It's crazy, it's been one night but it feels like alot longer. I've barely slept.'

Our eyes met then, and I knew she expected me to comfort her. I sighed inwardly, wishing I didn't feel so god damn irritable.

'Did you do it?' I asked, my voice hard. Confusion filled her eyes as she raised an eyebrow in my direction. Her soft auburn hair curled under her chin, her full mouth forming a perfect 'O'.

'Do what? Make it move? How would I do that exactly?'

I knew she hadn't, but I was craving a logical explanation for this.

'I don't want another man in my life James. Its complicated enough having what we have.' She waved her hand again, before letting it drop to her side. 'Whatever that is.'

I suddenly craved her touch, but reminded myself I was here purely to get answers.

'So how do you explain it spelling out that we are having an affair, Sarah?' I sighed, wishing she would just confess to being madly in love with me and wanting me to leave my wife. Isn't that what most mistresses do?

'Well, unless Andrew or Nicola did it, I would guess it was...paranormal.'

I closed my eyes, wishing she hadn't have confirmed my suspicions. This was madness.

I laughed uneasily as she walked past me into the kitchen, filling the kettle slowly. I walked after her, leaning against the doorway as I stared at my shoes.

'Annette is hearing things. She thinks people are in our house.'

'James.' Sarah said quietly, her back to me. 'I think you need to open your mind to the fact that maybe she is right.'

'Pardon?'

She placed two mugs on the side, dropping coffee into one, and tea in the other. I listened as the water splashed into the mug, spilling over the teabag as it filled it. The coffee made a deeper sound, the aroma filling my nostrils as I walked over to the fridge to get the milk. I handed it to her and our fingers brushed, the same electrical charge between us there had always been. Except this time, I felt like we were being watched. She averted her eyes from our hands, focusing on making the drinks.

'No one knows about us.' Her voice was barely a whisper, and I saw her shoulders slump forward slightly. 'I mean, we are hardly having an affair. We slept together once. It was a one off.'

She refused to meet my eyes, as I stared at her in disbelief.

'Once?' I laughed, unable to contain my amusement. She walked over to me, her perfume alerting my cock to her presence. She leaned forward, her lips brushing against mine as she pushed her body against me. I groaned as her mouth moved to my throat, my hand slipping to cup her ass.

'Oh shut up, James.' She muttered, her fingers pulling at the belt on my trousers. I pushed her onto the kitchen table, my cock springing free as she groaned, spreading her legs so I could enter her roughly. She gasped like she did the first time, despite having had sex with me countless times since. I felt her body wrap around mine as we fucked, the table solid beneath our combined weight. Later we would argue about how many times it had been, as she poured more wine for us.

My thoughts of the strangeness began to drift, as we lay together on the sofa, blissfully drinking wine late in the afternoon. I must've dozed off, for when I woke it was dark. Sarah was sprawled over my chest, my fingers laced with her hair.

I waited for my eyes to focus, the tiredness making them heavy almost immediately. It was then that I heard it.

Footsteps.

Above me.

I waited, suddenly wide awake.

It was definitely footsteps.

I swallowed, trying to ease Sarah off me without waking her, to no avail.

'James-'

'Sshh.' I pointed at the ceiling as she frowned, rubbing her eyes sleepily with one hand.

One, two, three.

Our eyes widened simultaneously, both frozen on the spot.

'Stay here. I need to go and see.' I whispered, as she gripped my hand tightly.

'Don't go dying on me.' She smirked, as I tried to smile back.

I'll try not to.

I stood slowly, pulling my shirt on as I walked towards the stairs. I searched around for a weapon, but all I could see was an umbrella and some wine bottles. Full. I wasn't about to commit that kind of crime.

The stairs curved in front of me, giving me the only option of turning right at the top. It alarmed me that it meant anyone already up there could see the back of my head before I saw them. Hardly reassuring. I walked up slowly, avoiding the stairs that would give me away. When I finally reached the top, my heart began to protest loudly, and I stood and listened.

Nothing.

The only sound was of my breathing, which was loud enough, but then I heard it.

Faint at first, but I definitely heard it.

Shuffling.

It was hard to pinpoint the where the sound was coming from, it seemed to be coming from all directions at once, which made no sense what so ever. I waited, wanting to be able to move immediately in the direction of the sound, ready to challenge any intruder. Then I saw the light under the door in front of me; Sarah's room. Whoever was in there had switched the light on; hardly paranormal. I saw shadows moving, and I glanced behind me to see Sarah staring at me in fear, her eyes wide as she looked towards her room.

'Police.' I mouthed at her, as she nodded, turning back to find her phone no doubt. I was close to the door now, and I could hear them in there, rifling through drawers. I began to imagine what might've happened if I wasn't there, Sarah would've been alone and vulnerable. Anger burned in my veins as I swung open the door, letting out a roar of attack as I did so. I whirled around, my arms wide as I tried to appear as terrifying as I could to whoever waited for me in the room. The light was bright, reaching all four corners of the room. The bed was in the middle, neatly made with a dressing gown dropped over the bottom of the bed ready to be worn at any point.

Where the fuck-

Crash!

I almost jumped out of my skin as boxes that were neatly stacked on the top of the wardrobe came tumbling down, contents flying all over the floor. Old photographs and trinkets from days gone by littered the floor, and I stood staring at them aghast. Sarah must've ran up the stairs as she stood in the doorway, breathless and scared.

'Who...' her voice trailed off as she saw that nothing was disturbed. The windows weren't open, and there was very clearly no one there.

'Did you call the police?' I asked meekly, staring down at one of the photographs that had writing on the back, in red scrawled ink. I leaned down to pick it up, curiosity throbbing through my body.

'478 Mill Lane.' I read out as Sarah paled slightly, peering over my shoulder.

'I did call them. They're on their way. That's my old house.' She said softly, gazing at the photo on the other side of the writing as I flipped it over.

'Always close the gate.' I continued reading, puzzled by the wink face written after it. 'What's that about?'

'Something my dad always said, like a family joke. Whenever we would come in he would ask if we'd closed the gate. I think he has OCD.' She laughed quietly as I stared at the photo of the old house.

'Always close the gate.' I repeated as I heard sirens in the distance. 'How odd.'

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