I Dare You
One rainy October night, an orange Ford car pulled up to a large hill, which held a large, creepy mansion with large windows and Victorian-themed decorations. Two teenagers climbed out of the car, one of them carrying an umbrella and the other had their hood up, nearly covering their entire face.
The one holding the umbrella was a seventeen-year old girl named Bethany Jones. Her ginger hair was put up in a tight bun with loose strands soaking and sticking to her rough forehead. She was wearing a green sweater and dark blue pants and black converse. Under the sweater was a black tank top with a happy skull on it.
The hoodie one was an eighteen-year old guy named Zak Mason. He had a bad-boy look to himself. He had natural black hair and icy blue eyes that could possibly freeze you if you looked deeply into them. His hoodie was black and looked quite warm and comfy underneath. His green scarf was tucked into the hoodie and he had leather pants and leather boots. He was a very leathery man.
As the couple got out, Bethany looked up at the creepy Victorian mansion with hesitation, but Zak seemed to not have a care in the world about it. Bethany had felt perfectly fine back at her house, where she and a few of her friends were playing the classic game of Truth or Dare. One of her friends, Laria (she makes everyone call her Luna) had dared Bethany to go to Black Hill Manor (the creepy Victorian mansion that Bethany and Zak were currently staring at) with Zak and spend the night there. At first, Bethany had been pumped for the idea, but now that she was here... it didn’t exactly feel like the best idea anymore.
There’s a whole website on Black Hill Manor. There aren’t any tours, but it wasn’t owned by the Government either, so people could just waltz right through the doors without being arrested or yelled at. People have claimed to have seen manifestations of different ghosts and unexplained footsteps and banging. One witness had even claimed to be slapped by a ghost!
The story goes that during the Civil War, the lady of the house had received word that her husband had not returned from one gruesome battle. Filled with sorrow and grief, the widow took her two young children to the kitchen quarters and the mother stabbed the children before stabbing herself tragically. The bodies were found by one of the slaves.
The mother became known as Victoria Black, though her real name was Mariam Williams. She was often called Victoria Black because witnesses had claimed that she was always wearing a black, frilly dress and a black, fancy, large, and feathery hat. That was the ‘Black’ part. The ‘Victoria’ part was there because one person made an interesting comparison between Mariam and Queen Victoria from England. Queen Victoria would always wear a black dress after her husband had died for decades, and the neighbors of Mariam’s would often claim that she would wear a black dress every time she went out of the house after her husband died, hence the ‘Victoria.’
Bethany shivered from the sight of Black Hill Manor. She was getting goosebumps on her arms as lightning struck just behind the mansion. Zak, on the other hand, just looked bored.
“Are we going in or not?” he whined as he leaned on the car, not caring about getting wet. That was the only reason why he and Bethany were not fighting over the umbrella; he simply didn’t want it.
“Er,” Bethany couldn’t peel her eyes away from the mansion. “Maybe we should go back. I feel like the house is staring at me. I don’t like it.”
“The house is not starin’ at you, I am,” Zak retorted as he swung around the car and over to Bethany and put his arm around her shoulder. “There’s no such thing as ghosts, but if there is, I’m here to protect you.”
Bethany smiled a little, but it still didn’t help the fact that the sound of thunder emitted from the skies two seconds later. She had always hated thunderstorms as a kid. She would always crawl into her mom’s bed and curl up with her and put her head on her mom’s chest every time there was a loud boom.
But her mom wasn’t here right now, Zak was.
It will have to do.
Black Hill Manor can’t really be haunted, right? Those were just stories on the Internet, and as everybody knows: don’t believe everything you see on the Internet. Maybe this will be a piece of cake! Luna would never dare Bethany and Zak to go to a dangerously haunted mansion if it wasn’t safe... right?
Well, she would do that to Zak, most definitely, but Bethany? No.
Everything was going to be alright.
“If you say so,” Bethany muttered and took a baby-step toward the mansion. Zak walked with her for two more baby-steps before he grew impatient and just tugged her up the hill, not minding the mud. The polka-dot umbrella was not helping Bethany keep dry at all, as the rain was coming toward them nearly sideways and the umbrella wasn’t even close to her face.
About thirty or forty seconds later, the couple made it to the giant front doors, huffing and puffing (at least Bethany was). Now would probably be the appropriate time to cue some organ music and a cartoon shot of the front doors.
“Is it locked?” Bethany wondered as Zak reached for the rusty door handle.
Zak rolled his eyes at her. “It’s an abandoned house, Beth. I don’t think anyone would have the key to lock the door if no one lived here.”
However, as if the house was trying to make a stand, the door did not open as Zak tried to open it. He frowned and tried to open it with greater force, but it didn’t budge. He pressed his shoulder against the dark wood and tried to push it open, but it wouldn’t work. It was as if it was steel... or if someone was on the other side, keeping it closed.
“That is just creepy,” Bethany remarked. She wasn’t talking about the door; she was talking about the gravestones in the distance, visible on her flashlight. The graves weren’t too far away, about a couple of feet to the side. There were three crosses: one for ‘Victoria Black,’ one for her husband, and one for her children.
“Why... is this door... not opening?” Zak grunted with great effort as he slammed his whole body against the door, not paying attention to what Bethany had to say. He was certain that 200-year old doors do not have this much resistance than modern doors. What was making it so strong?!
“Maybe we have to be nice to the house, to ask permission to go in,” Bethany stared at the graves some more.
Zak started to laugh a little. “Yeah, because it would be so rude to intrude on an empty house.”
Bethany whacked him on the arm. “I’m serious. Can’t you feel the energy here?”
Zak gave one last attack before sighing, “Let’s just bail. Tell them we can’t find the address.”
He turned around to walk down the porch stairs with Bethany following behind him, all to happy to not spend the night here. After about three steps from each of them, they turned their heads sharply to the door. They had heard a squeak and a creak coming from behind them, and that could only mean if came from the door. Bethany’s mouth dropped open and Zak just raised his eyebrows.
The door was now open.
The foyer wasn’t really visible in the dark, but they could make out the outline of some chairs and a staircase and wooden floors. There was an outline of an archway, too.
“Nope!” Bethany shook her head quickly and darted away. Before she could get anywhere, Zak grabbed her arm and pulled her back to his side.
“You are not going anywhere,” Zak grinned darkly at the mansion. “I put way too much effort in breaking that door down. We’re staying.”
Bethany stared at him as if he had two heads. How could Zak even consider staying here anymore?! There was something clearly up with that door, and he just wanted to find out more about it? Did he have no common sense? Curiosity or not, Bethany was not interested to see if there were any ghosts here.
She tried to pull her arm out of Zak’s iron grip, but it was no use. She cursed herself for not going to the gym often enough anymore.
“Please?” Zak stared into her eyes. “For me?”
Bethany stared at him for a few seconds then glanced at the mansion. She sighed, “Maybe for an hour or two...”
Zak grinned and pulled her back up the porch stairs and through the front door. Bethany immediately pushed herself against the wall next to the door and Zak pushed it closed with his boot. Bethany shined her flashlight around the foyer to get a better perspective of what she’d have to get used to for the next two hours.
Up at the ceiling was a chandelier that has long since died of candles. The walls were black in color and the wooden floor had a nasty feeling to it. There were a few chairs on either side of the foyer and next to the chairs were side table with dead flowers. On the right side, there was a portrait of a woman with dark brown hair and a yellow, frilly dress, almost certainly Mariam Williams. In the back was the staircase and next to it was the arch to lead to another grand room.
Bethany felt uneasy as she stared at Mariam’s portrait. She felt as if the woman was staring at her, watching her with bloodthirsty eyes. Zak seemed to like what he was seeing. He walked across the creaky floorboards and over to the picture. He put both hands on the side table and leaned on them as he stared dreamily at Mariam’s portrait.
“She is pretty hot,” he commented as Bethany slowly made her way over to him to give him hell, eyeing the floorboards as they creaked. She did not enjoy the creaking. Not. One. Bit.
She finally made it over to him, so she whacked her flashlight on his head. “Hey! Girlfriend in the room!”
“Ow,” Zak winced and rubbed his temple. He turned to her with a mock-pained look. “Why couldn’t you just whack my arm instead?”
“‘Cause you deserve it,” Bethany told him.
“Do I get a feel-better-kiss?”
“Yes, you do,” Bethany smiled and kissed the side of his head lovingly.
“Thank you,” Zak nodded. “See? Isn’t this fun?”
“Oh, come on. You need to learn to live a little more. A trip down to a haunted house is nothing in my book.”
“Going to a scary mansion is dangerous in my book.”
Suddenly, there was a tapping noise against the window, so Bethany jumped into the air, did a 360, and pressed her back into Zak’s chest. He laughed as she flashed the light to the window.
“You’re so jumpy!” Zak laughed and rubbed Bethany’s shaking arms. He pointed to the window where, faintly, was a tree branch tapping against the window from the wind. “It’s just the tree, not some aggressive ghost.”
Bethany looked at the window uneasily. “I really don’t like this.”
“Let’s go do some exploring,” Zak said and lightly pushed Bethany off of him. He held her hand and together they walked toward the arch. As soon as they were out of the foyer, a mysterious ball of mist flew across the foyer in a whisp. No one had spotted it.
In this room, it appeared to be a living room. The red sofas were now covered with cobwebs and rolley polleys and the rug was dusty with age. There were more portraits of some elders, possibly Mariam’s or her husband’s parents and side tables. It felt like the foyer was much more clean and happier than this room. This room felt like they were in the Devil’s living room, not Mariam’s.
Bethany shined her flashlight everywhere, constantly glancing back at the foyer. She felt herself want to go back into that room, but she knew that she didn’t want to do that. She didn’t want to hear the scary tree tap the window again; she wanted to be distracted by new sceneries and history.
“It smells like old lady in here,” Zak grimaced as he blew some dust off of the coffee table. The dust blew off the table and into thin air in a large gunk. If Bethany was standing where the dust disappeared, she would have choked to death.
“It doesn’t smell like old lady,” Bethany shook her head. “It’s more like death, brutal death.”
“No, that was in the kitchen,” Zak laughed before he gasped, remembering something. “Oh, yes. Let’s go to the kitchen!”
Bethany stared at him for a moment before laughing sarcastically. “Haha, yeah! Such a great idea for a brutal death by ghosts!”
“Fine,” Zak sighed and walked back to the arch. “I’ll go to the kitchen, you stay here by yourself.” He started to walk backwards dramatically. “In the dark, in the cold, in the old lady smelling-foyer-”
“Wait!” Bethany ran after him. Just when she reached him, there was an incredibly loud bang from upstairs. She jumped up and stiffened her whole body. “Okay, what is that?”
“Well,” Zak shrugged, staring at the stairs, “it’s a very loud noise.”
“Yeah, but who’s making it?”
“I don’t know. Are you making it?”
Then, the loud banging noise returned, this time directly beside them in the living room. Bethany and Zak screeched and moved to the other side of the foyer, Bethany shining her flashlight into the room. From what they could see, there was no source of what could have caused the banging.
Bethany then frowned as Zak’s hand slowly held her own. It was unusually... cold... and more feminine than Zak’s hand ever was.
She then stiffened when she jumped to her conclusion and eventually turned her head to Zak. “Zak?”
“Yeah?” he asked, not looking at her.
“Zak, put your hands out in front of you.”
Zak stared at her like she had two heads. “I’m not putting my hands to possible murderers!”
“Just do it!” Bethany swallowed hard, not in the mood to argue with this coward. Zak sighed and put both hands out in front of him before quickly putting them back by his sides. The hand that was holding Bethany’s never left.
The hand suddenly let go and grabbed Bethany’s legs.
“Zak!” she screamed, but it was far too late.
The invisible force dragged Bethany up the scary, squeaky stairs in inhuman speed, Zak barely just registering it. She screamed the entire time up the stairs, trying to cling to the walls. She called out for Zak probably a billion times, but he was frozen to the spot (not by a force, by himself).
The force dragged Bethany into an abandoned bedroom and the door slammed by itself. Downstairs, Zak was breathing at a speedy pace. His eyes were wide and glued to the stairs where he had last seen his girlfriend.
There was a scream shouting bloody murder until it was suddenly silent as the night. Bethany made no other scream and the mansion was eerily quiet. Zak swallowed hard before bolting right out of the house. Forget his girlfriend, this was some scary prank!
Zak rushed down the hill, the rain splattering in his face, but he didn’t care. His car was just in sight. There was hope the murderers weren’t going to take his life, but something happened that made him question ghosts.
Zak was just running, when a sudden white figure appeared out of nowhere right in front of him. She looked a lot like Bethany... too much like Bethany. She was wearing a white dress, but her face was totally recognizable. It was definitely Beth, he knew it was. But, if she looked like this (pale, very pale, transparent, floaty, misty), then was she...?
Her eyes were closed and her hands were clumped together in a proper manner. Zak stopped suddenly and fell backward on his bottom. He crawled away a bit, but found himself glued to his stance. ‘Bethany’ slowly walked over to him and crouched down before him. Her face got real close to his own; so close that he had to back up, but she kept coming. She finally stopped and was still, and Zak didn’t dare to breathe a word.
Suddenly, her eyes opened and they were bloodshot red with black pupils, like a cat would have. A cat’s eye. Zak let out a high-pitched scream, and the last thing he ever saw was ‘Bethany’s’ hand make his way to his neck in a flash.
It was now a sunny October day, and there was more at the scene than when Bethany and Zak had been here. Police cars were now at the road and yellow warning tape was stretched out across the plantation. There was a small tent covering Zak’s body and paramedics and detectives and just plain coppers were all at the scene, trying to make sense of what happened.
They knew that Zak had been strangled to death and Bethany’ body was so torn apart, it was impossible to tell which blow was ‘the one.’ Some detectives were saying that Zak had killed Bethany and then later decided to kill himself, but when spoken to the families of the teenagers, they said he would never do such a thing passionately.
It was a struggle for what really happened and all of them refused to tell the public that Victoria Black got to them.
One brown, broken-down car arrived at the scene, and a woman with long brown hair and a black suit came running out, files in her hand and her glasses dancing on top of her nose as she ran. She huffed and puffed when she got to an officer, Officer Hammu.
“Sir,” the woman, Rosa, greeted. “Sorry I’m late. I forgot some files at home and I-”
“It’s fine,” Hammu shook his head with his Egyptian accent. “You won’t be needing them. We already know who did it.”
“Really?” Rosa looked crushed. “Who was it? How do you know?”
“Who else could it be?” Hammu gave her a pointed look and Rosa groaned mentally.
“It can’t be Victoria Black.”
“There’s no such thing as ghosts.”
“I wouldn’t be too sure of that.”
Hammu eyed her oddly, then crooked his finger at her. He lead her over to Zak Mason’s tent, where a few paramedics were gathering their things to head back to the hospital, done for the day. Hammu crouched before Zak’s head and Rosa put her hands on her knees to get a good look at the body.
“Victim was strangled to death,” Hammu reported. “Cause of death was lack of oxygen.” Rosa scoffed. She never would have guessed that! “Handprints belong to the other victim, Bethany Jones, but the thing is, she died forty seconds earlier. So...”
“So, so what?” Rosa asked.
“So, how could Bethany have strangled this boy if she was dead forty seconds earlier?” Hammu challenged, smirking at her.
“Twins?” Rosa shrugged, not seeing how it would be too mind blowing to call it paranormal. She has been and always will be a skeptic for ghosts. All the footage she has been seen could have been tampered with special effects and voice editing. Nothing reliable is ever on the Internet anymore.
“No records of Bethany ever having a twin sister,” Hammu shook his head as he stood up. He walked out of the tent and Rosa was not far behind him. “We tell the public that a murderer had been staying at this place and he killed both people. I’m going back to the station.”
“Well, I’m staying here,” Rosa stated firmly. “I’m going to find out who or what killed these poor kids. Ghosts isn’t enough for me.”
“Suite yourself,” Hammu shrugged as he ducked under the yellow tape and headed toward a lone police car.
Rosa sighed. How could all these experienced cops and paramedics believe that a little ghost killed the kids? Ghosts aren’t real and never will be.
Rosa Valdez was still at Black Hill Manor by the time night fell. The last time she checked her unreliable watch was at 3:24 AM while it was at sunset, and now it says 5:21 AM, which was the equivalent of 8:21 PM, as she learned a long time ago. People have often told her to fix that watch, but Rosa liked the fact that it was broken. It can keep her math knowledge ongoing so she won’t turn stupid.
As far as the evidence goes, Rosa has not been able to get a single lead. No one has stepped onto the property for 42 hours, according to local neighbors. She couldn’t find any other handprints on Zak’s body and Bethany’s body was as good as useless since it was completely destroyed. The body and pieces of Bethany’s had been gone since four AM, or seven PM to be buried or burned, she didn’t know.
Rosa was now standing outside of the mansion, staring at the door with utter hatred. Her hands were on her hips and she was tapping her foot, trying to get an idea of what could have possibly happened. She stood there for about thirty seconds before she saw something in the corner of her eye. Well, more like a someone.
She quickly turned her head to where she thought she saw the person, but they were already gone. She frowned as she put her hands by her side, one hand slowly going toward the back pocket where she kept her handgun.
“Hello?” she called out loudly. She was currently facing the side of the mansion, where there was a corner to go to another side of the mansion. She walked slowly toward the corner. “Hello? Show yourself! This is the police and you need to-”
She was cut off by the sound of feet running from behind her. Rosa quickly turned on her heel to see that no one was there. Again. She took out her gun and took the safety out from it and put both hands on the handle.
“This is Detective Inspector Rosa Valdez, and I’m ordering you to show yourself to me with your hands up. D’you hear me? Show yourself!”
When she got no response, she chuckled silently to herself and put her gun back into her back pocket, thinking that the night was fooling her mind. When she turned back around toward the front door, two women stood before her. One of them was wearing a black dress and the other a white one. They were silently screaming and their eyes showed pure evil.
Rosa widened her eyes and screamed as the ghosts suddenly flew toward her...