“Susan wake up! You’re going to be late for school hun, come on its Friday!”, my mother shouted from the doorway of my bedroom.
I groaned a response and kicked off the covers, which was hard to do since my legs were tangled in them. The blinding sunlight streamed through windows over my bed, causing me my vision to blur. I rubbed my eyes with the back of my hands to wipe the sleep out of them. Once I was more alert I stumbled out my bedroom and down the hallway to the bathroom.
Before I can knock, the door was opened by my little brother. “Hey Sus, the bathroom is all yours. I saved you some hot water.”
I smiled and ruffled his cute curly red bush. “Thanks Baxs, you need a ride today?”
“No, I’ll just ride my bike.”, he repiled before going down the hall to his room.
I closed the door and looked into the mirror. My red hair was sticking up in every direction like I was just electrocuted, and I swear it looks like I have even more freckles on my body since yesterday.
“Why did I have to be a ginger!” I shouted at my reflection, like it would answer me back. Now I’m talking to myself, I have completely gone insane.
On my way to the shower I slipped on the rug and fell on my back. The mirror on the wall fell to the ground two inches from my face. it took a moment for me to gather myself as my heart threatened to beat out of my chest. The mirror had a long crack going down the middle, great bad luck.
When I went downstairs for breakfast my parents and my brother were halfway through their meal. “Good morning!” I announced, taking a seat by my brother Baxs. He smiled at me with orange peel on his teeth, making me laugh and choke on my orange juice.
“Morning sweetheart. Baxton, stop playing with your food.” my mother warned him trying not to laugh herself.
“That’s my boy.” My father chuckled and ruffled his hair. “Morning squirt. What do you have planned for the weekend?”
I swallowed my bagel before I spoke. “Well. I’m having a sleep over with some friends, remember? Then we are just going to hang out the weekend, you know malls, beaches, and Tanning. Girl stuff dad.”
He smirked and shook his head. “Girls stuff, right. No boys are allowed over especially that Nevan guy.” His face turned serious at the mention of my ex. I dated him a while before my parents told me to break up with him, but little did they know we had already broken up. Nevan was too much of a playboy for my taste but we decided to still be friends.
I rolled my eyes and folded my arms. “What’s wrong with Nevan?”
“He’s too old for you and you can do better.”, my father said sternly, but his eyes were soft and sincere. I understand he wants what’s best for me but I have to make my own decisions. Plus, Nevan was just three years older than me, that’s not a big deal.
“One, he is only three years older than me. Two, we had already broken up and Three, I can make my own decisions. I’m not a little kid.”, I picked up my dishes and put them in the sink.
My mother followed me and put her dishes in the sink also. When I tried to pass her she blocked me. “Sus. We only want what’s best for you. I know your dad can be a pain in the butt sometimes but he is just trying to protect you so don’t be so quick to throw him under the bus. Okay?”
I sighed and nodded my head. She brushed my curly red hair out of my face and kissed me on my forehead.
Just then there was honking outside. I looked at my watch and gasped. “I’m going to be late!”
“Me too!” Baxs yelled. We both ran to the door.
“Wait!”, my parents yelled.
We stopped just outside the front door. They met us outside and my dad handed us both some cash. “Stay out of trouble while we’re gone. Baxs is staying at Eric’s house this weekend so you’ll have the house to yourself Sus. Both of you better behave yourselves. I asked Mr. Wales and Mrs. Grains to be on the lookout.” my mother warned.
My dad looked around suspiciously then leaned forward and whispered. “Watch out for the Handler.” then laughed loudly startling us.
Mom slapped him in the back of his head and scowled. “Stop scaring them Tom.”
Dad chuckled and kissed both of us on the forehead. “Remember Sus. No boys allowed.” he warned.
I rolled my eyes. “Whatever dad, see you Sunday.”
“See ya.”, Baxs said hugging both of my parents. Then ran to his bike and took off, waving at my friends that’s sitting in the car in front of our house.
“Oh wait I forgot. Can I pretty please with cherries on top drive the mini while you are away? I know I just got my learners but please? I promise not to leave a scratch and I’ll only drive it within 3 miles of the house.”
They both looked at each other then back at me, I could tell they were going to say no so I gave them my best puppy dog look. Dad sighed and pinched the bridge of us nose. “Okay but there better not be a scratch young lady or you’ll never drive my car again, understood?”
I jumped up and down like a hyper child. “Yes, yes, and trouble Yes! Thanks Dad, I promise I will take care of your car. See ya later mom!”
“See you later sweetie.” Mom hugged me and went in the house followed by my dad. I heard her say to dad before she shut the door. “She gets you every time.”
I walked down the steps and felt someone watching me. Looking for the source, I found creepy Mr. Wales watching me from next door. He was picking up his newspaper in his stripped pajama pants and old faded gray robe. His short and stringy black hair looked oily as if he hadn’t washed it in a couple weeks, and his pale ghostly skin was damp with perspiration. He stared at me with his beady dark brown eyes, sending a cold chill down my spine.
Looking away, I hurried down the drive way to my friend’s car. Mrs. Grains was outside checking her mail. I waved as she greeted me with a friendly smile on her wrinkled eighty-year-old face. She is such a sweet old lady.
Nine hours later I was walking inside my quiet house with a gazillion bags of junk food for my slumber party. I had to make a few trips but I managed to haul everything in. Despite living here all my fifteen years of life, I was still a little unsettled by staying home by myself.
After I finished putting up the food I decided to take a shower before my friends got here. Walking up the stairs to my room on the second floor, I felt weird like someone was watching me. I stopped at the top of the stairs and looked around. A few seconds later I started back walking to my room. When I got inside everything was neat and in the correct place.
I started taking off my clothes when I felt a cool breeze and immediately I froze. The air wasn’t on and neither did I open a window. I turned around and my door was wide open when I could have sworn I left it ajar.
Ever so slowly I walked towards the door with my heart racing and my hands clammy. I reached the door and looked out into the hall, then let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding when I didn’t see anyone. Laughing to myself for being a scary cat, I started to shut my door when a ball of fur ran through the crack of my door causing me to yelp and jump in surprise.
“Damn it Whisk, you scared the crap out of me.” I sighed, shutting my door and picked up my cat Whiskers. He purred when I stroked his midnight black fur.
I sat him on my bed then took my iPhone out of my jacket pocket and hooked it up to my speaker. Soon my favorite kpop song started playing and I started dancing around my room. In the middle of the song Whiskers started hissing and I immediately stopped dancing.
“What’s wrong Whisk?”, I asked patting his head. He jumped off the bed and ran to the door hissing and growling viciously. Now I was starting to freak out, so I turned off my music and went to the door again. I didn’t hear anyone on the other side so I took a deep breath and turned the knob. The creak of the door opening was so loud it seemed to bounce off the walls.
By now I was shaking in fear, could someone have possibly sneaked inside my house? Only one way to find out. I opened the door all the way, pausing when I didn’t see anyone, then stepped out in the hallway. Again, empty. Instead of relaxing I went farther to investigate the rest of the house. I went downstairs to make sure the doors were locked then checked my parents and my brother’s room. When I found everything empty again I went back to my room and shut the door. I screamed when my music came on by itself and ran over to turn it off.
“Okay losing my freaking mind”, I muttered to myself then picked up my robe and made my way to the bathroom to take a long hot shower.
My friends Penelope, Tamara, and Joy arrived at six thirty already in their pjs. We did our ritual girls sleepover things like dance around to our favorite songs, karaoke, make fried Oreos, do each other nails, and gossip. At around 8 we ordered food from our favorite takeout places and just started watching a movie when Penelope suggested we tell scary stories.
“I don’t know,” I shrugged. “I’ve been kind of weirded out today.”
Penelope started clapping like a happy seal. “See? This was meant to be and your first to start. Do tell us what has you weirded out young Susie Q.”
I groaned at her nickname for me and fell backwards on the pallet Penelope and I are sitting on, “Please don’t call me that”.
Joy laughed, “You look like a ginger version of her.”
Tamara laughed along with her and I threw popcorn at them, some landed in Tamara’s mouth and she started coughing which brought another round of laughter.
After we pulled ourselves together Penelope was egging me on to tell what happen. “Fine! When I came home today I was changing in my room when I felt a cool breeze. I didn’t have the A/C nor the windows open so I started to get a little creep out. When I turned around my door was wide open... I left it ajar when I came in my room.” I paused for dramatic effect when everyone started to get nervous. Tamara and Joy were on the couch and started to scoot closer to each other. Penelope kept looking behind her since her back was facing the hallway. She scooted closer to us and turned so her back was leaning on the couch Tamara and Joy sat on.
“What else happen?”, Penelope said in a small voice and pulled the covers around her.
I sat on my knees and continued the story. “So I went to see if someone was there but the hallway was empty. I started to shut my door when BAM!” I clapped my hands together making everyone jump. “Whiskers shoot through the crack of the door.” I laughed when they started throwing things at me.
“Seriously? I thought something was about to get you or something.” Tamara sighed leaning back on the couch with a grin.
“But that’s not all, I started playing music and dancing around my room when-”
Joy interrupted me “What song was it?”
I groaned, “Does that really matter Jo?”
She pulled her long purple to pink ombre hair into a messy bun on top of her head. “Of course it does.”
“I agree with Jo Jo. We have to visualize it in our minds and to do that we need to know the song.” Tamara took a swallow of water from her water bottle.
I threw my hands up in the air, “Dear god! If you must know it was ‘Tarzan’ by Wonderboyz okay.”
Penelope groaned, “You know they disbanded like 2 years ago.”
Tamara gasped. “So what! Wonderboyz are awesome! It wasn’t their fault that they had poor management. In fact, ‘Tarzan’ is going to be my ringtone now. And also it wasn’t two years it was last year!”
“They were MIA ever since Tarzan in 2013 so technically they were already done for.” Penelope snorted and folded her arm. “It’s no use fanning over played out boybands like Wonderboyz and Mr. Mr.”
Joy face palmed herself and muttered. “Oh no.”
Tamara eyes were wide and she froze in horror. “Oh no you didn’t!” Her face morphed into devious smile. “You are the last one to talk, how many members were in Exo? Seriously their numbers are slowly decreasing and soon there won’t be...any...one...left!”
Penelope jumped to her feet and pointed her index finger at Tamara and yelled, “Take that back T!”
Joy put her hands in the air trying to stop them. “Guys chill, come on don’t fight.”
“Stay out of this Elf!” they both yelled at the same time, then proceeded to argue about the different kpop fandoms.
I groaned and dragged my hand down my face, “Do you want to argue all night or listen to the rest of the story?”
They stopped yelling at each other then thought about it for a minute and eventually sat down. “Fine we’ll finish this later Pen.” Tamara huffed and sat back down in her spot.
“Oh definitely. You may get back to the story young ginger.” Penelope sat back down in her spot and pulled her knees to her chest.
“You guys are so weird.”, I rolled my eyes. “So I was listening to ‘Wonderboyz’ and dancing when Whiskers started growling at the door. It started to freak me out so I turned off my music and went to go investigate. No one was outside the door so I went down stairs and checked all the rooms. Still I didn’t find anything so I went back to my room. When I closed the door my music turned on by itself, scaring the living daylight out of me. I turned it off and went to take a shower. The end.”
Everyone was quite when I finished. “That was weird. Maybe you have ghosts.” Joy said quietly.
Then the lights started to flicker and everyone jumped and looked around nervously. “Okay I am starting to freak out a little.” Penelope said jumping on the couch with Joy and Tamara.
“It’s probably just the circuit.” I tried to reassure them. “It is raining outside, maybe that’s why.”
The loud booming sound of thunder echoed in the house causing us to jump again. “Have you guys heard of the handler?” I asked trying to take their minds off the thunder and occasional light flicker.
Tamara looked at me with a weird expression on her face. “Girl are you serious? Everyone knows about the handler. It’s a notorious urban legend in this town. You live on ‘Horror Lane ave’, come on!”
I blushed and shrugged my shoulders. Penelope groaned and rolled her eyes. “Dude! The handler used to live on ‘Horror Lane Ave’. No one knows what house though.”
“It was about a two decades ago. He was sent to an asylum, but I heard that he escaped recently.” Joy said biting her nails.
Penelope looked shocked. “Really? He might be on his way back to ‘Horror Lane Ave’.”
I threw my hands up in the air. “Okay who is this handler guy, what did he do, and why is he coming to Horror Lane Ave?!”
“Okay calm your nerves Sue.” Tamara held up her hands in mock surrender. “I just know bits and pieces of the story. Of what I know, it all started in 1996 when some crazy guy had this rope obsession and started strangling people with rope who went out late by ‘the oaks’.”
Penelope sighed and shook her head, “That’s not how it happened. It wasn’t a rope obsession! He used to get abused as a child and had thick welts around his neck like someone strangled him. One day he got in a fight with a guy and got his hand chopped off. They couldn’t sew it back so he got a hook and attached it to his hand. Then he went on a rampage and killed the guy and the people he was with, with his hook hand.” She curled her index finger into a pretend hook.
“That is ridiculous. You just made that up!” Tamara shouted.
Penelope smirked and leaned backwards, putting her hands behind her head. “You’re just a hater T.”
Joy rolled her eyes, “Both of you are wrong! He got his name ‘the handler’ because he only has one hand. It was a birth defect. He got bullied, lost his wits, and went on a killing spree. The usual Typical psychosis.”
I groaned in frustration, “Which is the truth?! Did he go crazy, have a hook hand, or strangled people with rope?”
Everyone started talking at once, saying their story was the truth. After a few minutes I put my fingers in my mouth and blew out an ear piercing whistle to get them to shut up, and it worked.
“Technically, none of it is actually really the truth. It’s all just rumors; no one really knows what happened.” Joy stated pulling back the film of the tray of Oreos and taking out a few.
I folded my arms over my chest. “So you guys basically just told me a whole lot of shit-tike- mushrooms”.
Tamara shrugged. “Yeah, I guess so.”
Penelope tucked her legs under her. “Pretty much.”
“Hey it’s what I heard happen. Everyone heard something different.” Joy said with a full mouth of Oreos.
“That’s gross Jo Jo.” Tamara made a gagging sound.
“Need some milk with that?” Penelope asked in a monotone voice.
Joy grinned with chocolate covered teeth. Tamara held her hand over her mouth and jumped up off the couch. Then made a dash for the bathroom just as the doorbell rang.
Penelope shook her head mumbled as she went to the kitchen, “Wimp. When will she grow out of being so squeamish.”
I giggled and went to see who was at the door. “Who is it?” I asked but didn’t get a respond so I opened the door anyway. No one was there so I closed the door and headed back to the living room when the doorbell rang again. I stomped back to the door and opened it, no one was there again so I went outside and looked around the deck. Still no one was there and the cool autumn wind caused my skin to break out in goosebumps. Shivering slightly, I was on my way back inside when I had this weird feeling like someone was watching me. So I paused at threshold and looked around one last time, when I didn’t see anything out of the norm I went back inside.
“Who was at the door?”, Tamara asked coming out of the bathroom.
I rolled my eyes, “No-”. I started to say when a loud knock on the door interrupted me.
“Who is it?! Whoever it is you better stop playing games!” I yelled.
Joy came out of the living room and stood on the other side of me. “What’s going on?”
I ran a hand through my curly red hair. “Someone is messing around. They keep ringing the doorbell, now their knocking but no one is there.”
The knocking got louder and fiercer like someone was trying to break the door down.
“Okay, I’m getting creeped out here maybe we should call the cops.” Tamara suggested rubbing her hands up and down her arms.
Joy raised her hand. “I second that notion.”
Just then, the knocking stopped then all the lights went out at once causing us to scream. Tamara held my arm in a death grip and started shaking. “I’m scared. We need to get the hell out of here!”
Joy was biting her nails and mumbling to herself. I took a deep breath and tried to be the brave one since everyone is losing their wits. “Everybody calm down okay. It’s probably just the generator. I’ll go check so just-”
“Are you out of your mind! How many horror movies have we watched and you haven’t learned anything by now?” Tamara yelled at me.
I faceplamed, “This isn’t a horror movie! Wait where is Pen?”
Joy looked pale. “She never came back from the kitchen.”
“Pen!”, I called out running to the kitchen with Joy and Tamara at my hills. When we entered the kitchen there was no sign of Penelope anywhere, but the back door was open. The yellow and red autumn leaves scraped the floor as the cold wind blew them in from outside.
Slowly, I walked towards the open door. “P-P- Pen?”, I stuttered, my voice barley over a whisper. The only greeting I got was from the howling of the night wind, taking a deep breath I cross the threshold into my backyard despite my friends’ protests.
Still there wasn’t any sign of her anywhere. I started to panic as the realization that something has happen to one of my best friends started to sink in. Making my way inside I felt someone watching me, turning about face I saw Mr. Wales staring at me through his window. Then he banged on the window with his fist causing me to jump and run inside the house, locking the door in the process.
“What happen? Are you okay? Did you find Pen?”, Joy and Tamara bombarded me with questions. Before I can answer the sound of heavy footsteps on the second floor sent chills down my spine. Dead silence filled the house as we looked to the celling. The footsteps stopped and the sound of a door opening and closing could be heard throughout the quiet house.
Tamara held her hands over her mouth to muffle her crying and Joy looked like she was about to pass out. I motioned for us to go out the back door. Taking the lead, we tiptoed to the back door. The sound of rain echoed through the house masking he sound of our heavy breathing. I slowly turned the lock as to not alert the person upstairs. When I managed to get the door opened and unlocked I felt like doing a victory dance. One by one we made it outside when Joy screamed. Turning around we saw a tall mountain of a man dressed in black with a hand full of Joy’s hair. He yanked her back inside by her hair and tossed her on the ground then shut the door and locked it.
Tamara and I were pounding on the door trying to distract the man from Joy. When he looked towards the door we yelled for Joy to run, and she made it out the kitchen before he could catch her. Enraged he slammed his fists on top of the kitchen island causing it to shake and make everything that was on top crash to the floor. Then he turned his attention on to us. Tamara and I ran around the house through the pouring rain occasionally slipping on the wet grass and leaves.
We made it to the front when I bumped into Joy who was crying hysterically. “What do we do now!? We still didn’t find Pen.” She yelled over the heavy rain.
“Mrs. Grains! We can go to her place and call the cops.” I suggested and they agreed immediately.
As we ran towards her home I felt someone grab me. I screamed thrashing wildly, trying to get out of the hands of my captor. Joy and Tamara started hitting my captor until I heard a grunt then they released me. I saw Mr. Wales on his knees holding his jewels. Joy tugged at my arm for me to follow them. Mr. Wales started yelling stuff at us that I could not make out.
When Joy and I got to Mrs. Grains home her door was already open and Tamara was inside. Mrs. Grains handed us towels and blankets then told us to have a seat in the living room while she makes us some tea. Candles were lit everywhere and made the home seem a little eerie. Knickknacks filled every table top and dresser visible so far in her house.
She had no tv or anything modern in her living room. Joy and I sat down on her ugly, yellow, 50’s vintage couch. “Where is T?” I asked looking around.
“She went to call the police.” Joy hiccupped shivering from the cold.
A couple minutes later Mrs. Grains came back with a tray of cookies and tea. “I hope you feel better.” She smiled sweetly at us as she placed the tray on the table in front of us.
“Thank you, Mrs. Grains, where is Tamara.” I asked picking up the tea cup.
Mrs. Grains shook head and sighed. “Poor thing wasn’t feeling well so I suggest she lay down in one of the guest rooms. The police will be here in half an hour sweetie so don’t worry about a thing and drink your tea. It’ll help warm you up.”
We thanked her and did as she said. Mrs. Grains hobbled to a dresser with a radio on top and turned it on. Then she sat down on a rocking chair, picked up a basket of yearn, and started knitting while humming to the 1950’s song playing on the radio.
About ten minutes later Joy said she was going to check on Tamara. Mrs. Grains told her to go down the hall and it will be the third door on the right.
A few minutes later I tried to make small talk with Mrs. Grains. “Hey Mrs. Grains. Have you always lived alone?
She stopped humming and smiled sweetly at me. “Of course not. I don’t live alone. Never have.”
Suddenly, I started to get drowsy. I yawned into my hand and shook my head to stay awake, now was not the time to get sleepy when my friend is missing and a killer was stalking us.
“What do you mean Mrs. Grains.” I asked her confused.
The sound of the needles clicking together was hypnotizing, slowly putting me to sleep. “My boy came home.”
My eyes started to get heavy and the room felt like it was spinning. “Mrs.…Grains. You…. don’t have…any… kids.” I mumbled falling sideways on the couch.
“There’s my boy!”, Mrs. Grains said happily.
I looked up towards the doorway and saw the man from my house. He started to walk towards me as my vision blurred and darkness pulled me under.
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