The House on Ambrose Street

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Chapter 19- Reasoning

I put a hand to my forehead, blinking away stars. This house is going to be the death of me, I thought.

Anyone stupid enough to still be following me through this house had some balls. I’d give them that. They’d have to be as crazy desperate as I was to survive it.

I grabbed the railing above my head and pulled myself into a standing position. The nothingness of the room spun. I leaned into the railing as I tried to breathe through the lightheadedness.

If it was who I thought was after me, he’d have no problem finding me eventually. I was surprised he hadn’t already. He’d always been on his game whenever we’d hit the streets, and he was always the one to get me out of a tight spot. I was just hoping that this house threw him completely off.

I didn’t want him to find me.

I released my tight grip on the railing in relief once the spinning had stopped. I really didn’t want him to find me. I wanted this house to conceal me forever, if that’s what it took to stay away from him. And I think I could count on this house to do just that.

I started to climb down the stairs, this time with my palm lightly sliding down the railing as I went.

I think this house had saved me before, yet I wasn’t sure how I knew that, exactly. Thinking back, I knew it must have been the one to mask the sound of my footsteps in the maze. It had also been the one to grab my foot right before I’d fallen through the floor. Like it had wanted him to find me but thought better of it at the last second. And then it had opened the lift when I had nowhere to go. It must have sensed that he was still after me. Otherwise, the house would have killed me with the stench in the mine or trapped me in the library. Or just let him have me right at the front door.

Maybe it had been watching me in the library and on the staircase outside the lift.

I felt the bottom of the stairs with the tip of my shoe, and I looked around. There was still nothing to see. I held my hands out in front of me like I had in the mine. This house was proving to be quite the adventure. But I had had enough adventures in my life recently. I didn’t need any more. All I wanted was a place to hide. Maybe a place to live. This house was perfect for both. I’d dealt with all of its tricks so far, and if it had anything else lurking in the dark, I’d deal with it then. But if I couldn’t get out, how could I survive? I just needed to know that I’d feel the sun again. All this darkness was getting to me.

If I could get out of this house, I’d come back, I think. I’d make a living here. I’d survive here. Because it was almost safer than what was outside.

My stomach rumbled, as if it were trying to ease the tension. I laughed in spite of myself. I needed to find a kitchen. If I found that, at least, I’d be okay.

The creak of a door above me sent shivers down my arms. I took off running, running across another wood floor that echoed my footsteps around me, sprinting head-first into a wall. The crash sparked an eruption of lights that danced across my vision.

I blacked out.

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