I tried living my life as normal as possible. I tried to fit in at school, with my family, with the neighborhood kids. No matter how hard I tried, I always failed. I finally stopped trying and buried my head in my books, until the day my parents moved to a spooky place and my life turned upside down.
This neighborhood we moved to looked far from safe. It was a last resort, and was only supposed to be temporary. The neighborhood was completely surrounded by trees. No sunlight was able to break through, leaving the area dark—so very, very dark. That wasn’t the only thing making the area spooky, the trailers were down-right creepy, old, and completely worn down.
“Harper get out of the car,” my mother urged.
“I don’t wanna. I don’t like this place. It’s scary!” I shouted from inside our old black car as I locked my door. I huddled over in my seat, wrinkling my purple cat shirt, as I began to weep. Tears slowly began to cover my faded blue jeans and those that missed my jeans landed on my feet.
“Harper Aspen, you get out of the car, this instant!” my father yelled from the front door of the grayish-white trailer. His voice sounded agitated and sort of muffled from the inside of the car. I feared his voice when he yelled; it was a drill-sergeant type of yell, which made your bones shake from fear as it pierced your skin. It was terrifying.
“Fine!” I grumped getting out of the car, slamming the door behind me. I pulled my long red hair into my face, and stomped my way to the front door of the trailer.
“Lose the attitude young lady. We don’t want to be here either.” From behind a box he was unpacking my father said.
“I don’t want to be here! I don’t like it here!” I yelled again, as I stomped to my bedroom. We had already moved everything into the trailer, and unpacked mostly everything. My room was all together: posters covered the plain brown walls, jewelry hung from hooks, glass figurines sat on shelves, and hair bows sat in a basket that dangled from the wall.
“Harper, don’t be that way. This is only temporary honey. You’ll be fine, and you’ll make friends. Dad said there is a girl about your age that lives one trailer over, you should go introduce yourself to her,” my mother said, as she walked into my room. I shrugged my shoulders at her, not wanting conversation, nor to meet anyone. I wanted to be alone. “Think about it honey. I’m going to get dinner started.”
I sat alone in my room and stared at the ceiling as I heard pots and pans banging in the kitchen. Maybe my mother was right; maybe I needed to give this place a try. Being miserable was not going to make the time pass any faster. I decided I was going to go and meet the girl next door, even if it was going to kill me to talk to someone. I feared human interaction, it was something I was far from good at.
“Mom, I’m going to go meet the neighbor. I’ve decided it is time for me to stop being this shut in hermit. I am tired of living in fear of people. My anthropophobia is not going to get the best of me, not this time, not ever again.” I said as I walked down the bare blue hallway.
“That’s wonderful. Dinner will be ready in about an hour. So be back by then. Have fun, sweetie.” My mother smiled from ear to ear from behind the island stove in our kitchen. My dad smiled from behind the box he was still unpacking, as I ran out the front door and to the neighbor’s house.
It was starting to get dark as I walked down the gravel-paved road. I was having second thoughts just as the neighborhood went completely pitch black—I was also afraid of the dark. An owl began hooting just as I ran up the stairs and knocked on the door.
“Hello?” A young girl peered through a crack in the door. She was about my age, if not a little younger—maybe fourteen.
“Um, my parents told me to come meet you. I think my dad works with your dad, anyway he told me to come over and introduce myself. I’m Harper.” I smiled as the girl opened the door the rest of the way and motioned for me to enter the house.
“I’m Aisling,” she pronounced it a lot like ‘Ashlynn.’ “Care to have a seat?” She walked over to the couch opposite the front door. As she walked into the light I noticed she had bright blue eyes and blonde hair with blue highlights, she was petite in stature, and spoke softly.
“How old are you? Sorry I’m just wondering. I’m sixteen.” I asked as I sat down on the opposite side of the antique white couch.
“I’m fourteen,” she smiled. Her eyes didn’t compliment her smile they looked frightened.
“Everything ok?” I asked, as I stared at the wall trying to figure out whatshe was looking at.
“Oh, sorry. That’s right, you’re new here. You don’t know what happens when it gets dark out,” she replied in a cryptic way, she was really beginning to freak me out.
“I don’t think I understand. What do you mean?” I asked, afraid of what she was going to say. I had already felt deep in my bones, that this place was haunted, I had previous experience with that. Ever since I was a young child I could see and speak with the dead. I tried to avoid it, and yet I felt I was back in that situation.
“This place has a dark past. One that will make your skin crawl with fear. Every house is haunted, you basically live in the Devil’s Playground now.” Her words came out in a hiss and her eyes glassed over as she spoke.
I couldn’t speak, I just stared at her. I didn’t know if she was just trying to scare me, if she was being real with me, or if she was possessed. One thing I did know—it was time for me to high tail it out of that house, and back home.
“Why are you looking at me like I am nuts?” she asked as her eyes changed back to bright blue and she tilted her head.
“You just scared the hell out of me, and I think it is time for me to go home. It was nice meeting you.”
“Oh no, don’t go. I’m sorry, I tend to blank out and do that. Oh man,” she sighed as I stood and ran out her front door, running all the way home in pitch darkness. I swore I heard footsteps behind me along the way, but when I turned around there was nothing there.
I was breathing heavy when I walked into my yard, only to see my dog surrounded by six glowing eyes. Only two of them belonged to him, I gulped as I realized this and ran for the door. Usually, I was cautious while opening the door, this time I was not. I swung the door open, I ran inside, and fell to the floor terrified.
“Honey, what in the world is going on?” my father said, rubbing his now red forehead.
“That girl, something is wrong with that girl! I don’t want to be here. Th…the…there’s eyes by the dog. Stuff in the woods. It’s haunted!” I screamed as I huddled in a fetal position.
“I was told by Aisling’s dad that she was a little bit imaginative what she is claiming might not be true, she could just be trying to scare you. Don’t let what she said prevent you from sleeping,” my dad tried to calm me down, he always kept his cool in these situations. Never letting on that he was freaking out on the inside he remained strong for my mother and me.
“It’ll be ok, Honey. Nothing is going on here that we can’t handle,” my mother said just as the oven door screeched open and my mother screamed.
“What is it?!?!” My father jumped up and yelled as he heard my mother’s scream.
“Th… the.. there’s hair in the oven, coarse and small hair. Animal like.” My mother muttered from the kitchen panting heavily as my dad walked in the kitchen to look in the stove.
“Hmmm… Maybe the last family that lived here didn’t use the oven; just let their animals sleep in it?” My dad tried to make light of the situation, while trying to push back the thought of this place being haunted. He didn’t want to put his family in that situation again, and I didn’t blame him.
“Dad, this place is haunted. Trust me! That girl was possessed; I saw her eyes glass over while she was talking to me. Something is seriously wrong here. She called it the Devil’s Playground, Dad. She scared me.” I busted into frantic tears, recounting what the girl said to me.
“Ok, let’s calm down and eat dinner. I’ll talk to the landlord tomorrow and see what he tells us. Let’s relax, we’ve been busy moving, and our minds are playing tricks on us.” My dad tried to maintain the calmness of our house, but that was far from possible.
My father helped me up. The two of us walked into the kitchen and sat at the dinner table. My mother had prepared steak, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and green beans. We ate in silence, which was normal, but this was an awkward silence.
“May I be excused? I’m finished eating. I want to go to bed now.”
“Go ahead, dear.” My mother smiled as I stood and walked to my room.
I plopped down on my bed, grabbed my laptop down from my desk, and began messaging a few friends to see what they could dig up about this place. I even went as far as messaging the local library to see if they had any ghost stories that dealt with the area, and then exhausted headed off to sleep.