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The Girl in the Window

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Athena Pierce loves to explore old abandoned buildings, so when she gets a chance to check out the abandoned Sarton Asylum she takes it. What she doesn't know is that a little girl name Effie Richmond still lives there with a horrible past and secret.

Horror / Thriller
Emilee Harvey
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

Athena Pierce woke up and outstretched her arms. She reached for her large, black-rimmed glasses as she got out of bed and walked to her window, opening the blinds. She gazed out of the large lake outside and sighed. “Maybe I can go deeper today?” she spoke to her dog, Ginger, who was lying on the bed wagging her tail.

Ginger was a small cairn terrier with bright blue eyes. Her long coat was the color of wheat. She was looking at Athena with love and curiosity. Her brother had always teased her by naming her dog Ginger when she wasn’t close to the same color as the name. Athena didn’t care. She had called her after her favorite character on Gilligan’s Island, Ginger Grant. She and her brother used to watch that show after school while waiting for their mother to return home from work.

Athena loved adventure. Her activities recently included diving into the large lake outside and seeing how far she could go before taking a breath. She turned to her dog and ruffled the fur on her head as she walked into the bathroom. She stopped at the sink and looked at her reflection in the mirror. Her shoulder-length blond hair stuck up everywhere. The bags underneath her blue eyes indicated that she hadn’t slept as well as she had thought. She sighed as she turned the showerhead on and undressed.

She had always been adventurous. When she was little, her mother used to panic that Athena would run off somewhere and get taken. At the time, she thought her mother was ridiculous, but now she understood her mother's thinking. She had written too many articles about children being taken away from their parents.

After taking a shower, she wrapped herself in a towel and walked to her dresser. She took out a pair of skinny jeans and an old blue t-shirt. She dressed and combed through her hair, pulling it into a loose braid. She wasn’t a fan of keeping her hair long, but she kept it this way for her mother. She had the same hair as her mother, and it was the only thing she had left to remember her by. Her mother had died a couple of years ago. The doctors didn’t understand why she had passed away; they still didn’t know. She shifted her glasses back onto her face and walked down the stairs to the kitchen.

She fed Ginger and started to fix breakfast for herself. While she began mixing the pancake mix, the kitchen phone rang. Athena reached over and took the phone off the receiver, holding it between her ear and shoulder, and continued to mix.

“Hello?” she asked politely into the phone.

“Miss Athena?” The voice on the other end perked up. “Hi!”

Athena smiled at the familiar, graveled voice. “Mr. Schneider?” Mr. Schneider was the head reporter of the Sarton Paper and her boss. Whenever there was a place that he needed a piece written on, he handed it over to Athena. Mr. Schneider was the man who gave her her first job when she graduated college four years ago. Now, only twenty-six, she had become the best reporter at the Sarton Paper Company. She enjoyed her career and was very grateful for Mr. Schneider's encouragement.

“I think you’re going to like this one,” he excitedly told her. “It’s right up to your speed.”

“What’s it about?” She dropped the wooden spoon she held onto the ground, causing pancake mix to splatter on the floor. “Damn it,” she muttered, hoping Mr. Schneider didn’t hear her cussing.

A slight laugh came from the other end. Athena smiled and winced slightly as that laugh showed that he had heard her cuss. “For years, I have been trying to get permission for someone to go check out the Sarton Asylum, and now I’ve settled it! I would like it if you would go and check it out for me.”

She had picked up the spoon and stopped short of putting it back into the bowl. “You mean the abandoned Sarton Asylum?” she asked as she shuffled over to the sink to wash the spoon.

“Yes, that’s right.” His voice still held the cheeriness from his victory.

“They say that place is haunted, Mr. Schneider,” Athena mentioned slowly.

She could almost see him shrugging his shoulders as he responded, “That hasn’t stopped you before.” He paused, letting that sink in. “So, what do you think? Will you do it?”

He told the truth. Athena had been in a haunted house before, but nothing happened to her while she stayed there. It turned out to be a rumor and not exciting. Athena chewed on her lip, thinking about it for a minute or two before answering, “Sure. I’ll do it.” Rumors are only rumors, after all, she thought.

“Good. I’ll send you the directions to the asylum through e-mail. Talk to you soon, Miss Athena.” Mr. Schneider was still in the age of e-mails. She had told him before about sending directions through text messages, but he never could remember doing it. It was easier for him to do e-mails, so she let it be. She had eventually given up on reminding him and had gotten used to it. It didn’t matter anyway; it was still a good form of communication.

“Thank you, Mr. Schneider. Goodbye.” She hung up the phone and placed it back on the receiver. After washing the spoon, she continued cooking, thinking about Sarton Asylum the whole time. No one had gone into that building for decades. The only person who had, about ten years ago, never came out. People believed that he died there and possibly he had. They could never find a body when searchers went in for him. Athena shuddered, placed saran wrap over the bowl, and then placed it in the refrigerator. I’ve lost my appetite, she thought.

She almost thought about telling Mr. Schneider that she had changed her mind about going. She felt that something was going to happen, but she had thought about that before on other assignments, and nothing happened.

Ginger whined at her feet and nudged them with her nose.

Athena looked down at Ginger and gave her an apologetic smile. “I’m sorry, girl.” She patted her leg. “Come on. I’ll let you out.” She walked outside and watched Ginger run around the backyard. Inside, she heard a beep come from her computer. She walked back inside, knowing Ginger would be safe in her fenced-in yard, and opened her e-mail.

The e-mail held directions to Sarton Asylum, and Athena took out her iPhone and punched in the directions Mr. Schneider had given her through the e-mail. Ginger scratched at the door, and Athena jumped up to let her in before walking back to her computer.

“Looks like he wants me to go today,” she told her dog. “I’ll text Derek so he can take care of you.” She scratched between Gingers’ ears as she texted her brother and then went upstairs to pack.


Thirty minutes later, Athena stood at the front door with her small suitcase on the ground. She never knew how long she would be gone whenever she went on her assignments, but she always took a couple of pairs of clothes and essentials in case it was a more extended trip. A knock came from the other side of the door. She opened it to see her brother, Derek, standing there with a duffle bag slung over his shoulder. He knew the drill as much as she did.

Derek was her younger brother by five years. He had the same blond hair and blue eyes as she did. He had just finished college and started working at the Sarton Paper as an assistant for Mr. Schneider. Right now, he fetches coffee and organizes papers in the office, but he is a good writer. Soon he’ll be able to go out on assignments.

“Hi, Derek,” she smiled as she greeted her brother. She ushered him inside and gave him a piece of paper with what to do for Ginger.

“Sis,” Derek groaned but took the paper anyway. “I’ve done this about a thousand times. Come on, don’t you trust me to remember how to take care of Ginger?”

Athena rolled her eyes as she brought him in for a quick hug. “Yes, I trust you. You wouldn’t be taking of my baby if I didn't trust you.” She reached down and patted Ginger’s head. “Goodbye, Ginger.” She looked back up at her brother. “Take care, Derek. See you both soon.”

“Bye, sis! Be careful.”

Athena nodded as she grabbed her suitcase and walked past them. She walked out the door and over to her car. She put the bag in the trunk before climbing into the driver’s seat. Starting the car, she looked up and saw Derek standing at the door with Ginger. I’ll be back soon, she thought to herself. Backing out of the driveway, she headed toward Sarton Asylum.

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