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The House on the Hill

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Summary

The house stooped rather than stood, with slanted walls and a buckled roof, looking over the town with an air of sorrow. It was, by all accounts, a dark and dismal place. Its vacant rooms emanated with a weight of absence. For years, no one dared venture close enough to see its details up close, so there it stayed, empty and alone—until three curious teenagers decided to investigate. This is a short story in response to #32 of the summer prompt competition: https://thegreenshoesanctuary.wordpress.com/summer-prompt-contest/

Genre:
Horror / Mystery
Author:
holliefur
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
4
Rating:
5.0 1 review
Age Rating:
13+

Chapter 1

“They say, the house beckons you inside, bewitching you into a trance,” the hooded teenager, Billy, whispered over the crackle of the open fire. “Once you step inside, you won’t ever be able to leave. Anyone who dares enter never returns.”

The boy was one of the eldest sitting around the pit, and that made his story all the more believable to the younger and more susceptible children in the group. All six of them—Billy, Jack, Emily, Isabel, Michael, and Audrey—huddled together under the charcoal sky. The pale crescent moon shone like a silver claw above their heads. Out in the clean and clear air of Pembroke’s cliffside, stars usually adorned the heavens. Tonight, they hide behind frosted clouds.

Jack’s eyes bulged with curiosity and the orange reflection of flames. “What do you think happens when you get trapped inside?”

“The house drives you insane and then one of two things happen. You either die of starvation or...” Billy hung onto the silent audience as long as he could, feeling the pull of their anticipation until they couldn’t wait any longer. “Or something kills you first.”

Isabel (the youngest girl at barely eleven) cocked her eyebrow, “Something?”

“Nobody knows because no one has ever lived to tell the tale.” An audible gasp rippled through the gang—for all except one.

“Someone must have.”

Everyone swiftly turned to Audrey. At seventeen, she was the second eldest member of the group and usually one of the quietest, making her contribution all the more intriguing. Audrey’s opinions were often overlooked because, unlike her friends, she was born blind. “Well, where else would the rumours have come from?”

In Pembrokeshire, gossip of ghosts was as natural and as normal as nursery rhymes. For generations, supernatural phenomena plagued the town and its people. Almost everyone had a tall tale to tell, a ghoulish encounter or a spooky second-hand account of some unexplainable event. Even alien sightings were unusually high near the town’s shoreline. Folk passed down these stories like treasured heirlooms, for a belief in the afterlife was an inherited trait in this part of Wales. Audrey on the other hand was defiantly sceptical. To her surprise, on this occasion at least, she wasn’t the only one.

“Audrey’s right,” Michael offered. “I think we should see for ourselves.” The faces that met his were open-mouthed and frozen. A cold breeze drifted across the circle causing the younger children to shudder and cuddle up to their siblings. “What better way to prove whether the rumours are true?”

Billy glanced around him until he reached Audrey’s translucent, milky eyes that were luminous against the moon’s glow. Even without sight, she was beautiful. “What do you think, Audrey? We’ll let you decide.”

Just then, Isabel screamed out, “No, I’m not going up there. It’s too creepy!”

“Me neither,” Emily followed.

“Well, if Emily and Isabel aren’t going, then I won’t either,” Jack asserted, crossing his arms.

Audrey drummed her fingers against the tops of her thighs, thinking. “I’ll go on my own.”

Emily stared at Michael and Billy, “You aren’t going to let her are you? She’s blind! She’ll get hurt.”

“Of course not. Michael and I will accompany Audrey, and we’ll report back.”

The others sighed in relief and gulped down their fear.

“Be careful. We’ll be waiting for you, won’t we girls?” Jack said as Isabel and Emily nodded slowly by his side.

Audrey stood from the fallen tree trunk that she’d been perched upon. Tentatively, Billy turned to his brother Michael and rose until he too was towering above the others. Keen to take on their expedition, the threesome began walking across the spiky grass, angled towards the shadowy silhouette of the house on the hill.

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