"Twenty four hours? I hope you're joking."
My brother sends me a smile that tells me he's deathly serious.
"I don't know, Danny. It's one thing spending a few hours in a grotty little pub cellar, but this?" I shake my head, glancing at the other two for back up. Tom is fiddling with his camera, purposely avoiding me, whilst Oli coughs when my gaze lands on him.
"I'll look after you, Lizzie," he chuckles, sending me a wink. Six foot two and with the build of a rugby player, I knew it would take a real demon to challenge Oli.
"We have this amazing opportunity- spend twenty fours hours- for free, may I add- in a derelict hotel. It's a two hour drive from here, so we need to set off early Saturday morning-"
I groan, cutting Danny off mid sentence. His lips pursed together, his nostrils flaring with annoyance. I exchange a look with Oli who grins, leaning back in his chair.
"If you don't want to come- then don't. But I'm going," Danny says quietly, as Oli nods in agreement, raising a large hand into the air.
"Me too, brother. If there's any freaky shit in there you'll need someone to have your back."
All three of us look at Tom, who shrugs.
Which left me. I was hardly your typical girl, considering I hung about with my brother and his friends more than anyone else, playing video games and drinking beers. My nails were nonexistent, but I did have highlights through my dull blonde hair from time to time. My brother and I spoke through our minds like we always did- and I knew he wanted me there. Something told me he needed me there.
"Twenty four hours? Does it have electricity at least?"
Danny shakes his head, and I groan again.
"Fine, but I'm not going anywhere on my own," I huff, as a wide smile breaks over Danny's face.
"Yes, Sis! It's gonna be amazing, apparently this one team went there and saw shadow figures and got a load of decent EVP'S."
Oli shudders slightly, and I can't help but grin.
"Oli, you can handle those, right?" I ask innocently, trying not to laugh when he pales slightly. He shrugs nonchalantly, folding his arms across his broad chest. His deep hazel eyes meet mine as though he was accepting my challenge, and nods.
"Anything for you, sweetheart."
This time it was my turn to feel uncomfortable, my cheeks heating up with the use of the endearment one usually reserved for their lover. Which had happened between us once- and we had both sworn never to speak of it again, even to Danny. I was sure it was obvious though, the way Oli carried on flirting. But Oli was like that with most women, it came with the territory of being handsome and buff, I guess.
I resisted the urge to make a comment back, but the look of intrigue on my brother's face stopped me. He was tapping away on his phone excitedly, before leaning forward to share.
"Apparently before it was a hotel, it was some sort of school. Then it was an asylum for the insane. But get this- men could drop their wives off for something as simple as being moody- and they were subject to all kinds of barbaric procedures."
I wrinkle my nose up with disgust, thankful for the era I was born into. I couldn't imagine having to be treated like a second class citizen simply because of my sex.
"Urgh, that's awful."
"Shit," Danny went on, as we listened with interest. "Children went there too. For something as simple as truancy. They were locked up with the mentally insane patients, and had the same treatments as them."
"What sort of treatments?" Tom asks quietly. Tom was incredibly skilled at anything remotely technical, and he was obsessed with all elements of film and photography. He would know whether something we had captured was an orb or a fly, simply by examining it on his laptop.
"Well," drawled Danny, peering at his phone intently. "It says here hydrotherapy, and electric shock therapy."
"Fuck, like waterboarding?" Oli asks, shaking his head. "That's fucked up."
"But then they shut it down, and that's when it became a boarding school of some kind."
I reached for my own phone, punching in the name of the hotel. "Garter Mews. Sounds like a tea room or something, not a hotel," I point out.
"It was Garter School for Boys before that," Danny adds, and we all let the information digest. "They kept the name Garter for some reason. Must be named after someone."
"So who offered you this?" I ask, studying my brother with curiosity. Danny looked shifty for a second, but soon shrugged.
"I put an add on a ghost hunting forum I'm on. Someone messaged me, and said they owned a hotel, and wanted to know if we would be interested in going there before they knock the place down and rebuild as a residence."
"Why the fuck would you want to live there?" Oli exclaims, turning his phone round for us to see. "It is the stuff nightmares are made of."
I try not to look at the photo for too long, as my stomach began to ache with nerves.
"One night, guys. Hopefully then we get our evidence, and Team Nightmare will be viral on YouTube," Tom adds, causing the boys to high five with excitement. Team Nightmare was the name for the four of us, but we were yet to capture any evidence to put online.
"This will be our first real investigation," says Danny proudly. "We could have our own TV series if we find proof, you know that."
I uncross my legs, stretching my arms up above my head. I yawn, and my eyes make brief contact with Oli's.
"You gonna be my partner, Lizzie? Then we know you are safe."
Danny snorts then, pointing at Oli.
"Uh, being buff has nothing to do with the paranormal man. They could still lift you up and catapult you across the room if they were so inclined."
Oli doesn't respond, he just shakes his head. Tom and Danny start discussing power banks in order to keep the batteries charged without electricity. I lose interest, noticing a text message come through from Edward, my ex.
Hey Elizabeth, I hope you are well. There's a horror showing Saturday night at the Showcase Cinema if you want to go? My treat. Edward x
"No, Edward, I don't want to go anywhere with you," I mutter, as I type back that I'm busy. Oli pretends not to notice, and the four of us decide to go and order some food and get an early night.
Two days until we would be heading for The Garton Mews, and I wanted to make the most of WiFi and sleep.