By Julian Gurman ’22
Johnny and Evan were sneaking along the broken-down brick wall, keeping their heads low. As they neared a broken spot on top of the wall, Johnny peaked out over and saw that they were getting close. Starting to loom in the distant darkness was Houghton House, the streetlights illuminating only a small portion of the ominous house. The entire north side was shrouded in darkness and the small parts that were illuminated cast shadows over the areas already dark from the night. “Are you sure about this?” Evan asked as Johnny started moving forward, passing one of the statues that looked like it seemed to turn with them as they passed by, and Evan was able to look at the house in the distance. “Of course I am. Come on those are just stories, you don’t actually believe in ghosts, let alone that Houghton is haunted, do you?” Johnny responded without stopping or looking back. “No of course not,” Evan whispered, lying to himself.
Johnny crossed an open section in the wall, but as Evan got close to it a hand is laid on his shoulder and over his mouth, causing him to jump and squeal––almost yelling, actually. “Shhhhh you’re gonna wake the ghosts,” the person behind the hands said as they let go of Evan. “What in the wor––oh, hey, Marie, was wondering when you’d show up,” Johnny says as he turned around to find a frightened Evan hyperventilating and a grinning Marie. “Now come on, let’s get a closer look.”
As the trio stealthily moved away from the wall towards the house, a brick fell off the wall causing a small but audible crash.
“What was that?!” asked Evan, turning his head back and forth rapidly.
“Probably a squirrel, come on!” Marie said, giving him a look of encouragement and that smile, that damned smile.
Johnny checked the front door while Evan stayed back, watching the building with a growing sense of dread, as he looked at the upper levels it seemed as if someone was looking out at them while curtains rustled in the wind. Johnny found the front door locked so he began to check windows on the first floor till he found one open on the southern side of the building. He called to Marie and Evan and helped them into the building. Once they had all gotten in, the window behind them slammed shut and a wave of cold immediately ran through them. “Alright we got in, can we please go now? And who cranked the A/C?” Evan complained. “No! We only just got here! We gotta snoop around at least a little,” Marie replied, Johnny nodding along with her.
“I’m gonna check down some hallways, there might be haunted classrooms!” Johnny stated before scampering off. “And I am going to check upstairs, I’ve never been up there before wonder what I’ll find!” Marie added.
Evan tried to voice his concerns about splitting up, but they were gone before the words had left his brain. As he was left to his own devices, he kept feeling like he was being watched and passed through another cold spot as he started to roam around. Evan inched through the first floor his head on a swivel, arms curled around his torso, frightened. He managed to find himself in the back art gallery, in the near-total darkness the statues and paintings seemed to move and watch him as he walked around.
Getting too spooked, he turned to leave before he came face to face with an eerie figure seemingly floating in space, dressed in 19th century garb with strange bruises around its neck area. It made no movements of any kind other than bobbing in the air, but stared through him into his soul. As he stood there silently petrified, two simultaneous screams rang out through the house shaking him from his stupor. He sprinted through the figure again feeling that frigid cold feeling as he ran into Marie flying down the stairs, toes barely touching the steps almost barreling over him. At the exact same moment, Johnny came around the hallway corner at a million miles an hour, Evan did not even need to say anything as they all sprinted for the door together, banging it open and continuing out into the cold dark night.