THE HOUSE part 1

I was nineteen. 

It was Halloween night and I was feeling energized after having just survived the Haunted Forest in American Fork – they had just revamped it, and it was gloriously new and thrilling.  My friends and I gathered around the back of my little grey pickup truck (Paco) in the parking lot, the sounds of screams and chainsaws carrying to us on the October breeze.  I sat on Paco’s tailgate, swinging my legs with the youthful glee I felt pumping through my veins.  I checked my watch.  11:30pm.

“The night is still young,” I said. “And it’s Halloween!  I’m not ready to call it quits – what should we do?”

“We should go to a haunted house,” said Damian.

“Another one?  Do you know any good ones?”

“No,” he said, “I mean a *real* haunted house.”

There was something about Damian that could be very persuasive (he later became a lawyer).  There was a hint of danger in his voice that thrilled through me.  He obviously had one in mind – a ‘real’ haunted house probably meant a very creepy house with stories grown from local lore feeding on the mysterious and unknown. 

I was a complete story and adventure junkie.  This promised the best of both worlds.  Not to mention an outlet for the energy that was humming and tingling through my limbs, causing my legs to swing. 

“Where is it?” I asked.

“In Blackfoot,” he said.

“You mean, as in, Idaho?!”

“About four hours from here.”

I looked around our little group – big white eyes staring from shadowed faces.  Sounds of chainsaws and screams.  Maniacal laughter.  There were a few in our number who bowed out – the late hour and morning responsibilities making them more adult than I was willing to be on that night.  The five of us remaining piled into Mikelle’s car and took to the road.

I called my parents – I was at least responsible enough to let someone know of my irresponsibility, should something happen – and left a message.  Something like, “Hi, it’s Steph – Just wanted to let you know that we’re going to Idaho tonight.  Be back tomorrow.” 

We sang, we talked, we dropped into slumber one by one until it was just Mikelle and I left awake in the front – watching the dark trees creep up to the road and creep back again. 

Then, at about 3:00 in the morning…Mikelle and I fell silent.  We were coming near our turn – the one that took us down the road that eventually led to the old abandoned (and haunted and evil) school house that we were driving all this way to see.

“Did you feel that?” I asked.

It was a pang.  A hint of warning in our chests.  The feeling of pending danger, making our backs straight, eyes wide, and skin prickle. 

“I felt it,” she said.  “We must be getting close.”

The feeling stirred the slumberers in the back seat to wakefulness.  The landscape technically hadn’t changed much.  We were still on a dark road with dark trees surrounding us, a moon, a chilly breeze…

But these trees were foreboding.  This dark road was a black river, pushing us down into its silence.  This moon was watching us warily, the way a boy might watch two spiders he’s caught in a jar circle each other.

At the back of our minds and deep in our gut, we all knew we should turn around – but the black-river road kept pushing us on and our car kept moving forward.



MikkSolo said...

What happens next?