Moans and Footsteps

December 2006

A/N: This was just something I cooked up for a school paper. I rewrote it and people seemed to like it, so here you go...

Ryan Scott Johnson was, if you asked him, fearless. He was well built, the star of the football and basketball teams, he wrestled and could take down men twice his size. All of these added together tended to fuel confidence for anyone, especially a young man in his prime like him, and all of these inevitably lead to his loud, boisterous claim that he was indeed without fear.

It was this confidence that decided his acceptance of the dare.

A little ways away from the local high school sat a lonely, empty house. Faded white and rickety, the doorknobs rusted a dirty brown and the paint chipped in little crumbs onto the collapsing porch that once stood proudly amongst the flowering bushes. The bits of curtain that could be seen through the front windows hung in tatters and the shingles on the ceiling sported many tiny holes – and all of this was just the outside appearance.

But, as with all lonely, empty houses, rumors flew that the old place was haunted. The floorboards and door hinges that creaked loudly during the night where supposedly spirits taking refuge in the uninhabited house, revenge upon the townspeople for letting the house become such a disaster. Mystery shrouded the old house because of the confusion concerning its owners, just because the deed passed too many times between too many hands to keep track of generations ago. The city folk who were whispered about – the city folk that were assumed to own the old house – were scoffed upon, obviously too busy with their own mansions to worry about old houses out in the country deteriorating from the inside out.

Bets, threats, and dares were also centered on the poor old house, as many old houses such as this were submitted too. 'I'll send you up to the old house on the hill!' was a constant statement in the households of naughty children, and many young men and boys would boast of testing their courage in the house, but none ever went.

None, that is, until Ryan Scott Johnson played Truth or Dare.

And so this was how it came to be that, as the sun began drifting slowly behind the mountains lining the horizon and the sky was tainted an orangey pink, that Ryan Scott Johnson sat in a dirty white lawn chair, hands and feet tied tightly with a thick coil of rope. His friends had come with him to tie him to said chair, but only when the sun was high in the sky. They chose what looked like a guest room, with the potential of being luxuriously gorgeous but had been left of its own accord, suffering from multiple visits from unwelcome animal inhabitants and disinterest itself.

The rope had been his own idea – a badge of courage, he insisted.

The sun had set fully behind the mountains and a cool breeze drifted through the old house, teasing the curtains gently and lifting his bangs off of his forehead, which had started to break out with sweat. He assured himself everything would go all right, and concentrating on the things around him; though he found that a little mind-numbing, as the stench of unwelcome guests was almost intoxicating.

For awhile it remained like this. And then he heard it – a soft thumping. Rhythmic – like footsteps, distant at first but growing louder and faster. The volume increased but he ignored it – ignored it, that is, until he heard the moaning.

The thumping got louder as his blood began to freeze. The moaning became yelling, and the yelling became screaming – blood-curdling, deafening screaming – and he bowed down to the inevitable. He gave into the panic that was rising up from his stomach and burning his throat, gave into the fear that was starting to smudge the edges of his brain.

But, unknown, to the now unconscious young man, as he fainted, the screams died down and the thumping quieted down. For, had he not suspected the worst, he would have realized the moans and screams came from his own mouth, and the 'footsteps' were the sounds of his own beating heart.

A/N: Please review, I'd appreciate it dearly!