The wind was howling at the moon as the street signs moaned and the leaves ran across the road. For a November night, this wasn't what Katrina expected. The faint glow from the single streetlight cast eerie shadows in which darkness dwelt and nightmares gathered.

She walked this road every night, and it always sent a shiver up her spine to see the way the houses loomed above her in such a way that it appeared that they were going to enclose upon her. The windows and their shutters were always closed, but the doors were open. They seemed to call her name and pull her in as if to trap her forever while allowing her a single chance for escape. No one lived in those houses, nor had they for years.

Left to disintegrate, the houses were ominous and always seemed to hold a secret in which more secrets laid. She couldn't bring herself to enter. So instead, she would pass them as if they were lepers and she a wealthy royal.

Her house lay at the end of the street and no matter how hard she tried to ignore the overwhelming feeling, she felt as if her house were in cahoots with the others. The atmosphere left much to be desired, but she couldn't bear to leave the house with anyone else. It was her parents' house. They had loved it. They cherished this house more than they had cherished her, their daughter, and it left a strong presence, almost as if it was taunting her with the fact that they preferred the house over her.

Dark and dreary were the rooms, and no amount of light or love could brighten them. They were like dungeons, and she was the prisoner, chained there by the presence of the family who wasn't even there and never really cared. Noosed by a rope that couldn't be cut nor loosened: curiosity.

Kat was always curious about everything. While others spent their recesses playing hopscotch and ring-around-the-rosy, she researched her house and the houses on her street. Nothing could stop her from discovering their secrets. She had known that they held secrets beyond everyone's wildest dreams forever, but never could she discover them. She refused to give up though. Her persistence was the only thing that kept her going; she would discover the secrets.

But something was off on this blistery fall night. In the eldest house, one of the windows was open and the shutter with it. An orange light flickered in the window from an old-fashioned oil lamp. In perfect three-quarter time, twisting and twirling as it danced to her ears on the wind, was the sound of a waltz being played. Again the door was open.

The black and rusted wrought-iron gate whined in a final warning cry as Kat pushed it open and made her way up to the doors and took the final steps into the house.