It was a dark and stormy night. Rain poured down onto the barren streets, pittering and pattering loudly against the pavement. An occasional shock of lightning lit the skies, briefly illuminating the city, followed immediately by a great roar of treacherous thunder. A brisk wind chilled anyone outside right down to the bone, sending shivers up their spines. Fortunately enough, most had decided to stay inside on this storming night.

Most.

Allan stood alone on the driveway of the old abandoned mansion, wondering if the rumors were true. The house definitely lent itself to them. The house was truly gargantuan, made of rickety old boards that seemed to sway in the wind. The light were completely out- some windows even seemed to be smashed in. Surrounding this eerie house was a gate lined with barbed wire, standing there menacingly, as if it dared anyone who passed by to try to enter.

Completely undeterred by the fence, Allan took off his rain jacket, preparing to throw it on top of the barbed wire. The gate was made of vertical black poles aligned side by side, providing almost no passage overtop the gate. Which was why Allan brought the rope. He was determined to scale this gate, and he was determined to see what was inside this house.

The rumors were simple. Evidently, the house was haunted by ghosts. No one had ever seen the ghosts, although they had enough evidence. The house was almost always surrounded by a thick mist. The full moon seemed to only shine on this one house. However, these were not the most convincing arguments. That would be that no one who entered had ever returned- alive.

Everything was in place. The jacket was placed on top of the wire. His rope had been securely wound along the top of the gate with the help of a weight. Now all that was left was to scale the wall. Allan shivered. He debated whether it was from his fright or from the storm, which was blowing more violently than ever.

As he stood at the base of the gate, Allan could have sworn that it had actually grown a few inches. Maybe even an entire foot. However, this did not stop Allan. Slowly, he scaled the rope, which was becoming increasingly slick with the nighttime rain. Allan gripped tightly on to the rope, knowing that he could not climb this distance too many times.

Allan was just about to hoist himself over the fence, when ouch! Allan lost his grip and fell to the ground. He looked down to see his hand swarming with spiders who must have lived at the top of the pillar. They were biting him and causing him much pain. Allan rapidly tried to dislodge the spiders from his hand. After this, he climbed the rope again, this time with success. He fell down to the ground, and winced with pain. As he had landed, he had rolled his ankle. His arm had been badly hurt too. There was no way he could climb back up.

With no other options left, Allan headed into the house. Even as he entered, he felt a wave of dread come over him. What made him different than all of the others who entered the house? What would keep him from dying? He didn't have any extra ingenuity. He certainly didn't know anything about ghosts. In all truth, he feared for his life. Ignoring that fear, he stepped over the threshold of the supposedly haunted mansion.

A doorbell rung faintly as Allan entered the house. Allan hadn't expected anything that would suggest life in the house. He had expected the most lively thing in the house to be the mice and the occasional swirl of dust. And he definitely did not expect what happened next.

"Who hoes there?" a voice called out from the house. Allan stood stock still. This house was empty. Who would live here? Whoever it was, they were deep into the house, and it would take them a while to find him. In the meantime, he checked out the surroundings of the entrance lobby.

Surrounding the room were flowers. Half of the flowers were roses, their scent overpoweringly present in the house. As if covering up for something. The other half of the flowers were Venus fly traps. A disturbingly large amount of these flowers were closed shut. They had eaten recently.

The owner of the voice found his way into the entrance lobby. He was a normal man, except for a few key features. His face was deathly white, except for his burning bright cheeks. His eyes seemed half dead, as if the man had not felt joy in a long time. His clothes were rather boring, and they seemed more like pajamas than anything else. He wore many layers, as though he was freezing in the cold. However, one thing that was different than all of other rather bland clothing was an ornate locket that hung around his neck. It was made out of gold that seemed to gleam wickedly underneath different robes and jackets that tried to cover it.

"What do you want, kid?"

"I was trying to see if this house was haunted, sir," said Allan shakily. The man had a malevolent atmosphere surrounding him, which made him nervous.

"And why would my house be haunted?"

"No one's been seen coming out," said Allan, shrinking underneath the man's gaze.

"Well, this house isn't haunted, is it?" asked the man. "I live here, don't I? Now go home, before you get on my nerves."

"Sir, I can't," said Allan. "I don't think I could make it out over the fence. Could you open it, please?"

"Oh, that gate rusted shut long ago. I can't help you there."

"Then, can I at least stay until I gather my strength?"

The man looked shiftily around, as if considering this for a moment. "Very well. Come into my sitting room, where I'll make you a nice tea." The man headed off into one direction, and Allan assumed he was supposed to follow.

As they passed through the house, a sense of uneasiness came upon Allan. Something was reeking in the house. He couldn't quite put his finger on the scent, for it was tainted by the overpowering smell of roses. As the man began to notice Allan sniffing, he turned around harshly, saying, "What's the problem?"

"Nothing," said Allan. The man warily turned forward once again, heading off deeper into the house. The two passed up a flight of stairs, and the scent only became worse. And the more pungent the smell became, the more Allan became worried that he recognized it.

As they walked along, Allan began to notice a large amount of flies swarming the house. Something was definitely wrong here. Something terrible was happening, and Allan slowly felt himself becoming a victim. "Sir, how far away are we from the sitting room?"

"We're there right now," said the man, and he motioned for Allan to sit down. The room was swarming with flies. Not only flies, but also maggots and other terrible things. Even though the room was absolutely loaded with Venus fly traps, it was impossible to see the back wall. However, not wanting to upset the man, Allan sat down in a chair. An empty fireplace sat in front of him, although Allan doubted that the fire would start. Several flies landed on him as he sat there, alone as the man made the tea.

When the man came back, Allan was panicking. He had found out what the smell was, and it was really quite frightening. It explained the flies and everything. It also explained the rumors. The longer he sat in that chair, the more convinced he was that he would not escape.

"What is going on here?" asked Allan. "What happens to the people who come here?"

"I knew that this would happen," said the man regretfully. "I knew that as soon as you entered my house you knew too much. No one can know that I live here. I'm afraid that I have no choice."

Allan's greatest fear was confirmed. "I can be quiet, I swear."

"It's too late now," said the man. "I'm sorry. I truly am." The man slowly removed the locket from his neck. Allan tried to leave the chair, but it seemed as though all of the flies converged on him. He screamed and screamed, but all that resulted was flies entering into his mouth. The man took the locket in his hand, and with that hand pressed the locket onto Allan's bare flesh.

And as Allan breathed his last, the man's dull eyes filled with life.