The dark house lay at the end of the street. It was an old house, dating back to the early nineteenth century, having been owned by a family of serial killers. The police had arrested the family, and ever since then, the house had been abandoned and left to decay.
No one wanted to buy it, much less fix it up. Locals were terrified of the house, refusing to go near it, especially at night. Some claimed they could here strange sounds coming from inside the house at the hour of midnight, like the yowls of a dog or the clattering of furniture. They said the house had been cursed.
Kids sometimes dared each other to go into that house. Few were brave enough to make to the overgrown front lawn, much less inside the house itself. One child did go inside, and came out screaming a few seconds later. He was in a state of shock, and when asked later what exactly he had seen in there, he didn't know. He only knew that it was evil.
Some considered tearing the house down, and being rid of its blight forever. But the construction workers kept finding excuses and in the end, the house was left alone.
But one man was now going up to the house. An ignorant homeless man named Lester.
Lester trudged down the street, shivering in the night air. It had been three weeks since he had been thrown out of his apartment building for not paying the rent and made to live on the streets. He had been moving from town to town since then, trying desperately to find a job but everyone turned him away. He had settled down for a little while with some other homeless people in a subway station. However, they were soon driven away by a combination of muggers and police.
So now, Lester had wandered into this town in the late afternoon. After being turned away from his latest job attempt, that at MacDonald's, he again found himself without a place to stay the night. He had no cash left and he couldn't sleep on the streets tonight. It was late December and he would freeze to death at night.
So, that left him with one option. The abandoned house at the edge of town, the house that everyone tried to ignore. Lester didn't know why. It was creepy sure, but nothing to fear in the end.
Lester stepped onto the sidewalk, rubbing his hands together for warmth. The house loomed above him, its windows boarded up. Not a speck of graffiti decorated its rotting wooden walls. A gate surrounded the house, overgrown with ivy and weeds. The homeless man pushed open the gate with a creak and stepped onto the path that led to the house's front porch.
He stepped over weeds, thornbushes, and more plants growing out of the stone path. Lester stepped onto the porch, the wood giving a noise that indicated they were dangerously close to breaking.
The door was open. Lester couldn't see inside very well, but luckily, he had a lighter in his pocket. He had found the lighter on the street one day, and decided to keep it. It was a good thing he did, as it came in handy for lighting up the dark places the homeless man had to sleep at night.
Lester pulled out the lighter and flicked it open. A little spark of flame came on the lighter's tip, and the homeless man held it in front of him as he ventured into the dark abandoned house.
As soon as Lester stepped past the open doorway, the door swung shut behind him with a loud bang, making the man jump. The door's hinges rattled from the impact and bits of dust fell off of it onto the filthy floor.
Jesus, that scared the crap out of me, Lester thought, rubbing his unshaven beard. Must have been the wind or something.
He continued onward through the house. The room he was in was covered in cobwebs, and had overturned furniture littering the floor. A smashed window was on the corner, a chill wind blowing through it. Lester shivered momentarily, which was odd, because he hadn't been this cold when he was outside.
He moved through the dark house, his lighter providing the only source of small light for him. The light flickered on the walls, almost making the furniture's shadows move. In fact, one did appear to move briefly, but it was obviously a trick of the light. Funny thing how the brain could trick you.
Lester came to a big room next to a couch. The room contained a mattress on the floor. The mattress was also covered in dust and was lying on its side. It didn't have any blankets, but the homeless man was fine with that.
Lester walked into the room, flicking off his lighter, and lying down on the mattress. This was much better then his usual sleeping conditions, and soon, the homless man found himself nodding off to sleep.
But then, he felt something touching his shoulder. It felt cold and clammy, and unpleasant. Lester shot up, looking at his shoulder. To his surprise, there was nothing there.
He looked around. Maybe some other squatter had taken up residence here and was trying to mess with him.
"Hello?" He yelled. "Anybody here?"
Nobody answered. The homeless man scanned the dark room, searching for any sign of movement. But after a minute of looking, he found nothing.
"Goddamnit," Lester muttered under his breath, settling back onto the mattress. "There's nobody here. You're just imagining things!"
Still, Lester reached into his pocket for his lighter again, to give himself a bit of light in here. He felt around his pocket and suddenly felt confused.
His lighter was gone. The man sat up, searching the floor for it, thinking it might have slipped out. But no. The lighter was nowhere to be found.
"Where the hell did it go?" Lester whispered to himself, rubbing his head in frustration.
Sighing, the homeless man lay down again. This was hopeless. He wasn't going to find the lighter in the dark like this. Best wait until the morning.
Closing his eyes, Lester drifted off to sleep.