By J. Sabo
Scary stories have been told since man was able to talk. Teeth chattering, bone chilling, terrifying tales have been passed down from every thrill seeker to thrill seeker. More stories have been added to the collections, and this tale is another addition; a tale of what lurks in the dark when you're alone; a tale of a dare gone wrong; a tale that happened on Halloween night.
A mansion, old, vine entangled, dark, sat untouched for years. It gathered dust and kept it secrets locked behind its gates. Only those who have the bravery go into the musty halls. Yet, only few have entered; even then, those who ventured in have not made it through a night. The mansion is said to be haunted; a monster lurks its darkest corners. It is because of these rumors that people dare not go into the mansion.
The ignorant young teens, the cocky boys who think they're the strongest kids around, have a tradition surrounding the eerie mansion. Each night, on Halloween night, one kid must take on a challenging dare to spend the night in the mansion, and cannot come out till the sun strikes its footsteps. None have ever made it through the night.
Tonight was Halloween; and the mansion dare was about to be met by four youths. The typical teenage punks waltzed right up to the gates and stared at the mansion as the dark clouds formed from its back. One of the boys started to feel uneasy. "Guys," he said. "I don't feel like we should be doing this."
Another boy said to him, grabbing his arm, "Calm down, just one night, and when we get through, we'll be the big names at school."
The four boys' names were Frank, a cocky know-it-all; Jim, a strong muscle bound boy; Timmy, a smart mouth; and Allen, the brains in the group.
Frank looked through the gates. "This is it guys," he said. "We make it we'll be the most awesome kids ever!" he plied open the gates with a crowbar he brought with him. The gates opened eerily. One by one, the boys entered the mansion grounds. A creepy feeling came upon Allen; as if someone was watching him, even though no one was there. He constantly looked over his shoulder as he and the others made their way up to the mansion doors.
Frank was the first to reach the door. He opened the door and shone his flashlight in. "All clear." He said. The boys flowed into the mansion, each turning on their flashlights. "OK, here's the plan," Frank said. "We'll split up from here and each take a part of the mansion."
Allen panicked, "Wait! Split up? Don't you watch Scooby-Doo or any other mystery show?" he said.
"Oh calm down, Allen," said Timmy. "There's no such thing as…" he paused for a good scare. "Ghosts!" He jumped at Allen, making him shriek. Allen was angry and punched Timmy. All the boys laughed.
"Alright, I'll take the upstairs," Frank said. "Timmy, take the lobby; Jim, the dining halls; and Allen… take the basement." Allen stood frozen. "Really?"
"C'mon Allen," Frank complained. "We need to do this. If you don't, you'll be remembered as the kid who chickened out of the dare." Allen sneered at Frank. "I would like to be remembered as the kid running out of this mansion screaming like a little girl rather than the kid who died of a heart attack."
While Frank and Allen had their quarrel, Timmy inserted himself into the fray as he usually does, giving his own opinion. However, he was on Frank's side; what he had to say was to frighten Allen even more. "You think the dark is scary? Do you know about the… clawed monster that roams these halls?"
Allen felt his gut tighten. "Monster?" he said with a stutter.
"Yeah, the clawed monster that was the reason that the original owners of this mansion ran out screaming into the night, leaving everything behind for that monster to call his own. Ever since then, only one family bought this mansion and the thirty-first night, they were never seen again. It was all of that clawed monster; the monster that still lurks these very dark corridors, waiting for its next…" Jim snuck up on Allen and grabbed him. "MEAL!" Timmy screamed.
Struck with shock and terror, Allen screamed at a high pitch. Frank, Timmy, and Jim started laughing because he was screaming like a girl. Jim released Allen and joined Frank and Timmy in laughing. Allen was peeved. "I hate you guys." He murmured.
"Whatever," Frank responded. "Let's get going. Split up and, oh," he pulled out from his backpack he carried in four walkie-talkies. "Take these and keep in touch. It's gonna be a long night."
Timmy and Jim understood and started walking off to their destination. Allen was more reluctant to go into the darkness alone. "Wait, Timmy," Timmy turned and faced him. "Is that story of the clawed monster real?" Timmy thought for a second. "Who knows? It could be real, but all those who seen the monster, won't live to tell the tale. So I don't know." Timmy turned and headed into the dark. Allen didn't appreciate that Timmy was torturing him with this clawed monster paranoia. It was unnecessary. And it was all just a scary story; right?
With every tiny bit of confidence he could muster, Allen entered the darkness of the mansion with only the salvation of a flashlight to protect him.
Jim took his flashlight and shined it into the eerie, untouched dining hall. A long rectangular, finely furnished, table stood in the middle of the hall. Empty plates and cups were neatly placed at every chair. Cobwebs entangled the kitchenware. Walking up to the table, Jim slid his finger across the table, collecting dust on his fingertip.
"Hmmm…" he said. "I wonder if there is any food in the kitchen." His stomach rumbled vigorously, alarming Jim that it was feeding time. Jim started into the kitchen before he heard a loud tapping on the table. Startled, Jim quickly made a 180 and shone his flashlight all around. No one was there. "It—it must be all in my head… that stupid clawed monster story is nothing more than a story." He shrugged off his fright. He turned and made his way into the kitchen.
The kitchen was deserted and in the same condition as the dining hall; cobwebs infested the walls and corners, dust covered everything, and an eerie feeling filled the air. Jim pointed the flashlight at the fridge and his stomach led the way. He opened the fridge and to reveal that, surprisingly enough, food that was in the fridge was moldy and completely uneatable. Jim held his nose to the nauseating smell powerful enough to take down a rhino.
Jim slammed the fridge. After the noise of the fridge faded, the taping sound in the dining room made its way into the kitchen. Jim, frightened more than before, waved his flashlight like a maniac. "Whose there? Come—come out now before I knock a hole in your skull!"
Then, something grabbed Jim's shoulder. Jim dared not look; all he felt was a hand, with talon fingers and a giant claw continuously tapping on his body. "It's real…" he said.
A scream echoed through the mansion. The boys all stopped in their tracks in their destination. Allen, approaching the stairs to the basement, jumped. "What was that!?" he asked. He grabbed his walkie-talkie and contacted Frank. "Frank! Did you hear that!?" he shouted into the walkie-talkie. It took a minute to reply, but Frank answered, "Yes, but it's just Jim trying to scare us. Nothing to worry about. I'll call Jim and tell him to stop. Quit your crying."
Allen put his walkie-talkie back into his pocket. He took a deep breath and turned his flashlight into the blackness that was the basement.
Timmy took twists and turns looking for the lobby. Sheesh, is the lobby a secret lair or something? Timmy wondered. Finally, with one more turn, Timmy found the lobby. Chairs covered in dust were spread around the room with their own coffee table at the side. Shining his flashlight on the chairs, he saw cobwebs linger on the arms. Then, turning his flashlight to the chair near the back of the room, he saw cobwebs linger in the air, as if someone ran in front of them.
Timmy wasn't scared. "Nice try, I know it's you Frank." He flashed his light in the way of what he thought "Frank" ran. He tracked the air movement to a messy bookcase with books sticking out and nothing but dust and papers crumpled up between books.
Timmy found comfort looking at the cases of books. "Finally," he said. "Something to read." At random, Timmy picked a book off the case. The book had a black cover that was covered in smudges and scratches; it was dust covered, and pages were ripped.
Timmy held his flashlight in his armpit while he opened the cover. The title on the front page read, "Fear: Unexplained Stories." Timmy flipped through pages just trying to look for something to read. Figures, he thought. Nothing but scary stories in a spooky house. How ironic. Then he turned the page and an illustration with a clawed hand coming out of the closet of a boy's bedroom while the boy slept. And the title of this chapter in the book was "The Boogeyman."
Timmy chuckled under his breath. "Boogeyman?" he laughed. "What a load of crap." As he read the pages following the beginning, Timmy read that there was a tale of a man who died and came back haunting the kids who tortured him within their beds; this was how the Boogeyman tales began.
"Sheesh, this is nothing more than a story to scare little kids." Timmy closed the book and crammed it back on the bookcase. He walked back to the entrance of the lobby. But he felt something tugging at him. Something had his jacket and pulling on him. Usually, he thought it was one of his friends, but an instinct said in him to run than use his logics.
He panicked and started running and breathing as hard as he could. However, whatever had his jacket was not letting go. Timmy tripped and landed on his chest. His flashlight dropped and shined on him. Groaning, Timmy tried to crawl away but still whatever had his jacket was pulling him into the fading darkness away from his flashlight. His screams were heard throughout the blackness of the mansion.
The screams wailed all the way through the halls, to the stairs that led to the basement, reaching Allen's ears. Now certain that this was no longer a little dare, Allen contacted Frank and said, "Alright, first Jim and now Timmy! We are done! I'm out of here!"
Frank, on the other end, exclaimed loudly, "They're playing tricks on you, Allen. Stop being such a puss!"
"Those screams aren't like the screams of people playing around," Allen stated. "Something is in this mansion! And I'm not waiting to find out what it is!" He put away his walkie-talkie and started up the stairs. Frank in his location, frustrated and disappointed, dashed towards Allen to stop him from screwing up the dare.
Allen made it up the stairs and quickly made it to the doors. Before Allen could break free of this nightmarish house, Frank tackled him and brought him to the floor. "You are not ruining this dare! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, to become popular!" he shouted, wrestling Allen on the ground.
"This isn't funny anymore!" Allen cried. "Something is in here!"
Frank pushed Allen to the ground. "You idiot! That's just Jim and Timmy messing with your head! They made everything up and are now trying to trick you into believing that stupid scary story crap!" Allen wiped the dirt from his face. "It is just a story!"
In the corners, where the darkness seemed to be even darker, Allen could hear what almost seemed like footsteps coming closer. Allen quickly got up and back away. Frank sighed and rolled his eyes. "Oh for… there is nothing over there!" he pointed to the corner. "It's nothing but the dark. It plays tricks on people. People like you." he walked over to the corner and stepped into the dark. Allen closed his ears and tightened his eyes close, expecting Frank to be pulled away forever, screaming.
He peeked for a moment and saw Frank emerge unscratched. "See," Frank said. "There isn't anything in this friggin' mansion!"
Then, Allen saw a white hand emerge from the darkness, with one long claw. The hand grasped Frank by the neck. Frank tried to free himself, but he couldn't. Allen went to help; it didn't do much help considering Frank waving his arms everywhere. Frank went to punch the hand grasping his neck, only to hit Allen in the face.
Allen fell to the floor. The clawed hand dragged Frank into the darkness, screams wailing on until only silence filled the mansion once more.
Allen hurried to his feet and grabbed his flashlight. He shined the light in the darkness and saw nothing. No Frank or the clawed hand and what it belonged to. It was as if they were never there.
Allen backed away slowly, anxiety filling up his entire being. His breathing quickened. From the corners of the mansion, bumps and other loud noises escalated loudly, echoing down to Allen's ears. Looking in every direction, Allen shined the flashlight, trying to find the source of the noises.
The noises got closer and closer, as it they had a mind of their own, approaching Allen. It came from all around, encircling Allen. There was only one place where the sounds didn't come from; the basement. Without even thinking, Allen dove for the basement. He tripped on himself and tumbled down the stairs.
He eventually came to a stop when he landed at the bottom of the stairs. Allen held his knees and stomach, for both were in pain. "Ow…" he moaned. He struggled to his feet. He grabbed his flashlight that somehow survived the fall down and shined it all across the basement. It looked like a boiler room.
The floors were sandy. It reeked of mold and old water. Allen held his nose as he ventured around. The basement wasn't completely finished; it was perhaps built to store storage. As Allen searched, the noises upstairs faded away.
Allen then found, in the farthest corner of the basement, a rundown bed with cuts in it, stuffing sticking out. And to the side of the bed was a table with papers on it. Allen held his flashlight in his armpit and picked up the papers. They were newspaper headlines.
"Wealthy Family unexpectedly disappears from Millionaire Mansion." Said one headline. Allen saw the date on the side; it was almost sixty years ago.
"Gatekeeper Found the Only One in the Mansion." Said another.
"Mansion Gatekeeper Brutally Murdered from Angry Mob." Allen read more after reading the headline. "The Gatekeeper of the millionaire family's mansion was found murdered and left on the stairs of the mansion October 31, 1934. He was found with a clawed glove burned onto his hand."
It all made sense now. The scary tale was based on this Gatekeeper guy. Before Allen could do anything else, he heard footsteps coming toward him. Allen stopped dead in his tracks. As Adrenaline goes; it's either flight or fight. Allen's adrenaline had something else in mind; freeze. The steps got closer.
Allen just stood there. Inside, he knew that whatever he could do wouldn't matter. He was dead anyway. And to top it off, the battery in his flashlight was dying. It'd take only few more minutes before total darkness enshrouded him.
Before the battery died, Allen could feel the presence of the clawed monster. "Just make it quick…" Allen stated.
A silence stood for a while, and then a deep voice said, "Happy Halloween."
The flashlight died.