Chapter One

"We're here!"

I looked out the window of our van. "This is our new house?"

Iris, our black-and-white Siberian husky, barked and eyed the large house curiously.

I put my arms around her neck. "Look, Iris," I said to her. "Look at how big the yard is!"

Iris barked again and howled.


"Everybody out!" My mother opened the door and stood out in the open air, smiling and breathing deeply.

My older twin brother(By twenty nine seconds), Zack, clambered out and stared at the huge house in front of us. "Whoa! This place is huge!" he said.

I let Iris out and stepped out behind her.

Iris looked excited- she bounced around, barking at everything. Then she looked at me, as if to say, "All this great stuff! This must be a dream! You guys are the best!"

I scratched her behind the ears and ruffled her fur around her neck. "You wanna play?" I asked. "Do you want your toy?"

Iris perked up immediately.

I drew her favourite green ball out of the pocket of my purple sweatshirt and waved it. "Look! It's your ball, Iris! Do you want it, girl?"

Iris bounced up and down happily, barking like there was no tomorrow.

"Go get it!" I hurled the ball across the lawn. Iris darted after it.

Zack grinned at me. "How enthusiastic."

"Me or the dog?"


I rolled my eyes.

He shrugged.

"Come on, Callie, help me with this box!" my dad called from the garage. I looked at Iris, who was in the yard, attacking her ball.

"Sure," I called back, starting toward the garage. A breeze started, whipping around my coppery hair and stinging my numb face. I sprinted to my dad, who was trying to lift a huge box and not succeeding. I took up an end.

We managed to get the thing into the kitchen, and then our arms gave out. I stood up straight and stared around the large room.

The tiles on the floor were a burnished orange-yellow colour. The walls were brighter orange, and counters surrounded the room. So different from our tiny old kitchen back in South Dakota. We were in Michigan now.

I ran my hand across the smooth marble counter and turned the faucet on and off. This house felt strange and old. Like something was in there.

"I'm gonna go check out the house," I told Dad.

"Sure," he said, a bit bewildered.

But I was already out of the kitchen.

I wanted my bedroom to be in the attic of the house- it was cosy and had a great view.

I quickly climbed up the black ladder to my black Loft bed and sprawled out onto the light strawberry-coloured sheets.

"Hey, Cal?"

I sat up. "What?"

Zack was standing in the doorway, looking small. "You okay?" he asked, edging toward my bed.

I slid down the ladder and plopped into my web chair. "Yeah, I'm fine," I lied.

"I brought Iris in for you." He edged closer. "Are you sure you're okay? You ran out of the kitchen pretty fast."

"I'm fine!" I shrieked, chucking a pillow at him.

He dodged and ran out of the room, slamming the door.

I stomped my foot on the rug. Why did we have to move here, anyway? It wasn't like this was the only vacant house in the world. It was old, and creepy...

I leaped up the ladder, buried my face in the pillow, and screamed.