There were no doors along the hallway. The wallpaper, which had been dusty pink flowers, had become hundreds of eyes, looking at the three in a bored manner.
Eventually, the hall opened up into a large room, at least 70 feet across, like a rectangle that was bigger on one side. It was too big to fit in the house, that was for sure.
"Maybe the hallway lead underground and we didn't notice?" Earl said.
But the windows looked out to the heavily wooded lot around the house, each tree standing out in sharp relief against the bright lights of the street. The street, wherever that was...
The wallpaper was more of the same sort, and a festive rug lay on the floor, black with neon sugar skulls and candy. They spread out, examining the room. Each of the half dozen windows had a pedestal in the window seat, holding a variety of things from urns of candy to Crystal skulls to a copy of Jurassic Park. Light flickered from the oil lanterns that hung from the ceiling at irregular intervals. Finally, they reached the far side of the room, where a pamphlet sat propped up against the wall. Maisy carefully picked it up, checking around it for spiders first.
She opened it, and read aloud.
"' welcome, brave housegoers, to Ychu Gaos' 303rd annual haunted house adventure.'"
The pamphlet had pictures of kids posing with cheesy Halloween decorations, playing hide and seek, and pretending to be grossed out by gummy bug candy. The three looked at each other with raised eyebrows.
On the back, there was a phone number. The caption read "call now to begin your adventure!"
Maisy pulled out her phone so fast she almost dropped it, but Bee grabbed the pamphlet.
"Don't you think we should, I don't know, do a little research into this place first? I've never heard of it before, and I know this town like the back of my hand. besides, did you see the carpet? It was glowing. Glowing. I feel like there's some tomfoolery going on."
"I dunno, Bee, nothing bad has happened yet. Besides, for a kid who likes Scooby Doo, you're awfully nervous." Earl said, examining the back of his fingernails.
Bee steamed while pulling out her own phone. She dialed the number, then paused before hitting send. Her hands shook a little.
"Yo, Bee, I was just kidding. If you really don't wanna call it, you don't have to," Earl said, concerned. Bee smiled.
"Nah, I'm sure it'll be fine."
The phone rang three times before someone picked up.
"Hello, hello? Is this the haunted house kids?" A voice said, sharp and fast like an auctioneer, "ill be right down, hold your horses."
Thudding sounds came from the roof, and a barrage of dust fell from the ceiling.
suddenly, smoke filled the back half of the room. The three leaned against the wall behind them, nervous. The smoke billowed away dramatically, revealing an odd figure. About ten feet tall, he had one large eye in the middle of his face, vibrant aquamarine. He was thin as a pencil and about the same color, no nose or hair, but sharp fangs adorned his delighted grin. He wore a maroon bathrobe and pajama pants with owls all over them, and yellow claws showed at the bottom of them.
"It's so good to see smiling faces again! Has it been a year since last Halloween already? No, you're pulling my leg! It can't be a day past January!"
"Um.." Bee said, forcing a small smile. The other two just stood behind her, staring unbelievingly him.
The creature laughed awkwardly. "Tough crowd, eh? Well down to brass tacks. You all want to do the haunted house, yay or nay?"
They nodded hesitantly.
"You're in luck, then! I am Ychu Gaos, curator of the Mays Avenue Haunted House. And you are?"
"That's not how you use the word curator." Maisy said.
"SHE MEANS her name is Maisy, mine is Bee, and that is Earl."
"Not how you use curator, eh? Not surprised. Doubt I've ever picked up a dictionary in my life, and when you've lived several hundred years, that's saying something! Anyway, to start the challenge, all you've gotta do is say so."
They looked at each other, nodding. Maisy spoke.
"Alright. We'll do it."
"Excellent! You won't regret it," He said, clapping his hands together, " this has been rated one of the best haunted houses around. l'll be bäck tö çhęćķøñýõůįņþhėmøřñīñğ!"
As he said the words, his voice corrupted, as did the room. A scraping noise sounded, and they knelt against the wall, terrified. The vibrant shades faded, and small pieces of the ceiling fell. When the dust cleared, they were alone in a dusty, coffin shaped room. Earl stood up first, and looked around. The windows were covered by heavy curtains now, letting in only a little sickly yellow light. The screeching sound they had heard turned out to be from a door across the room, which none of them had noticed before. It was open.
Earl set off back across the room, to the doorway. The floor squeaked below his feet.
"There's a staircase in here."
Bee and Maisy followed him. There was indeed a staircase, leading into a hallway lit with the same wane yellow light, except coming from incandescent bulbs.
The stairs were carpeted, and the scene wasn't altogether unpleasant, but it felt like the sort of place you might find a haunted porcelain doll or a malevolent ghost.
Bee started up the stairs, which, unlike the floor, didn't make a sound. It smelled like an attic, musty and familiar. Earl followed her, then Maisy stepped onto the stairs. The door closed behind them, melting into shadows. Suddenly, the wall that the door had been on was no more, and the stairs continued downward. The light from the bulb only came from the top of the stairs, so it only illuminated for about twenty feet, before it went pitch black.
They hurried to the top of the stairs, where Bee was already examining the odd sight before them.
dun dun daaa! If I had any more of the story written at this point, I wouldn't have left it on a cliffhanger. Sorry.