An old house, half in ruins and half barely standing, lay at the bottom of the hill as two teenagers emerged from the foggy night, walking past the rusted gate and the crumbling statues that lined the driveway. Venturing up the stairs, the wood beneath their feet creaked and moaned, easily showing the years they have endured. Inside of the old home, one teenager laughed and pushed the other.
“Come on, man! It’s not even that bad!” one of them, the larger one, said as he kicked one of the rickety, old chairs to the side. One of the chair legs broke and splintered, crashing against the opposite wall with a large thud. The other boy, shorter and visibly nervous, jumped at the loud noise.
“This is freaky. Like, you know what they say about this place,” he said, wringing his hands. The larger one snorted and rolled his eyes, adventuring further within the house and stepping carefully around the broken floorboards.
“Who cares? Some ghost gonna come scare us? Whooooo” he mocked. He waved his arms in the shorter one’s face and the shorter one shoved them away, looking around nervously. The larger one threw his arms out, shouting up the stairs. “Come on ghost! Do your worst!”
“Really? What are you doing?” the shorter said, panicking.
“Just because you’re a scaredy cat, doesn’t mean I am. Come on, let’s go upstairs.” He started up the stairs, taking two at a time despite the obvious precarious nature of their integrity. His friend followed reluctantly, moving up the stairs before they could collapse beneath his weight. He found his friend in one of the bedrooms, a little boy’s room filled with toys, but everything within showed wear and rot. The moonbeam shone slightly through the dirt caked window and a branch tapped on the glass.
“Yeah, this isn’t creepy. Not at all,” the shorter said sarcastically and warily. He moved beside his friend and shone a flashlight around the room.
“You are such a wet blanket. Look at this stuff. Do you think the kid died here?” He looked at the toy cars, covered in dust.
“Maybe…” One of the toy cars moved steadily forward before them. “Wait, what’s going on?”
“Are you doing this?” The larger one said, frozen in place.
“How would I be doing this?” They looked at it with wide eyes, then at one another. “It must be the house. The floor, I mean. It’s sloping.” Suddenly, the closet door slammed closed and both boys flinched.
“The wind?” the larger said.
“From where?” the shorter whispered.
The window flew open and a menacing voice laughed, loud and low. The larger one screamed and ran downstairs, the shorter one hot on his heels. The voice came with them. On the last step, the shorter one fell and cracked his chin on the ground. The other kept running out the door and down the street. The shorter stood and wiped the dust off his jacket.
“You alright, Ben?” The shorter, Ben, turned and saw the translucent form of a man, around 20. Ben laughed.
“Yeah. Thanks for doing this for me, James,” Ben said, rubbing his chin. The ghost smiled and tried to pat Ben’s back, only succeeding in going right through him.
“Now he won’t make me do anything scary anymore and I have blackmail.” James chuckled. “Well, I have to make sure he didn’t pee his pants. See you later.” Ben waved as he walked out the door.
“Bye, kid! I’ll see you on Tuesday for tutoring.” James said. Then he disappeared into the night. With a smug look, Ben smiled and went to collect his friend.