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Published:January 14th, 2007 05:39 EST
House of Spooks

House of Spooks

By Natasha Kalafatis

The door slid open as he turned the ornate brass knob. The wooden part of the door must have been a rich mahogany in the past, but now it was only a brown-tinged gray. Tiny bats were engraved in the corners, showing hints of gold that were lost in dust. Davyn didn't want to enter the house; but he was sure his sister, Nearra, had run in there. To his dismay, opening the door had not done anything to illuminate the house.

Swallowing anxiously, he tiptoed into the unknown darkness. The hairs on the back of his neck rose as a sharp creak abruptly disturbed the silence, echoing through Davyn's ears. He held his breath, frozen in place; but the noise slowly and surely died away. Davyn sighed in relief and started walking again, a little ashamed of himself for being afraid of the floor.

It wasn't too long before Davyn bumped into a wall. He blindly fumbled against the surface, running over an icy doorknob. Davyn jerked his hand back, which felt so cold it burned. He wrapped his sweater sleeve around his hand and gave the knob a quick twirl, cold still biting through his fingers. Light flashed; and Davyn fell backwards, shutting his eyes. He looked up, staring in horror as monsters of all sorts-bloody, scarred, demented, and worse-floated through the hallway ahead. The corridor glowed with torches burning an eerie, but surprisingly bright green.

Davyn scrambled to his feet, beginning to back away until a deathly chill lanced from his back to his chest. When he looked down, he saw a clawed hand protruding through his body. Davyn hollered at the headless specter behind him and ran into the lit hallway without hesitation. His instinct was to scream, but Davyn's voice was stuck tight in his throat. He strongly kept to his gut feeling and ran as fast as he could, horrible stomach-flipping scenes rushing past his eyes. Streaks of blood dripped along the uneven walls; portraits seeming to show live people and dead ones. The next one had eyes that followed Davyn as he dashed by. Lightning seemed to strike from nowhere but everywhere at once, temporarily blinding the whole house. Davyn blinked and then saw a small blonde girl disappear through a door at the end of the hall. “Nearra!” he called, but she was gone. He forced himself to run faster, regardless of the burning sensation in his lungs.

A black, cloaked figure stood at the opening to what looked like a dismal dungeon and turned to Davyn. Though Davyn had already passed the room, it seemed to follow him. The shrouded form had a long, razor sharp scythe standing tall in its right bony hand.  It held up a silver clock swinging from a chain in the other. As the hands on it struck midnight, Davyn saw the blade of a guillotine fall behind the shadow.

Finally, he lost sight of the scene; but the clock's perpetual ticking continued to bounce in his head. Davyn nearly tripped on a skull as he kept up his pace. It bit his foot before laughing maniacally. He ignored any pain and kept his eyes on the door he'd seen his sister enter, the one straight in front of him. But the longer Davyn ran, the farther away it seemed to be. He soon became aware of gore littering the floor. To make matters worse, some of it still moved, relentlessly groping for everything it was missing. Any close enough snagged Davyn's ankles and the cuffs of his jeans. He kicked them off frantically, once smashing one into the wall by mistake, and its flesh and blood splattering against it in a sickening mess.

Davyn succumbed to fatigue at last and stopped a minute to catch his breath, only to hit his head right into the door to where he'd been running. He tried to pretend bats and witches weren't noisily screeching in the air above; and he tugged the doorknob, but it was locked. Davyn winced as something sharp bit into his back. He pulled out a black key, whose end resembled a cat's head. It hissed at him, and Davyn saw an old witch behind him let out an incredibly long, high-pitched giggle until her eye popped right out of its socket. She flew away solemnly, pushing it back in. Davyn shoved the key into the keyhole, the cat yowling, and rushed through the door. The sound of chains rattling became apparent as Davyn stepped through what was a dark hall. He yelped as something stabbed his heel. By now, his feet were exceedingly sore.

Davyn stared in shock at tiny people the size of mice poking his toes with miniature pitchforks. He winced as the prodding pain in his feet grew too much and fell hard to the floor. The little gnomes, whom Davyn now could see had freakish, devil-like faces, were upon him in a matter of seconds. They worked with tremendous speed; thousands of nimble fingers tethering Davyn tightly before he could even realize it. He felt himself hoisted in the air, the swarm proceeding quickly down the aisle and into a large room. A giant axe was swinging back and forth, much like a pendulum. The mob shoved Davyn into the blade's path with a mighty heave. They had obviously had plenty of practice judging by the distorted body parts here and there. Davyn wriggled and squirmed relentlessly but the ropes did not loosen; and the axe did not stop descending towards him, preparing to sever him in half. Bracing himself for the fatal impact, Davyn closed his eyes and tried to flatten himself in to the ground.

Thanks to some god, the axe was too high and sharp enough to cut through Davyn's ropes while only grazing his stomach. He got to his feet immediately and sprinted for the other side of the room, followed by an angry, squealing crowd of small people. He was running once again, along with his occasional stumbles. Davyn promised himself that he'd never run when his feet ached even the slightest bit once he escaped this horrible haunted house. Well, if he escaped. “Davyn!” He spun towards the voice, the fact that it wasn't his sister only faintly aware to him.

Nearra had smudges of blood matting her clothes and golden hair, and trails of chains dangled off her wrists; but Davyn couldn't remember ever seeing such a beautiful smile on his sister's face. They were about to embrace each other, but the familiar hectic march of the tiny people began from just around the corner. Davyn grabbed Nearra's hand. “Come on!” Even as the two ran through the creaking corridors, they could sense the house was preparing for a final, murderous act. Dread knotted in their stomachs; Davyn and Nearra sped right into a large cobweb. They coughed and sputtered, brushing the sticky strings from their faces, and then kept running. Everything was pitch black again, and Davyn realized with a spark of hope that it was the very first room he'd been in. The exit was close! Nearra could tell, too. She clutched Davyn's hand tighter, and they broke into a dash as fast as they possibly could. The door was open; but still, they felt millions of evil, cold eyes burning into their souls. The door was taunting them. It knew they couldn't make it. The monsters had them surrounded. With terrible, anguished cries, roars, and a couple crazy cackles, Davyn knew they had begun their chase. They would be upon the siblings in less than a few seconds. There was no time. He shoved Nearra with almost all his strength. She shrieked from the sudden impact but fell through the open door just as the house and its creatures howled and screamed in alarm at losing its prey. But they were determined to keep Davyn. He felt the adrenaline coursing through the abominations' veins and even in the house's walls. It wasn't stronger than what he felt. Claws were mere inches from slicing Davyn's flesh to pieces, the chill of the undead already taking effect.

Warlocks and sorceresses had raised hands and wands and began chanting; and the wings of bats and the scuttling of spiders' legs rapidly increased. Even the door slowly began to close. Davyn knew it was all over; but he leaped, reaching for the narrow crack of moonlight still shining through. It suddenly sprang wider as Nearra appeared from just outside. She was bathed with the indigo light streaming brightly inside now, her hair swaying gently in the wind. She looked like a goddess as she leaned in, her hand seeming to glow as she thrust it forward. Davyn grasped it tightly, Nearra pulled, and the door shut.