Estimated reading time — 10 minutes
My friends used to dare me to visit the house at the end of the cul-de-sac. In fact, everyone was daring everyone to do it.
I remember the looks on their faces. How scornful they looked at my refusal. How they all called me chicken and teased me endlessly.
Not anymore. They’ve all done it, and they all regret it. Now they discourage me from visiting that house. The old house at the end of Singing Court. Street number 2104. People were dared to spend a night in that abandoned old house, and of course, everyone came back just fine.
Afterwards they were different. Scared out of their minds. Convinced they’d never set foot near Singing Court again. A simple high school joke gone completely wrong.
I know, people always do stupid things like this, and a few of them come back with ghost stories to liven things up. Get everyone guessing, make people believe crazy things, but this isn’t the average “haunted house”. Everyone who came back from the house swore there really was a ghost, a ghost who had almost gotten them and they barely escaped.
Try the bet, you enter the house, you hear the strange sounds, the ghost finds you, you run, you tell your friends, they laugh. They try it themselves.
They never laugh at you again.
That’s what happened to some of my own close friends at school, if you could call them that anyways. It was high school, and lots of your “close” friends at high school are really just the “crowd” you fit in with, you know? I was like that. My name is Cameron, and I used to go to South Cadance High School. Pretty natural high school. Bullies, jocks, month-long relationships, name it.
I was pretty natural too. I was tall, I had short brown hair, I played football. Except people always said I was a little unique. I was nicer. I paid more attention to people’s pain, their feelings, their stories. Maybe that attribute is why I did what I did. I got really curious about all the stories. I’m a sensible guy, and ghost stories just didn’t really add up to me. There’s no such thing as ghosts, I always thought.
So like a fool, I eventually brought up the subject at lunch one day. I said to my buddies, “You know what? I’ll do it.”
Instantly, Tre nearly flipped out. “No way, man! We were wrong before, don’t go there!”
Josh laughed. “It’ll be your funeral, man.”
“Don’t you remember? Everyone acts the exact same when they come outta there,” Tre continued breathlessly. “And the story’s the same! Ghost in the house, in the yard, on the driveway, somewhere in there, and it almost gets us!”
“Oh, come on! Nobody’s ever stuck around just for a moment, nobody’s ever tried to see who it was? Probably someone playing a prank. Don’t you think?”
“Can’t be a prank,” Tre answered, shaking his head. “Not the way it happens.”
“I know how it happens. You’ve told me eighty or ninety times now. Gets all cold, a weird ringing sound in the air, wah, wah, wah.”
“You ain’t listenin’, man! You could be the very first one that thing finally gets!”
“Gets?” I snorted. “As in kills?” Of course, that’s what some might say about me now. Others might say I was stolen, or trapped forever. That’s not how I see it.
Let me roll back a bit though. Well, as you expect, my friends all kept trying to convince me to stay away from 2104 Singing Court. The more they did, the more curious I got. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was definitely going to visit the place. Tonight. It was Friday night, the best night. Against my friends’ wishes, I decided it was happening.
So that evening, after I and my parents ate dinner, watched the news and did all the other boring things that parents will do, they went off to bed. I kissed my mother good night. Then I tiptoed upstairs, picked up my spare backpack I’d filled with a little gear, and snuck out.
I made it easily to 2104 Singing Court in no time. The road was less than a five minute walk away. When I got there, the house looked just like it always did, old and peeling yet sturdy. Not much creaking and cracking. You could feel safe under that roof in a storm.
Tonight, something was different. I’d never actually seen the house at night. Was that it? I wasn’t sure, but something about the house seemed to draw me in further. That night I finally crossed the line I’d never crossed before, and started up the hill driveway.
The door opened easily. There was no lock in it. I entered, right into a small living room. Taking out my lantern and switching it on, I saw a pile of sticks in the corner closest to me, undoubtedly from the other visitors. I turned into a small hallway. There wasn’t a single cobweb around. I guessed, at the time, that everyone had knocked them down. I know different now of course, but at the time I was still naïve about the whole thing.
The next room was the kitchen. It looked like any ordinary old kitchen in the darkness, just without anything set up on the counter. There was even an old refrigerator sitting against one wall, with a stove on one side of it and a microwave secured above. Too bad there was no power. I could have brought some reheatable food if this house was still connected to the wires. I’d have to make do with the sandwiches I’d packed.
I chuckled to myself. “Everyone was right about this place. Sure is spooooooky,” I teased the house. There wasn’t anything interesting in here yet.
Then suddenly I felt something odd. It passed by so quickly, I couldn’t even tell what it was after it had gone. For a moment, I stood there wondering, and then I felt it again.
The floor! It was vibrating! It felt like something had just switched on. I wasn’t sure what it was. The vibrations crept up my legs, and I shivered, taking a step back. Then the noise came, blasting from out of nowhere, right in front of me. The ringing!
I reached into my pocket and yanked out my screeching cell phone. I swiped the caller icon and held it to my ear. “God dammit Tre, you scared me to death!” I cried in a harsh whisper. “If anyone sees me in here, they’ll call the-”
“Dude! I just hadda know if you actually did it. You’re in there? Right now?”
“Yeah, I’m here. This place is boring, man. It’s a little cold around here. I’m starting to think I might just take off in a few minutes.”
“Good, man, get outta there. Don’t stay! You really should leave, I mean like, right now!”
“I’m not falling for it. Nothing’s tried to attack me here. Unless the whole school’s in on some joke I don’t get, you’re all delusional.”
“I don’t care what you’re thinkin’. Just get outta there!”
“See ya, man.” I hung up with him still protesting at the other end, then started to laugh quietly. Imagine, everyone scared of this—of what?
Of shadows! There was nothing moving here but shadows. Everything else was deathly still. I looked around the kitchen one last time, then made my way back to the living room, where I’d put my bag. I changed my mind at that moment—I’d stay a bit. I had brought snacks, after all, and a book to pass the time. Mainly, I just wanted to stay long enough to encounter this “ghost” so I could tell everyone how crazy they were.
About an hour, that’s how long it usually took for them to leave. So I decided I’d stay two hours, and if nothing happened, then for certain I’d be going then. No reason to stay otherwise. I opened the compartment with the sandwiches and pulled out the little lunch bag I’d packed them in. I stopped short as I unzipped it.
There were two sandwiches. I’d packed three in there. But I shook away strange thoughts, realizing I’d probably left the last one on the counter at home. I’d get it later tonight after I went back. I pulled out one of the sandwiches—my favorite kind, mayo with cheese and cold turkey, Frank’s hot sauce, onions and spicy peanut sauce. Yeah, yeah, I know it sounds weird. Sue me.
I took a bite and opened up my favorite classic, Summer of the Monkeys.
I’d just gotten past the fourth chapter when I started hearing the sounds. Real sounds this time. Scratches against the side of the house, from the back yard.
I wasn’t afraid. I picked up a stick from the corner pile, switched on my lantern, and headed slowly for the back door. I wasn’t scared, but I also wasn’t an idiot or a daredevil. I held the stick out right in front of me, and moved about two miles an hour. This could be anything—maybe even a lurking animal. I had to be ready to defend myself.
I swung open the back door. Instantly the sounds grew louder. They were right outside the door, just around the edge of the door jamb. If I took one more step, the thing making the noise would be instantly to my left. I took a deep breath and my heart, I realized, was actually beating a little fast. I turned left, sidestepped out the door and raised the stick—
An instant before I saw what was there, the sounds faded and the tiny little white light that had apparently been there moments ago faded. Just like a flashlight shutting off. But even as I panted hard, struggling to keep a cool head, I realized that there was nothing in front of me. Nobody was hiding in the darkness, having just turned off their light—there was absolutely nothing.
“All right, that’s it,” I called out to the darkness. “Get out here!” Nothing stirred. Now I wasn’t only scared, I was angry too. I stepped quickly down the few crumbly brick stairs and took several steps out into the back yard.
I heard it again.
Now it was more like a shuffling sound. Not the sound of fingers scratching against the side of the house. More like footsteps, several feet out of my lantern’s range of sight, padding softly around in the grass.
Then it stopped. And it started again, and this time they were padding toward me.
The ringing sound started up slowly. The footsteps were close by, getting nearer, right in front of me, but the person, or thing, wasn’t close enough for my light to see them yet.
“H-hello?” I whispered, no longer feeling brave in the slightest. I saw something small floating in the air in front of me, just a few feet away. After a moment, as it came just a little closer, I realized it was fingers. A hand. A small hand reaching out for me. Slowly getting closer.
It was so pale. The ringing sound grew louder. It changed tones, shifted up and down, almost as if, could it be? No way.
I felt the sudden urge to throw my lantern at this figure, turn around and run back in as fast as I could, snatch up my bag and go. But I told myself I wasn’t like the others. They’d always told me I was different, and now this was the time to prove it! I wasn’t going to be frightened by something like this. I couldn’t run away—I had to figure out what this was! If I didn’t, I’d spend the rest of my life wishing I’d waited just one more minute, wondering forever, and it would destroy me, not knowing.
“Hello?!” I called, my voice a tiny squeak. I felt silly sounding like that, but under the circumstances I’m sure it was understandable.
The ringing slowly shifted tones, pitch wavering up and down…it grew louder…was it really? It was.
It wasn’t ringing—it was a voice. A singing voice!
The voice of a young girl. “Laaaaaaaaaa, laaa laaaaaaaaaa laaaaaaaaaa – laaaaaaaaaa laaa laaaaaaaaaa…”
My voice caught in my throat. Not fear—it wasn’t fear this time. I wanted to cry.
She sounded so sad. So dejected. As if she were crying for help, and nobody would listen.
The fingers slowly lowered. The padding sound began to back away. Everyone else ran away by now, I realized. I haven’t run yet. I’ve surprised it. The sound shuffled away slowly, and the soft singing voice began to fade into a shrill ringing again as it slowly left me.
“Wait!” I cried.
The sound stopped receding, and then the voice came back. “Laaaaaaaaaa, laaa laaaaaaaaaa, laaa laaaaaaaaaa, laaaaaaaaaa…”
Such beautiful sounds…
It slowly came closer. This time it didn’t have to reach out. I raised my hand to it, and after a few seconds of hesitation, I felt the softness of delicate fingers sliding into mine, another hand gently gripping mine. I held it. And then the rest of the ghost came into view.
A girl about my age. Almost as tall as I was. But she was like nobody I’d ever seen before. She was so pale, and so beautiful. Her eyes were blue and shiny, and her hair was long and white-blond, and as a breeze blew it gently toward me, it tickled my face with the softness of silk.
Whoa. She was already that close. She stared at me, gazed into my eyes, as if studying me. But she looked so scared. Why was she scared? It’s not like I was going to hurt her. Could anyone even hurt her?
“Please,” she whispered, her voice coming with the wind and just as soft.
“Wh-what?” I croaked, trembling all over.
“Please don’t run away,” she pleaded. And then she started to cry. “Please.”
And suddenly, just like that, I understood everything.
I gently squeezed her hand in mine. “Never,” I promised her in just as soft a whisper. Her tears still flowed, but she managed to stop crying just for a moment, and looked at me again.
She really wasn’t sure if I would run away or not.
After all, hadn’t everyone else already run off by now? All run away, when all she needed was the presence of another human being, someone to talk to? Someone who would listen to her…
“You’re different,” she managed through her tears.
“I know,” I responded. Nobody else had considered she might be more than some haunting phantom. Everyone always did say I was different. Kind. Always there to listen to and sympathize with someone’s pain. Even with the ghostly terror she had initially given me, I realized it was just a test. Just to make sure I was the right one. If I could stay there through the fear, then I certainly could stay forever.
Yeah, I know. You probably don’t understand. But with the way she begged me, I really couldn’t resist. “Please stay with me,” she pleaded. And the way she begged me, the way she pleaded with her eyes, I knew she did mean forever.
“Always,” I promised her. She fell sobbing into my arms and laid her head on my shoulder. I held her, comforting her through her tears, her pain, and when she finally stopped crying, she looked up at me. Her face was tearstained, but she was beautiful no matter what.
She held my hand, and slowly led me further into the back yard. Further away from the rest of the world.
As I left with her, I kept thinking about the other guys at my high school. I remembered their scornful, laughing faces. How they teased me, called me afraid.
Yes, I remember them laughing. And then I remember them looking much different, stone-cold, terrified. But not once had they looked sympathetic for the ghost. They weren’t like me. They had always told me that.
To this day, I still don’t regret that I was different from them all. Because I cared, while they simply ran from fear. Because they just didn’t know.
They say she was a ghost, a scary thing trying to get them. But all she wanted was…was the right person. Now she knows she’s found that person—she found me. And nobody else ever knew what happened to me. Nobody knew where I’d gone, why I disappeared.
I don’t care. They ran from her. They all ran from Sammy (that’s her name). Because none of them knew, poor fellas.
They didn’t know…
They didn’t know she was just lonely.
Credit To – Kroney-2 (William)