Memory Lane

Carley is having a hard time living in the same house with her parents constant bickering mainly because she knows that it's her fault. Instead of spending a summer in a house that feels nothing like home, Carley vacates to her Uncle's summer home that he just purchased. Thinking that she is going to be lying on the beach tanning with her BFF, she's in for a rude awakening when she realizes that the summer is going to be spent renovating her uncle's new house and fighting off all the unseen things that lurk within.

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3. Calling Dibs

 

The argument with my uncle had subsided and for the rest of the ride as he told me more about the house that we would be staying in.

         “It doesn’t need a lot of hard work done to it. Mostly just painting and reorganizing. The place is huge though so it’s going to take a nice chunk of the summer to do it,” he explained. “All together there are five rooms and three bathrooms.”

         “Sounds reasonable,” I said.

         “Yeah, the basement is going to be the hardest because there’s barely any light from what I’m told.”

         I shuddered thinking of my own basement. Ever since I was little, the basement in my house was the only place I refused to venture alone. I don’t know what it was but it always felt like someone was watching me and when I climbed the steps I had the insane notion that someone or something was grabbing at my feet. Another chill crept up my back thinking about it.

         “What about bedding and stuff? What are we going to be sleeping on?” I asked. “And if everything hasn’t been used in years, it’s not just magically going to work.”

         “Duh,” Uncle Mason said in a patronizing tone. “Do you think I’m an amateur or something? I called all that in already. New washing machine, dryer, dishwasher. I sent out an electrician that I have a contract with. His crew already checked out the wiring to make sure we would have electricity. I didn’t ask them to but they hooked all the appliances up last week.  There’s even one of those neat little water coolers so we’ll have bottled water instead of tap. I also took the liberty of getting all of us new sheets and stuff. I know how you girls love teeny bopper bedding.”

         “Please don’t tell me it’s something from like the Mimi Urban fashion line,” I begged.

         Mimi Urban was the newest ten year-old pop sensation in America. I was clearly not a fan.

         His devious smile unnerved me. “You’ll see.”

         My face was practically against the passenger side window as we rode up the winding driveway of the house.  It was huge. I would have called it a mansion but Uncle Mason would have chewed me up and spit me out with technicalities of why it wasn’t a mansion. I climbed out of the truck and walked toward the house feeling a strong pull as if I was supposed to be there. Teagan and Erica lined up next to me in just as much awe.

         It was old, really old and made of dark stone reminded me of a small castle. There were a few windows in the front of the building most of which had been boarded up with wooden planks. The first story windows were decorated with flower boxes underneath the frames but it came without saying that nothing had been grown there for years.

         “Wow,” Teagan said taking the words from my mouth.

         “Wow is right,” a voice from behind came. “As in, wow I can’t believe you’re staying here the entire summer.”

         Teagan giggled as her newly found love interest walked up beside her. He held out his hand and introduced himself. “I’m Aaron.”

         I had seen all three boys earlier but I was only paying attention to RJ. That’s why I realized that Aaron was cuter than I originally thought he was and totally Teagan’s type. Almost every boy she’d dated since I known her had been from some sort of Asian descent.

         “Carley,” I said pulling away from his grasp.

         Teagan was standing behind him mouthing the letters “C. O. T.” but I already knew and I wouldn’t dare break the Code of the Triad. Rule number two: If someone calls dibs on a guy, he’s theirs even if his eyes are on another one of us. It was a pretty shitty deal when you both liked the guy. It meant that the one who hadn’t called dibs basically got screwed because she couldn’t have him then.

         Aaron walked away and Erica stepped up, “I call the shaggy haired one.”

         Fuck. Rule number one: Make sure that everyone is around whilst calling dibs. I glared at her fully aware that she knew I’d wanted RJ. I peeked over at him and he nodded at me in recognition. There was a tall guy with blonde hair standing next to him. He was wearing a muscle shirt and had the body to do so. Still, as hot as he was, he didn’t compare to RJ.

Erica whipped her shiny strawberry hair behind her as she walked towards her prize. I silently hoped that she would trip on a rock and make a fool of herself but she was to perfect and precise to ever make a mistake. I really did hate her sometimes. Family or not she was a bitch. Uncle Mason let out a “Shit!” as he pinched his finger on the truck bed. Served him right for taking me hostage and letting his selfish daughter get the guy I wanted. 

“You wanted him didn’t you?” Teagan asked even though she already knew the answer.

I placed my head on her shoulder “You know it T.”

She perked up as Aaron winked at her leaving me to care for the weight of my own head. “If it’s any consolation, RJ was talking about you the whole time. Well, more like he was getting us to talk about you and one of the questions that came up was about whether or not you have a boyfriend.”

I groaned. “Stupid C.O.T! Why did we make that stupid thing up anyway?”

“Because Erica couldn’t get anyone without it.”

Laughing I said, “This is not fair! Blondie isn’t bad, why can’t she go for him? She likes blondes and hates long hair. Why would she want to piss me off?”

Teagan shrugged still staring at Aaron. “She’s probs just jelly and for the record, ‘Blondie’ actually goes by the name Chase.”

I ignored her statement about the name. “But her being jealous shouldn’t make me more jealous. I may have to make a breach in the agreement.”

“No way dude. If you do that than she’ll go after Aaron and I already called him. She’s going to try making someone miserable.”

And it had to be me. I looked at my best friend. My real best friend. The one that wouldn’t be sneaky and put me in a shitty position. Teagan was a good friend and I knew for a fact that she would never deliberately hurt me. I couldn’t do the same to her.

“Fine.” I said, “You’re lucky I love you.”

I laid my eyes back on the house and took the sight in one more time. How could something so sinister looking rest on such a perfect beach?

What I really wanted to do was run in, get changed, and head outside but what I had to do was extract my suitcase and backpack from the SUV. Erica and Teagan were dragging their luggage inside and left me totally behind. I was about to yell out when I heard the trunk close and then saw RJ holding my things.

I tried not to smile. I didn’t want to give him the wrong impression and make him think I liked him even though I did and wasn’t allowed. Against everything in my body I managed to say, “Thanks. I got it from here.”

Taking the bags away from him, I did my best not to look back because I knew the confused expression on his face would pain me. I thumped up the steps leading to the patio and scowled at Erica’s pleased face. If she wasn’t my cousin and I wouldn’t get in trouble, my fist would have gladly met up with her face. But I couldn’t let RJ see me acting so irrationally even if I didn’t care about the other two factors keeping me from pummeling her. She did deserve it though.

Walking into the house, was like walking into another world. It had a dark feeling to it, mainly because it was dark. The walls of the foyer had this ugly gray wallpaper with black outlines of flowers printed on it. The stairwell was in the dead center of the room and the floors were a dark stone matching the outside of the house. Whoever had this house decorated was either eternally depressed or just had the worst taste possible. The four of us stood in the middle of the room.

“This doesn’t seem like it needs too much work,” I said. “All you need to do is rip down the paper and paint it right?”

Uncle Mason laughed. “It’s not that easy.” He walked outside and motioned for the boys to come in and turned back to us. “The bedrooms are upstairs. Mine is obviously the biggest one – plus it has its own bathroom. You can pick whatever room you want, there are sheets and stuff up there to get you settled in.”

I was careful not to touch the railing of the stairs because it was so dusty and didn’t bother to mention it to Erica as her white tank top brushed against it and created a black line on the side of her. Reaching the top floor gave me a chill. I prayed that the boys would work fast and get this place out of creep mode ASAP. It was so bright outside but somehow none of the light was getting in.

There were two doors on each side of the hall and one in the center, directly across from where we were standing. None of the doors were open but it was easy to guess the master bedroom – Uncle Mason's room – was located at the end of the hall. Next to each doorway there was a big plastic bag containing the bedding that my uncle had promised us. There was also a shit load of cleaning products directly in the center of the hallway. I could only imagine how much we were going to have to clean. I guess Uncle Mason’s plan had been to invite us a long so he wouldn’t have to worry about the bedrooms. Sneaky, sneaky.

“Okay, what room do you want,” I asked Erica as we stood at the end of the hallway.

“Why are you asking me,” she complained. “Why don’t you just go pick one?”

I laughed and with a snarky tone I said, “Because I figured you’d want to call dibs on the best one.”

Teagan elbowed me. She knew that I was comparing the bedrooms to the guys and was upset that I didn’t think her boy met my idea of “the best.”

“I mean, I figured you would want to call dibs on the bedroom I want,” I corrected myself.

Erica showed a small, pleased smile on her lips. “I’ll take this one.”

She vanished into a door on the right side of the hall. Teagan and I moved forward but stopped a couple of feet ahead.

“There are five rooms,” I said. “Well, three that we can choose from. Would you rather be across the hall from me or Erica?”

Teagan thought for a moment. “If I’m across from you, I’m next to her but if I’m next to you, then I’m across from her.” She tapped her foot lightly on the ground. “But if my door is open and so is hers and I’m across from her… then she can see into my room. I’ll be across from you.”

I pulled my suitcase from behind me and traveled to my room on the left side. The wallpaper matched the same ugly flower pattern as the walls from downstairs but the floors were a deep brown wood that had been tread on so many times it lost its glossy appearance that it may have had at one time.

Before turning the old door handle, I rested my hand on it unsure of what to expect within. This house hadn’t been touched in years, what if some homeless person had come in and started using it as shelter and upon my entrance attacked and proceeded to kill me? A loud bang sounded from across the hall and I nearly jumped out of my skin.

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