The West House

Two friends participate in a new type of game show. Along with other pairs of strangers, they are isolated in an abandoned home that is rumored to be haunted. eventually the participants realize they're dealing with something far greater than rumors.

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1. The West House pt. 1

     “It was a game show, that’s all it was supposed to be,” Clara said looking out the large picture window to the small garden in the back yard. A light rain began to splat on the window; a light gray sky set the mood. They sat at a tiny two person dining table with a red gingham table cloth under the window. A reporter sat across from Clara with a note pad and pen jotting down every word she said.

     “If you don't want to do this it's alright,” the reporter said putting the pen neatly next to the note pad.

     “No, no I have to do this; I have to do this before it gets me. There is another though, someone who could tell you better than me. She was my friend, ya know. We were going to win the 50,000 dollar reward and split it 50/50.”

     The reporter quickly picked up the pen and quickly wrote then looked up at Clara expectantly.

     Clara cleared her throat and continued, “There were other contestants, nine others. You had to be in a pair. There was an elderly couple, brother and sister, two sisters, a married couple, a dating couple, father and daughter, two blonde girls, two southern boys, another brother and sister, and us. The rule was not to leave, if you left your team was eliminated. You couldn’t leave the house, once you stepped outside you were disqualified. We were so confident that we would win. We prepared ourselves by watching every horror movie till we weren't scared anymore. We even tried to predict every trick they rigged the building with: voice boxes to make creepy noises, smoke machines, and lights were fixed so that they flickered and popped, maybe even people dressed in dark clothing so they could hide in shadows. My friend actually suggested the idea that the place could be really haunted. I didn’t believe her. That was just what they wanted us to believe.

       “When we arrived at the location everyone was so pumped and eager to begin. Just to pass the time my friend and I sized up the competition. In our minds the elderly couple was first to go, then the married couple, and then maybe the blonde girls. Our only competition seemed to be the southern cowboys and the father/daughter. The daughter was some type of Goth or emo chick, she was weird.

      The house was even weirder, with crumbling walls and broken windows. It sat on top of a hill surrounded by trees of various species and sizes. It was the perfect setting for reality/game show that was supposed to make you pee your pants with fear.

      “The West House was built and owned by Mr. West on the west side of West Virginia. He lived in the house alone after his wife died in childbirth with their newborn son,” the host said after greeting us. A camera crew stood around us filming, it was for the TV show. “After her death Mr. West went crazy and began to dabble in Necromancy, sorcery, or black magic, whatever you want to call it. He aggravated powerful evil spirits and demons. Rumor says that some may be still trapped in the house today.” That was the story they told us, it was just a story. Something completely made up or an old wives tale.

      “One of the blondes, Isabelle, had to ask, “Will there be food, running water, beds, heating, A/C, mirrors?” she said it in a rush of jumbled words that I had to think of what she said to fully understand.

      “There is food in the kitchen that will be replenished every week,” The host said.

     "What about the other stuff?” Maria, the other blonde said. He didn’t respond just waited for another question. Isabelle took his silence as a no and shrieked. My friend stood next to me, she snorted at her reaction.

         “At twelve, lunch time, the game officially started and we were sent to the house. Every one ran for the kitchen, no one had eaten since we had gotten to the house. Everyone was so nice, polite, and “how are you?” or “what's your name?” or the occasional “what are you going to do with the money?” They all seemed so nice and the want-to-get-to-know-you type but I knew as well as my friend that they would gladly force you to leave if they could. It was pleasant until the blondes had to go find a mirror. That’s when the game officially began. Now I know there was a camera everywhere to record our every move there was probably even one in the bathroom. So whether what they saw was true or not I don’t know…” Clara trailed off again blankly staring out the window. The rain became steady and relentless. The reporter sat uneasy in her chair, she was feeling uncomfortable and a bit anxious to get this over with.

      “Ok, well we can stop here so can I get your friends information?”

      “Her name is Leah,” Clara said still staring out the window.

      “Alright, Leah's information?” She asked again getting slightly irritated.

      “We used to sit on the stone bench in the garden and tend the plants or she would tell me about work. She was a textile designer, not a fabulous job but she loved it,” Clara said pointing to the stone bench that looked too worse for wear. The rainy effect the water gave the bench was eerie.

      “It was peaceful, maybe a little too peaceful. Leah was flirting with one of the cowboys, Drake, as I stood awkwardly in the corner, quiet as always. When it came to a large crowd like that I retreated. Leah tried to coax me to talk to other people but I didn’t want to. Then a high-pitched shriek emitted from the direction of the bathroom. It was the blondes; of course, they were the only ones missing. Everyone expected a scream, the house was supposedly haunted. The only odd part that caught my attention was how the one scream sounded like millions of smaller screams that echoed and reverberated out of every room, crook, and cranny of the old house. Almost as if… no it were many voices screaming in terror.

      “Isabelle and Maria came running back pale as fresh snow.

      “f-f-f-Face in-n t-th-he mi-rror!” Maria whispered her voice harsh from screaming. We all laughed at their frantic faces, the terror that was set into their matching blue eyes. It was funny how scared they were at a silly trick. We shouldn’t have laughed.

      “Nice scream, you reeaaalllly had me going,” the gothic girl said sarcastically, I didn’t like the menacing tone of her voice.

       “A day passed, then two, things had slowed down. Every once and a while someone would complain that their necklace or jacket was missing but other than that nothing big or terrifying. Leah was a little unnerved, always looking over her shoulder, be silent or talk to nothing. The gothic girl of the father/daughter pair was acting the same way but her and Leah never got along. The third night Leah couldn’t stand being alone in the room we picked, she begged if we could ‘move in’ with another pair. I gave in and we moved in with the cowboys next door.

         “Sometime around midnight I woke to to someone carelessly walking past the door. I opened the door as silently as I could and stepped out after her. I followed her down the stairs and to the kitchen. She was grabbing a midnight snack, which was “forbidden” because of the small food provisions we received. She opened a cabinet and as if someone snapped their fingers cabinet doors swung open and food flew out and shattered in mid-air. I ducked behind the door as a can of tomato soup flew out and hit the wall behind me. The soup splattered on the wall and slowly dripped down like blood. A box of crackers exploded in the middle of the room like fireworks. A can hit the girl on the head with a hollow crack as she screamed and ran for the exit. She crumpled to the floor right in the doorway. Running footsteps made their way to the source of the scream. A crowd gathered at the doorway watching as boxes shredded themselves to pieces.

         “What did you do?” someone accused.

         I think it was the girl in the kitchens older brother.

         “It wasn’t me, I didn’t do anything; I just heard her walk by and decided to follow!” I shouted over my shoulder. The food had stopped doing its acrobatic circus but soup still bubbled and boiled on the floor and crackers silently smashed themselves into smaller pieces. Every awake soul was there to see it.

         “Someone angered it…” Leah said softly.

         “It was you! You did it!” she shouted at the gothic girl. “Do you think its fun to wake it up? I heard you saying some weird words earlier, this is your fault!”

         The gothic girl just stood there smug.

          “Well let’s not stand here and argue about nothing, we’ll have to clean this up,” Someone in the back of the crowed said. People murmured in agreement and slowly moved toward the kitchen entrance. Leah ran to block them.

          “Don’t you’ll only anger it more!” she said. A shadow rose behind Leah. It was easy to see and it wasn’t a normal shadow cast by our only source of light, the moon. Leah was shoved forward, the crowd parted as she hit the floor. The gothic girl snickered as I went to help Leah up.

          “Your entire fault,” Leah said glaring at her.

          "We got the kitchen spotless but no food was spared it had all gone to the Armageddon. That morning we lost the brother and sister (the one who attempted to raid the kitchen), the married couple, the elderly couple, and the dating couple. They all were suddenly too afraid to stay in a house that may actually be haunted. They were lucky. I asked Leah if she wanted to go, she said no.

           “We waited and waited and waited for food to come. It didn’t come for a day. The sister’s pair left. The next day we finally received food, all dry goods, but we feasted anyway. The water and electricity had gone out. I think it was to make us go insane just a little bit more. You would hear noises at night: footsteps and occasionally talking and or growls. You’d hear them outside the door or right in your ear.

            “The next morning the blondes were gone again, probably looking in a mirror. We were all edgy but Leah seemed especially on edge that day. From the bathroom came a loud shattering noise and another scream. Maria ran out shards of dirty, reflective glass stuck out of her arm. Isabelle got the worst of it, if the mirror intentionally attacked her. Dagger length shard of glass stuck out of her face like porcupine quills. Blood oozed down her face. Her beach blonde hair had dark red highlights and her fashionable floral print shirt had new decorative red splotches. Sharp gasps and a chuckle was our response. By then we had no idea what do or think. Isabelle didn’t speak, she probably couldn’t.

               Maria spoke instead, “the mirror jumped at us. It shook and flew at Isabelle. Littler shards went everywhere but the largest found home in her face,” Maria paused, “We’re leaving.”

             Isabelle flinched as Maria pushed her out the door. We all looked at each other; it was so silent everyone could hear a deep, demonic voice say: “bye…”

            The father of the gothic girl jumped up and started to pull on his daughters arm. She kicked and screamed and fought but he eventually got her out the door. When the door shut we each looked at each other sizing up the remaining competition. Leah and I, the cowboys, and Kyle and Brittney - a brother and sister pair – we were all what was left. And it was going to get crazier, we all knew that. Half of me wanted to stay the other half wanted to leave and never look back. But we got this far, why give up now?”

           Clara suddenly stood up and walked out of the room. The reporter had no idea what she was doing or if they were done or not. Clara had just left. She sat uneasily in the chair flexing her wrist against the cramps. She picked up her notes and read them over, then read them over again, and then a third time waiting for Clara to return. If she would return. She sighed and stared out the window. It had stopped raining and the sun was beginning to break through. The garden was lush and pretty. Clara probably had a lot of time on her hands.

          “Brittney found this,” Clara said walking back, giving the reporter a startle. It was a dagger with a long serrated wicked looking blade. The tip of the blade, about one inch in length, curved back. It looked malicious and evil. The blade was coated in a dark red color and it didn’t look like rust. The handle was a light colored wood that did not appear to be in the finest condition.

         “She found it the next day. She said she found it in the basement. No one ever went to the basement. You know how when you watch a scary movie and the person goes into the basement and something bad happens to them? We all thought that way. Go into the basement and you’ll never come out,” Clara said after placing the blade wrapped in a soiled white handkerchief on the table and taking her seat.

           “Why she went to the basement leaves me puzzled,” Clara continued, “Curiosity killed the cat, that’s for sure. But when she found that dagger she found something darker and Brittney didn’t even seem to care. It seemed to be a harmless old relic but it began to turn Brittney psychotic. She thought sick ideas were funny and most of those funny sick ideas she were of her invention. Kyle, her brother, was disturbed by the unsettling way Brittney was acting. She would also disappear at times from a half an hour to a whole day. I figured she was in the basement because she wasn’t anywhere else.

            “One night no one could possibly sleep. It was getting hot, unbearably hot and there wasn’t a cool place in the entire of the house. It was probably sometime in the beginning of July. There was no electricity, no running water, our clothes were getting dirty, and it was just so unpleasant. We did have a source of presumably coldwater but that was from a pump at the side of the house. Someone would have to leave the house and by then you would be disqualified.

             “That particular night, however, was the worst in my life in more than one way. Brittney disappeared again and Kyle was getting fed-up. He had us searching and finally he called it quits in the living room area.

             He said, “If she keeps disappearing like this then I'm leaving.”

            Then he said louder, “Brittney! If you can hear me show yourself or I am leaving!”

             Seconds went by. Seconds turned to minutes and then minutes turned into what felt like an hour.

             Kyle sighed, “Alright well I'm going, it was nice to know ya.” He turned and walked toward the door.

            “Kyle wait!” Brittney chimed from the basement door that now hung loosely on its hinges behind her. She sounded like a little girl in such a way that I didn’t recognize it. Kyle turned back around. He should have kept walking.

            “She was wide-eyed and happy, the slap happy type. Her hair was a mess but it seemed to be a fresh mess, she didn’t look hot and sweaty or disgusting at all, she looked…clean.

           “Where were you?” Kyle asked.

          “I was with him,” Brittney said dreamily, swaying like a schoolgirl.

          “Who’s him?” Kyle pressed.

          Her eyes lit up, “oh he's the most wonderful… but you can't meet him.”

          “Brittney what are you talking about?”

          “I'm going to join him; he said it was real easy.”

          “Britt? What's going on?”

          “I have what I need! I do!”

          “For what, Britt?”

          “She pulled out the dagger from behind; it was old and weathered but still sharp.

          “Britt no! Don’t do it Britt!” Kyle shouted. She didn’t listen and dug the blade into her gut. She stood there growing pale then she fell to her side mumbling, “he lied about the pain.” Kyle rushed to her and before he could grab the blade it twisted counter clockwise on its own. Kyle kneeled next to her as she died. It felt as if I couldn’t catch my breath. Leah cried and Brad took off his hat in respect. Drake was still sleeping. Leah silently walked over to Kyle white cloth in hand as she pulled out the knife and wrapped it up. Then crossed to the door and threw it as far into the knee-high grass as she could. She shut the door as Kyle stood up wiping tears from his eyes.

         “Well it looks like I'm technically out,” he joked half-heartedly. No one laughed.

         He sighed, “I'm going to get someone to help me… nobody touch her… please?” I nodded and he slowly walked to the door, shoulders slumped.

          “Brad cleared his throat which caught my attention because he hadn’t said anything that whole morning. I looked at him, Leah and Kyle looked at him. Brittney looked at him. Brad didn’t even have to motion to her I saw her right away.

           “Brittney stood there swaying.”

           “There was something different about her eyes and the way she stood. Her eyes were maroon with a cat like glint to them. She stood awkwardly like it was her first time in a hundred years standing on two legs. We stood there in uncomfortable silence, I felt uneasy. Thought of zombies coming to eat me flashed through my mind. I tried to shake them away but I saw her stab herself. We all saw her stab herself. Then how on earth was she alive standing here looking at us like we were a meal?”

            Clara paused again looking out the window. The reporter could hear the uneasiness of her voice. She flexed her wrist again.

            “I was speechless, I think we all were. And extremely terrified,” Clara continued, “It was for hours that we stood in silence. Kyle was the most stunned, I know he was. The whole scene sent a chill down to my bone. I knew for a fact this was no longer a game. Brittney’s jaw dropped and more silence. Then a high-pitched screech echoed. It rattled and shattered what little glass that was left in the house. It pierced my eardrums so much that I involuntary cupped my hands over my ears. It is so hard to explain, it wasn’t terrified, more like a sound you would expect to hear from a possessed person. Brittney was a possessed person. I have never heard a sound anywhere similar.

           “That’s about when we all went a little crazier. Drake made an appearance asking what was going on when he suddenly fell down the stairs and broke into a frenzy of seizures at the bottom. He foamed at the mouth like a rabid dog. Another scream joined Brittney’s that sounded much more human. It took a while before I realized it was mine. The ground began to shake and my head began to pound. I stumbled as I tried to keep my balance. When you spin around and around till you get so dizzy you feel like you might fall over even when you’re standing straight. That’s what it felt like but it didn’t go away not even when Leah grabbed my arm and pulled me to the door.

          “But we’ll lose!” I shouted. I could barely hear myself over the constant pounding in my head. “Does that really matter?” Leah shouted back. It didn’t really, not anymore at least.

           “We ran and ran it felt like but we were only halfway through the lawn. We stopped to catch our breath when she noticed the dagger sticking up in the grass.

           She picked it up and shook it, “this damn thing!”

           An odd growl that replaced Brittney's shriek emitted from the house.

          “You’re attached to this aren’t you?!” Leah shouted back, another rumbling roar. It was communicating, whatever it was.

          “I thought so,” she said before she turned to me, “I’ll distract it, and then you take this and run for your life, then dispose of it, far away.”

          “What are you going to do?” I asked.

         “Bye Clara,” she said sliding her hand along the length of the knife drawing blood across her palm.

         “No!” I shouted as she thrust the knife to me.

          “Go!” Leah shouted pushing me. “Run!” She shouted again.

          “Go Clara, now!” I stood there unable to move. My brain had just stopped working, refused to register what was happening. Leah kept shouting at me but her voice melted into one constant long going sound. She pushed me once more and my mind finally caught up. And I ran for the edge. I just ran. It seemed like a matter of seconds till I got to the road. Leah still stood there watching me. The terror of the situation had just sunk in, I could tell from her face.

         “You’re probably safe! Get over here!” I shouted to her.

         She shook her head.

          “C’mon Leah! Its fine, get over here!” she stared at me then took a tentative look back. When she saw that it was clear she took a step forward, then another and another. Then I noticed the grass quickly rippling behind her, some invisible dog bounded for Leah. Leah noticed before I had time to tell her. She broke into a run but before I knew it her feet flew out from underneath her and she was being dragged back towards the house. She screamed but I was glued to my place with horror.

          “Her scream was silenced when the door shut.”

          “I bolted, I don't know how long or how far. I just remember seeing the lights of a gas station and collapsing in front. I woke up in the hospital. I had an I.V. strapped to my arm and I felt uncomfortable in the rough hospital sheets. They confiscated the knife. But I got it back after some complaining and lies like: “it was my father’s”. Luckily I didn’t have to explain the blood. I was hoping that I wouldn’t have too. I had no explanation. Tell them “oh a girl stabbed herself then came back to life than me and a friend ran out and she handed it me because there was a demon attached to it?” I think not. I took several buses home. All the time hoping I was getting home. They had blacked out the van we were when we were taken to the location so that we didn’t know how to get there. And what was any of us going to do if we knew how to get there?

          “Once I got home I felt alien. I jumped at every sound and couldn’t sleep for weeks. I always felt like someone was watching me constantly. But life slowly returned to normal. Slowly. Eventually I realized that I had to tell someone. I heard about the disappearances and the mass murder on TV so I decided to call. So there you are, and here it is.” Clara got up and walked to the door, she held it open for her.

         “Can I take the dagger? It could be helpful to the police,” the reporter said reaching for it. Clara quickly snatched it holding it out of reach.

          “No, you or no one can touch it. Leah thought some demonic presence is connected to the dagger. I am not letting you take it. I am taking it to my grave so no one can touch it. Now don’t breathe a word about it,” Clara said anger hinting at her voice. The reporter quickly gathered her things and walked out the open door. Clara followed her out the door waving goodbye as she started her car and pulled out of the driveway. As she drove away Clara stayed on the porch waving. Out of the corner of her eye the reporter noticed the curtain on the second floor moving as she passed the house. It was moving, and not because of the wind. There was no wind.

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