Since the girls had left, the temperature had dropped about ten degrees. Ryan was shivering, wrapped in three jumpers and a blanket, trying to ignore the sound of the EMF going haywire, the constant scratching of the machine's pencil against the reel of paper.
The noise had started as soon as the Sonam and Ellie left. It wasn't loud, but just droning enough to start driving him out of his mind after only a couple of seconds. He'd actually got up and pulled out a few wires in a desperate attempt to get it to shut up, but no luck. If he didn't know better, he'd swear the thing was posses--
It had just shut up.
Probably ran out of batteries.
Ryan was not the religious type, but right then he might well have sent a silent thanks to whoever was watching. As long as whoever was watching wasn't a ghost. That would be pretty weird but also, Ryan would admit, pretty cool.
You know what else was cool? This room. If, that is, 'cool' is a code word for 'fucking freezing.' Jesus, this place needed a heater.
A floorboard creaked behind him but he was too comfortable and just starting to warm up, so didn't really react they way he should have. Another board creaked, and again, and Ryan was on high alert now, because they sounded like, like...
And breathing. Deep and steady, just behind him. Just there. There. Close enough to feel it on the back of his neck. He didn't move, just shut his eyes and prayed, openly now, screaming in his head, God please save me God please help, prayed that it would stop, that it go away, that this could go back to being like every other haunted house he'd been to, completely uneventful and--
A hand on his shoulder. Cold like ice. Moving slowly, spreading cold like there was nothing else in the world, nothing else that Ryan could remember, reaching down, over his chest, over his chest, through his shirt, through his skin, so cold Ryan clenched his fist, drew blood with nails against skin, the icy fingers reaching, reaching, until they met thumping and frightened muscle, wrapping theme selves around and around and around, tight grip and Ryan couldn't feel himself any more, he didn't even feel alive any more, didn't feel anything anything anything