Bump in the Night

Bump in the Night is a ghost-hunting programme that’s different from all the others. That’s because none of it’s real.

Tony has always wanted to be a real paranormal investigator. His co-workers are perfectly happy to build their careers on falsehoods and cheap tricks, but Tony’s always wanted something more. Something real. Unfortunately, he’s about to get his wish.

When the crew set up in the infamous Lansfield Hall, it soon becomes clear that this won’t just be another normal day. One by one, the crew start to realise there’s more to those spooky ghost stories than they first thought. Subtly spooky antics turn into all-out carnage, bottled-up tensions rise to the surface, and a simple job turns into a fight for survival. If they want to live to see the sunrise, they’ll have to abandon the script.

They aren’t real ghost hunters, but that doesn’t matter any more, because these ghosts don’t want to be hunted.

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16. Scared of the Dark

The crew had never been good at avoiding arguments, but Tony had never heard this much shouting in one room before.

“Let me SEE!” Travis screamed, again. “Let me SEE him, fuck you!”

“No!” Tony said. “Jesus Christ, Travis! Pull yourself together!”

“Why the FUCK should I pull myself to-together? Everyone’s dying, for fuck’s s-sake!” Travis’ screams turned to sobs. “Why? Why won’t you let me see?”

“Why do you want to see?” Dave cut in from the corner of the room.

“Because I don’t FUCKING believe you!”

Tony and Dave exchanged glances. Dave was holding his phone up to his face, the bluish light leaking onto his shredded hand and bludgeoned neck. He raised his eyebrow at Tony from across the room.

“You don’t believe us?” Tony said, turning back to Travis. “Why?”

“Because why… why should I?” the anger was leaking out of Travis’ voice. “I didn’t… I haven’t seen anything.”

“Yeah, mate,” Tony said. “Count yourself lucky, why don’t you?”

“Well, I- I don’t fucking believe…” Travis hesitated. “Don’t fucking believe in fucking ghosts!”

“Travis, don’t you dare start this shit now!” Dave interrupted. “We could believe whatever the hell we wanted before, but we’ve got no bloody choice now, have we?”

“Why not?”

“Because we just saw it!” Tony yelled.

I didn’t!”

Dave turned to Tony, his hands on his hips. “He’s right. He hasn’t.”

“Well, that’s not our problem! Travis, please just fucking believe us. If we stick together, and stop fighting each other, we can stop anyone else from… from-”

“Getting killed?” Travis laughed bitterly.

“Well, yeah.”

Travis sighed, and rolled his eyes up to the ceiling. “Okay, fine. What’s the plan then, investigation geniuses?”

Dave and Tony looked at each other.

“Yeah, that’s right,” Travis said. “We can’t do shit, can we? You can’t do shit. We’re all just actors and fakers. If those ghosts want us dead, we’re already dead.”

Tony blinked and tried to think of something motivational to say in retaliation, but he felt his heart sinking. What if Travis was right?

“Hey,” Travis said, looking past Tony’s shoulder. “Hey. David.”

Tony turned as Dave looked up from his phone, both eyebrows raised. “It’s Dave.”

“For fuck’s sake!” Travis said. “Dave.”

“Yeah?”

“What the fuck did you think you were doing just then?”

Tony watched Dave’s face. The light from his phone was flashing brighter and dimmer on his face and his finger was frozen over the screen.

Dave blinked and switched his phone off, shoving it back into his pocket.

“Nothing.”

“Bullshit! What are you doing?” Travis repeated. “You got a signal?”

Dave shook his head. His eyes were wide.

“Dave.” Tony said softly. “Don’t.”

“Don’t what?” Dave tried to look nonchalant. He was a crap actor.

“Lie, Dave. Don’t lie to him.”

“He’s lying to me?” Travis said. “About what, Tony?”

Dave looked down at the floor, his long fringe falling forwards to hide his face. He kicked a piece of ceiling plaster at his foot like a stroppy child.

“I was filming,” he said at last.

“You were fucking what?” Travis said. “Let me see that!”

“No.”

“Why the fuck not?” Travis said, looking at Tony. “Of all the FUCKING things, you goddamn piece of shit! Why were you filming? What were you filming?”

“Because I wanted evidence, okay?”

“Evidence of what?”

Dave gestured randomly. “The lot.”

“Dave, two people are fucking dead and Jean’s gonna wake up any second because you were too busy filming to help!” Travis cried. “You fucking ARSEHOLE!”

“Well, I’m not the one who buggered off,” Dave said. “Get mad at her boyfriend, why don’t you?”

ANDY isn’t my BLOODY problem anymore!” Travis yelled. “He’s gone! And we’ve got a fucking… a fucking…” He looked down at Jean and stomped down hard on the ground next to her head. “To worry about! She’s gonna wake up any minute!”

Tony looked down too. Kevin was still clutching Jean’s hand, still trembling slightly and saying nothing.

“No, she’s not,” Kevin mumbled.

Tony saw Kevin’s fingers pressed into the inside of her wrist. He understood and felt his heart sinking.

“Wh- what?” Travis said. “What did you just say, Kevin?”

“I said no she’s NOT!” Kevin yelled. “She’s not going to wake up any second!”

“Kevin-”

“She’s NOT…” He took a breath in and shook more violently as he expelled it. “She’s not breathing,” he whispered.

Travis’ eyes widened. Then, he shook his head and took a step away. “Oh.” He said simply.

“What do you mean, ‘Oh’?” Dave said. “Travis-”

“Fuck her.” Travis said. “She tried to kill us.”

Kevin jumped to his feet, fresh tears on his face, and opened his mouth. Tony held him back.

“We have to-” Kevin jerked with a sob and then fell back to his knees. “We have to… we have to help her.”

“She’s gone, Kevin!” Travis yelled, striding across the room and grabbing the doorhandle. “She-”

“Maybe we can help her if we get her out of the room,” Tony said. Kevin looked up at him.

“What?” Kevin’s hands were clenching and unclenching over Jean’s chest, which wasn’t moving. “No, we have to-”

“No, Tony’s right!” Dave said. “We have to get her out of here. It’s the only way she might… She might wake up.”

Tony, Kevin and Travis looked at each other.

“We can just get out of here, first, and then try to think what to do next,” Dave carried on. He looked at Tony. “And nobody else will get killed.”

Tony pressed his lips together. Dave smiled, but it seemed forced.

“Good idea!” Travis jumped back up and ran across the room. “I’m getting the fuck away from the psychotic murderer. See you in hell!”

“Wait a second!” Kevin yelled after him. “She-”

Travis hurled the door open, sprinkling torchlight onto the bedroom floor, and disappeared into the corridor. Once the door had closed, leaving them all in the cloudy pool of moonlight trickling through the ceiling, Tony turned back to Kevin. Kevin looked down at the floor; or, rather, at Jean.

“She’s not a psychotic murderer,” he whispered.

Tony said nothing.

“She’s NOT a PSYCHOTIC murderer!” Kevin wept. “She’s not! She’d never do anything like that; not even to him. Not even to Andy. She wouldn’t! It wasn’t her. Tony, you know. You know it wasn’t her, right?”

Tony looked at his feet. “Uh, I mean, kind of,” he said. “If that’s what you mean.”

“Right! That- that wasn’t her!” Kevin said. “It wasn’t Jean!”

“She was possessed,” Dave said. “It’s happened before. It happened a hundred years ago.”

“In this room?” Kevin asked.

Dave nodded. “Yeah.”

“So if we get her out of here, she’ll be okay?”

Tony and Dave glanced at each other. Kevin sniffed and wiped his cheek with the back of his hand.

Dave shrugged at Tony, who turned back. “Uh, sure. I guess so.”

“Help me.” Kevin immediately said, leaning forwards to slide his arms under her. He pulled her up into his arms.

“Um, Kevin-”

Don’t tell me she- Don’t. I don’t care.” Kevin said, looking down and muttering into his lap. “I’m not leaving her behind. I won’t do it; she’s the only person I have left. Please. Let me. Let me.”

“Okay, okay.” Tony rolled his eyes. “Okay.”

The sound of the door opening made everyone jump back.

“Hey!” Travis said, sticking his head in. “We doing this or what?”

“Travis,” Tony said, trying to keep his voice calm. “Kevin’s bringing Jean out now. Could you hold the door?”

“Bringing Jean out?” Travis spotted Jean in Kevin’s arms and raised his eyebrows in disbelief. “No fucking way! Leave her!”

“We’re not leaving anyone behind,” Tony said.

“It’s the room!” Dave said. “It’s not her; it’s the room. If we get her out she’ll be f-”

“If you’re lugging her around I’m getting the fuck out of here!” Travis said. “Fuck you all.”

His head disappeared and the door slammed shut on the dimly lit hallway. A flurry of footsteps scattered themselves along the landing floor and down the stairs.

“He’s scared shitless of the dark,” Dave said from behind them.

Tony turned round. “What?”

“Nothing. He just always carries torches around with him. He’s scared shitless of the dark; haven’t you noticed?”

“Right.” Kevin replied before Tony could. He stood up slowly, hefting Jean into his arms. “He acts like he’s tough, but he’s real jittery in the dark.”

“He made a pretty poor fucking career choice, then, didn’t he?” Tony said.

Kevin sighed and looked down at Jean. “He’s not the only one.”

Tony looked up at the ceiling and the silver-smeared blue blob of night sky visible through the black beams. The red light of a plane flashed past. The corner of the hole spat dust onto his face and he screwed his eyes shut.

“Anyway,” Tony said. “Let’s focus on Jean for now.”

Kevin fixed his eyes on her face, nervously tangling his fingers into a knot in her hair. He wiped another flurry of tears onto his hand.

“You got her?”

“I got her. Let’s get her out of here.”

Tony hurried over to the door and pulled it open. Kevin staggered out into the corridor, then turned back; he looked back down at the girl in his arms like he thought she was going to jump back to life just like that.

“Do you think she’s going to wake up?”

“Yes. Sure,” Tony lied.

“Yeah, of course,” Dave said, walking to stand next to Tony.

Suddenly, making all three jump, Jean gasped and jerked in Kevin’s arms, her chest lurching upwards. Dave and Tony looked at each other and Kevin gasped, gathering her against him and then thinking better of it as she continued to gulp for air with her mouth wide and her eyes wider still. She’d been holding her breath, Tony realised, since the last time she’d been herself. She struggled up, then locked her eyes with Kevin’s. She was whimpering with every breath, looking around like mad.

 “Jean!” Kevin gasped. “Oh, my god. Oh my god! You’re alive! Thank Christ; oh, my god.”

“Kev, what the fuck just happened?” She sobbed, still panting hard and wrapping her arms around his neck. His legs seemed to weaken for a second and they both almost fell.

“Jean?” Kevin said quietly

“Kev!” Jean said again. “Kev… wait. Why are you carrying me?”

He blinked. Tony and Dave exchanged glances.

“Because you- because you…”

“Put me down, Kev.” She giggled slightly, scratchily, at the back of her throat. “I can walk fine. Come on.”

Nervously, Kevin slipped his arm out from under her and set her on the ground. She put her ruined ankle on the ground, then crumpled as her leg did and screamed with pain. She bit back a sob as Kevin helped her back to her feet.

“Ugh, what the FUCK?” she said, her voice shrill and agonised. “Jesus!”

Travis had crushed her ankle with his foot to get her off Kevin. Was Kevin going to tell her that? Of course he bloody wasn’t.

“Are you…” Tony cursed himself for speaking up as she looked up at him. Her eyes were normal, but he shivered all the same. “Are you okay?”

“Uh, I dunno. Am I? I don’t feel okay.” Her eyes fell on her ankle. “Motherfucking Christ! No, I’m not okay!”

“I- I’m sorry,” Kevin mumbled into her hair, his arm still around her waist. “I had to do it.”

She shook out her hair and turned to look at him. “Had to do what?”

Tony and Dave looked at each other.

“Does she… does he not remember?” Tony muttered.

Dave shook his head and held his finger to his lips.

Jean let go of Kevin and he disentangled his arm from her waist, picking her hair from his face. They stared at each other for a second, and in that second, Tony started to question whether they really were just friends. She was looking at him like a child who needed comforting, but that was exactly how he was looking at her too. At that moment, everyone was acting like they were five years old again. Dave had turned sideways, the glow of his phone leaking over his shoulder, and was huddled against the wall, cradling his hand. Travis’ footsteps were barrelling up the stairs as he stomped around like a stroppy toddler. As for Tony, he’d never felt more helpless in his entire life, but not only that; the fear skyrocketing his heartbeat was like nothing he’d even imagined before. And he had a pretty fucked-up imagination, not that it was necessary anymore. At that moment, he just wanted to curl up and cry. Maybe he just wanted the ghosts to kill him now and get it over with.

“Hey.” Kevin said. Tony looked up from the doorway; Jean let go of Kevin’s hand and scowled.

“Yeah?” Jean said through gritted teeth, starting to stumble towards the door.

“Do you need help? I mean, with your leg?”

She looked down, planted her hands back on her hips, and then shook her head without turning back. “No. I’m fine.”

Muttering under her breath, Jean dragged the door open and beckoned them through.

“Come on.” Kevin said softly, clearly not wanting to take his eyes off her. “You heard Travis. We’d better go.”

Tony turned to Dave. “Hey, Dave. Come on. We’re going.”

The light of Dave’s phone snuffed itself out as the door swung shut and dumped them back into darkness. He turned, blinking and wiping his eyes with his sleeve.

“Why?” he said.

Tony frowned, then took a step back towards the door. “What do you mean, why?”

“What’s the point?”

Dave looked up. His eyes were rimmed with red, but maybe that was just a trick of the light.

“What do you mean?” Tony said again. He knew.

“I mean, Tony, that for once, Travis was right.”

“About what?”

“About the ghosts.” Dave sighed and lowered his head, mumbling at the ground. “If they want us dead, we’re already long dead.”

There was a long silence. Tony walked up to Dave and saw that he wasn’t looking at the ground; he’d been looking at the scab on his hand, which he was holding at arm’s length and examining intently. He picked at it and then slapped his own hand away.

“Dave.” Tony said eventually. “Dave, look at me, damn it!”

Dave looked up at him, scrubbing at a tear as it fell down his cheek. Oh, shit. He had been crying. Tony’s heart sank, but he forced his voice to stay steady. Reassuring. Even though he wanted to give up too.

“Dave, are we or are we not trying to get out of this alive?” Tony said through gritted teeth.

Dave raised one eyebrow.

“Yeah.” He mumbled.

“Sorry, what?”

Yeah, I guess so.” Dave repeated. “But-”

“Well, come on, then. Let’s go.”

“Tony?”

Tony turned back and walked across the room, bringing the door and the light of the hallway with him. “Yeah?”

“There’s something I…” he trailed off and looked down at the ground. “Never mind.”

That should have made him stop, but right then, the wind pooling on the floor and scratching at the walls started to sound a little too human for Tony’s liking. He just wanted to get out of that room.

He shrugged, said “Fine.” and then waited till Dave walked through the door in front of him. He slammed it shut, locking the memory of the second wave of trauma inside.

When they got downstairs, Jean and Travis were arguing.

“Well, I don’t give a shit!” Travis said. “I don’t want you-”

“Travis, I swear to Christ, if you don’t shut the fuck up I’m going to make you regret the day you fucking joined this profession.”

“Way ahead of you, princess.”

Jean shoved him. “Don’t FUCKING call me princess!”

“Why not? I bet you get called it by a hundred guys every week.”

Jean raised her hand again, but Kevin jumped up from the stairs and put his hand on her shoulder. “Hey, Jean. Calm down.”

“Kev-”

“I get it. He’s being difficult and he-” Kevin choked on his words. “He doesn’t want an- anyone near him. Just stick with me, yeah?”

“Hey, what the hell’s going on?” Tony said, pushing his way past Kevin and off the staircase.

“I don’t want her NEAR me!” Travis said, pointing at Jean.

“Why?” Jean said. “Look, Travis. I know I fucking fainted. But I-”

“You didn’t FUCKING faint, princess!” Travis yelled. “You-”

“Shut UP!” Jean yelled. “Shut UP!”

Something in Jean’s voice forced Travis to stop. He turned to look at her, one eyebrow raised.

“We need to stay together,” Jean said. “I think we should go into the garden. Nobody runs off and nobody starts any more fights. You got that? Nobody.”

Travis folded his arms. “And why should we-”

NOBODY!” Jean said, spinning on her heel and pointing at him.

Tony, Dave and Kevin all nodded.

“Well,” Travis said, stepping back onto the stairs. “Sorry, but I don’t take orders from delirious w- whatever the fuck you are. I’m going back upstairs to look for a signal.”

“Travis, wait!” Kevin said.

He turned back. “What?”

Kevin stopped, one hand in his pocket and the other floating above Jean’s. Then, he turned away.

“Fine.” He murmured.

“Yeah,” Jean said. “You want to die? Go fuck yourself.”

Travis faltered, then dug his phone out of his pocket and carried on up the stairs.

Tony wanted to call after him, but something stopped him. Cold fingers were yanking at his senses, and this time, it wasn’t the wind. He just had a bad feeling.

“If he wants to die, he can,” Jean said, to nobody in particular. “It’s not our problem, right? Not our problem.”

“Nope.” Dave said, looking nervously up the stairs.

“It isn’t your fault,” Kevin said, approaching Jean. “We should leave.”

Tony said nothing.

“Yeah.” Jean said, her voice thick in the back of her throat. “Let’s get the fuck out of here.”

As they turned to leave, Tony couldn’t force his feet to move in the right direction. He was watching Jean, trying to work out what didn’t feel right. Jean had been unconscious when Andy left, and when she’d killed Gerry, and she hadn’t stopped to ask where either of them were. Maybe that was it. Yeah, that was probably it.

“Hey.” Dave elbowed Tony in the ribs.

He turned round. “What?”

“Do you smell smoke?”

As Tony raised his head towards Dave and felt the smell of smoke jabbing needles into his eyes and nose, he shot a glance sideways at the kitchen. Then, he turned back to Dave.

“Yeah.”

Tony felt sticky sheets of heat pressing onto his arms and face. When he looked at Dave, he saw him peeling his shirt away from his chest and fanning himself with his hand.

“Uh-huh.” Dave rubbed a hand across his forehead. “Me too.”

Tony grabbed hold of the banister and ran towards Jean and Kevin; his head started to throb and spin as the heat squeezed him tighter.

“Hey. We need to get out, like, now. What’s up with the door?”

“I- I don’t know.” Jean jiggled the doorknob, then swore and kicked it in frustration. “It was working fine a minute ago!”

“Oh, fuck.” Tony murmured. He watched as Jean turned the knob all the way around and then screamed, tearing her hand away from it.

“What?” Tony and Kevin said in unison.

“Fucking…” Jean panted, fanning herself. “Fucking burned me!”

Tony looked down and saw the steam rising from the doorknob.

“Don’t touch it!” Jean yelped.

“Don’t worry, I won’t.”

“Hey, guys?” Dave yelled from the other side of the room. “We need to get out.”

“Try the front door!” Tony said. He ran towards the front door, sighing in relief as the cold draught hit him and then swearing when it slammed itself shut right in his face.

“What the hell?” Kevin said from behind them.

Tony grabbed the door handle and pressed his whole weight up against the door. It didn’t budge. “Fuck!” He yelled. “FUCK! Someone help me!”

“It’s no use,” Dave said.

Tony turned to him. “You fucking what?”

“It’s no use. They’ve trapped us in here.”

Tony shook his head and staggered as dizzy heat ripped the focus right out of his brain. “W-why? What the fuck possibly for?”

When his blurring vision focused back on Dave, Dave was crying again, tears of exhaustion or fear or despair or something running down his face.

“You know bloody well what for.”

Tony opened his mouth, then closed it again as the clock struck one and the room burst into flames.

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