Grey light filtered into what had once been a kitchen. My torch light bounced off half opened floor and wall cupboards. I shuffled in, tucked my torch between my legs and took a few photos. Looking around further, I noticed the gaps were a stove and sink would have been. With a quick search of the cupboards, I found them all empty and nothing else in the room give me any clues of personal items or dates.
Another door, opposite the one I had come in by, filled the fourth wall. I walked over, unable to stop my feet making soft slapping sounds on the rotting plastic tiled floor. I opened the door, my mind racing images of what could be on the other side. Luckily, there was nothing but a long empty hallway, with doors placed up one side and a wide staircase along the other.
I shone my torch around and noticed the abrupt silence surrounding me. I raised my camera, took a few photos and had a brief look through them. The last one caused me to pause. There seemed to a long dark shadow standing at the end of the hall. I brought my torch up and aimed the beam down towards the front door. Nothing caught the light. I took another photo and checked it, but the shadow wasn’t there.
A spike of fear electrified my skin and I struggled to hold my ground. I swallowed, wet my lips and croaked out an ‘Hello?’ The house swallowed my words and didn’t reply. I tried again, getting my throat and lips more wet, projecting my voice so I was almost shouting out the word. This time a small echo came back to me.
Shaking myself, I took another few photos and saw that there was nothing odd about them. I tried the handle of the first door to my right. It gave easily and the door opened. The room was empty and once again grey light was coming in from a dirty window. I took a photo of that and some more of the bare wooden floor, wallpaper peeling walls and cracked ceiling. I laughed to myself and wondered why I had gotten so scared of what had to be just a trick of light.
I walked through the other three rooms and found them almost all the same as the wallpaper and ceiling colours differed. I fell back to enjoying the experience and walking were no one else had been for many years. I took my last photo of the last room and got the open door and beginnings of the staircase in the shot. I noticed a shadow like arm just visible at the left side of the open door. My heart skipped, I stopped breathing and looked nervously upwards.
The darkness beyond the door looked like sticky molasses. I couldn’t see out of it, let alone pick out any shapes. Slowly, I put my torch on the floor, with the light beam angled out of the door and along the bottom of the staircase. I fixed the shot with my camera and pressed down the button. Flash and the image appeared on the screen. There were no shadow arms only the eerie effect of the torch’s beam along the floor.
Laughing loudly, I let the fear out. It’s nothing, nothing, I sing in my head. How many abandoned places had I been in alone? Thirty? Fifty? How many farm houses like this one? Twelve? And in all my ten years of exploring these places what had I found? Dead animals, homeless people, abandoned personal items and unsolved mysteries. Never ghosts. I had never seen, heard or captured anything that could be classed as a ghost. Nor had any companion that had come with me to the other places.
‘So why would you be in this place?’ I spoke out before bursting into another rolling laugh.
I felt better and walked into the hallway. I grab a few more photos of the locked front door and the staircase before heading up. The steps squeaked, but held my weight as I went up. The bedrooms were all like the rooms downstairs and I felt a slight disappointment that the whole place had been cleaned out. Coming out of the last room, I spotted the door to the attic that I’d missed.
Smiling, I hurried over. People always leave things behind in attics and basements. I opened the door and walked up a narrow staircase, which ended in another door. Avoiding the mass of spiders’ webs, I stepped in and slowly shone my torch around. A shiver ran through me as I took in the scene before me. It had been a children’s playroom and everything had been left behind. Toys, covered in dust were scattered across the floor as well as books and over full boxes of other toys.
With my hands slight shaking, I took a few photos that captured everything. Looking at the last one, I noticed the children’s drawings on the wall. In coal pencil was the figure of a long stickman. Frowning, I looked up and focused on the walls. All three of them were covered in the black pencil and paint drawings of that stickman. In some case there were bare pine trees around him, a house in the background and a scrawling of words.
My hairs stood on end and a voice screamed loudly in my head to leave. Hurriedly, I took a circle of photos just of the walls, trying to miss anything out then fled. My slamming footsteps and gasping breath ring in my ears, sweat ran down me like heavy drops of rain. I stumbled out of the back door, almost falling onto the porch but finding balance enough to rush into the grass and past the rusted car. My feet collided with something and I tumbled over. Fighting for breath, I looked down and saw the box brownie camera.
Snatching it up, I ran for my car. I scrambled for my keys, jabbed the right one into the car door and yanked it open. Flinging myself into the driving seat, the brownie slipped from my hand and fell into the passenger’s footwell. Ripping my own camera from my neck, I placed it down there too and started the car up.
The engine spring to life, I wrestled to put my seat belt on and then without really meaning too, I looked up at the house and the attic room window. A stick shadow figure was pressed against the glass looking out at me.
To Be Continued…