Haunted – Part 1

This is the first section of a short story that I’m writing featuring Erin von Brenner and Richard Moore.  It was inspired by a picture prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth.

**

434916e03ad5e1c0e73282e9bf753ee4Richard wasn’t normally the sort to look at a boarded up old house and declare that it was haunted.  When a house sat empty, it was normal for whoever was responsible for the property to board up the windows.  It kept them from being broken by mischievous children.  It kept trespassers out.

However, there was something about this house that unnerved him.  He looked over at Erin and gave her a weak smile.  “Perhaps you could come back tomorrow morning,” he suggested.

Erin arched her eyebrows and then whirled away from him.  She headed for the steps that led up to the porch.  “What kind of vampire is afraid of an old abandoned house?” she called back to him.

Flinching, Richard heaved a sigh and hurried across the lawn to her side.  He reached her as she mounted the steps and caught her hand to steady her.  “I’m not afraid,” he lied.  “I just thought… it might not be safe to be here so late in the evening.”

“Liar,” Erin accused.  Then she used the key that the caretaker had given them to unlock the door.  “This house was really lovely at one time and you’re quivering in your shoes because it’s a bit derelict now.”

“Why has no one lived here in so long?” Richard said, frowning.  He stayed close to her side, ostensibly, in case she tripped on a loose board.

Erin shrugged.  “The usual complaints about knocking and moaning and mysterious footsteps that come with haunted houses,” she said, shaking her head.  When Richard froze again, she turned and glared at him.  “You’re not scared of a ghost, are you?  Really?”

“How can you be so blasé about this, Erin?” he asked, his voice soft.  “I mean, do we even know who or what is haunting this house?  It might be a demonic entity!”

Rolling her eyes, Erin shook her head.  “It could also be people’s over-active imaginations,” she said.  Moving to the stairs, she said, “In any case, we here as a favor to Lucas.  He’s thinking of buying the place and wants us to check it out first.”

Richard heaved a sigh and nodded.  After everything that her brother had been through and after so long of searching for him, Erin would anything to make him happy.  If that meant going to a reputedly haunted house to see if the reports were real, she was more than willing to do it.  It probably helped that Erin didn’t believe in hauntings in the classical sense.  Ghosts were real, as far as she was concerned.  However, they couldn’t actually harm the living.  In fact, to her way of thinking, the most they could do was make noise and float through you.

When they were halfway up the steps, Richard froze again.  He could hear footsteps in the next room.  Catching Erin by the sleeve, he said, “Did you hear that?  Footsteps?”

Erin heaved a sigh.  “I heard the floorboards creak,” she said, shrugging.  “That could be the wind or the house settling.  No one’s walked on these boards in years, Richard.  They’re going to creak and groan a bit.”

She pulled away and continued up the steps.  As Richard followed her, he couldn’t help but wonder if they weren’t making a mistake.  However, he’d learned from experience that you couldn’t argue with Erin.  Once she took it into her head to do something, she would do it.

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