Up to Mischief

This little story was inspired by a prompt from Tomi Adeyemi’s site.

**

Liesel fought to stifle a chuckle as she followed Keziah and Frieda through the forest towards the old, abandoned house.  They all loved watching shows about haunted houses or unexplained happenings.  Keziah lived in a house that she swore was haunted and Liesel believed that it truly was.  Now, though, they were going to a house that they had heard had been the site of a pretty spectacular haunting.

Frieda gave a stifled scream as she stepped on the porch and the old wood creaked loudly.  Turning to Keziah, she gave a shaky laugh and shrugged.  “It startled me,” she said, her voice faint.

Keziah shook her head.  “If we get arrested, it’s your fault,” she said, waving her finger at Frieda.  Then, she carefully ascended the stairs, with Frieda and Liesel following close behind her.  She hesitated when they reached the door.  Then, she shook herself and grabbed the knob.  Her eyes widened as the door opened with a loud creaking sound that made Frieda shrink back in alarm.

Glancing around, Liesel waved at Keziah to go ahead.  “Go on inside,” she whispered.

Heaving a deep breath, Keziah squared her shoulders and stepped over the threshold.  Liesel and Frieda followed her.  Liesel eased the door closed in their wake, so that no one would know that they’d snuck inside.  Then, she swept her flashlight around the room.

There was no furniture and the walls were entirely bare of decoration.  It was obvious that no one had lived there in quite some time.  She frowned.  “I thought the last people that lived here ran in terror in the middle of the night, never to return?” she asked, heading for the stairs.

“That’s what the stories say,” Keziah replied, doubt creeping into her tone.  She shrugged and said, “Maybe they sent someone to collect their stuff for them?”

“Maybe the never to return part was added later to make the story more dramatic,” Frieda suggested.  When Liesel frowned at her, she shrugged.  “Maybe they ran out in the middle of the night and then came back the next morning to get their things.”

Nodding, Liesel said, “Furniture can be expensive.”  She started up the steps, sweeping her flashlight beam over the dusty old staircase, searching for any sign of ghosts or animals or anyone else that might have thought the old house was a good place to hide.  She saw nothing out of place, but she heard something… rapping.  She froze on the landing and then looked back at her sister.  “Did you hear that?” she breathed.  Suddenly, the idea of exploring a real haunted house was far less appealing.

“What?” Frieda asked, shaking her head.  Then, the sound came again, louder this time.  It sounded like someone was walking towards the stairs and running their hand along the spokes of the railing.  Gasping, Frieda looked back at Keziah.

Their friend had already retreated to the base of the stairs, but she stopped there to wait for them.  “That’s a ghost,” she breathed, shaking her head.  In a hoarse stage-whisper, she added, “We shouldn’t be here.  Let’s get out of this place!”

Frieda looked up at her sister and then tugged at her sleeve.  “Liese, come on,” she said, her voice high and faint.

Liesel hesitated and then she saw a shadow in the light cast by the flashlight she was holding.  There were distinct legs and feet and she could see an arm extending towards the railing.  She shuddered and then spun away, catching Frieda by the hand and dragging her down the steps.  As they passed Keziah, Frieda caught their friend’s sleeve and the three girls ran out of the house together.

They ran, in fact, all the way back to Keziah’s backyard and up the little rope ladder to her tree house.  Then, they buried themselves in the bedding they had spread out on the floor.  For a moment, they all lay there, panting and struggling to catch their breaths.

Finally, Keziah said, “Did you see something?”

Liesel nodded.  She described the legs and the arm.  “I could almost see through it,” she whispered.  She shook her head and then grimaced at Keziah.  “It was pretty neat, but it was really scary at the same time.”

“Maybe… next time, we could visit the haunted house during the day?” Frieda suggested.  When the other girls nodded, she smiled.  “It was pretty fun, though.”

Keziah nodded and then jumped when there was a loud bang at the trap door that led to the ladder into the treehouse.  “It couldn’t follow us back, could it?” she whispered.  Frieda shrugged, Liesel shook her head firmly.  Tensing, Keziah slipped out from under the covers and padded over to the trap door.

She knelt and then grabbed the ring-like handle.  After steeling herself, she flung it opened.  The person on the ladder gasped and all three girls screamed.  “Daddy,” Keziah said, her voice weak.  “You scared us half to death!”

“You’re not the only ones,” Mr. Johnson said, giving a shaky laugh.  Shaking his head, he added, “Your mom wanted me to come out and make sure that everything is all right out here.”  He frowned.  “You girls sure about spending the night out here?”

“Yes, sir,” Liesel said, grinning.  “We like camping.”

Frieda nodded.  “Besides, this way, we won’t keep you and Mrs. Johnson up all night with our giggling,” she said.

He looked at them and then at his daughter.  “You sure?” he asked.

Keziah nodded.  “I’ll be fine, Daddy,” she said, her tone firm.  “I’m not going to be alone, after all.”

Nodding, he leaned up and kissed her forehead.  “All right, then,” he said.  “Good night and don’t stay up all night, all right?”

“We’ll sleep at some point,” Frieda promised him.  She looked at Liesel and added, “It’s not good for you to stay up all night.”

“Good sleep helps me maintain an even keel,” Liesel agreed.  When Keziah frowned slightly, Liesel grinned.  “We’ll stay up for a little longer… just not all night.”

Laughing, Mr. Johnson vanished back down the ladder and Keziah closed the trapdoor behind him.  Then, she heaved a sigh and came back to where they were sitting.  “Maybe tomorrow, we can check out the ghost here,” she said, her voice soft.  “He’s a lot less scary that that other one.”

“Sounds good to me,” Liesel agreed.  It was a good idea, she thought, to start small when it came to checking out ghosts.  They could go back to the old, abandoned house again someday, when they had enough experience for him to not be so frightening.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: