Friday, 2 October 2009

The House - Chapter One

Kay and Jessica lived six blocks from the house. It was old and a decrepit and was in much need of repair. But it wasn’t always like that. The house used to be like any other on the street. It had its share of reconstructions, additions and coats of paint. Now, however, the house had been left to rot and fall apart; and over the years, Kay and Jessica had watched it do just that as they grew from being little girls to going through school. Something they weren’t too happy to take part in.

School was their least favourite place to be. Kay was known to say that she was only attending to get an education and get the hell outa there! And Jess agreed with her wholeheartedly. They had tried to be in groups, but there was an expectation – a pressure – they weren’t ready for. So, the two hung out together and supported each other when the times were hard and bullies got on their nerves. They lived two houses from each other and so more often than not, they enjoyed taking off around the neighbourhood every weekend on their bikes. Their parents didn’t worry too much about them as they knew where one was, the other was sure to be around.

But the house was a constant point of interest to both of them and most of the population of the small town they lived in. Skeletal trees grew out of the weed-infested front lawn, rotten teeth of a picket fence bordered the property and near the front of the house was a mouldy bird bath that had once held water. At least three days out of the week a light shone dimly in the windows of the house. When squatters took up residence in the place, then were never seen again, rumours sped around the local school. Kay and Jess ignored them; as their parents told them the squatters could have been drug addicts. They didn’t know if they were suppose to believe them or not; instead, they ignored the rumours and what their parents told them and went on with their studies.

One day, though, Kay stopped outside the house and looked at it. Jess noticed a funny expression on her face; it was one she knew all too well and didn’t like. Without warning, Kay walked onto the property and across the dead lawn. She climbed the front steps carefully, hearing them creak as she put her full weight on each of them. Once on the porch, she looked through the dirt-smeared windows; cupping the sides of her face to cut the glare. But saw nothing. Turning, she saw that Jessica hadn’t followed her on to the property and smiled as she motioned her towards her. When the brunette shook her head, the redhead realised that she was terrified and sighed.

She jumped off the porch and landed with both feet next to the birdbath: “What’s wrong? Thought you wanted to see in here one day.”

Jess looked up and down the street as though she was searching for help, but found none, “Yeah, well, I think I’m going to change my mind.”

“Come on, there’s no way we’re going to get in through the front.” Kay motioned her again with her head and waited for her friend. “You really are too jumpy when it comes to places like this. Have I ever steered you wrong?”

“No… but…”

“Well, you’ll never really live if you stay planted to the footpath.” Kay turned and walked off past the rotten remains of a tree and around the side of the house. She pulled out from under the porch a crowbar and shook the dirt off it as she walked along.

Jess ran after her as she looked around again; wondering where she had gotten the time to put a crowbar under the porch. “How did you know that was there?”

“I don’t know. I saw it sticking out of the dirt.” She smiled as the two came to the back garden which was just as horribly cared for as the front yard. Climbing up onto a collection of plastic crates under a window, Kay hooked the crowbar between the sill and the window. She gave it a good hard push down and heard a crack from inside, then a dull thunk. Figuring it may have been a lock that held the window down in place, she pushed the crowbar further in and levered it more so the window weights could be worked up and down the inside sash on either side. She could hear them creepily clonking on her left and right as she pushed the window up carefully and wedged the crowbar in to keep it fully open.

On turning, she smiled, “I think we’ve come to a back parlour.”

Jess jiggled her weight from one foot to the other as though she needed to go to the toilet. “Great, we’re now breaking into an old house that could collapse any time we sneeze. All you care about is what room we’ll be in.”

“Oh, up yours.” Kay frowned: “You coming or not?” she wriggled out of her backpack and let it fall as gently as she could to the floor and clambered in after it, then held a hand out to her friend, “Come on, Jess. This place is empty. What’s the harm?”

“This place is also condemned.” The dark-haired teenager glared.

“You’re a party-pooper.” Kay stood, grabbed her bag and began to walk away from the window and into the gloom of the house.

When Jess saw this, she looked around herself and realised that with all the walls around and vines, nobody could see over the fence. She tossed her bag through the window and was soon behind her friend. The sun glinted through the windows from the front of the house; showing the day was coming to an end. The two looked around the foyer of the old house and saw two old staircases hugging the walls that curved up to the first floor. A cobweb-clustered chandelier hung from a long way up – so far that they couldn’t see where the chain finished. It added a creepy charm to the place. Duffle bags lay here and here as though their owners had just dumped them and were exploring. But they were covered in a thick layer of dust; and there weren’t any voices echoing around the place. Kay knew they didn’t belong to anyone anymore. By the way Jessica grabbed at her arm, she knew as well.

“Kay, this place is givin’ me the creeps.” The brunette’s voice shook, “Let’s get outa here.”

“I’m curious about this place.” Kay smiled in the settling gloom, “Aren’t you? Just a little?”

Jess looked around: “I guess so. But did we have to come here near sunset?”

“It’s after school. And relax, I’ve got torches.” She reached into her bag and pulled out two torches. One was pinched from her father’s fishing gear and the other was her own from her room. She gave her the smaller one. “There ya go.”

“Great give me to piddly one.” She retorted.

“I’m in enough trouble for nickin’ Dad’s fishing torch, now, don’t bust my chops about that one. It’s a good little torch. I changed the batteries this morning.” Kay turned and began walking past the front door and into the one of the larger parlours.

Turning her torch on, Jess quickly followed her, “Don’t leave me here alone.”

“Shit Jess, what’s goin’ to get ya? The boogieman?” Kay called over her shoulder.

“You know this place is ready to fall down around our ears. It’s been here for yonks.”

The redhead turned her torchlight around so it lit up the space nearest her friend, “I know, but haven’t you ever wondered what these places look like inside before they get demolished?”

“Sure I have, but we’ve just broken into a place and are at risk of getting injured.” Jess’s face creased with worry.

The redhead walked to her friend: “You get freaked out too easily.” She smiled as she turned back towards the way they had come in, “We better get back, our folks will begin to wonder if we’re going to show for dinner.”

“Good point.” Jess quickly caught up with her friend in the next room, but not before she shone her torch up to the large chandelier for the last time. In the shadows of the high ceiling, she though she had seen a face, but then it may have been the batteries giving up on her in the farty little torch Kay had given her. Turning away, she grabbed her auburn-headed friend roughly by the arm and swapped torches, “Gimme that. Though I may be crazy right now and paranoid with fear, I thought I saw something.”

Sighing, Kay nodded: “Okay, you saw something in an empty house full of old duffle bags and two stupid teenagers.”

Jess turned on her: “Don’t ridicule me like that! You may not scare easily little miss ‘I-read-Stephen-King-everyday’. But I do and it’s not funny!”

“Hey, Jess.” Kay took her friend’s arm gently, “You should know me by now that I do that just to cover up my fears. I’m just a little edgy, but I’m not shakin’ in my boots.”

Jess looked down at the torch and fiddled with the off-on toggle, “Okay, I’m sorry. I guess you deal with things differently to me.”

“Yeah, I do.” She smiled. Then she took the torch from her slowly, “And I’ll take this just in case you did see something because I know I won’t drop it.”

“But it’s only plastic.”

“Yeah, but the front of it is glass. Dad’ll kill me if I return it broken.” She gave Jess a wry smile: “Besides, show me this thing, we need something to talk about on the way home.”

Jess led her friend into the foyer and pointed up in the darkness where the chandelier’s chain led. “And don’t you dare laugh. Just point that thing up there.”

Smiling, Kay did as her friend instructed and sure enough, there was a face. But Jess’ mouth dropped as there wasn’t just one, there were three. “Oh, holy crap! Let’s get the hell outa here!” she turned and ran into the gloom of the shadows, but Kay was glued to the spot. She wondered how the hell those three had managed to get themselves into such a position, and if they were alive. As if to answer the latter question, one opened his eyes. She let out a startled yelp and followed Jessica. But as she turned to run, the guy she had seen thirty feet above her a second ago stood leaning against the doorframe of the door she needed to leave by.

With a hypnotic stare, he called out to his other two friends: “Boys, we have a couple of intruders.”

“Let me pass.” Kay said quietly, trying to keep her voice from shaking; and succeeding for the time being. “I’ll leave never come back.”

“Really.” He took a step toward her as she took a step back. “What if we want you to stay?”

“Well, tough cheese, I’m goin’.” Kay retorted. But she didn’t move for a moment; not until the guy cleared his throat.

“Thought you were leaving.” A smile pulled up half his face as he moved out of her way and let her pass. He watched her as she sidled past him. He could smell her wild side, and her fear. He so badly wanted to make sure she never left the house – but he knew she was local kid and people would miss her. He had to leave her alone. His eyes followed her to the back window where it was still wedged open with the crowbar. “One thing bothers me about you.”

Kay turned from it: “What’s that?”

“You haven’t asked me how long we’ve been here, why we were up there or any other strange questions about those duffle bags.” He walked to her, glanced outside and saw jess madly gesturing to her to hurry up, “And by the look of her, you’re the level-headed of the two of you.”

“Yeah. I figured it was none of my business.” She shrugged, “But I did wonder about that second thing you said.”

“Michael.” He put out his hand to be shaken, “And you are?”

“Kay.” She smiled, “Pleased to meet you.” On shaking his hand, she felt like she had known him all her life. Gentle whisperings muttered here and there in her mind about him, a lot of it she didn’t quite catch, but she felt a little strange; even though they had only just met. His eyes were captivatingly ice blue; a colour she had never seen on a dark-haired guy before.

“Pleasure to meet you, Kay.” He smiled a little as he kissed her hand gently; never losing eye contact with her face. He was impressed with her courage that she was sticking around to talk to him; considering what he was. As his lips touched the back of her hand, he could smell her young blood through her skin; he wanted her right now; but he liked her as well. He didn’t wish to kill her; he only wished to sire her – there was the difference with this girl.

The window was bashed and Kay turned quickly to see Jessica tapping her watch: “Come on! We’ll both be in trouble!”

Walking back along the footpath, the two were quiet until they reach the end of the block and crossed the road. Jessica handed the yellow torch back to her friend; switching it off as the streetlights flickered into life.

“Who were you talking to in there?”

Kay looked at her quickly: “You saw a guy, right?”

“Yeah, a bit taller than you, dark-haired, really hot-looking.”

The red-head sighed: “Good, I wasn’t the only one who saw him. That was Michael. He nearly didn’t let us leave.”

“Well, I bolted…”

Kay shoved her: “Yeah, thanks for stickin’ around, bitch. You could’ve at least grabbed my arm and pulled me outa there. But your feet did their duty and took you places.”

Jess chuckled: “And yours forgot how to.”

Kay sighed again: “I was wondering something about Michael, but he acted like I had said something about it. He almost told me until you bashed on the window like an idiot.”

“Well, I didn’t want you to get hurt.”

Kay stopped with a slight frown on her face, “How was I going to get hurt?”

Jess stopped a few feet in front of her and shrugged: “Dunno, I just got this creepy feeling he was going to hurt you in some way if you didn’t get way from him.”

“You were really scared of the house today. Normally you’re okay with it.”

“Yeah. I guess it was because it looked creepy at this time of the day and it’s got the notice on the door about it being condemned.” The two began to walk again, this time a little slower than before, “Why did he kiss your hand?”

“I guess to impress me, but he didn’t have an accent or anything like that. So I guess, it’s just something he wanted to do.” Kay smiled. Deep down inside, it bothered her. The gesture was so old-fashioned that she hadn’t even seen her grandfather use it before. But she had seen it in the film ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and that was a story written by one of the Bronte sisters. So, she wondered where in the world the guy she had just met came from.

“…I mean we haven’t seen him around school or anything.” Jess finished. “And you haven’t heard a single thing I’ve said. Nope, didn’t think so.”

“Sorry, I was just wondering where Michael may have come from and how he could have used that gesture. He was acting so strangely and we haven’t seen anyone around school like him either.”

“Oh, so we were thinking along the same wavelength. At least we’re on the same planet right now.” Jess nudged her. “But we have to understand that we can’t go back there, they may be there as escaped convicts from prison or something.”

“Will you relax Jess, we would have heard about it on the news if they had escaped from some place; and it’s highly unlikely they’d hide in a place like that. The town’s too small.” Kay smiled; but it didn’t stay for long. “I hope you’re not in too much trouble for being late.”

“Well, we’re on school holidays now, so I guess our parents will be okay with us being a little late.”

“Jessica!” a shrill voice called from the front door of her house. “You get your butt in here this minute. Where in the hell have you been? You’re grounded until further notice!”

“Oic!” Kay winced as Jess opened the gate and walked in.

“I’ll seeya when I’m thirty.” She smiled, “It was fun being a teenager with ya.” With that said, the brunette walked along to the house and walked inside where the door was slammed and shouting got louder. Wincing again, Kay turned and walked towards her house wondering what was in store for her.

Later that night, she laid on her bed. Fingers crossed behind her head. It was past nine-thirty; two hours since her parents had grilled her about where she had been. They had taken her mobile off her and disconnected her from the net for a week. The mobile was a month without it. While mulling over those two things, some noises at her window caught her attention. Scenes from ‘Salem’s Lot’ flew into her head; but she quickly dismissed them as a pebble hit the bottom pane of glass. Pushing herself up on her elbows, she watched the window, wondering if she saw the pebbles. When it happened again, she swung her legs off her bed and walked over to the window and looked out.

Who she saw standing down there was Michael, and so she opened the window: “What are you doin’ here?” she whispered.

“Had to see you.” He whispered back, “Had to answer some questions you didn’t get to ask.”

Smiling, she turned back and looked at the door of her room. Figuring that her folks weren’t about to check on her anytime soon, she grabbed a jacket and pulled it on and began to climb out the window. The lattice wasn’t very far down and so Kay used it like a ladder and soon reached the ground. As she turned, she smiled: “I was hoping to see you again.”

“I followed you here, but waited until your folks had finished yelling at you.” He paused and looked up at her window, “They’re pretty strict.”

“Yeah.” She smiled a little. “I did get home after dark.”

Taking her hand again, he kissed it, “I wanted to talk to you more, but your friend was really melodramatic.”

“No she wasn’t. We did get in a lot of trouble for being home late.” She said. “And if you want me to not get into trouble again, we better take a walk around the block.”

Smiling, he nodded: “Okay.”

Walking toward the footpath, they kept to the shadows and talked quietly until they were at the end of the block. The two talked about school, where they came from, history of the town, the house, and the people of the town. By the time all of that had passed, they had come the full block. Kay looked at her house for a moment, her watch then looked at Michael. An uncomfortable silence passed between them until he reached up and touched her cheek. Her eyes looked into his ice blue ones for a long moment. In the moonlight his brown hair seemed to have highlights where there were none before. And Kay felt like she couldn’t tear herself away from his gaze.

‘I’m not who you think I am.’ Came his voice into her mind. ‘I understand what you want, but do you want all this power?’

“I don’t know.” She muttered.

He blinked and nodded once: “The very answer I’m looking for.”

“Why ask that?”

“You heard my voice?”


Taking a deep breath, he moved his hand to the tender flesh of her neck. The pulse that rushed through it sped up beneath his fingertips; making his mind race with the wont of taking her. “I like you a lot. May I kiss you?”

“You don’t have to ask.” She smiled.

Touching her shoulder with his other hand, he moved forward and lowered his face to hers until his mouth covered hers softly; gently. Her pulse was fast, he could feel the heat coming off her body as sweat popped out on her. Kay’s mouth was a little clumsy as he realised this was a first kiss for her. “Don’t be scared, I know this is a first for you; it will be a first of many things.”

Giggling nervously, she blushed, “I seemed to be doing it wrong.”

“You’re going better than most I’ve heard of.” He whispered, “Relax. Just let it happen.” He kissed her again and found she was better second time around as her left hand snaked around his neck and played with his hair. Now was the time. Michael knew he wouldn’t get any other time to sire her. And so, holding her close, he nuzzled her neck, kissing her warm cheek.

“Michael.” Her whisper reached his ears, “What are you doin’?”

“Shh.” He looked at her for a moment and smiled, “Do you like me?”

“I’ve only just met you. “ She stepped back, but felt him hold her tighter for a moment. When she gave him hard look and the smiled disappeared, he knew he’d lost her for that night. “Let me go now, Michael. I’ll see you again another night.”

He held her gaze for a minute longer and let got of her arm, “I’m sorry.”

“I admire your wont, but I’m not easy.” She shook her head. “You have to understand that.” Letting a smile pull her face up a bit, she giggled: “Actually, I’ve never kissed guy until tonight; always been a little too shy.”

Nodding Michael gently rubbed the back of his fingers against her left cheek. “You’re not shy. You have wild streak you don’t let out enough. But if you stick with me, you’ll learn how to use it.”

“Okay.” She blushed. “I better get back to my room. My folks will be checking on me in a while.” Turning back to the lattice work, she began to climb and found her way back into her room. She looked out her window and smiled when he waved from the middle of the yard.

“Will I see you again?”

“Yes.” She nodded.

“Good.” He turned and disappeared into the shadows.

Turning from the window, Kay closed it. Her mother was sitting on her bed. Her expression was not one of praise as she sat sideways in the chair at her desk: “You climb down the lattice to see a boy.”

“I’ve never had a boyfriend before.” Kay said. “He’s decent.”

“Why did you tell him that you’d see him again?”

“So that he’d never click you were here.” She said: “He didn’t want to get on your bad side; like I’m on now.”

Her mother sighed rubbing her forehead with the fingertips of her left hand: “What are we going to do with you?”

“Mum. How many things have I done wrong in my life that have really rubbed you two the wrong way?” Kay asked.

Looking up the auburn-haired woman thought about it and came up with a number under twenty. “You’re right. You may be an only child, but as far as being spoilt goes, you’re not.”

“I’m just not the type of kid who sleeps around and spreads rumours or parties. You know that.” Kay said shaking her head, “Jess and I hang out together. We’ve done that for as long as we can remember; and pretty soon we’re goin’ to be heading off to uni or college.”

Her mother sighed again: “We were concerned because you came home so late.”

“It was seven. It’s now school holidays can’t we stay out a little later than usual? It’s not like we’re in a big city.” Kay asked. “I mean, we’d like to have a little more freedom. We’re not little kids anymore; and we are noticing guys.”

Smiling her mother stood and headed towards the door. She pulled out of her pocket the mobile phone and set it next to her bed. “I’ll reconnect your internet tomorrow. Then, I’ll sit your father down and explain how old you are.” Looking at her daughter, she shook her head: “You went and grew up on us; and we weren’t even looking.”

“Sorry.” She stood and walked to her Mum, giving her a hug: “Am I still grounded?”

“Yeah. For the week. I’ll let the meeting of that boy go, but until next week, you’ll have to do errands for me and chores around house.” her mother gave her kiss on the cheek before she left her room. “Good night.”

“Okay.Good night Mum.” She smiled.