“You’re not afraid of ghosts are you ?” Henry jabbed his wife’s arm with his right shoulder.

“No, but you have to admit, the stories about this house are creepy.” Luisa said as she closed her car door, pocketed her keys, and headed towards the old house her husband had just bought.

The house looked like something out of a horror film; It was what nightmares were made of. The paint was peeling off and ever bit of wood looked like it should be tossed out but then the house wouldn’t exist. She knew her husband was cheap but this cheap? How exactly was he planning to pull this off?

“The stories are just that…stories. I wasn’t going to let a few ghost stories chase me away. Can you believe the price for this house? How could I say no?”

“By replying ‘N.O.’ to Alex when he emailed you a picture of this place.”

Alex was standing on the porch of the house swatting bugs away. He had on the ugliest suit Luisa had ever seen and a tie the color of pea soup. He was Henry’s go-to guy when it came to flips. Henry was cheap; Alex was cheaper.

“Don’t say his name so loud, he’ll think we’re talking bad about him.”

“Alex!”Luisa said, disregarding her husband. She stretched her arms out for a hug. “You did a bang up job.”

“You really think so?” Alex blushed.

“By bang up I mean bad. I love you and all but this one is definitely a money trap. When you and my husband get together its war of the cheap-os.” She held both of his elbows in her hands and gave him a peck on the cheek.

“Luisa, we like the finer things that others look over. This house,” Henry opened his hands gesturing to the front door of the house. “is amazing!”

“If you say so.” Luisa wasn’t convinced.

“Oh, it sure is. Wait until you see the inside. Door’s open, watch your step there’s a loose floor board to your left.”

“Wow. This is beautiful. If we could restore it to its former glory, my word, it would sell to the highest bidder.” Henry followed Alex into the house. He was more excited about what the house could be than what it was. He had on fix-and-flip goggles, as Luisa would say.

“Is this the original furniture?” Luisa questioned as she ran her finger  along a very distasteful chair.

“Yes. All the furniture you see here are basically antiques!” Alex said with excitement in his voice.

“Yuck, my granny wouldn’t have picked this out.” She placed her daily planner book on a stand next to a statue of a bust she assumed to be a former president.

“Well, this house was before her time so…” Alex said.

“Even as old as she is.” Henry added.

“Ahhh!” Luisa screamed as her foot fell through the old floor board. “Henry!”

“I was kidding Luisa.” Henry turned to his wife.

“No! My foot is stuck! Alex didn’t you check this house out? Not only is it a money trap, it’s a death trap too.”

The men rushed over to help her free her foot.

“It’s really a lovely house but without maintenance for so long, this is to be expected.” Alex said as he dust off Luisa’s pant leg.

“I can have this all re-done in no time.” Henry smiled at his wife.

“Here are your keys before I forget.” Alex handed two keys to Henry, who then gave one to Luisa.

“It’s skeleton keys. They’ll open and lock any door in here.” Alex added.

“Keys to the castle! We could turn this house into a museum if you really think about it.” Henry’s hand was on his chin. His mind was running wild with ideas.

“And over there ladies and gentleman, is where you might lose a leg. If you look straight ahead, you’ll see a banister that looks like it’s been hacked up by a chainsaw.” Luisa laughed.

Alex had a blank look on his face. “You two might want to stay here for the night. The sold sign might entice people to vandalize the house.”

“Seriously, nature has vandalized this place already.” Luisa had her arms folded as she stared at her husband.

“Sounds like a great idea. I heard a lot of the people who bought this place just gave up and ran off never to be seen again. Vandals could be the reason. That’s enough to make you drop a project.”

“Seriously?” Luisa shook her head in disbelief.

After a bit of convincing, Luisa agreed to stay the night and get a “feel for the house.”

“The sun is going down. We’ve been here a while. I guess I’ll be going…” Alex was about to leave.


They heard a creaking sound coming from upstairs. The house seemed to groan.

“What in the world was that?”The sound startled Luisa.

“Hello?” Henry looked towards the stairs.

“Goodbye!” Luisa turned and headed towards the door.

“Luisa it’s an old house, it’s bound to squeak and creak naturally.” Alex said reassuringly.

“Mice squeak, houses shouldn’t. Henry, Alex you figure it out. You both can play hide and seek with ghost. I’m leaving because there’s no way I’m spending the night here. If vandals decide to come, let them have fun with the things that go ‘squeak’ and ‘creak’ in the night.” She took her car keys out of her pocket and left the house.

Henry stood in the doorway and watched her drive off. “I guess it’s you and me pal.”

“I would love to stay but I have such a huge work load, and my wife is complaining about me working too much, and the kids are asking for…”

“I get it, you can go.”

“How are you going to get home? Where will you sleep? I can run to the store and get you a sleeping bag and candles.”

“No need for that. I’ll have Luisa get me in the morning. And it’s a house, so they’re beds to sleep in” He grinned. “And I saw the stack of candles you brought earlier, that’s more than enough. I have a lighter so don’t worry. I’ll be fine.”

“Ok, just call if you need anything.”

“Sure thing.”

Henry looked on as Alex ran down the front steps. Once Alex was at his car he gave Henry a wave and Henry waved back. He closed the door once Alex started to drive away.

“This door looks like it’s been hacked up.” Henry regarded the door. He stuck his fingers into the cuts deep in the wood. “Luisa would have a field day with this one.”

He turned around carefully avoiding the loose floor board to his left. He walked over to where Alex had left a stack of white stick candles. He took a lighter out of his breast pocket and ran a flame under one of the candles. He did this repeatedly then stuck each candle on any flat surface he could find. He lit their wicks as he finished.
“What was that?”
The noise came from upstairs.
“Hello? Whoever is up there be warned, I’m calling the police right now.” He put his phone in the air.
He placed a few candles in his back pants pocket and proceeded upstairs. He held a candle in his hand and lit it as he walked up the two-way stairs. He stopped at the middle landing the stairs shared and peered down at the house. He admired it for what it could be and what it probably once was.
He turned to face the rooms ahead of him. The house was large and the rooms were big but he managed to search them all. He concluded that if an intruder was in there he would have found them. He chalked it up to what Alex had said earlier.
In his search he found a room that he was fond of. The bedding was covered in a floral print and trimmed with lace and was really the only half decent room  to sleep in.
He burned the bottom of the candle he was holding and placed it on  the dusty vanity. He took another candle from his trousers and lit its wick. He used the first candle’s flame to heat the bottom of the second one and then stuck it to the vanity as well.
“No signal.” He said as he checked his phone. He walked over to the bed and gently got in it. He hadn’t realized how tired he was until his back touched the mattress. His eyes closed instantly.

Henry jumped up. The candles had almost burnt down. “Damn Vandals!” He got out of bed and took a candle out of his pocket; It was broken in half on account of him sleeping on it. He pulled out his lighter and lit the candle.

“Please! Don’t!” A woman’s voice said in the hall.
“What the…” He popped his head out the door then the rest of his body followed. “Luisa? Is that you?”
“You can’t do this!” A woman in a big hoop cage dress shot across the hall from one room to the next.
Henry froze when he saw a tall cloaked figure tracking behind of the woman with an axe. “Luisa, if this is yours and Alex’s Idea of a joke, you can cut it out right now.”

No one paid him any mind.

Once the man had entered the room, which was two doors down from Henry, the woman let out a blood curdling scream. She ran out of the room holding her hand that was now bleeding. She ran passed Henry as if he wasn’t there and sprinted towards the stairs.

It wasn’t Luisa he realized. “Just what in the hell is going on here? You crazies come into my house to pull this crap!” He shouted. “Stop! Stop! Stop!” His entire body shook as he yelled at the top of his lungs.
The woman halted and turned around seeming puzzled. The axe man stopped then fixed his gaze on Henry.

“Run!” The women screamed.

Henry’s eyes widened as the man started towards him. “What do you want?” Henry dropped his candle and it outed as it fell. He made way for the stairs.

He ran down the stairs, skipping every couple of steps. The woman was nowhere in sight. Surprisingly the candles downstairs were still going.He hurried over to the door and began to undo its locks. They wouldn’t move, not one lock budged.
“Come on, you stupid door!” He jiggled the doorknob fiercely.
“Ahhhhhh!” The woman screamed again.
Henry turned around just in time to see the axe wheeling man come up behind of him. He ducked down.
*Whack* The axe landed in the door right above his head. The man plucked it up with ease and swung again. *Whack* Henry dodged once more.
“Don’t let him hurt them.” The woman cried out.
“Who the hell is ‘them’ lady?”
Henry watched the woman scurry back up the stairs. He wished the windows didn’t have shutters because he swore if they didn’t he would’ve crashed through them. He wished he had gone home with his wife. He wished he didn’t buy this crappy old house.
He ran back up the stairs. He hadn’t taken into account how awful the two-way stairs were until he saw the axe man in front of him, who had used the other set of stairs to cut him off at the top. He swung his axe wildly at Henry, missing every time. He hit the rail of the stairs with every miss.
He swung his axe once again and Henry leaned back and turned his face to the left. The axe grazed him on his cheek, right under his eye. The man swung with such force that he tilted forward. Henry used all of his strength to pushed him down the stairs.
He ran into the first bedroom of that floor. He found the woman and two children crouched in one of the corners. They were the ‘them’ she was talking about. He searched in his pants pocket for the skeleton key Alex gave him. He exited the room and locked the woman and children inside.
*Whap* The axe man hit Henry with the back of the axe. He fell to the ground.
“You shouldn’t be here! You shouldn’t have come!” He snarled at Henry as he stood over him.
Henry slowly tried to crawl away. It was no use, the man grabbed him by his shirt and dragged him to the stairs landing.
Henry laid on the floor helpless. He covered his face as the man raised his axe above his head a brought it down. Henry shut his eyes.
The sun creeped through cracks of the house wall. Henry could see the light even with his eyes closed.
He was alive!
“I must of been dreaming.”
The front door started to rattle then open. Luisa stepped in. “One cheap door that’s hard to open, check!”
“Luisa! You wouldn’t believe the night I had.” Henry walked down the stairs.
“There you are!”
“Yeah, here I am.”
Luisa got her phone out and called Alex. “Hey, Alex. Seems like you and my husband’s slumber party is over.” She laugh.
“Huh?” Henry was confused.
“I mean, I’m here at the house and your car is gone. I came back for my planner, I left it here last night. I tried calling Henry but I think his phone is dead.” She was standing under the stairs now.
“What do you mean he’s not with you?”
“I’m right here, Luisa. What are you talking about?” Henry flung his hands up and down.
“If he’s not with you then where is h…? Luisa felt something hit the top of her head. She started to turned her gaze upwards when she felt something hit her forehead. She brought her head back down then felt to see what it was.
“Blood?” She spread it between her fingers. She looked up and in her horror let out a loud scream.

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