“Bro, I don’t know why I let you talk me into this dumb shit,” said Brent, carefully pulling the briar from his new sweatshirt so it didn’t snag any more than it already had.

“Why didn’t you stay home if you were gonna be a little bitch? And if you’re not actually gonna use the flashlight then give it here because I can’t see shit,” said Allen.

“Sorry that I refuse to fuck up my full ride next year because for some reason you’ve recently become obsessed with this old dude. We should be out drinking with Jessica and Rey, trying to get laid. Instead we’re balls deep in the woods, about to break into some old dude’s house.”

“Spoiler alert–I’ve had both. You’re not missing anything. And I don’t know why you’re trying to brush off the fact that something is clearly not right with this guy.”

“Are you a doctor now? Some people don’t like being around other people. Doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with him.”

“He moved in three months ago and I haven’t seen him once. Not one time. Does he have enough groceries to live for three months? Never had somewhere he had to be? No breakfast with a daughter or a doctor’s appointment? Old people go to the doctor. And there hasn’t been one car come or go the entire time. Not one.”

“You do realize you’re not home all the time. Maybe you guys are just on different schedules. Maybe he works nightshift.”

“He’s eighty, you fuck. He’s retired.”

“And how do you know that?”

“Ackerman’s mom was the real estate agent that closed on the property.”

“And she lived to tell about it? Guess he’s not a vampire.”

“I don’t think he’s a vampire, dick cheese. I do think he’s a weirdo. You know, like the kind that locks little kids up in his basement kind of weirdo.”

“You made that assessment based on absolutely nothing besides the fact that you have never seen him. I think you might be the one that’s a little off. You been sittin’ in on too many Lifetime movies with your mom.”

“If anything, I been watchin’ too many movies with your mom. Except we don’t get a lot of watching done, if you know what I mean,” said Allen, elbowing Brent in torment.

“Shh! Shut the fuck up,” said Brent, grabbing Allen’s arm in a panic.

“Get off of me,” said Allen, pulling himself free and dusting his arm off like Brent was crawling in germs.

“I heard something.”

“Yeah, me too. It’s the woods. Things live here.”

The thick woods came to and end, and the trees were replaced by the long yard of Mr. Donley. In the middle of the yard sat an old farmhouse. It used to belong to an elderly couple. Brent remembered seeing the police tape stretched across the entrance to their driveway when he was a child. The wife had been terminally ill for a couple years when she and the husband decided they were both ready to go. He shot his wife in the head and himself directly afterwards. Tales of hauntings kept the house vacant for over ten years until recently, when Mr. Donley moved in from out of state.

The house wasn’t a welcoming sight. The white paint had chipped away in more places than it hadn’t. The shutters matched the roof, in a faded blueish gray that hadn’t been repainted in the last twenty-five years. Mr. Donley hadn’t even gone as far as to fix the broken window on the second floor’s spare bedroom.

“Are you serious? As if this wasn’t creepy enough, there just has to be fucking bats hovering over the chimney. I’ve seen this movie too many times. I’m out,” said Brent, turning back to the woods, but Allen grabbed him by the arm.

“You’re not bailing on me now. This is the easy part. The dude’s ancient. The master bedroom is in the top floor, opposite corner of the basement door. There’s no chance he hears us. Trust me. Nothing to worry about.”

“Every time you say ‘nothing to worry about,’ something really bad happens.”

Something scurried through the woods behind the two teenagers, snapping the branches of the forest floor as it passed.

“What the fuck was that?” asked Brent, spinning with the flashlight, frantically waving it in the woods until Allen ripped it from his hands.

“You just shined the light right on the damn house,” said Allen, pulling the batteries from the bottom. “It’s covert time.”

 “I’m not going back in those woods. I still don’t understand why the fuck we didn’t just walk down Speidel Lane and come down the driveway.”

“You would be a terrible burglar.”

“It wasn’t until you used that word that I realized how fucking stupid you are. You know how much trouble we could get in for this?”

“Shut the,” said Allen, covering Brent’s mouth as he pulled him down behind the old, rusted propane tank in the middle of backyard.

“What is it?!”

“I said shut the fuck up!” said Allen, peaking around the tank. “I thought I heard something.”

They waited for a silent moment before Brent forced Allen to follow him to the side of the house. They peaked into the kitchen window, but neither of them could see a thing.

“I don’t like this. I don’t like this at all,” whispered Allen. “There’s not one light on.”

 “It’s two in the morning. Most people have their lights off. Especially old people.”

“Yeah, but we should at least see a little red microwave number or a green dot on a cable box or something.”

Allen waited for another smartass remark, but Brent’s presence was absent.


The sound of the fallen leaves ruffled in the grass around the edge of the house.


Again, there was noise, this time coming from behind Allen in the form footsteps.

Allen’s heart raced. Just as he went to make for the woods, something grabbed him from behind, with one hand around his torso and the other covering his mouth. He screamed as loud as he could, but it was muffled by the palm.

“SHH! It’s me, you fuck. It’s me!” said Brent, turning Allen to face him. “You have to see this.”

They rounded the house to the basement door entrance. Someone had beat them to it. Splinters of wood covered the dirty, concrete floor, where the door had been forcefully kicked in.

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