John Egbert was not a chicken. He was however, very susceptible to peer pressure. It was these two small facts that led to him breaking into the abandoned house down on Pike street. His legs were most definitely -not- shaking of course, and anyone who thought otherwise was just stupid.
Gritting his teeth, the young man turned the knob on the front door. It stuck at first and then he pulled upwards and pushed in. Just like Dave had told him, the lock easily got slid out of the way and he was given entrance to the dilapidated building. It was an old house and each step he took into the place made creaking noises along the floorboards. There was dust all across the floors and the sparse furniture. A rotted set of chairs and couches were off to the left, covered with white cloths that made it look like a series of shrouds.
Rubbing his arms to try to stave off the chill, John swallowed and looked around the house. The dare had been to go up to the second floor and place himself in front of the window with his candle. That way everyone would be able to see him and know how long it took him to creep up there. He looked down at the candle and the zippo he'd been given for the dare. Stupid Dave. Why couldn't he just have a normal flashlight that gave off a decent amount of light?
Swallowing nervously, he headed towards the stairs. Even though there were some boards up on the windows, there was enough light on the first floor that he could still see where he was going. It wasn't until he reached the top of the stairs that he needed to take out the zippo and strike it up. The scratchy sound of flint grinding against the wheel made him jump a bit and he took a breath to calm himself. He coughed a couple times from the amount of dust in the air and his hand wavered as he brought it to the candle. It didn't do a lot of good, but somehow it made him feel better to have that small light pushing away at the darkness. There were places on the wall where pictures had once hung, small patches that were slightly lighter than the rest with holes where nails might have been placed at one point.
His teeth ground together and his hands clenched on the zippo and the candle in an effort to keep from shaking. Silently, he counted the doors as he walked down the hallway to get to the room that Dave told him to go to. Fourth one on the right. Just who in the world needed so many bedrooms though? This was on just one side of the house too. If it was under different circumstances, he would have loved to explored and seen just how the old place was set up. His thoughts continued to spin around and he peered into the fourth bedroom as he came upon it. The door swung inwards with a disturbing lack of sound and he headed straight for the window. Best to get this over with as quickly as he could.
When he reached the window, he let a bit of candle wax drip onto the window sill and then stuck it onto it so it wouldn't topple over. The boards were old enough that they could be pried off fairly easily and John shook his hands free of the soreness that came when he tossed them to the side. Licking his lips, he grinned and held up the candle, trying to look out at where Dave and the others were in the driveway. The girls were chattering together about something or other he was sure, but the boys were all watching expectantly. Tavros, the newcomer with the mohawk, jerked a hand up and pointed excitedly, grabbing Dave's arm to catch his attention.
John smirked and waved the candle back and forth slowly to make sure that everyone had enough time to see that he was there. He could see Tavros was waving both hands above his head now and he let out a small laugh, waving back. Now that he could see the others it wasn't too bad. He got the worst of it over with. He got all the way up here, now he just had to casually stroll back down the stairs. Maybe after showboating a little bit. Putting the candle down he tried to motion for the guys to get the girls' attention, wanting everyone to see what he'd done.
A tiny frown passed over his features when he saw that they weren't turning around but more of the boys were waving their hands in the air. Dave's cousin Dirk looked like he was trying to say something but John just shrugged, trying to let them know that he couldn't read lips. There was more jerking of fingers and the young man looked down slightly to the latch that would open the window. Applying a bit of pressure, he grunted and shoved at the window to push it upwards. When the cool wind from outside came in, so did the screams from his friends in the driveway.
Cold chills ran up his spine and John jerked back from the window. His initial thoughts were that it had to be a joke. But with the step that he took backwards, he could feel something against his back. Dimly, he was aware of his friends yelling his name and he turned to face what they were seeing. The entire room changed as he slowly swiveled around. The walls shifting from plain brown wood to a dark red, thick liquid oozing from the ceiling in long streaks to the floor. There was a young man a few inches shorter than him directly behind him when he turned. His skin was too pale and he was practically see through, but his eyes were burning like a pair of coals. What little furniture there was in the room was levitating and circling around.
"Get out." The specter was surprisingly quiet, but the rage in his voice was chilling. "Get out of my room!"
"I'm sorry..." John put his hands up.
The candle was giving a bit more light so he could see that the other young man had bruise marks around his neck that looked like someone had taken a hand to the slender column of his throat.
"You're sorry? Don't be sorry, just get out!"
The specter flung his hands outwards, slamming a chair against the wall and then aiming his fingers at John to send the splintered pieces towards the living one. Ducking down, John scrambled to run back out the door of the room. He could feel the breeze of something getting thrown past his head and saw a lamp crashing into the wall just as he reached the hallway. He swore he'd never run so hard in his life and he was practically tripping down the stairs to get away from the specter. The walls were throbbing like a heartbeat and he felt his breath catch in his throat when he saw that the same red liquid was oozing down the walls in the hallway as well. The spots where pictures used to hang were almost glowing and he could just barely make out the shadows of portraits that were no longer there. Grotesque faces leered at him from the phantom pictures and John yelled in alarm, grabbing the railing of the stairs for support as he hurried down the steps. The candle fell from his fingers, extinguishing before it hit the floor and the zippo followed suit, clicking shut as the top hit the steps and bounced to the next one.
"Why the hell did you come here anyways? I don't need you. I've never needed anyone." The ghost continued to yell at him, following him down the hallway and then along the steps.
"I'm sorry, it was a dare!" John yelled over his shoulder, his feet tripping up and sending him sprawling to the bottom of the stairs. Thankfully it was only a few steps so he didn't end up breaking anything.
"A dare? A fucking dare?! Of course it's a dare. You'd never come to see me on your own. No one ever wants to be here..." The ghost hissed bitterly, his body starting to fade from view. "I don't wanna be here."
John's mouth felt dry and he stared at the spot where the ghost used to be. The sickening color hadn't faded from the walls and he could still see strange things along the walls. There was banging on the front door and the sound of his friends calling his name. Shaking, the young man pushed himself to his feet and hurried to the door. He could hear something scratching against the floor almost in a smooth motion and then there was a dull clanging noise coming towards him. Not turning to see what it was, he ripped the door open and bolted into the arms of his friends. He grabbed the ones closest to him and continued to run, not caring that he sounded shrill as he screamed out.
"Run, just fucking run, the ghost is real."