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The Believer's Dictionary

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Was there any better atmosphere for investigating a haunted house than a thunderstorm? Clear skies would likely be better, because the thunder would probably interfere with any EVP they might capture, and it'd definitely give Shane a way to explain any sounds they'd hear, but the entire atmosphere of spookiness was enhanced by the dreary weather. In Ryan's opinion, this was the perfect time for them to be investigating a creepy, abandoned mansion. They'd be staying overnight in the most haunted room of all; the ballroom. Of course, Shane couldn't help but be his usual self, and suggest that each of them take time to lock themselves in the butler's pantry connecting the ballroom to the kitchen. 

Ryan’s eyes widened as the door slammed shut behind him. “Jesus Christ, Shane. Did you have to slam the door like that?!” he asked.

“Two minutes, Ryan; you know the drill,” Shane teased from the other side of the door.

Ryan rolled his eyes and took a breath to calm himself. It didn’t really work, because he was breathing in dust that seemed to take the place of the oxygen in his lungs. Every time they did this, he felt as abandoned as the house they were investigating. He felt like the door behind him would never open, Shane would leave, and he’d be left here to rot. Of course, objectively, he knew he was being silly. He knew that out of the camera crew and all their friends, someone would eventually find him. Still, with all the joking Shane did, he sometimes wondered where his tall friend would draw the line. What joke would finally be enough for Shane to say enough-is-enough?

While Ryan was thinking on this, he felt something brush his elbow. “Shane, I thought you were going to stand outside!” he said.

There was no reply, and Ryan started to feel that creeping feeling of dread again. His mind felt like it was numbing, and his senses started to heighten. Everything seemed to be moving in slow-motion as he turned to look behind him, only to find that there was nothing there. Suddenly, there was a breath on his neck. He whipped around, and still, there wasn’t anything there.

“Shane, how long has it been?” he asked. Still, he got no response.

When a heavy box fell off the shelf at the other end of the room, Ryan finally decided he’d had enough, and booked it out of there. He ran out of the room and slammed the door shut behind him, but when he looked in the hallway, Shane was nowhere to be seen? Had he actually been abandoned to the room by himself? Suddenly, a hand landed on his shoulder, causing him to let out a scream to rival any horror movie maiden. He turned around to see Shane, looking at him with some mixture of concern and amusement.

“You alright there, buddy?” he asked.

“Where the hell did you run off to?” Ryan replied. “I thought you’d left me behind.”

Shane rolled his eyes. “Oh come on, I’d never do that. I’d miss scaring you too much,” he explained. “My camera battery died, and I had to get another one from the bag.”

Ryan was so relieved that he didn’t even get annoyed at the statement. He breathed out a laugh, and leaned against the wall in the hallway while Shane went into the room by himself. He truly believed that Shane wouldn’t abandon him, and the feeling gave him more comfort than he thought it would.