“CAUTION: Haunted House” – a dabble in horror

 by Brianna G. Harte

Walking up to the haunted house attraction, he sighed, deciding that this one would have the same cheap effects as all the others: volunteers dressed as zombies, fake bloody body parts, spiderwebs, and a few scares here and there. The front of the house certainly did not impress him, with a “CAUTION: Haunted House” sign displayed near the mailbox, and apparently passerbys did not have second thoughts about stopping in their costumes they bought off eBay. Fake skeletons lay on the lawn chairs with spiderwebs strewn over their hands and crawling over the columns of the building. While the sides of the house clearly were wearing, with mushrooms beginning to sprout amongst the panels, he simply shrugged. His friends had convinced him to go. To get out of the house and not lay around watching videos like he would usually on weekends.

As he and his four friends stepped onto the porch, hooting of owls and deep, mystifying music filled the air. The inside was filled with darkness. Tiny flickers of light showed at the tables off in a little distance, with the first carrying a large painting with spiderwebs clasping the frame. Only when a real spider climbed onto the picture itself did he have to take a second look at it. Initially, he saw a woman wearing an old white and red Elizabethan-era dress with a dull smile. But this time, it was a withering old woman wearing the same dress, only worn and musty. Her cheeks sank and wrinkles took residence across her face. He deducted that it must have been a screen with pre-loaded photos set to change the display every so often. No one else took notice.

Their short journey drew onward to a view of a jailed man with blood on his fingers and the words “You’re mine!” or “You won’t keep me locked up forever! I’ll get my revenge!” shouted every few minutes. There was a loud screech. It had to come from behind them, and it seemed to be one of the most impressive parts of the attraction yet. No static could be heard from speakers. It was pure screech, that is, until a bat swooped in from above. The small creature blended in well with the black ceiling, so its sudden appearance took everyone by surprise. It was fast too. His eyes could hardly process the bat’s movements before it disappeared again. Only a second passed before the creature came down again, causing some of them to yelp and duck.

“That thing’s real!”

“It’s ok. It’s just because the door’s been open. No problem,” one of the others assured her.

As they proceeded, it got more intense. People started to scare them, popping out of corners in elaborate costumes with animalistic masks, starting to chase them for a little while. More realistic gore was presented the further they walked, and they tried to advance at a quick pace to avoid the bat again. Then, out of the blue, came a pure scream. A scream of terror. Heavy steps pounded the floor, coming from the direction that the scream came. Another scream came, nearly shaking the house.

They looked at each other, quickly deciding to bolt. The group ran as fast as they could, not wanting to figure out what that meant. Their hearts hammered at their chests. Their legs complained at the speed. Their eyes begged to see more light. They were blind. Their minds said RUN. RUN WHILE YOU CAN.

It was only after they exited the building and were off driving on the road could they breathe in ease. Or, rather, easier. None of them said a word on the way back.

Copyright © 2015 Brianna G Harte. All rights reserved.

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