Day 1

 

A Bad Idea…

 

  ‘I don’t think this is a good idea,’ I got out of the car and closed the door quietly but didn’t move away from the car.  Already the sky was starting to cloud over and the tall trees were dark and looming in the distance.  A shiver ran through me had nothing to do with the falling temperature.  I reached for the tiny silver heart that hung from my bracelet, it felt warm to the touch but it calmed me as I fiddled with it.  Up ahead, partly hidden by the trees was our destination. 

  ‘It’ll be fun,’ my friend, Tara joined me swinging her camera bag over her shoulder as she lifted her camera and began snapping pictures.

  ‘Explain to me how breaking and entering into an abandoned house where four people were brutally murdered is fun,’ I rubbed my arms wishing that I had brought a coat.

  ‘It’ll be an adventure,’ Tara turned her camera on me, snapping off a couple of shots.  ‘The photos from this house will finish off my exhibition perfectly.’

  Tara was a skilled photographer with an uncanny knack for capturing the of old derelict buildings.  She was currently shooting for her first exhibition which had come about through a cancellation.  She had been given about four weeks’ notice to prepare which is why we were here.

  ‘Are you sure that Ellie couldn’t make it?’  I pushed my hands into the pockets of my jeans.

  ‘She’s working late today but she said that she’d drop by if she can get out.’

  ‘Maybe we should wait,’ I was stalling now.  I really didn’t want to spend my Friday prowling around a haunted house.  And I knew it was haunted.  Tara is a great photographer, Ellie is studying to be a fashion designer and me?  I see ghosts.  It’s a gift I’ve had since I was a little girl and a complication that I could seriously do without although it can work to my advantage in my work as a researcher.  It can also work against me, which is why I am now unemployed.  I had been fired from a position as Senior Researcher because of what I had uncovered (a ghost of a former employer had told me) and which is why I was free on a Friday afternoon to explore a haunted house with my best friend.

  ‘We could see if she turns up,’ Ellie was the one who was always sensible with her feet so firmly on the ground that she was up to her ankles in dirt.  She certainly kept me grounded especially as she didn’t believe in anything paranormal including ghosts. 

  ‘It looks like it’s going to rain,’ Tara glanced at the sky.  ‘And I want to get some shots before then.’

  ‘Are you sure about this?’ The hairs on the back of my neck were standing up.  ‘Maybe we could come back with Ellie.’

  ‘My exhibition is next week,’ Tara reminded me, ‘I need a couple of days to edit the photos and get them ready for the exhibition.’

  ‘And you do know that the house is haunted?’ I made one last attempt to stall.

  ‘That’s the best bit,’ Tara turned to face me.  ‘You can tell me where the ghosts are and I can take photos of them.’

  ‘You lured me here so you can take photos of ghosts?’ I wasn’t really surprised.  Tara had known about my gift for a couple of years now and she was completely fascinated by ghosts.

  ‘I didn’t lure you here,’ Tara checked her lens.  ‘I asked if you would come with me and you said yes.’

  I took a deep breath. ‘Come on then.  Let’s get this over with.’

Together we walked up the overgrown path towards the house that was now little more than dark menacing shadows. With every step I took, I could sense the ghosts that were trapped in the house. I hadn’t even opened up my senses yet so I knew this was going to be difficult especially as all I could think about was a strong Italian espresso. I had to content myself with one of the coffee chocolates that I always carried in my back.

  ‘How are we going to get in?’ I asked hoping that all the doors and windows were bricked up.

  ‘Well, it’s funny you should mention that.’

  I raised my eyebrow at here but I don’t think she noticed in the fading light. Either that or she was ignoring me.

  ‘I heard a rumour that someone broke in and that the back door is now open.’

  ‘Well, fancy that,’ I stepped over a pile of rotting garbage.  This house had been empty for years with no-one wanting to live there. Instead, it had become the go-to place for the local drunks and junkies who were the only ones brave enough to enter.  Most of the windows were smashed, graffiti scrawled on the outside walls and beer can littering the overgrown garden.  The reputation of the house continued to grow.

  Tara seemed to know where she was going so I followed in her footsteps as I reminded myself that I was doing this for her.  She was one of my two best friends and I would do anything to help either of them – including traipsing around an abandoned haunted house.

The back door was not only open but it was hanging off its hinges and Tara slipped unhesitatingly inside.  I wondered if she would be so eager if she knew what was waiting inside…  I followed rather more reluctantly.  Inside the house reeked of damp, mildew and something that I couldn’t identify and wasn’t sure I wanted to...