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Living a Nightmare

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I’m gonna be upfront with you. I’ve never believed in ghosts. Don’t get me wrong, I always loved ghost stories and fake haunted houses, but I’ve never once thought ghosts could actually be real. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t curious, though, about the house in my hometown that was rumored to be haunted. It was a nice house, with two stories and decent-sized front and back yards, but it had a grim history about it. For the past hundred years, it had been through several hundred owners, and no one had ever lasted long. People would move in, hoping for a fresh start, and end up moving out or committing suicide in a matter of months or even weeks. And it’s not just the residents either; houseguests and kids sneaking in on dares have all either come out traumatized or not at all, and those who do come out either kill themselves or check into mental hospitals in the long run. I avoided that house, not because I believed the rumors, but because I was afraid of getting in trouble. I had a feeling that there was something about that house that wasn’t quite right; there was simply too much horrible history behind it to say it was just a coincidence. Still, I never believed it was haunted. That is, not until recently.

It all started just a few months ago. I was in my last semester of high school when I heard that a new family was moving into the legendary house. A couple and their high school-aged daughter, who was coincidentally my age and would be going to my school. Like the rest of the town, I wondered if this family knew about the house’s history and how long they’d last, but I still didn’t believe it was haunted. The new girl started attending high school with me, but for the first few days I left her alone. I knew other students were staring at her and whispering, “Do you think she knows? Should we tell her?” and I didn’t want to give her any more trouble. Besides, I keep to myself mostly anyway. I’m friendly with a lot of people, but not close to anyone my age. I’ve just never really been able to relate to my peers. I’d rather read and watch horror movies than gossip and go shopping.

But all that changed one day at lunch. I was sitting up against the art department, watching the other students from a distance, eating my peanut-butter-and-honey sandwich and reading a horror novel. The sound of someone clearing my throat pulled me out of the novel I was getting lost in, and I looked up. There, standing in front of me, was the new girl. She had that cautious look of a new student wanting to make friends, but she was also pretty, with that kind of face that made you want to smile and introduce yourself.

“Excuse me,” she said shyly, “but may I sit with you?”

I was taken aback by this request. People sometimes say hi to me when they pass by, but they never ask to sit with me, especially when I’m reading a book. “I don’t know if I’ll make good company,” I finally said. “I’m not much of a talker.”

“That’s okay,” she replied. “I get nervous in big crowds, and everyone here sits in huge groups.”

“Well, I guess you can sit here if you want,” I answered, nodding my head towards the spot next to me.

“Thanks,” she said gratefully, taking a seat beside me and pulling out her own sandwich. “I’m Lane Jarvis, by the way.”

“Marina Tucker,” I introduced myself. “So how do you like it here?”

“I guess it’s okay.”

“You guess?”

Lane hesitated. “Well,” she said slowly, “people seem nice when they talk to me, but I see them looking at me and whispering. I don’t know why. Is it because I’m new?”

“Maybe,” I replied. “But it’s probably also where you’re living. Do you know much about your house?”

“Not much,” she admitted.

“It’s got a pretty grim history,” I told her. “There are rumors that it’s haunted, too, but I don’t really believe it.”

“Oh,” she said softly, looking almost disappointed. This left me curious.

“Why? Do you believe in stuff like that?”

“I didn’t think so, but now I’m not so sure.” She looked bothered as she spoke. “Some weird things have happened since I moved in.”

“Like what?”

“Well, there was the day we first moved in and I was unpacking my things. I hung a picture up on the wall and turned around to get another one. When I turned back the picture was gone, and I turned around again and the picture was back in the box.”

“Maybe you just thought about putting that picture up but didn’t actually do it,” I suggested. “I do things like that sometimes.”

“That’s what my mom said,” answered Lane, frustrated. “But I clearly remember doing it and I wouldn’t make up something like that!”

“Okay, okay,” I said hastily. “I’m just throwing out suggestions as to what might have happened.”

Lane relaxed a bit. “I know. I’m sorry to put you through this after only just meeting you. It’s just that some other weird stuff has happened after that. Mostly just stuff moving around on its own, but my parents don’t believe me when I tell them!”

“It’s fine!” I reassured her. “You were stressed and you needed to vent! Did it help?”

“…I think so,” she said, and she looked pretty relaxed, too. “Maybe it is all in my head. Maybe I’m just stressed about moving to a new place right before graduation.”

“That’ll shake anybody up,” I said sympathetically. “But you’ll get through it.”

We spent the rest of lunch talking about what classes we had, and while we didn’t share a class, we were taking a few of the same classes, just in different periods. On a whim I asked her if she wanted to study calculus with me after school, and she said yes! At the end of lunch we said goodbye and went our separate ways.

The next couple of weeks were some of the best I ever had. Lane and I spent our days studying together and getting to know each other. We learned that we had a lot in common; we liked the same kinds of music and we both grew up watching SpongeBob, and hated how the show seemed more sadistic lately. Finally I had a friend I could talk to, who I looked forward to seeing at the end of the day and felt perfectly comfortable with. We started hanging out at my house and my parents thought she was wonderful. Life was great, except for one small problem. Whenever we greeted each other at the beginning of the day, she seemed pretty tired, and when she wasn’t tired, she was hazy. She would always break out of it and become her usual self again, but as the days went by, it took longer and longer for her to break out of it. One afternoon when we were in my room doing homework, I asked her about it.

“I don’t sleep well at night,” she admitted. “I keep thinking I hear weird noises, like floorboards creaking and voices whispering, only when I look there’s no one there. I swear I heard someone right next to me whispering to run when I was reading the other day. I heard it crystal clear, but I checked and I was all alone. And even when I don’t hear these things,” she added, growing more agitated, “I feel this sense of foreboding, like I really should leave or something terrible will happen! Sometimes I get so scared I leave the house in the middle of the night and go out walking, and even after I’ve calmed down, I know I can’t go back in there!” She stopped to take a deep breath, and there were tears in her eyes. I immediately went up to her and wrapped my arms around her.

“Why didn’t you tell me before?” I asked. I was worried; we’d talked about a lot of things in the short time we’d known each other, but she’d never mentioned she was afraid of her house.

“I didn’t think you’d believe me,” she murmured into my shoulder. “You don’t believe in ghosts.”

“Maybe not,” I answered, “but there’s definitely something there that’s making you upset, ghosts or not. Did you tell your parents?”

“A few times. They think it’s just ‘cause I miss my old home and this is a new, unfamiliar place. But we’ve moved before and I’ve never felt anything like this!”

“Do you ever sleep there?” I asked, mainly because I thought she just might be sleep deprived. I wanted to make sure this wasn’t the result of insomnia or anything like that before I started believing the rumors that the house was haunted.

“Not much,” she admitted. “I’m scared to fall asleep in case there really is something there. And even when I do, I get nightmares.”

“What kind of nightmares?”

“Well, sometimes I’m lying in my bed and there are people standing over me telling me to get out of there. Then there are the dreams where I’m watching people attack and kill each other or themselves, and I want to stop them, but I can’t move or talk. The dreams are pretty much always like that, but with different people every time. And then, last night, I had the worst one of all…” She broke off at that point, just clinging to me like a small child might to their parent.

“What happened?” I pressed gently.

“There was a little boy trying to pull me out of my bed. He was telling me urgently, ‘Run, miss! You have to run!’ I tried to calm him down but he wouldn’t listen. He just kept saying, ‘No, miss! You need to get out of here!’ It’s coming to get you like it got us!’ Then he whipped his head around, let out a squeak of fear and immediately took off sprinting, yelling, ‘Hurry, miss! Run!’ I looked over where he’d been looking and there was something coming towards me, and I got this feeling in my gut that this thing was pure evil. That’s when I woke up and I saw that my closet door was wide open, but I know I’d closed it right before I went to bed! I screamed and ran out of the house, and when I was outside, it felt so warm and free! I just couldn’t go back in there!” She stopped, taking deep breaths, as I tried to wrap my brain around this news.

“Can we do our homework at your house tomorrow?” I finally asked. “I want to see this house for myself.” Lane looked surprised.

“…I guess so,” she said, “but this stuff happens more at night.”

“But it HAS happened in the daytime?”

“…Yeah. Sometimes.”

“So is it okay if I check it out?”

“I’d like that,” she admitted. “I’ll let my folks know you’re coming over.”

The next day I drove Lane to her house and we walked in.

Let me tell you a little bit about the layout of the house. You walk into the living room, and from there you can go straight into the kitchen/dining room, or you can go to the right into the hallway. The hallway will either take you to the garage, family room or bathroom. In the family room, there’s a staircase that leads to the second floor. From there, you can go straight to Lane’s parents’ room, or you can take a left down the hallway and eventually come to Lane’s room, the guest bedroom or bathroom. When I went to Lane’s house that afternoon, we went straight into the kitchen, where Lane’s mom was at the table doing taxes or something like that.

Lane cleared her throat and her mom glanced up. “Mom,” said Lane, “this is my friend Marina. The one I was telling you about.”

Lane’s mom got up and walked over to me with a smile. “Well hello there, Marina,” she greeted me. “Lane has told me a lot about you.”

“Only good things, I hope?” I replied.

“So far,” she laughed.

Lane interrupted us. “Marina, I’m gonna use the bathroom, and then Marina and I are gonna go to my room and do our homework.” She gave me a significant look, and I knew she also wanted me to look for moving furniture or voices.

When Lane left, her mom sighed and sat back down. “I’ve been worried about Lane lately,” she told me. “She’s so much more anxious than she normally is, and when she’s not trying to get out of the house, she’s jittery and suspicious. At first I thought it was just the move, but we’ve moved before and it’s never been like this. Has she said anything to you?”

“Some,” I replied. “What has she told you?”

“Well, she started out saying she thought furniture was moving by itself and that she kept hearing voices when she was alone, but she admitted it might be her mind playing tricks on her. But as time went on, she started saying maybe it’s not all in her mind. Then she started telling us that she was getting nightmares and that there was something wrong with the house. I know she’s been sneaking out in the middle of the night, and I’ve confronted her about it, told her it’s dangerous, but she looked me in the eye and told me, ‘The only danger is inside this house.’”

“Do you believe her?” I asked.

“I didn’t at first, but then I noticed that when I stay in the house for extended periods of time, I start to feel… out of it. And I get this sense that I’m not welcome here. When we first moved in I thought it was just nerves from the move, but the feeling has persisted. It’s not just the house either; the whole town has been treating us strangely. I think the house may have something to do with it; that’s why I went to the library today to look up relevant history. When I was looking up old historical accounts, the librarian came over and asked pleasantly if she could help me with anything. I told her I’d just moved into a new house and was looking up its history. She asked me which house that was and when I told her, she instantly became cold and aloof, told me she couldn’t help me and asked me to leave. Now I know it has to do with the house!”

“The house has a really grim history,” I told her. I hesitated before continuing. “…A lot of murders and suicides have happened here; a lot of people have gone insane; everyone says it’s haunted. I didn’t believe it at first, but now I’m not sure what to think. I just know Lane’s really upset.”

Mrs. Jarvis hummed thoughtfully, but didn’t say anything as Lane returned from the bathroom.

“I’m ready to do homework when you are, Marina.”

“Cool,” I smiled at her before turning back to her mom. “It was nice to meet you, Mrs. Jarvis.”

“You too, dear,” she said with a smile, although she still looked troubled. “Remember, you’re welcome here anytime.” I thanked her before going upstairs with Lane.

When we arrived in her room, I asked her, “So, where has this weird stuff all happened?” She pointed out places where she’d put things, where they’d moved, where she’d been when she’d heard the voices, and then to her closet. I walked over the closet and opened the door, half expecting a monster to jump out, but nothing was there but Lane’s clothes.

“Well, you didn’t expect to find anything, did you?” She sounded frustrated. “Things like that only come out when you’re not looking for them.”

“Touché.” We sat down on her bed. “What did this thing look like?”

“It was a cloaked figure,” she described, with fear in her eyes. “It had these scaly hands and glowing red eyes, it had this menacing laugh and it glided towards me, getting closer and closer, and then I woke up.”

“Well, let’s keep an ear out for anything strange,” I replied. “If you see or hear anything, tell me.”

The next hour consisted of us doing homework, nothing really interesting, except… Well, I didn’t notice the feeling at first because it came on gradually, but by the time we were both finished, I had a really bad case of the jitters.

I spoke up, “Lane, I think I know what you mean. I have this feeling like I’m not welcome here. I don’t know if it’s ghosts, but I do believe something is up.”

“Maybe you’re just feeling it because of what I’ve told you,” she suggested, although she sounded like she really didn’t want to believe that, like she really wanted to believe I was experiencing what she was experiencing.

“Maybe,” I answered. “But let me know if anything else weird happens.” I got up to leave. We walked downstairs, and I told her mom, “I would really look up this house’s history. Demand that the librarian help you if you have to.”

I said goodbye to Lane and her mom and left the house, and that’s when I got a huge shock. Not an electric shock; an emotional one. I was walking to my car when a voice whispered in my ear, “Your friend is in danger.” I whipped my head around, but no one was there. Feeling shaky now, I climbed into my car and thought about telling Lane. I ultimately decided against it; she had enough on her plate.

That night, I was jerked awake by my cell phone ringing. I answered it with a groggy, “Hello?”

“Marina, it’s me,” Lane’s voice answered, crying.

“Lane, what’s wrong? What time is it?”

“It’s 3 in the morning. I’m so sorry but I didn’t know where else to go! I’m outside your house!”

“Hang on a sec,” I answered, trying to wake up. “I’ll let you in.”

I walked to the front door, opened it up, and Lane immediately ran into my arms, sobbing.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” I exclaimed. “Take it easy!”

“I’m sorry,” she whimpered, trying to stifle her cries. “I’m just so scared. Tonight… tonight…”

“Shhh…” I tried to soothe her. “Let’s sit down.” I guided her into the kitchen and made her a mug of tea. “Now tell me what happened.”

“Okay,” she said, taking deep breaths. “So I was trying to relax tonight, reassuring myself that nothing was gonna happen, that I could tell you if something did happen, and that I didn’t have anything to worry about. I guess it worked, because I managed to doze off, and that’s when I had another nightmare.” She shuddered and took a sip of her tea. “I watched my closet open and that cloaked figure came out. I was terrified, but this time it didn’t come towards me. It went straight to my door and left my room. Somehow, at that moment, I realized it was going to my parents’ room, so I snuck out of my room and after that thing. I was afraid of it, but I was more afraid of what it might do to my parents. We went into their room, and it glided towards my mom’s side of the bed and reached for her, and I started to reach for them, and then I woke up. I sat right up in my bed and looked around…” she whimpered, and I gave her an encouraging look. “…And my door was open and my mom was standing there, looking at me with a look that was almost… hungry. And she was holding a big knife, the kind you use to chop vegetables. I screamed, oh God I was so scared! And then Mom snapped out of it! She shook her head, saw the knife, saw me looking scared, and said faintly, ‘Oh Lane, I’m so sorry! I don’t know what got into me!’ I just got out and ran out to my car, determined to get out of there! The first place I thought to go was here! I didn’t mean to wake you up in the middle of the night, I just didn’t know where else to go!”

At that point, she just broke down crying. All I could do was hug her and wonder how in the hell we were going to solve this problem.

“Shhh…” I shushed her again. “The point is you’re safe now. Now we need to figure out what to do next.”

“I’m not going back to sleep there!” she exclaimed suddenly. “I’ll sleep in the gutter before I go back there!”

“You don’t have to sleep in the gutter,” I reassured her. “You can stay here.”

And that’s the way it went for the next several days. Lane would spend the afternoons at her house, and then come to my house to sleep. At first we tried to hide from our parents, but they caught on eventually. Surprisingly they didn’t protest. Mrs. Jarvis barely remembered what had happened that night, but she remembered that she’d scared her daughter, and Mr. Jarvis called to tell me he was going to the library this time to demand information. My parents weren’t sure what to believe, but they could tell Lane was legitimately frightened, and they said she could stay with us until she felt safe enough to go back (although Lane confided in me that she never wanted to go back).

For the next two weeks, Lane seemed to break free of whatever hold the house had on her. She caught up on her sleep, stopped acting hazy and became her usual cheerful self. We talked about skipping town after graduation to get away from that house, and renting an apartment together. Little did we know as we formed out a plan that it would never take hold. Eventually Lane’s parents called and asked her to come back. Lane started to protest and beg not to go back. “I hate that place!” she yelled into the phone. “It’s no good for any of us! …I am not being dramatic! I’m telling it like it is, damn it! Why do you think everyone who moves in turns either insane or suicidal?!? Why do you think people who go there go ‘round the bend?!? It’s because there’s another factor in play here!!! There’s something in that house with us and IT IS TRYING TO GET US!!!!!”

“Hey, take it easy!” I pulled the phone away and asked her parents if I could put the phone on speaker mode. “Maybe we can all figure something out.” But for the next few minutes, things didn’t seem to work out. All we got was an emphasis was that Lane’s parents wanted her to go back home and Lane was too afraid. Finally, I made a suggestion. “Why don’t I spend the night there with Lane and try to ease her back in?” It took a lot more persuading, but she eventually gave in, after I agreed we would take turns keeping watch that night. Lane agreed to move back in the next night.

“I still don’t like this,” said Lane tremulously as I drove us to her house.

“Well, your parents were gonna want you back eventually, weren’t they?” I replied as we got out of the car. “We might as well face the problem now.” I turned and saw that Lane was visibly shaking. “Don’t worry,” I tried to soothe her, taking her hand. “We’ll try to figure out what’s going on and stop it, whatever it is.”

We walked in and headed for the kitchen, where Lane’s mother was looking at what looked like photocopies of various newspaper articles and photographs. When we came in, however, she got up, strode over to us and wrapped her arms around Lane.

“Sweetie, I’m so sorry we snapped at you! We just miss you! We want you back with us!”

“I know, Mom,” she answered. “I miss you too. I’m just certain there’s something wrong with this house and I don’t like it.”

“And we’re starting to believe you,” came her father’s voice from behind us as he joined us. “Your mother and I have been talking and we’ve agreed that neither of us has felt quite like ourselves since we moved in. Luckily I was able to get some information from the library’s historical records. I persuaded them to make photocopies of articles and pictures regarding this house’s history.” He indicated the photocopies his wife was looking at.

“Mr. and Mrs. Jarvis,” I spoke up, “when you’re done with those pictures, may Lane and I have a look at them?”

“You can have them right now,” answered Mrs. Jarvis, pushing them towards us. “I was just finishing with them.”

“Thanks.” Lane and I took the pictures and went upstairs to Lane’s room. We spent the next couple of hours reading through the article copies. They were pretty much the same, reports of death and insanity. Nothing notable happened until we’d moved on to the pictures. I was examining a family portrait when Lane let out a cry of shock.

“This boy! This is the little boy from my dream!” She pointed to a small boy with messy dark hair and a sweet smile.

I took the photo from her and read the accompanying text. “He was shot to death,” I whispered.

Lane went back to the photos, a little paler than usual. She started pointing out other figures from her dreams, people who she had seen either attacking each other or warning her to get out of there.

We went down to dinner feeling extremely somber. Dinner was pretty quiet until Lane’s parents mentioned looking into new property, and then Lane perked up some and started trying to make conversation. The rest of the evening is a blur, mostly small talk between the four of us, and then me trying to take Lane’s mind off the impending night. Alas, night came and Lane and I had to get ready for bed.

“I don’t like this,” muttered Lane. “I don’t like this at all. Something bad is gonna happen. I just know it.”

“Now, don’t talk like that,” I scolded. “We’re gonna keep an eye out for anything wrong, and if anything comes, up, one of us will wake the other and we’ll escape.” Lane nodded, but she still looked scared. “Hey,” I added, “What do you say we go to this local diner I know tomorrow? They have the best pancakes you ever tasted!”

Lane perked up as much as her anxiety would permit. She loved pancakes. “Okay,” she smiled a little. “Pancakes would be nice.”

“Alright!” I beamed. “Something to look forward to!”

Lane had the first watch that night. As I climbed into my sleeping bag, she promised to wake me after two hours so I could take over. I hoped we’d get through the night without any trouble, but unfortunately, that’s not what happened at all.

I don’t know how long I actually slept that night, but I know at some point I was hit with a horrible nightmare. I was standing, facing the closet, and I was surrounded by half-transparent people who looked very familiar. They were all urging me to run.

“Miss, it was a mistake for you to stay here!”

“You’ve put yourself in grave danger!”

“You need to leave now!”

“Before it gets you like it got us!”

That’s when it hit me. These were all victims of this house! The victims Lane and I had been reading about! Everyone talking to me had lived in this house and died in it, too! But what were they talking about? What was it that had gotten them?

“I don’t understand, everybody!” I exclaimed. “What is it that got you?”

But I was cut off by a loud creaking sound. It was the closet door opening! The spirits all whipped their heads around, gasped and fled, calling back to me, “It has seen you and wants you, miss! Follow us! You must escape!” Before I could heed their warnings, however, a figure emerged from the closet that turned by blood to ice. The figure was dressed from head to toe in a pitch black cloak. I couldn’t see its face, save for the eyes, which were glowing bright red and hungry, so hungry… The figure reached out for me with scaly, clawed hands, a faint, evil laugh echoing from its hood, gliding closer towards me, closer, closer…

I woke with a scream of icy terror, covered in a cold sweat, and I realized that the closet door, which Lane had closed before we had gone to bed, was wide open! I shot right out of my sleeping bag, barely registering that Lane wasn’t in her bed, only caring about getting out of that house immediately! I grabbed my bag, tore out of Lane’s room and down the stairs in my pajamas, ran into the kitchen and was ready to turn into the living room where the front door was when…

“We’ve been waiting for you, Marina,” came a voice from the kitchen table. I whipped my head around, and there were Lane’s parents, rising from their seats, each with a large butcher knife. It took about half a second to realize that Mr. and Mrs. Jarvis, who had been so kind and understanding, meant to drive their knives through my heart! I didn’t wait for them to get close enough to do that though. I made a beeline for the living room, but as I did, I realized the door was locked, and Lane’s parents would expect me to try to unlock it in time. I would have to be sneaky if I wanted to make it out alive. So when I made it into the living room, I immediately made a left turn into the hallway and ducked into a closet, scrunching myself in the corner, trying to be as small as possible. Moments later, I heard the closet door open, and I made a silent prayer that they wouldn’t see me. My prayer was answered; Lane’s parents moved on a few seconds later to where the bathroom and den were, probably expecting me to be hiding behind some furniture. I heard Lane’s father mutter, “She’s here somewhere.”

As quiet as can be, I snuck out of the closet and padded back into the living room. I thought I was in the clear, but when I came to the front door, there stood Lane with a knife of her own, not as large as her parents’ but large enough to cause some serious damage. She stalked toward me, raising her knife, with a blank expression on her face.

“Lane,” I whispered, “it’s me!”

But she didn’t seem to hear or care. Now she was standing right in front of me, looking at me with the same blank expression. The knife glinted in the faint light as she raised it higher… and plunged it!

At the very last second, I dodged out of the way, and before Lane could adjust and strike again, I slapped her across the face. She uttered a faint “ow,” then shook her head and looked back at me, and I saw realization return to her eyes.

Her eyes then turned down to the knife she was still holding, and she let out a squeak of fear and dropped the knife.

“Oh Marina,” she whispered, “I don’t know what happened! I must have fallen asleep on watch and whatever that thing was possessed me!”

“It’s okay Lane,” I said quickly, “but we need to get out of here! You were right, there’s something in this house with us!”

But just as Lane was unlocking the door, we heard a cry of realization!

“There you are!” exclaimed Lane’s mother, as she and her husband came toward us with their knives!

“Go!” Lane urged me. “I’ll hold them off!”

“I won’t leave without you!” I cried.

“You can and you will!” she snarled, and shoved me out the door. “Just get out of here and don’t look back!” she called after me, and for whatever reason, I obeyed. I sprinted towards my car, hurled myself in and made a beeline for my house, but not before I heard Lane’s scream of terror for the last time.

As soon as I got home, I called the police and sobbed out my story. “Alright ma’am,” they reassured me. “We’ll send someone over.”

I didn’t sleep that night. I just stayed up staring at the phone, thinking about Lane and hating myself for not dragging her with me. I barely registered my parents coming downstairs in their pajamas, looking worried. Just as they were asking what was going on, the doorbell rang. I raced to answer the door, hoping that Lane had managed to escape. Alas, it was the police looking somber.

“Miss Tucker?” I nodded. “We were just at your friend’s house. We’ve determined that your friend’s parents stabbed her to death and took their own lives afterwards. We’re so sorry to bring you this news.” I felt my mom’s worried hands on my shoulders, but couldn’t respond. Lane… oh, Lane… my best friend…

The next week was awful. My parents wouldn’t let me go to school the first few days following Lane’s death, and when let did let me go, students whispered amongst each other when they saw me, and teachers were unusually nice to me. I didn’t really care either way. All I could think about was how I’d lost my friend, that I’d been unable to save her.

I wrote this account thinking it might help me feel better. I guess getting this story off my chest was good for me, but I still feel horrible and berate myself for not doing more to save poor Lane. Survivor’s guilt, my dad calls it.

Graduation is in a couple of months. Once I’m finished with high school, I’m leaving this town, leaving that God-awful house behind. I think that might help. Maybe one day I’ll even stop having nightmares about Lane, murderers with knives, and that creature that glided toward me with that horrible evil laugh.

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