One summer, my girlfriend Tiffany and I were in the Bahamas. Before we left for the vacation, my friend Luke said that there was an abandoned, seemingly "haunted" mansion somewhere around the area we were staying. My friend and I were suckers for paranormal stuff, but it scared the heck out of Tiffany. I decided to sneak off one night to find it.

Eventually, I found the old run-down dump. I read the sign at the front gate. It said "McCather Manor". I heard that the McCathers were a rich family, but one night they found their kids mysteriously dead. The McCathers became paranoid, and knew that somebody in the house must have killed the kids. They didn't know which one of them it was, so they ended up murdering each other.

I hesitated at first, but eventually found the strength to enter the dark place. The rusty gate was falling to pieces, and the wind easily blew it open. I walked into the front hall and up the stairs. I saw an old statue of a frowning man. I thought it was weird, then I went into one of the rooms. There was an old bed frame, but no mattress. I was creeped out when I saw the rusty saw blade under the bed. I stepped back and tripped on an old teddy bear, falling backwards and hitting my head.

I left the room. I immediately thought that it belonged to one of the kids. That totally creeped me out. I walked down the stairs, deciding to stay away from the bedrooms. I walked out into the little courtyard, and saw another frowning statue.

Creepy. I walked past it and heard rustling in the bushes. I looked, and saw a rusty key. There was also a note in the bush that said "TURN THAT FROWN UPSIDE DOWN".

I turned around, and walked over to the statue. The statue was smiling now! I began to think that it was smiling all along and I just saw it wrong or something. I went back inside, and saw that teddy bear I tripped over, just lying there. It could've just been a different one I never saw before.

I went into what might've been the living room, or a den. I looked at their old TV. It was all static. How had it been on this long? I just assumed that more people had visited the mansion and turned it on or something.

Finally, I mustered the courage to go back up the stairs. I saw all the room doors open. Had somebody else gone in while I was outside? Maybe. Maybe they were in some other part of the mansion.

I heard Tiffany's voice in one of the rooms, and went inside it. It was the kid's room I was in earlier, but the rusty saw blade was gone. I turned around and the smiling statue was standing in the doorway, staring at me.

"Any questions?" it asked.

I just stared at it, shocked.

"I said... any questions?!" it stammered impatiently.

I opened my mouth hesitantly.

"Why do you smile?" I asked.

"Because I don't like what I have to do," he said.

"What do you...have to do?" I asked, wondering if this was really happening.

"Torture people," it said. "All my life, I'm forced to torture lost souls, and for what?"

"I...I don't know..." I said, not sure what else to say.

"Me neither," the statue said, its smile slowly turning into a devious grin.

I slowly walked out the doorway, past the statue, and surprisingly, it stood still, not talking or even trying to stop me. It just let me go without a single struggle. I walked out the door, to see it was day already. How long was I really in there? It only felt like an hour or so.

I just pretended to enjoy the rest of the vacation, but really, I was still haunted by the Smiler. And what it said. Torturing me? It just let me go! If it really did want to torture me, why didn't it want me stay at the mansion?

That was thirty years ago. I've still been pretending. Pretending to be happy. Pretending to smile.

Smiling when Tiffany left me, when Luke was found dead; even when I heard I had cancer.

Smiling until I die.

Always pretending.

Pretending to smile...