The house had been empty for years. I passed it often on my way to school. It stood at the end of the next block, a sad and lonely building slowly becoming more run down with each passing year.
I would often pause to stare at the place, taking in the sagging porch and crumbling chimney, its two front upstairs windows looking like a pair of sad eyes, and wondered why such a place could not seem to keep an owner. The kids at school always told stories about the house, claiming it was haunted by the spirits of a family who had been murdered long ago.
I never believed such tales, brushing them off as simple childish things. After all, ghosts only existed in stories.
Even so, the fact the house couldn't keep its inhabitants for long made me wonder sometimes.
One day I noticed the "For Sale" sign was gone from the overgrown front yard, and a small sense of hope came to me. Maybe somebody had finally bought the place. Maybe they even had children.
But that was not to be.
When I returned home I heard my parents talking about the place, and the news of the old home's fate brought me a sense of despair.
"Looks like the town council finally decided on what to do with the old place," I heard my father say. "Seems they're going to tear it down."
"It's for the best," I heard my mother say. "It's become a real eye sore."
Tear it down?! I thought. But why? Surely it wasn't that far gone. With a little fixing-up it could be livable.
"Yeah, and with its reputation and all, removing it would be the best thing for the town," he went on.
My mother agreed, "Of course. So when do they plan on tearing it down?"
"By the end of the month," my father replied.
I went upstairs, feeling sad. What a sad ending for such a place. But what my father said gave me pause.
What did he mean by the house's reputation? Was he talking about that story the kids at school told? The one about the family being murdered inside there?
I decided I would find out.
First thing I did when I got in my room was get on my computer, after dumping my backpack onto my bed. Then I Googled the address of the old house. I hoped I would find something, anything about the place. News articles or even urban legends.
Now I wish I hadn't.
The first website that came up linked to an old news story. I read through the article, beginning to feel sick the further I went.
It seemed a family by the name of Monroe had lived in the house in the forties. A mother named Bernice, a father named James, and two girls named Lisa and Valery. They'd been a good family, loved by their neighbors and having no enemies to think of. This is what made their fates harder to accept.
One night someone had broken into the house and brutally slaughtered the family. A neighbor had been woken by screams in the night and had called the police. By the time they'd arrived it was too late. They found the family in the dining room, looking as if they had sat down to have dinner, but there was nothing normal about the scene. The bodies were covered in blood from multiple lacerations and their eyes had been gouged out.
The article said the family looked as if they'd been propped up after death. What made it even more upsetting was the fact that all four of them were missing their hearts, which had been brutally torn out of their chests after hours of torture. The hearts had been laying on plates in front of the bodies.
An autopsy had turned up nothing, and the cause of death was believed to be due to the removal of their hearts, which had been still beating at the time.
After a thorough investigation, the police had not found a single clue except for a small charm bracelet laying by the garbage can in the kitchen. It was silver with little letters attached that read "NANCY". At first, the police had thought it belonged to the mother, but the woman's sister confirmed, she had owned no such jewelry, nor did they know anyone by the name of Nancy.
I continued my search until I grew sick and had to exit. I rushed into the bathroom to throw-up before returning to finish reading. Not much else was there except one last thing:
They had never found the killer.
A bit more information I gathered involved the fate of the house after the investigation had ended. It had been placed on the market but could never keep an owner for long. Families would move out only weeks after moving in. Some claimed it was due to being unable to keep up the payments, but others claimed things had happened.
Strange things—haunting things.
One family told of hearing the sound of hearts beating in the middle of the night. A loud sound that would speed up then slowly begin to stop. Others claimed to hear the sounds of children in the house, running through the halls and down the stairs, giggling and whispering. The house hadn't seen any new owners since then. It had been empty for nearly twenty years.
I turned from the computer and looked out my bedroom window. In the distance I could just make out the chimney of the house, a shadowy rectangle in the late afternoon sunlight. I thought about what I had read and began to contemplate it all. So there was some fact to the stories about the house I'd heard at school, but they were far worse than I realized.
But something made me wonder. Why had it happened? What was the cause? The police had never discovered a motive behind the brutal killings. Had it really just been random?
An idea began to form in my mind. I don't know why I thought of it, but I wish I hadn't. The answer had to be in the house somewhere. It just had to.
Later, after my parents had gone to bed, I slipped out of my room and down the hall, tiptoed down the stairs and out of the house. I ran down the street to the old house. In the moonlight it seemed to have gained a sinister air. When I looked at the windows, they seemed to be eyes watching me. I quickly ducked my head and rushed to the front door. It was locked, and the back door proved to be as well.
I nearly gave up, when I realized one of the basement windows was broken. I knelt down and paused a moment, concluding I could just fit through. I slid inside and landed in the basement. It was pitch dark so I took out the flashlight I'd brought with me and turned it on, panning it around in the darkness.
I nearly jumped out of my skin when it stopped on an old dressmaker's dummy, then chuckled to myself and tried to shrug off the feeling it had given me. "It was just a house," I told myself. "Ghosts aren't real."
But my mind kept reminding me about the stories I'd read online about the place. Were they true?
"Don't be silly, those people were probably just making things up to get out of paying the rent," I told myself and moved on.
I climbed the stairs, the planks creaking under my feet as I ascended.
Once I was on the first floor, I slipped into the hallway and made my way through the dirty, cobwebbed room, looking around and hoping my imagination wouldn't get the best of me. I heard nothing but the sound of my own footsteps on the hardwood floor.
I paused at every doorway, looking into them one by one. The living room, the dining room, the kitchen. All were empty.
Something glinted in the moonlight on the kitchen counter by the sink. Curious, I entered the room and walked over to get a better look. I reached out with my free hand and picked the item up, examining it.
A bracelet—silver with five charms dangling from the braided chain spelling "NANCY".
Wait what? How was this thing in the house when-
A creaking sound interrupted my thoughts, and I froze. Listening.
There it was again! It sounded like it was coming towards the kitchen.
My heart began to race, the sound beginning to pound in my ears. Someone was in the house!
I looked around quickly, hoping to find some kind of hiding place. There was nothing except the space under the sink. I yanked open the doors and squeezed inside, pulling the doors shut behind me. Just as the door shut the footsteps stopped. I held my breath praying with all my might that whoever it was would go away.
But I heard nothing and waited, forcing myself to-
What was that?
Click. Click. Click.
It sounded like fingernails.
It was right beside me, I suddenly realized.
Oh my gosh...
Something was in there with me.
I closed my eyes, hoping whatever it was wouldn't come near me. By the sound I knew it had to be a mouse or even a rat. Heaven knows what else it was, and I had no intention of looking.
The sound continued a bit longer then went quiet. I sighed in relief and opened my eyes. I was just beginning to relax when I suddenly felt the cabinet doors begin to swing forward.
I gasped and grabbed them, trying to pull them closed again. They fought against me as I struggled to keep them shut. I was pulled forward then as the doors were violently yanked open.
I found myself staring up into a face. It was pale in the moonlight, thin and heart shaped. Long, dirty, stringy blond hair hung down from its scalp. But that wasn't what I paid attention to. It was the eyes.
Or should I say eye sockets.
They were black, blank spaces where the eyes should have been: hollow and dripping blood in long thick streaks down the pale cheeks and to the chin, where it was dripping in a slow rhythm. The eyeless face smiled at me, yellow teeth pulled back tightly over thin lips.
I stared in horror for I don't know how long before the spell was broken by that clicking sound.
It was loud and getting louder, coming from inside the cabinet where I was hiding.
I suddenly felt something grab my ankle and turned my head away from that awful face only to find myself staring into another one. Smaller, but a mirror of the one in front of me. It was that of a child, pale and eyeless like the other thing. It smiled at me from inside and began to giggle, a sinister sound that made my blood run cold.
It began to pull me back into the cabinet. I panicked, struggling against it and kicking at its pale, boney hands until it let me go. I scrambled to my feet only to run back into the larger creature which reached out at me with long, bony hands.
I wasn't thinking and reached out, shoving at the thing with all my might. I fell through it, slamming hard into the wall by the doorway. I slumped there a moment, dazed, until a cold hand rested on my shoulder.
I screamed then, turning around and striking out again. My hand went through the figure as if it was made of air, and I watched in horror as it rematerialized in front of me, still smiling that awful smile.
I bolted then, rushing toward the doorway. A figure similar to the other two barred the door; its eyeless sockets focused on me. I didn't stop, dashing through it as if it weren't there and took off down the hall.
I had to get out of there.
As I ran I became aware of a heartbeat pulsating in my head. No, not in my head! It was the house! The walls, the floor, and the ceiling rocketed and vibrated with a heartbeat. It was as if the entire house was alive.
I gritted my teeth and kept running, trying to ignore it, trying not to trip on the floor, which was pulsating under my feet.
I reached the door to the basement and dashed down the stairs. I used my flashlight, which I hadn't realized I was still holding to light my way. The sound of my feet pounding down the stairs was drowned out by the horrible beating of a heart, echoing through the house—even through my body.
I rushed to the window, climbed out, and ran home.
I never looked back.
The month came to an end, and the house still stands: its sad window eyes still staring blankly into space. The workmen who had been hired to tear it down had not done so, but would not give a reason for this. I'd seen them go into the house and leave not too long afterward, driving quickly down the street as if they were being chased by something. Nobody ever returned to finish the job, and I guess the town council figured it was a waste of money to bother.
I had also been avoiding the house since my foolish adventure, and had only worked up the courage two weeks after the incident with the workmen.
I now stood outside the house, my feet planted firmly on the sidewalk as I stared at its empty windows in silence. The place didn't seem so sinister during the day—just sad like always. Maybe it knew something I didn't.
I turned away from it. Yes, it did. If those walls could speak it could tell me everything that had happened there. Why the brutal murders had happened so long ago, and who was responsible.
I had come to the conclusion that the things I'd seen in there weren't actually monsters. They had been the spirits of the family that had been murdered. Maybe they hadn't been trying to hurt me when I'd gone in there. Maybe—
I started to head home when I stopped, noticing a glint of something on the grass. I walked over to it and picked the item up.
It was a charm bracelet, silver and tarnished with age. Five little letters dangled from it.
A cold chill suddenly went through my body, and I slowly turned back to the house.
In the right-hand side window in the second floor, I saw four figures.
They had no eyes.
Written by Lady-warrior