Every town has it. That house, the one that has been there as long as anyone remembers, abandoned, and it always has a reputation. A haunted house, a ghost house, the one you don't want to walk past on Halloween night without holding your mother's hand.
Now we venture into that house, the house that no one dares enter, the one no one dares tear down.
Come with me, child. Take my hand and come with me. Come to the house on Rupert Street.
Do you know my name, child? My name is Thorn, and I am here to show you what lies beyond that door. Do not fear, as I am not a bad person. I am not the boogey man. Just take my hand, good, and squeeze it tight as to not lose me when we go inside.
Are you ready?
Are you sure?
Isn't it a nice house? Brick. That's how you can tell it's an old house; no one builds with brick anymore. The fence? Ah, yes, that was put around it by the town. Why? I don't know. I don't live here...
No one lives too close to the house. They say that it's haunted. What? Of course not! Even if there were ghosts inside, I wouldn't let them hurt you. After all, I am Thorn. I am here to protect you. Now come on, through the gate. Look at the walkway, at the cracks. One day, every sidewalk will look like this. Yes, even the one leading up to your house.
What's the matter, little one? Are you afraid? Don't be. It's safe, believe me. Come on, that's it. Nothing to fear. It's just a house, after all.
Watch your step, the deck is rotten. Why? No one lives here, no one looks after it. Just follow me and it will be okay.
That smell? Why, that is the smell of age, child. Of dust and mold and water dripping through rotten wood. Feel the walls. Soft, spongy. They have brick inside, yes, but then there's wood and drywall. It's rotting. Even the wallpaper is rotten.
Come with me, follow just behind me. Ah, don't let go of my hand. We don't want to lose you. See this? This is the living room. We were just in the porch. Why is the couch still here? Well, it's said the people who lived here left in a hurry, so they must have forgot it. The toys? Well, they had kids. About the same age as you, I dare say. Why did they leave? You'll see.
Hurry now, to the kitchen. The floor gets soft just before the doorway, so make haste! The floor? In the kitchen? Oh, I see what you mean. The plaster fell from the ceiling long ago, and now covers it. Look underneath. See the tiles, white and black? It's very nice, once you see past the decay. Look at the cupboards. Warped and sagging, but the wood is oak. No, not like Professor Oak, whoever that is. This was a very expensive house, back in the day.
That door? No, we'll wait before we go down there. That's the last thing I want to show you. Now follow me, quick over the doorway again, to the stairs. Yes, that's all the rooms that are down here. The kitchen is bigger than the one in your house.
Oh, I've been in your house before, child. Trust me. Your parents? They...they know me.
Careful, the stairs are soft underfoot. Rotten, like the rest, but look at the runner on the stairs. The rug, boy! It used to be a golden brown in color, very nice.
The smell is worse? You're right. That's the smell of the beds. Yes, they left them. Now, we must be careful up here. The floor is very thin and I don't want you falling and getting hurt. See that? That was m- the son's room, back in the day. Those books? Those were his school books, and his story books. The rain got into them and made them swell.
This room was his sisters. She was only 8 when they left. Yes, it's pink. She liked the color. The smell? What do you mean? Oh, I get you now. Like the taste of blood...never mind that. Just come with me. Walk close to the wall, where the floor is strongest. Don't let go of my hand!
Oh, my gloves? Their leather. Kid skin. What? No! It's made from goat! I wear them to keep my hands warm, as it is winter.
Tell me, does your mother know where you are? She's awfully trusting to let someone so young go to the park alone! What? You're 6? Well, I guess I'm wrong.
See this room? The bathroom. The feet on the tub? What about them?
Oh, the stains...it's...just rust. The mirror? What's on it? I don't know. It seems to be rust as well. How? Well, there is metal just above it. Don't worry.
See this room, the big one. This is the master bedroom. The floor fell in a few years ago. That? The white thing in the corner? You want to see it. Well, the floor isn't there anymore, so we can't really cross to it.
What is it? It was my wife. You see...well, I'll tell you when we go downstairs.
Up against the wall now, careful. You heard that, the groaning? The wood is starting to give way. If you step there, you could fall and get hurt.
There. Now, down the steps. Just hold my hand and it will be okay. That jacket, did your mother get it recently? Really? Well, it's so clean and new looking, it looks brand new.
To the kitchen now. Why isn't the bathroom down here? I don't remember anymore...
Yes, I lived here. When? Back in the 60's. Yeah, a long time ago. Come with me, child, into the basement.
The stairs are safe here, trust me. The ceiling may sag, yes, and there might be water on the floor, but it's safe.
Do you see it, that thing in the corner? See how it reaches up along the ceiling, like some huge spider? You seem afraid, child. Don't be. I won't let it hurt you. Listen. Above you. You hear it, don't you. That's the sound of the house settling. Don't worry.
That's the furnace, in the corner. This is where I took my son, all those years ago. See the door? This would burn coal, you see? Climb in. It's okay, you won't get stuck. Just look.
What was that sound, you ask? The lock, of course.
What am I doing? Ah...that's the fun of this. As Thorn, it is my job to protect whoever calls to me, but...I was also meant to protect my family.
I strangled my wife. With these very gloves on, so she wouldn't feel how wet my hands were. You see, I killed my daughter in the bathroom, when everyone was asleep. Slit her throat, flooded the tub. Her blood ran down the sides, and when I cut her the first time, it sprayed everywhere.
Why am I crying? DON'T CALL ME A MONSTER, YOU FUCKING BRAT!
My tears...why, yes, they're red. You see, my son scratched at my face when he saw what I had done. Tried to run from me. He attacked me when he saw his mommy laying there, in the corner, her throat bruised and face pale.
Why is it getting hot? You see...I'm not alive anymore, like this house. It died when I killed myself. I control it now.
No, I won't let you out. You should know better than to trust a strange man, you little idiot. Now shut up.
You can't do anything to stop me. No one can hear you scream. No one lives close enough. Your voice will carry up into the pipes, yes, but...it's just the wind.
Crying is useless. Tears are for babies...besides, I thought you were a big boy, you SNIVELLING BRAT!
My son cried too, for the first bit. Then the coal fumes knocked him out. He died before he burned. Look at the floor of the furnace. See those grey bits? Those are his bones.
So you know, the white thing wasn't my wife. She died there, but that wasn't her. That was a dog. You had a dog, didn't you? Little white dog, named Scamp?
Your screams bother me, child.
Your mother is a fool, like my wife. I told her I wanted to leave, but she cried and cried until I stayed...
People will know, yes. They'll know what happened. The headlines will be as follows, I imagine: 6 year old boy missing. Last seen going to the park.
Next week, it will be: Search continues for missing boy.
The next few weeks, you'll be off the first page and into the shorts.
A few months...the search will be called off.
No one comes into my house anymore. It's condemned, too rotten to enter. They won't find you.
Child...what's wrong...you stopped