They Didn’t Know

Submitted into Contest #64 in response to: Set your story in a Gothic manor house.... view prompt


Drama Crime Horror

   “You know, when I said ‘Let’s initiate Blythe’, I really meant that we should drive all the way to Wormsloe and make her run. Not this,” I huffed.

   “Considering you’re the daredevil of this group, I’m surprised you aren’t all for it.” Blythe laughed at me in surprise.

   “While I’m aware that I seem to be a rebel who doesn’t care, I’m not interested in dying tonight. I mean, I at least want to make it until they serve nachos again in the cafeteria.” 

   Everyone had a way they seemed to other people. My appearance was that of the rebel who played by no one's rules; the outsider who never cared to fit in. Ha, it’s all a lie. My mother always taught me that appearances were just appearances, and that people only look how they want to.

   And they don’t want to show their true selves. I don’t either.

   My friends may be my best friends, a luxury I hadn’t ever had before, but they still didn’t know me entirely. 

   They didn’t know. They didn’t know. 

   They didn’t have a chance. They didn’t have a chance. 

   “What? You don’t want to settle for cold pizza in a haunted house instead?” Bates laughed. 

   There were four of us here - me, Blythe, Bates, and August. 

   “More like a haunted mansion. This place is huge,” August told him. 

   August was on my side; well, at least, he wasn’t terribly sold on the haunted house thing. He would go through it though, merely trying to prove he wasn’t a wimp like the nicknames at school claimed. 

   He was the smartest one here. Besides me. 

   He was right about the house. It was huge. Of course, everyone in this town had fairly big houses. We might have been a small town, but we were a wealthy one playing games of riches and bribes within our ranks. 

   It was like royal courts you hear about in fantasy stories. Except this wasn’t fantasy. It was horror. 

   “Well, let’s explore the whole thing!” Blythe cheered.

   I rolled my eyes. She was up to something. Not that it was any of my business, but my two years in this town told me that she was up to something. People’s attitudes don’t suddenly change without reason. 

   Like mine. But I have reasons.

   They didn’t know. They didn’t know.

   They didn’t have a chance. They didn’t have a chance. 

   Blythe was always the cautious one who looked out for everyone and made sure the boys didn’t do anything too stupid. And I was the one who dared them to do the stupid things they’d do anyway. What can I say, I like to laugh. 

   “Well what are we waiting for? Let’s go in. It’s almost dark anyway.” 

   Thank God it was June and the sun didn’t set til late. That way I could spend less time in the horrible house.

   I’m sure the first question you’re asking is: Atalanta, why are you going? Well, reputations are everything here, where I have to spend at least another two years before college. I was not getting the reputation of someone who chickened out. I wasn't letting my mother scold me for that, but I’m also not letting her know that I went into a haunted house. She thought I was at Blythe’s for the night. 

   Of course, she’d know the truth soon enough. Everyone would. 

   The house was old and hadn’t been lived in for a long time. It was beautiful in a frightening way.

   We sat on the floor of the parlor, one of the first rooms in the house, to eat our cold pizza as it got dark. 

   Then we go exploring. Fun.

   They didn’t know. They didn’t know.

   They didn’t have a chance. They didn’t have a chance. 

   The first floor held the parlor, the living room, and the library. It was a big library. I would have been in paradise if it wasn’t empty and not creepy. Spiderwebs had taken over the corners of the rooms, and the lights flashed every so often. All the doorways come to points at the top of their arches. Ripped and faded curtains covered most of the windows. 

   We decided to go upstairs first, instead of to the basement. That was their first mistake. After coming into the house anyway. 

   They didn’t know. They didn’t know. 

   They didn’t have a chance. They didn’t have a chance. 

   We were greeted by an empty hallway. It was long and filled with doors. All of which were closed. 

   The sun was long gone by that point. I could hear crickets chirping outside, and frog’s croaking. 

   No one would hear the screams out here. 

   “Let’s check every single room,” Bates announced, escaping the plan that had already been set in place. 

   We went in the first one. It was uneventful except for the door closing with a loud squeal while we were all inside. Bates did it to scare the rest of us - Auggie and I easily, and Blythe who was frightened almost more despite her attitude at coming in here - but he denied ever doing it. 

   That’s because it wasn’t him.

   They didn’t know. They didn’t know.

   They didn’t have a chance. They didn’t have a chance. 

   In the hallway when we were going to go into the second room across the hall, our flashlights burned out. All of them. At the same time. 

   It was pitch black. 

   I couldn’t see my hand inches from my face.

   They didn’t know. They didn’t know.

   They didn’t have a chance. They didn’t have a chance. 

   I heard the door to the room squeak open, and then the flashlight in Auggie’s hand came back on. 

   Blythe and Bates were gone. 

   Auggie and I didn’t say anything at first. His face held terror, and I’m sure mine did too. 

   We called out for Blythe and Bates, but the only answer was screams behind the locked door of the second room we never saw. 

   We went deeper into the house looking for a way to pick the lock and get to our friends. We didn’t find anything on the second and first floors. 

   So we went to the basement.

   He didn’t know. He didn’t know.

   He didn’t have a chance. He didn’t have a chance. 

   My heart was hammering in my chest. I couldn’t hear anything else - only my own errors and denials.

   The basement was where the kitchen was. There was a figure in there when we arrived. 

   “Blythe?!” Auggie exclaimed happily, overjoyed to see our friend again.

   It wasn’t Blythe. 

   The girl was dressed in a white gown. A wedding gown. Her hair which had probably once been extravagantly arraigned was fallen and many pieces were astray. She held a bouquet of rotted flowers in one hand, and a bloody dagger in the other. 

   This was the girl the town often talked about when they mentioned the house we were inside. She had been married here eleven years before in the gardens. 

   Only her groom didn’t make it to the ceremony alive. There was a knife in his heart when the bride came down the aisle. She left footprints as she went towards him. 

   Footprints of blood. 

   The town believed she’d killed him, but she fled before the police could catch her. 

   When I first heard the legend I knew that one day she’d return for her revenge. 

   She reached towards Auggie who screamed out in terror and rage. 

   He didn’t know. He didn’t know. 

   He didn’t have a chance. He didn’t have a chance. 

   I screamed as she moved her knife towards him. I ran out of instinct to go into a closet. I should’ve left the house, but I needed to know if they all died or not. 

   I sat there, tears streaming down my face and biting the sleeve of the sweatshirt I insist on wearing in the summer. I couldn’t be heard. Not then.

   I couldn’t let those real feelings show. Only the fake ones.

   The door screamed with me when it opened. The bride with her bloody knife stared me down. 

   “Is it over?” I asked.

   They never knew. They never knew. 

   They never had a chance. They never had a chance. 

   And now it’s too late. 

   My older sister and I left the house. She headed into the woods to clean herself up, but not before leaving her veil covering Auggie’s body. It matched nicely with the gloves on Blythe and Bates.

   I walk to the police station crying, ready to report the mysterious unknown bride ghost who killed my friends. 

   No one will ever know. No one will ever know.

   No one will ever have a chance. No one will ever have a chance.

   Not against us. 

October 18, 2020 16:57

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