(This is my first attempt at a horror story, so feedback is appreciated!)
Zach bounced in the leather seat of the car. They had been driving for miles and he had already dozed off many times but the scenery was changing and Miss Madden, his new mother, seemed more relaxed.
Zach had just gotten adopted from West Peaks orphanage and he couldn't be more excited about it. Miss Madden didn't give off happy vibes, however. When they first met, she was rigid, and her hawk-like eyes took in every detail. Her white hair was pulled into a tight bun on her head and her high heels clicked against the floor annoyingly.
But now as they drove, she seemed more distant and didn't have that 'danger is near' aurora. Now she seemed almost harmless. Until they pulled up to Zach's new house.
Zach jumped out of the car. This was it! His new home! The car door slammed shut behind him while Zach stared at the house in dismay.
It was a tall, old house that looked like any gust of wind could blow it over. The walls were a pale, weathered yellow complimented with a horrendous mud-colored roof. It was steep and millions of patches littered the roof along with bird droppings.
The windows were boarded up and the house itself was leaning to one side on the hill. Zach gulped and heard the other car door open and close.
"Here we are. Welcome to Blackwood Manor." Miss Madden proclaimed like the house was some sort of historical site. She strode forward, her shoes crunching against the dead grass that stretched on for miles.
Well, only part of that was that was true. At the side of the house, a giant wood began. It was tall and dark, the trees casting shadows everywhere. 'That must be the black wood the manor is named after.' Zach thought.
"Come along child." Miss Madden called and Zach gave one last glance at the wood. The forest gave him the creeps and he promptly ran after Miss Madden, turning his back on the forest.
That night he was escorted to his room by his new Uncle, James. "Here it is sport." He said, opening a door. It creaked loudly and Zach cringed. "Don't worry, you'll get used to it," James promised. Zach nodded and walked inside.
His room was tidy and neat. A bed on the far side wall, a dresser next to it. There was a writing desk on the other wall accompanied by a lamp, and a large fake plant sitting next to it. A closet stood about four feet away from the desk, and Zach finally realized where the smell of mothballs was coming from.
James leaned over Zach's head and flicked on the single light in the room. It made a low buzzing noise that Zach instantly knew he would get tired of eventually.
"I'll leave you to get settled," James said and turned to leave. But right before he did, he turned and looked Zach straight in the eye. The welcoming look in his eye and the comfortable aroura he gave off when they first met was gone and Zach's whole body felt the urge to run.
"Stay away from the attic," James said darkly before he smiled and the happy, cheerful person he was earlier today bounced back. Then he turned and left.
Zach shuddered and shut the door. He had just switched personalities like he turned on and off the light. He opened the dresser to put his clothes away and then slammed it shut when he found a dead mouse. Instead, he changed and set the clothes on the desk. Zach flicked off the light and climbed into bed.
It creaked and groaned every time Zach moved but it was way warmer than the beds at the orphanage. His eyelids drooped but his mind wandered to the attic. What was up there? Dead bodies? He smirked in the darkness. Yeah right. He rolled over and froze.
A shadow was sitting at the end of the bed. But, that wasn't possible. There was no light! It was pitch black. Zach started to hyperventilate and quickly shut his eyes. 'It's nothing, it's nothing.' He told himself, pulling his legs up into the fetal position.
The next morning he woke up with a start, his sheets drenched in sweat. He shut his eyes tightly before cracking one eyelid open. No shadow. Phew. He got up, changed, and then headed downstairs. He noticed that some of the lights were broken, casting shadows around the house even in broad daylight but he brushed it off.
He ate breakfast, and then went outside to explore. James had told him not to go into the attic last night and warned him to always keep the house in sight if he went into the woods but Zach tromped through the grass, a stick in his hand, around the house, hitting trees and rocks with the branch.
He was at the back of the house when he noticed the brick. There was a square of brick that was a darker color than the rest. A large crate was blocking it but Zach managed to shove it away. He traced the brick lightly with his finger and then pressed.
The bricks gave way and Zach tumbled through the new passageway. He landed on his stomach and sat up, cracking his head on something hard. He sucked in a deep breath and put his hand to his head. A bit of blood came away on his fingers and he cringed.
He turned around and realized he was in a fireplace. The passageway was above him, but close enough he could jump to it and get back outside. There was nothing in the fireplace except for dust and Zach crawled out, brushing it off his clothes. He looked around. He had to be on the main floor, but he had a tour of the house earlier and he didn't recognize this place at all. He heard voices and walked to a wall, placing his ear to it.
"If we just had a bit more time before you got him, this wouldn't have been a problem!" A voice yelled, clearly angry.
"We don't have time, Martha!" Another voice retorted. Zach recognized both. Miss Madden and Aunt Martha, Uncle James's wife. Were they talking about him? His heart dropped and he pulled away from the wall, looking around. They had to know about this place, but it looked like it hadn't been touched in forever.
He walked around and noticed a flight of stairs. Zach made his way over and climbed up, keeping a firm grip on the railing. The stairs creaked and Zach bit his lip. He made it to the top and found a small landing and then another flight of stairs, this one shorter.
Zach rubbed his eyes. It was darker up here. He climbed up the stairs, running his hand over the peeling wallpaper. He made his hand into a fist, knocking on the wall.
Tap, tap taptap tap
The beginning of Shave And A Haircut. Then Zach froze.
Something ahead of him knocked back. Zach's eyes went wide. His palms were sweaty. There was somebody up there. Zach's first instinct was to run. But he stayed put, paralyzed.
After a few moments of pure fear, Zach put one foot forward on the next step. Over and over again until he reached the attic door. He gulped and put his hand out and grabbed the knob. He twisted his hand and the doorknob turned. It was unlocked. Zach took a deep breath then threw the door open, jumping back.
The room was empty. Pitch black. Zach leaned forward, flicking on the light. It had the same buzzing noise as his room. Then Zach's eyes landed on something and he stifled a scream.
Words. Everywhere. Some were written in crayon, some written in pencil, and when those had run out, whoever wrote it had scratched more words into the wood itself. They all said the same thing.
Mommy, I'm sorry. Please let me out