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Johnny took the bet. He could use the twenty dollars to buy a new seat for his bicycle. Besides, this old house isn’t really haunted, he thinks to himself.

Johnny made a bet with Billy, a kid from school who has been teasing Johnny ever since he started there last fall. Johnny didn’t want to look like a chicken in front of all his classmates. So, when Billy bet him twenty dollars to walk to the second floor of this old house and enter one of the rooms, he said yes.

 Now, Johnny is standing at the front door, wishing he just said no and walked away. Billy and several other kids were standing on the sidewalk waiting to see if Johnny really would go inside. Once inside, he needs to go to the second-floor bedroom window and wave to Billy—seems easy enough.

Billy is growing impatient as he watches Johnny just stand at the stoop. “Come on!” He yelled. “We don’t have all day… You chicken!”

Johnny glances behind him and sees Billy and the other kids laughing. He turns towards the front door and enters slowly. The door creaks as he pushes it open. The floorboards sag and sound as if they are about to snap with each step he takes.

Inside, the living room is full of cobwebs and holes in the walls. Johnny did not spend much time looking around. He only wants to make his way to the second floor and accomplish his task so he could get out of this creepy old house.

The stairs are directly in front of him. He looks them over before he begins his trek up. Each stair seems to have its own creaking sound, and each one appears as if it could collapse at any moment. Before he takes his first step, he hears a noise come from one of the upstairs rooms. Johnny’s knees get weak, as goosebumps form all over his body. His breath stops. He listens again.

After a minute, he has not heard the sound again and begins to walk up the stairs. Slowly and carefully, he plans each step with preciseness, carefully stepping meticulously in an attempt to avoid making any noise.

Johnny reaches the top of the stairs. The only light coming from the one open bedroom door on the backside of the house is directly in front of him. He turns to walk down the hallway towards two closed doors in the front end of the old home. Behind one of these doors is where he heard the sound come from. He’s holding his breath and wants to turn around and leave. But knowing the banter he would get from Billy and the other classmates kept him moving forward.

Johnny pauses in front of the two closed doors and listens intently for any noise coming from either room. He is looking for any sign to either enter or run away. His imagination tells him whatever is on the other side of the door would not be good.

He hears a faint moan from the door on the left. It sounds like a person in some sort of pain. Johnny decides to enter the room on the right. He reaches for the doorknob and begins to turn it slowly. He is scared, not knowing what was on the other side. He begins to shake. The goosebumps return. He feels a cold chill on the back of his neck as he slowly opens the door.

Inside, the room it is dark with a hazy sunlight shining through the two-by-fours boarding the two windows inside. With the little bit of light coming in, Johnny can see that the area is empty. Except for a tiny child’s toy standing in the middle of the room.

The toy was an old wind-up monkey with a cymbal in each hand. He is wearing red and white striped pants and a small boater-style straw hat. It startles Johnny at first since it was looking right at him.

Johnny knew his mission was to wave to Billy from one of the windows. He walks towards the closest window on his right. He looks through the crack in between the boards and sees Billy and the other children waiting to see him. But with the windows being boarded up, he is unable to wave to them.

As he is looking through the crack, the small monkey begins to play its cymbals, scaring Johnny. He jumps and turns around to look at the toy and starts to laugh nervously. He can’t believe the little toy frightened him so much. The monkey begins to dance in rhythm with his cymbals. As Johnny watches, the door to the room slowly closes. Johnny did not notice until it slammed shut.

He runs to the door and is unable to turn the knob and unable to open it. As he is trying to escape, he sees the closet door in the back of the room quickly open. A dark shadow exits, causing Johnny to scream. The shadow is transparent and resembles dark smoke from a fire. It floats around the room and slowly makes its way to the monkey. As soon as the black smoke hit the toy, it stopped playing and fell over.

The smoke floats back up towards the ceiling before making its way towards Johnny. He is so scared, he cannot move. His eyes are wide. His mouth is dry. He begins to shake as the cloud moves closer. The closer it gets, the more frightened Johnny gets. The trembling causes a flight or fight response. But not being able to get out of the room, he knows he cannot leave.

Johnny runs to the side of the room with the windows and tries to pull the boards off to signal the children outside.

The shadow slowly follows Johnny.

He sees the smoke getting closer, runs to the other window, and tries to pull those boards off with no success.

The shadow slowly gets closer.

He runs to the other side of the room, only to see the smoke follow him.

Eventually, the smoke catches up with Johnny, and he finds himself being engulfed by it. He screams, but no one hears. He yells, but no one hears.

Moments later, Johnny is gone. The shadow has retreated to the closet. The toy stood back up, and the door is unlocked. The trap is set for the next victim.

*     *   *

Back outside, Billy calls for Johnny. “Where is he? He should have been out by now,” he says.

Another classmate turns to him and says, “He probably chickened out and went out the back door to go home.”

“Yeah, he probably did. What a fraidy cat.”

The kids slowly start to disperse and head back home as the sun begins to set. Billy is the last to leave, waiting until dark. He never turned away from the house, always thinking Johnny would eventually exit.

Billy takes one last glance at the old, worn-out house. He reaches in his pocket and pulls out a twenty-dollar bill and leaves it on the sidewalk. He turns around and goes home. Always thinking and wondering what happened to Johnny.

May 21, 2021 23:16

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1 comment

Michelle Herath
03:39 May 30, 2021

I really like this!


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