If you haven’t read part 1 of this story, you can find it here.
Kathy looked from the foreboding house to the late afternoon sky. “Maybe I should go home to get a flashlight.”
“You aren’t going to run out on us, are you?” asked Allen.
“No, stupid, I just don’t want to step on a rusty nail and have to go to the doctor. I just live two houses down on the other side of the street and I know exactly where our flashlight is. I’ll be right back.”
The boys turned to look at the house again. The bushes in the enclosed front yard had branches going in every direction covering some of what was left of the fractured walkway and leaning over onto the steps leading up to the door. The one tree that stood in the yard seemed dead. It didn’t have many branches and the ones still hanging on didn’t have any leaves at all.
Allen climbed onto the fence’s lower rung and gripped the higher one to keep himself stead. “Do you think anyone is going to see us go in there? The last thing I need is to get grounded again.”
“If we jump the fence over there,” Dean said pointing toward the back corner of the house, “I don’t think anyone will see.” Allen jumped down and nodded.
Kathy came sprinting across the street with the flashlight in her hand and two wind-breakers. Once across the road, she adjusted the wind-breaker she had on and strode toward the boys, gulping air into her lungs.
“Brought you guys jackets.” She threw one at each of them. “This way spider webs won’t stick to us.”
Allen raised his eyebrows. “Good thinking, Kath. Uhmm… we decided we can climb the fence back there,” he said pointing to the same place Dean had.
“I’m the one who had the idea,” Dean said.
Allen shrugged and started walking to the back of the house. When he got to the back corner, he stepped up on the rung again, gripped the higher bar putting his elbows out and lifted himself up. He curled his body to get his right foot on the bar with his hands. He stood up and leaped in one graceful move, landing on his knees on the other side. Dean and Kathy followed his lead. Kathy, however, landed on her side. She got herself standing and rubbed her left hip.
Allen glanced at her and asked, “Are you okay?”
“Sure, no problem.”
They moved toward the steps leading to the porch, staying low in hopes that no one would see them in the yard. The three kids dashed up the stairs heading for the shadows close to the front door. Allen reach for the knob and turned it. To his surprise, the door opened easily making the creaky sound that all old doors seem to make.
The entry way was empty. The plaster on the walls was peeling in places. The first doorway on the right led to the parlor where the ball came bounding through the window. Dean showed the way inside.
“Hagh! Gawd! A spider web is in my hair!”
“Hold on,” Kathy said. “Lean over.” She removed the threads that stuck to his hair and threw them to the ground.
Dean reached behind his neck grabbing the hood of his wind-breaker. “I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m putting the hood over my head.”
Allen and Kathy looked at each other and pulled their hoods up as well.
The light from the filthy windows barely made it possible to see what was in the room. Dusk started to set in the sky outside creating long shadows in the parlor. The floorboards moaned with each step they took. A Victorian sofa sat against the wall with a bay window behind it. If the window had been clean, you could have seen the street. An odd-looking red chair was placed on the other side of the fireplace. A square table with claw legs sat in the middle of the room.
“There it is.” Kathy picked up the ball that sat at the edge of the hearth in an indentation of the tile.
“Let’s see what else is here.”
“I don’t know, Allen. It’s getting dark outside.”
“Dean, that’s why I have the flashlight. Duh.”
Red-faced, Dean followed the two down the hall.
Rap, rap, rap.
“What was that?” Dean asked.
“Probably a bird stuck someplace in here,” Allen answered.
The kitchen was gutted out. All that was left was the plumbing and that was covered in rust.
Rap, rap, rap.
Kathy looked up. “Let’s go get that poor thing out of here.”
All three raced to the stairs and climbed to the second floor. The hall was pitch black. Kathy pushed the button on the neck of her flashlight. It illuminated the corridor to the second doorway.
Rap, rap, rap.
I know that I said that I’d finish this story in this post but it’s getting too long. I promise, next week will be the conclusion.