I banged on the bedroom door calling out Aerolynn’s name. “Aerolynn! Try to open the door!” I jiggled the door handle once more. It was still locked.
“I already told you, Zak, she has it locked! The little girl!” Aerolynn cried from the other side of the door.
“I’ll bust it down then!” I growled taking a step back ready to kick my heel into the door.
“No, Zak, don’t!” She cried out frantically. Confused, I put my leg back on the ground.
“Just…just let me do this. Let me talk to her. Please…” she replied. Although it seemed like she was merely asking for a simple request, I could hear the subtle hint of her pleading for me to just let her talk with the ghostly girl. But it was because of the soft crack in her voice that led me to believe that this went deeper than just needing to talk to her.
“Alright, fine,” I sighed. I didn’t like the idea of leaving her alone with the spirit. Especially after she had trapped Aero inside, but I also didn’t want to possibly anger the spirit either and cause Aero to become frustrated.
“I’ll alert the guys about what is going on, but then I am coming back and I will stand outside this door waiting for you, ok? So don’t go anywhere without me,” I warned.
“Ok,” she agreed.
I stood there for a few more seconds contemplating on whether I should bust the door down anyways, but I told her I wouldn’t and I always kept my word.
With a sense of urgency, I quickly made my way down the hallway to find the boys with nothing to guide me except the small LCD screen that painted everything in green.
Don’t go anywhere? Where did he expect me to go with the little girl locking me inside the room? I took a deep breath and turned back around to face the little girl. My heart pounded hard against my chest making the blood race through my veins. All of this happening at once nearly made me dizzy.
“Open the curtains,” the little girl softly demanded.
Afraid of what she might do if I didn’t, I obliged the little girl’s command. When I pulled the heavy draperies apart, moonlight spilt forth into the room casting eerie shadows all along the wall. The only thing that didn’t cast a shadow was her.
“Are you the little girl that fell down the stairs a long time ago? After the house was first built?” I asked trying not to focus on the fact that she was more translucent in the moonlight than she had been in the shadows.
She shook her head and gripped the ghostly doll tighter to her chest. “No. She…she was…taken,” the girl softly answered.
“Taken?” I asked curiously. “What do you mean she was taken?”
The girl shook her head; her dark curls bouncing around her face. That’s when I realized that her doll looked eerily similar to her. Then again I guess that was somewhat common back when she had been alive. Assuming she had been dead for a while.
“I want to play a game first,” she answered with a huff. “If you win, I’ll answer your questions.”
I narrowed my eyes. I wasn’t positively sure what kind of game this girl wanted to play, but something told me it wasn’t going to be an innocent game of hide-and-seek.
“What is it you want to play, then?” I inquired.
She smiled and twirled around in a circle. I was barely able to catch a glimpse of the slight rip in her dress as it billowed out around her. I wondered what could have caused that. “I’m so glad you want to play,” she giggled.
“What’s the game?”
“You have to solve a riddle,” she answered.
I arched a dark brow curious and shocked. That’s it? She wanted me to solve a riddle? Although I had never been good at them, I figured it couldn’t be too hard coming from a little girl. She may use a Mother Goose nursery rhyme and I knew the majority of those.
I smiled. “Alright, fine. Tell me your riddle.”
The little girl began rocking back and forth on her feet as she began, “There was a girl who was extremely brave and always bragged about how brave she was. Many of her classmates got sick and tired of her boasting, so they decided to play a nasty, evil trick on her. One day, a group of boys and girls walked up to her and said, ‘If you’re so brave, we all dare you to go to the old graveyard at the back of Ol' Man Jenkins mansion all alone at midnight. Stand in front of a tombstone, rumor has it that if you do, a bony hand will reach out and grab you to drag you underground! You said you were brave so that shouldn't be so hard! To prove that you actually went, stick a knife in front of a tombstone so in the morning, we'll know you were there.’
“Of course, the girl couldn't refuse,” the little girl continued taking a deep breath. She had stopped rocking by this point and her eyes shone with sadness. “She stupidly agreed to the dare even though she was afraid of the dark and the old mansion. Even so, at midnight she did just as her classmates asked and went to the graveyard with a pocketknife. The night was cold and windy, blowing her dress around and sending chills down her spine. She slowly walked up to a tombstone and quickly stuck the pocket knife into the ground. She was beginning to feel that maybe she was not as brave as she thought she was. Turning around as fast as she could, she just wanted to get out of there right away! But there was a problem. Something was stopping her from moving. Was it a bony hand trying to drag her down? She was too afraid to turn around and look. Instead she screamed. The next morning, the boys and girls who had played the trick on her went to the graveyard to see if the girl had been there. To their horror, she was lying there on the ground…dead,” the little girl finished. Her eyes met mine.
“So riddle me this: what was holding the girl back and how exactly did she die if nobody was around?”
I thought over the short story she had just told me. It seemed to me the answer was obvious. That she had somehow stabbed herself with the knife, but had been too frightened about what she was doing that she didn’t realize it until she found herself unable to move.
I glanced at the girl, opening my mouth to tell her my answer when she held up a finger to stop me.
“The answer is more obvious than you might first think so think carefully. I’m only giving you one chance to answer this right,” she tacked on.
“What?! That wasn’t part of the deal!”
She shrugged. “Better think of the answer carefully because if you don’t get it right, I’ll make you spend the rest of eternity with me.”
I gulped past the lump of fear in my throat. I hated riddles. I never guessed them right on the first try. I never should have agreed to this, but at the same time I didn’t realize I would only be getting one shot at it either. My eyes slid over to the door wondering if Zak had made it back yet.
“You can’t ask him for help!” The girl snapped coming into my line of sight.
“I wasn’t going to!” I snapped back. The girl eyed me closely before deciding that what I had said was the truth.
“Oh! And another thing,” she blurted.
“What?” I sighed.
“You only have five minutes to give me the correct answer. If you don’t give me the correct answer by then? You’re going to die,” she giggled.
“Sssshhh! Better hurry now. You’ve already wasted a minute and a half. Good luck!”
Then she disappeared.
I only had three and a half minutes left to solve this riddle before I was killed by the hands of the ghost of a little girl.