Chapter 1: Dangerous Dares
I never thought I’d be in this sort of situation.
My hands shook as I stood stiffly in the middle of the road. Giggles and whispers echoed from the truck quietly stationed across the street, and the three guys were urging me to continue with my mission.
"Get going you pussy." The tall, blonde one taunted. His name was Jeff, and I hated him the most of the three. Ever since he found out my secret he'd been attempting to make my life a living hell. This situation was no exception. I turned around and flipped him off, knowing immediately that it was a mistake. The quiet purr of his truck gave an irritated rev and he was out of the car in seconds, making his angry way toward me. I winced when he came up behind me and painfully gripped my shoulders. I jerked away when I felt his liqour scented breath hit my ear.
"Don't you forget what I told you I'd do. You do this dare and maybe I won't follow through with it. Got that buddy?" He spat out. I pried away from his grip and turned around to face him. His tall, bulky frame might have been intimidating. His livid expression and stiff posture might also have been intimidating.. But I was past being afraid of him. This was merely business.
"I said 'You got that!?'" Jeff repeated angrily. I backed away from him in the direction of the house. Far enough away, so he wouldn't think about chasing me after I said what I was about to..
"Fuck you Jeff!" I stated, and he made a move to get at me, but glanced uncertainly at the house behind me, and got back in his truck. Bastard.
I refocused my mind to the task at hand. I tried to reassure myself as I took a hesitant step toward the large house. Their voices quieted to a dull silence as I drew slowly away from them.
I gulped at my surroundings. The pitch black night was slightly intimidating. The stars seemed to be hiding and the cold wind was overpowering my thin sweatshirt.
My eyes were frozen open from the cold and I was nervous out of my mind. My hesitation only fueled my discomfort and my heart was racing uncomfortably. I didn’t want to do this.
I stared at the huge house in front of me. It was just a shadow against the midnight sky. I swallowed loudly and strongly considered legging it. But I knew I couldn't do that. Jeff would follow through with his threat if I did.
This was not just a creepy looking house. This was his house… Our new teacher, Mr. Taisley’s house. It was only a few weeks into our senior year, but the whole school had started to talk about him. At first I could see why. He was young. About in his mid twenties. And he was extremely good looking. I thought everyone liked him…
But then people started saying other things. I took the wide spreading rumors into consideration and tried to convince myself they weren’t real, but there were just so many flying around.
Some people said Mr. Taisley was a murderer- That the only reason he moved to this small town was because he needed to escape to somewhere undetectable. Other people said he broke out of jail and was on the run. People couldn't understand why a total stranger would move into this town in the first place, especially into an old abandoned house that's been unoccupied for years.
I wondered briefly if this was complete suicide. Was I walking to my death? The monstronsity of a house honestly looked like a ghost or demon dwelled there. Two stories of discolorated wood and rotting foliage loomed down over me, taunting me to enter it to my doom. I had also heard things about the house...
Rumors of how Mr. Taisley stuffed voodoo dolls in the ceilings and air vents within the house... Of how he kept dead bodies beneath his floorboards. And of how instead of sleeping, he choose to walk through the city graveyard every night, mumbling to himself and the gravestones. I swore I could almost hear his faded black dress shoes squishing through the cemetery mud. I bit my lip as the apprehension settled in.
Jeff and his friends were also involved in these rumours. And that's how I came into the picture. I was being sent inside to get blackmail. Despite all of the horrid images and stories I had heard, I personally saw nothing wrong with Mr. Taisley. I didn't want to get him into any trouble, but it was basically my life on the line, and nothing came above that.
What if I'm murdered? Oh God I can’t abandon my cat! He’d die without me!
My thoughts jerked to a hault as my shoe caught on the jagged sidewalk, causing me to stumble. I caught myself just in time and fought the urge to turn around and run as far away from here as I could. I bit my lip as I stood a few yards away from the front door, hesitating.
The air seemed to get colder and my throat swelled up like a bullfrog.. Very attractive. I know.
“Hurry up fag!” I heard behind me, followed by voices telling me to proceed. I angrily bit my lip at the name calling, but caved to their stupid demands, remembering the nasty threats if I didn't follow through. I stepped softly onto the first wooden step of the house. It made a quiet creak and I pressed my lips together, willing it to shut up.
I clamped my hand over my mouth to drown out my unsteady breathing, and tiptoed up the few remaining steps. I sighed in relief when no more creaks interrupted the silence.
I lifted a shaky hand to the odd looking door knob and gripped it unsurely. I twisted it slowly, relieved when it wouldn't turn. There was no other way in; I was safe.
I turned back to see three heads sticking out of the truck across the street. I lifted my arms, palms up in an overdramatic shrug.
I welcomed the bubbles of relief that clouded my stomach, but they left just as quickly when Jeff pointed to my left. Automatic fear set in. Mr. Taisley was standing right there wasn’t he? Oh God!
I gasped as I spun to my left. There was nothing there. I let out a breath I realized I was holding, and reminded myself to keep cool.
“The lattice, fag.” One of the boys yelled from across the street. My cheeks reddened in anger.
“Stop calling me fag you dickheads!” I screamed in annoyance. I was answered with a few chuckles and a "fuck you."
I ignored them and turned back to the house. My eyes widened as I stared at the dark object that ran up the side of the house. It looked like a ladder made out of wood and vines… Dead vines. It looked completely unstable.
"This is not going to work." I quietly yelled to them. There was no response.
I averted my attention back to the lattice. I was a strong confident man. I could do this. Mustering up a bit of courage, I ran my fingers over the rotting wood and tested the sturdiness. It felt damp and frail. Definitely not a good sign. I gulped loudly and looked up. The window was open about an inch. I could push it open the rest of the way. At least there would be no problem getting inside.. If I even made it up there, that is.
My breath hitched in my throat as I lifted my foot into one of the squares. I gripped a strip of wood above me and hoisted myself up. So far so good..
I closed my eyes for a moment, silently praying the ladder wouldn’t snap. Crickets chirped loudly beneath me as I climbed a bit higher up the lattice. The house was only two stories, thank God. Although I wouldn’t have minded only one. There were less ways I could die.
I gripped another sturdy beam and pulled my foot up to the next square. I sighed in relief. Other foot..
I gasped silently when my foot wouldn’t come loose. I yanked my converse but it was stuck in the spindly vines. Oh god. Oh god. Oh god. I cursed and fought the urge to hyperventilate. Calm down. That was the key.
This was all in my head. My shoe wasn’t caught in 100 year old rotting wood, and I wasn’t clutching onto a built in ladder on the side of a large creepy house that my intimidating (and maybe murderous) teacher resided in. And I was not hanging two stories above the ground, five seconds away from plunging to my death. I was absolutely and completely fine!
I took a deep breath then yanked as hard as I could, gasping in relief when my foot broke loose from the rotting wood. I took a moment to regain my composure before I continued climbing up the ladder.
Too soon, I was at the top, hoisting myself over the balcony wall. I stopped for a few seconds, listening for any noises and getting my breathing back to normal. I was in way too deep now. There was no turning back.
I chewed my lip as I turned to look in the window. The balcony I was standing on was small and there was a door leading back inside. I quickly turned the door kncb, not exactly surprised when it was locked. Looks like I'd be getting in through the window.. I peeked inside the window but saw nothing but darkness. I swallowed in fear.
You can do this. You can do this. I tried reassuring myself but It wasn’t working. My heart was thudding and the only thing I was hoping for was that Mr. Taisley was somehow not home right now.
Taking one last nervous glance around me, I lifted my shaking hands to the window and pulled it open so I could fit through it. And with one more deep breath of fresh air I scrambled through the window and landed on the floor with a dull thud.
I was at the end of a hallway. It was dimly lit with a night light, and had large paintings lining the wall. I took out my cell phone and started taking pictures as proof I was inside, sending them to Jeff.
I walked slowly forward, cursing when the wooden floor creaked loudly. I paused, thankful that all was still quiet. I looked around and sighed in relief when I didn’t see any voodoo dolls or dead bodies. Not that he’d have them lying in the middle of a hallway..
There were so many doors. The house seemed to go on forever. I randomly chose one and pushed it open. There were boxes. And more boxes. Mr. Taisley must not have unpacked much yet.
My heart was still pounding at the thought of what I was doing and what I was supposed to do next. I was sneaking around in someone’s house without permission. I could be shot for this. I took deep breaths and quietly exited that room and headed to the next.
I peered inside quietly. This one also had more boxes. I jumped when my phone vibrated in my pocket. There was a message from Jeff:
"Keep sending pics or I'll assume you're dead and drive away."
I sighed, snapping a picture of the roomful of boxes. I glanced nervously toward the door before lifting the lid off one of the boxes. Bubble wrap.. Lots of it. I pulled it away and stared at what looked to be a picture in my hands.
It was still too dark to see clearly so I used the light from my phone to look at it. It was him: Mr. Taisley. He looked about the same age as he was now, about 25. He still looked flawless even in pictures. He had his arm around an older woman who bore his attractive features. It had to be his mother.
I heard a rusting noise and dropped the picture back into the box, listening for any more noises. The sound was coming from another room.
I walked down the hall toward the noise, and put my ear to another door. Dead quiet. I slowly and quietly opened it and peeked inside. The room was different from the others. For one there weren't any boxes, and even though it was dark I could see the room was neat and tidy. There was a large T.V. in the corner and I could see the outline of a large pile of books and DVDs.
My eyes scanned the rest of the room, landing on a large bed. I started when I saw that there was something in it. And that something was moving.. well breathing. I had found him.. I took a picture of the sleeping form and sent it with a, "found him".
I wondered if he was awake, but realized if he was, he would have shot me or screamed already. My heart thumped loudly when my nerves got the best of me and my mind was throwing weird scenarios at me.
What if that isn’t Mr. Taisley? What if this isn’t his house? But what if it is him and he suddenly wakes up? What if he suspends or expels me? Or kills me?..
I shoved away the uncertain thoughts as I held my breath and stepped closer to the bed. His outline became more distinct as I grew closer and I felt my whole body trembling in nervousness.
I nodded to myself when I was sure it was Mr. Taisley. I knew his face anywhere. I stared at him uncertainly for a minute as he slept. I couldn't make myself look away. The moonlight was coming through the window by his bed, making him seem to glow. His tall figure was spread across the bed on his back. His hand was stuffed somewhere above his head in the pillows and his other hand lay across his beautifully toned chest. He was a god.
I gaped at the outline of his abs, and admired his thin muscled arms. My gaze traveled lower and I realized there was a prominent bulge in his boxers.. Something I wouldn’t have been able to notice when he wore his baggy dress pants for teaching.
Looking at him like this, he didn't seem bad at all. In fact, he looked quite innocent. And boyish. And young... All of a sudden those stupid rumors seemed almost laughable. How could this beautiful creature be anthing close to a monster? His chest rose and fell with his slow steady breathing and never in my life had I felt like such a stalker.
I tore my eyes away from his body and stared at his boyish face. His eyes were closed but I had already memorized the color: A light ocean blue. They sometimes even looked silvery because they were so bright. I trailed my eyes down his small perfect nose and to the curve of his lips. They were thick and plump and had a delicate curve to it. His chin had the slightest stubble, making him look like even more of a model. His jaw line was square and perfect and his dark hair was a wild mess compared to his usually neat combed style he wore to school.
I noticed a silver necklace dangling from his neck, with a locket on the end. I fought the urge to reach over and open it. Mr. Taisley shifted in his sleep, and my heart started racing in panic, but he didn’t wake up. Thank God.
Nerves settled in as I pulled out my phone, not taking my eyes away from Mr. Taisley.
Five new text messages:
… ‘Make sure you don't wake him up!’
… ‘What’s taking so long?’
… ‘Did you do it?’
… ‘Did he murder you?’
I had to silently laugh at that last one. I pressed reply and sighed, sending them a message back.
-I can’t do it. This is insane.-
I stood there waiting for a few seconds before I got a reply:
‘I'm pretty sure you have no choice. Do it. And picture or it never happened.’
I stared down at the text before shutting my phone and taking a deep breath. I'd have to make it quick. Really quick…