Haunted. The five friends looked up at the dilapidated, old mansion. They realized they were going to be spending the next seven days of their spring break in one of the most haunted houses in America. The peeling paint, cracked windows and the surrounding wooded area gave the former plantation an eerie feel.
A rat scurried across the porch steps, and Lisa yelled, "I'm am so not spending my spring break in that thing!" Lisa, the least liked of the group, and who was only brought into the group because Brad liked her, squealed with disgust at the ugly rodent.
Brad begged his cousin Alice to let Lisa join the group, and even refused to join if Lisa wasn't invited. Alice agreed, although she despised Lisa's attitude. Luckily, for Brad and Lisa both, she needed him.
Alice, was the oldest of the group and the designated leader. The group of ghost hunters was started while Alice was writing feature stories in College. Her best friend Janie begged her to take a trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and write a feature about the anniversary of the battle. While they were there Alice and Janie thought they saw some unexplainable things, which piqued their interest. When they returned they formed the group to investigate weird phenomena.
"Oh yes you so are!" Brad exclaimed, nudging Lisa with his arm, "This place is awesome. We need to hurry and unpack all the equipment, I can hardly wait to explore the inside of this house! If it looks this scarey on the outside I can hardly wait to see what the inside looks like!" Brad opened the back door of the van and started unloading the various pieces of luggage and other electronic equipment. Brad and Jack were best friends, and the two guys were the "techies' of the group, handling all of the electronics.
Lisa strolled around the front of the mansion looking at the abandoned scaffolding, tools, and other painting supplies. "Alice, what's the deal with all this stuff? Is there someone else here? It looks like the place is being worked on."
Alice never looked up from the folder of papers she was reading and replied, "No one else is here. The city and the local historical society want this place renovated to make it a museum or some sort of tourist attraction. One the second day, all of the workers left, leaving all of the equipment. Without any explanation, the company refunded the city in full. No note, no call, just a refund check. The company refuses to accept the mayor's phone calls. That is when they contacted me at the blog. The mayor saw my post about strange sightings at Gettysburgh." Brad and Lisa looked at each other with excitement at the possibilities of what lay inside.
Alice looked back up to drink in the size of the structure, imagining its magnificence during an age of cotillions and southern belle debutantes. She stared up at the house as an unexpected wave of apprehension swept over her. She shook off the feeling, then looked at Janie, "Janie, you got any info on this place?"
Janie stared straight ahead, looking almost hypnotized. Her curly black hair, and flawlessdark skin looked frightening while illuminated by the moonlight. She looked terrified as her breathing increased, and her gaze remained fixed on the mansion. Alice waved a hand in front of her face with great concern, "Janie? You okay, girl?"
Shaking her head, Janie responded, "Huh? What?" She turned her head slowly toward Alice with here yes still fixed on the dwelling, "Man, I don't know about you, but this place freaks me out!" In a low whisper and with wide eyes, she said, "It's like one of those houses you have bad dreams about when you're a little kid. Did we have to come here at night?" It was like she did not want the house to hear her talking about it.
Clearing her throat, and trying to dismiss Janie's statement, Alice asked, "Have you got any history for us, missy? After all, you are the historian of the group, aren't you?" Lisa shot Alice an angry look. Lisa wanted the attention of being special in any way, and was jealous that Alice chose her best friend as historian. In truth, Alice hated Lisa's attitude, and may have picked her for the position otherwise.
"Oddly, I could hardly find anything on this wondrous mansion," she sarcastically stressed the word wondrous. She continued, "I can tell you that during the early 1800s, this was one of the grandest homes in the land. We are standing on the largest plantation ever built, by the richest family in the state.
It's owner's name was Mr. William McBride, having been passed down from generation to generation, until he disappeared. No one ever knew exactly what happened to him, but there were rumors that one of the slaves started a fire in the slave quarters. It spread like crazy destroying over half of the plantation's cotton, and the east wing of the mansion."
Jack, Brad, Lisa, and Alice all listened to the tale while scanning the property. They tried to imagine the McBride plantation as a working plantation.
"The city tried to renovate this place several times, but no one ever lasted long enough to finish the job. Each time someone came in the mansion, they'd leave just as quickly. No one knows why." Janie shrugged her shoulders, hoping she would not soon learn the reason.
"I know why," Lisa interjected. Alice rolled her eyes at Lisa's insistence to be the center of attention.
"No one wants to hear from you," Brad said which resulted in a drop dead stare from Lisa. "You just sit there looking pretty. Let me and Jack sort this equipment, then we can get to the 'whys'. Okay?" Brad coached Lisa with a flirtatious smile, and a wink. Smacking her gum and batting her eyes, she shot back, "Okay."
Watching her cousin Brad flirt with Lisa and her horrible attitude was nauseating to Alice. "This place cost a pretty penny in it's day. And I have always said, where there is money...."
The group unenthusiastically finished the line, "There is murder....." They had heard this pitch a hundred times before.
Trying to raise the excitement level, Alice then raised her voice, "And where there is murder...."
The group bellowed out, "There are ghosts!"
Brad proudly declared, "That's where we come in!" That was their passion, not history or imagining the grandeur of some old building. It was ghost hunting that captivated them, although none of them had ever seen any. That would soon all change.