There it was again. We all had heard it but no one made a move. Jeffery squeezed the bottle of Vodka as his conversation faltered. Debra stared at me as she continued to try and explain something to Jeffery, who was oblivious to everything around us. I stood listening for when the noise would make itself present again. None of us knew what it could be, but for some reason I had a strange feeling that this was just the beginning of what we were hearing. The air seemed to have the sense of death looming in it and the room that we were in had a feeling of a dark presence hiding within the shadows. I wasn't sure if it was just because of the raging storm outside or if there was something else, something that had yet to make itself be known to us. No matter what though, I tried not to show the fear that burned within my soul. I had no idea if anyone else could feel it too, but I wasn't going to mention it. For they would think that I was a fool. Still, there was definitely something in here with us that we now knew for sure. How I wished that we had stayed in the van when it had broken down on the side of that country road a mile from here. Just waited out the storm there, with the hope that someone would come along. But Jeffery was the one who had the bright idea for us to venture out and try to find some shelter somewhere else. I had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into, but prayed that we would be able to endure it till dawn. My eyes stayed focused on Debra as the conversation that she had slowly turned to a heated argument. Jeffery had a way of doing that with people, especially when he had been drinking. She tried her best not to let him get her upset, but it didn't seem to work. Her eyes were filled with rage as she made her way over to me. If I didn't know what was going on, I would have been terrified by the look she was giving me.
"Mark, do you have any idea what that noise could be?" she asked when she reached me.
"No. It could be anything. Could be from the storm or the house settling or …"
"Or something that no one has ever experienced before." She said cutting me off.
"Yeah, exactly." I replied coldly.
I really had no way to truly answer her, for my own fear was burning through my veins. I looked across the room at Elena, who was sitting in a large recliner. The way she sat there made her seem like a scared child. Her long amber hair cascaded over her shoulders as her arms crossed over her chest, while she tried to stop her body from shivering. How I wanted to go to her and hold her in my arms, so that she would know that she was not the only one that was feeling that way. The only thought that ran through my mind was that we were trapped in this abandoned house with that noise, (and whatever it was that was making it).
"I think we should had stayed in the van. Someone would have come along and helped us." Elena said in a scared tone.
"We were driving on a dirt country road and there probably isn't anyone who would be going on it in this weather." Jeffery said in a drunken tone.
"And whose fault is that? If you didn't take us on it we would have probably been alright on the main road." Debra snapped as she turned to him.
"Hey, I didn't hear you give any advice when we were figuring out what to do." Jeffery said.
"Why don't you all just drop it. Arguing about it isn't going to solve anything. At least we are in shelter and together, that's all that matters." I said.
They knew that I was right, but there was still something about this house that didn't feel right. That was besides the noise that we had heard. Something that wouldn't let me forget, even if I were to try. I just wished that I could figure out what that was. It was then we heard the noise again. The low rhythmic thumping, like the sound of some monstrous heart. It seemed to come from all around us, as Elena let out a scream. The sound continued for a few seconds, as if something was trying to drive us mad. The whole time, we continued to look around us, hoping that we could discover where it was coming from. But it was no use. The sound left as mysteriously as it came. Leaving us within the room, the only sound that we could now hear was the raging storm outside.
"Who in the hell owns this house?" Debra asked.
"The name on the mailbox had said Hacker Family." I replied.
Jeffery laughed suddenly when he head that, then sat back and took a drink from the Vodka bottle.
"What's so funny?" I asked.
"It might as well have said Manson Family. Come on Mark, you heard the legend. In fact we all have." Jeffery said as his eyes stayed focused on me.
For a moment, no one said a word, as the sound of the rain pelting on the window echoed in the room. Of course I had heard the legend, but I just never believed it. The legend of how something in the house had driven the family into such morbid acts of violence. Especially their son, who they ended up chaining to the wall in the basement, like some wild animal. And the father performing such horrendous experiments on the dead bodies, which he would get from his funeral home. In the end the house claimed the lives of the entire family. But when the police investigated, they could not find the bodies of the father or the son. The only thing that they found in the basement was the broken chains, dead bodies of rats and other animals that had been ripped apart and articles of ripped clothing. Some believe that they crossed over to a supernatural dimension and still haunt the house this very day. The only thing was, we couldn't be sure that this was the actual house. For no one was really sure of its exact location.
"You mean this is the Hacker house? The one that is haunted and no one who has come here was ever seen again?" Elena said.
"It can't be. It is just coincidence, that's all ….. nothing more." I said in somewhat of a calm voice.
"I don't care. I would rather take my chances back in the van than here." Elena said.
"Now, that's enough. No one is going anywhere. We will stay here for tonight and then in the morning we can find the nearest town or house and get help." Debra said.
I had agreed with Debra, for the storm was too strong for anyone to go out in. Of course, staying in this house started to feel like a bad idea too. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, that was what I was thinking. But for all I knew, this noise could be nothing at all. Yet, deep in my soul I had a feeling that there was something more that we didn't know yet. When we came in here, we believed that the house was abandoned. But I had never had seen one that was full of furniture and personal effects, along with the fact that there was no dust or cobwebs anywhere to be found. But how could that be? It seemed wrong to me, making that uneasy feeling grow even stronger within my soul.
It was then I heard something, so soft and distant, like a whisper. It sounded like a voice, even though I couldn't be sure. If it was, I wasn't able to make out what it was saying. At first I thought that it was just my imagination, but from the look on Elena's face, I knew that they had heard it too. It made me feel somewhat at ease, at least to know that I wasn't crazy. But what was it that was behind the voice and what could it be that it was trying to tell us? That was the one thing that I had yet to find out. Debra walked away from me and over to the window, staring out into the darkening storm. I could tell that the pressure had already started to take its toll on her, but I couldn't think of the words to say that would ease her mind. It was then that Elena stood up and made her way toward me, her arms still crossed over her chest as her eyes stayed focused on me. A tear ran down her cheek as she tried not to show the fear inside her.
"Mark…. Did…..Did you hear that? That voice which I heard?" she asked in a soft voice.
"I heard it, but I couldn't make out what it was saying." I replied softly.
"There is something in this house. Something watching us right now. I can feel it. Can't you?" she said in a panicked tone.
I had no idea of what to say to her. Just seeing her in this sight, made me wonder what she was going to do. Mainly because in the years that I had known her, I had never seen her in such a state as this. The only thing that I could do was to agree with her, saying that I had heard it too. Even though, I wasn't really sure what it had been that I had heard. When I had told her that, I could see a smile appear on her lips. As if she suddenly was feeling a sense of relief that she was not the only one. In a way I wanted to join in with the relief that she was feeling, but there was something that was lingering deep within me. Something that was haunting my mind, making it impossible for me to even try to conceive the slightest thought of logic. Elena walked closer to me, into my arms, wanting me to hold her close to her. Just to feel her body next to mine was something so wondrous. The only thing that I wished was that this moment would have happened under different circumstances. My hands touched her back, feeling her body shivering in fear, as I tried to think of something to say that would put her at ease. The only thing was, I really didn't think that there were any words that anyone could say right at this moment. I had no idea what we were dealing with, so how could I try to make her believe that everything was going to be all right? For a moment we stood there in each other's arms in silence, as I wished that this moment wouldn't handle. It was then that we heard the sound of Jeffery making a rude comment to us, which was practically the only type of comment that he would normally make in the condition that he was in.
"Why don't you two find a bedroom so you can do that it private." Jeffery said.
"Jeffery, keep your comments to yourself. No one likes to listen to you when you are drunk." Debra said without even turning around.
"Fine." Jeffery said as he stood up and staggered out of the room.
I watched him as he made his way out of the room, knowing that it would be a bad idea for him to be walking around on his own. But from the look on his face, I could tell that telling him that wouldn't do any good. So all I could do was to let him walk off, for I had to worry about Elena right now. Slowly, I tried to pull back, but she just pulled me back against her. Making it obvious that she needed me more than she was willing to tell me. After a minute or so, she finally let go of me, not before she kissed me. The first time that she had ever kissed me. The feeling that kiss gave me made me feel so alive once again. Almost making me forget about the noise and what it could be that was making it. Almost that was.
"I'm sorry that I am acting so scared." Elena said.
"It's no problem. I know how you feel. But I promise you that I will not let anything happen to you. You mean more to me than you can ever know." I said in a soft voice. "I will not let anything happen to Debra either, if I can help it."
"You don't need to worry about me, I know how to take care of myself." Debra said as she turned from the window and came over to us.
"I know that. But you can't be too safe. Especially when we don't even know what is in this house with us. But I think that we should try and find out. Before it comes and makes itself known." I said.
"You really think that this is the Hacker house that the legends talk about?" Elena asked.
"Let's just say that I don't want to take any chances. If this is the place the legends talk about, then we better find a way to get out of here fast." I said.
"I don't know if you are just paranoid or maybe just over cautious. But either way I think that you might be right," Debra said, and then looked around the room. "Where did Jeffery go?"
"I don't know. After you told him to shut up, he got up and walked out of the room. Who knows where he went." I said.
"Maybe he left and went back to the van." Elena said.
"No, I would have seen him if he had walked outside. No, he is still in this house somewhere. We better find him, before he gets himself into trouble." Debra said in a disgusted tone.
I knew that she really didn't want to go looking for him, for then she would have to deal with him drunken attitude again. If it were up to her, she would just leave him alone and let him sleep it off. But this was not a normal situation they were in and they should be together, in case something happened. The only thing that I wasn't sure about was where we should start looking.
"So what do you think we should do?" I asked.
"Let's start with upstairs. If I know him, he probably found a bedroom where he could pass out in. Once we find him, then we could decide what we are going to do after that." Debra said.
"That sounds like a good idea to me. But I think that we should stay together as we look. I don't want any one else to disappear. I don't think that I could take it." Elena said.
I could tell that the fear was growing within her, just from the way that she said that. We agreed to that, for if we needed to make a break for it, at least we would be together when it happened. Debra led us out of the room and into the narrow hallway where the staircase was. Elena walked next to me, as if she wanted to make sure that I was next to her. It really didn't matter to me, for I wanted her next to me. Even with the sensation that I was feeling and that strange noise that we kept hearing, her presence seemed so intoxicating. We made our way up the stairs as I started to wonder what it was that we were getting involved in. That strange sensation, which I had felt a moment ago, now was back again. Feeling the presence of death that seemed to press against my flesh. Even the air around us seemed to turn cold, even though the women didn't seem to notice. All I could do was to pretend that I didn't feel anything that was until one of them mentioned it.
Once upstairs, we started to make our way down the dark, narrow hallway. My eyes staying focused in front of us as I felt Elena's hand grip mine. I looked at her for a moment, seeing her look at me with a slight smile on her lips. I smiled back, hoping that it would help her relax slightly. I guess in a way I need to see her smile to make sure that everything was going to be all right. Even though I had no idea if it really would. We made our way to the first door, and then Debra reached over and opened it. The door creaked, as it swung open, like the way it would in one of those old horror movies. We looked inside, seeing an empty bedroom that looked like it would be for a little girl. Old china dolls sitting on low shelves, ruffled sheets on the bed and a couple stuffed animal sitting on the bed. Then we made our way out of it, as Debra slowly closed the door. One by one we went through the rooms, finding nothing but empty bedrooms. When we reached the last one, which looked like the master bedroom, we stood in there, trying to figure out what we were going to do now.
"This doesn't make any sense. Where in the hell could he be?" Debra said frustrated.
I had a feeling that I knew where he might have gone, but wasn't sure if I should tell them or not. In a way I had no idea why I sort of knew it, but there was still that feeling that lingered in soul. It was as if that strange sensation that I was feeling was giving me some sort of hint of where to go. The only thing that I wasn't sure about was why?
"So, what do you want to do now?" Elena asked.
But before either Debra or I could say anything, we could hear a noise coming from the heating vents. It was different than the thumping noise that we had been hearing before downstairs. This time it sounded like some sort of beast that was grunting and moaning wildly. And then there was the sound of someone screaming in agonizing terror. Right away we knew that it was Jeffery's voice, but we couldn't figure out where it was coming from. The screams continued for a moment, becoming more and more louder, as we heard him begging someone or something not to do something. And then the screaming was suddenly silence.
"Where the hell is it coming from?" Debra asked in a frantic voice.
"If I am right it has to be the basement. These vents probably lead to the heater which means he would be down there." I said.
"What the hell is he doing down there?" Debra said.
"Probably wanting to prove to himself that the legend of this place was nothing more than a story. You know how he is, always being so pigheaded about everything." Elena said.
Before any of us could say anything, Debra made her way out of the bedroom and started down the hallway. We followed behind her, trying to keep up with her. Afraid of what she was going to do, but most of all what she would find when she reached the basement. I knew that whatever would be down there, she would need our help. Even though I wasn't a soldier or even what some people would call a tough guy, I couldn't let her go down there alone.
We got down to the main floor then over to the basement door. Slowly we opened the door, hoping that it wouldn't make a sound, so that whatever was down there would not be alerted to our presence. For a moment we stood there at the top of the stairs, looking down within the dimly lit basement, as the sound of screaming, moaning and thrashing of chains came from down there. I wanted to tell Debra just to forget about going down there, that it was too dangerous. But the expression on her face was that of such stern seriousness, making it obvious that there was no way he could convince her.
"We have to go down there. Jeffery could be hurt." Debra said.
"But we don't have any weapons to protect ourselves against whatever it is that is down there. We would be walking right into a trap, for all we know." I said.
"I have a weapon." Elena said as she pulled a revolver out of her purse.
I was shocked to see her holding that in her hand, but now a days, with all the crazy things that goes on in this world, it made sense.
"Ok, well that solves that problem. Let's go." Debra said in a forceful tone.
I had no other choice but to agree with her, for I couldn't just stay up here and let her go down there alone. Facing Lord knows what abomination would be lurking down there. Slowly we made our way down the stairs, making sure that we didn't making sure that we didn't make any noise. Before we got to the bottom of the stairs, Elena handed me the revolver. For she probably felt that she wouldn't be able to use it, because she would be to terrified by whatever she would see. My hand gripped the handle of the revolver tightly as we reached the bottom of the stairs; the sounds, which we had heard before, were now louder, coming from behind a large oil soaked clothe that was hung from the ceiling. Along with that sound came the buzzing noise, sounding something like currents of electricity. The only thing that I could think of was that it was from an old circuit breaker or something like that. I raised the revolver in front of me, my thumb pushing the hammer back.
"Are you ready?" Debra whispered.
"Yes." I said, even though it was a lie.
All that I wanted to do was to go back upstairs and out the front door. Getting away from this place as fast as I could. We made our way over to the cloth, as a rank odor filled the room. One that I could not make out. Debra's hand reached up for the dirty cloth and then with one motion, pulled it down. What we saw behind it made me want to be ill right then and there. We had found Jeffery, sitting in some sort of bizarre electric chair. His arms and legs had been severed off, the stumps sown up with surgical thread. His heart sat within a jar near the chair, as his body was being pumped with embalming fluid. Jeffery screamed out in agony, as he was electrocuted every few seconds, to keep him alive as long as he could. So that he would be tortured for as long as he could. His flesh was now pale white from the blood that he had lost when his limbs had been severed. He was still alive, even though he didn't open his eyes. That was unless his eyes had been sewed shut. Over to the side, within the darkness I could hear the sound of grunting and chains rattling. Whatever had done this was still down here with us. Elena and I heard it, but Debra just stood there staring at what was left of Jeffery in shock. My attention went to the shadows where the noise was coming from, when I saw the hunchback silhouette slowly moving toward us. At first it wasn't that clear to see, but within seconds it started to become more vivid. I wanted to fire the gun at it, but Debra was in the way. Even when I told her to move, she just remained there, frozen in such terror. It was then a chain suddenly emerged from the shadows and wrapped around her leg. Debra's body fell to the floor as it started to pull her into the shadows. Debra screamed out for help, her eyes staring up at us, wide with terror. I fired the gun at the figure within the darkness, hoping that I would hit it. After the second shot, I heard it let out a horrid scream as Debra disappeared into the shadows. It was then that we heard her scream, and then was suddenly silenced. The only other sound that could be heard was what sounded like a meat cleaver chopping through a side of beef. But this was Debra's flesh that was being hacked apart now. Her decapitated head rolled out from the darkness toward us, as we backed quickly away from it. Without thinking I grabbed Elena's hand and then we raced up the stairs and out the front door. The storm had already ended, and the damp smell of the air felt so refreshing to me. We kept going till we reached the dirt road, which he led us here. Right at that moment, an elderly man in a pickup truck came driving by. He stopped, probably wondering why we were running so franticly.
"Is everything alright? Do you need a ride somewhere?" he said.
"Oh yes, please. We have to get to the police; our friends have been murdered by something in that house behind us. Please you have to help us." Elena said in a frantic tone.
"Miss, what house are you talking about? There hasn't been a house on that property for twenty years. Ever since it burned down to the ground taking the lives of an entire family." The old man said.
"What do you mean? We just ran out of it. It's that house right…"
But I never finished that sentence, for when I turned around the house was no longer there. The only thing that I could see was a large vacant lot with a sign saying "For Sale" with a phone number written under it. Elena looked behind her as well and noticed the same thing. Had it all been a dream? I knew that was impossible, for if it was Debra and Jeffery would be standing here with us. I turned back to the old man, who was looking at us with a puzzled expression on his face. I smiled as I tried to think of something that would explain why we were acting this way.
"I'm sorry sir, we got into accident a mile down the road and our imagination must have got the best of us. But we could use a ride to the nearest garage or town, if it is no trouble?" I said politely.
"Sure thing. Town is not even a mile from here. It looks like you two could use something in your stomach. Hop in." the old man said.
We got into the pickup and the old man took us to town. We never spoke of what had happened to us after that night. For no one would ever believe us. And in time, we started to doubt that it had ever happened. But I will never forget that ominous figure in the dark and the horrid fate that my two friends had faced. Never till the end of my days.