Chapter 24: (v.24) "on the edge"

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 185

"You'll be a part of our gang only if you go into the haunted house and bring us the rune-stone of the witch.".

Layne was longing to be a part of Joe's gang. Everybody liked him, including Joe but for some reason he was also secretly scared of him. The leaders are always afraid of the newcomers. There was something about Layne that forced him to be cautious. He was enjoying his leadership and had no intention to give it up. That's why he prefered not to let Layne be a member of the gang, but remain simply a friend of it. There was no way he was going to do the task he was given. Everyone was afraid to enter the haunted house, even the grown ups. But even if he did it, there was no chance to bring back a rune-stone. Because that was something he made up. There was no stone to be found.

Layne was afraid. He wanted to be this gang's member too much, but entering a haunted house was something really difficult to do. For a moment he regretted asking Joe to join his group. He brought himself in this position and now he was on the edge. He was forced to go, otherwise all the boys would make fun of him for being a coward. And although he was feeling like a coward, he did not want them to know.

It must have been almost midnight when he jumped out his bedroom window. He made sure that everyone in home were sleeping and secretly run away to the so called haunted house. He thought that if he succeeded to enter the house and take the rune-stone of the witch, his friends would respect him. He'll be a hero in their eyes. And that thought was enough to make him enter the scary house.

Joe and his gang were outside. They all watched him with great surprise entering the house. The only thing left to do was waiting for Layne's return. Joe knew his place was in danger. His only hope was the non existent stone. He knew Layne just won a gang membership but as long as there was no stone, his leadership was safe.

The floor was old and made little squeaky sounds while he was walking around. It must have been a wonderful house once. Now it was just a wreck between its ruins,  but some of its remains betrayed that back in the past that place was a luxuriant building. The smell was unbearable. But it didn't stop him from searching. He was looking closely around using his flashlight. At some point he thought he heard something. But immediately he justified it as part of his fear. Time was passing and Layne could not find the stone, or at least an object with runes on it. Suddenly he had a feeling that he wasn't alone. He whispered the names of the boys who were supposed to be outside, waiting for him. But he got no answer. Then he noticed the silence in the house. All of the sounds, the soft squeaking, the wind, everything was now mute. Out of the blue, a shadow appeared. Layne tried to scream but he couldn't. He was mute too. Mute and stuck in the floor. He could not speak or move. He was just standing there drowning in his fear. The shadow came close to him. Layne was now finding himself hard to breathe. He was almost paralyzed, surely helpless and without any hope for defense. He tried to look at the shadow but he could not see clearly. He wasn't sure if he was looking the shadow of a dark hooded person, or a female figure with head scarf. “Who are you?”, whispered the creature, with eerie voice that reminded him the winter's wind. He tried to speak again but this time he succeeded it. “My name is Layne...”, said with a trembling voice. "Are you...", he continued ready to cry. "Are you the old hag?", he asked. The shadow made a sound like laughter, an extremely scary one. "You should be in bed Layne.", whispered again. "I know. I'm sorry madam.", replied he. "Morah." stated the shadow. "What?", wondered Layne. "My name's Morah.", answered the silhouette. "Are you going to kill me miss Morah?", asked the boy feared by the expecting answer. Suddenly he felt a strong pain in his chest and all his old wounds began to bleed. "You should be in bed Layne... You should be in bed Layne... You should be in bed.", repeated the shadow.

The little boy understanded that his end was near. It was pointless to whimper or to do anything in generally. And just like that Layne existence disappeared.

It was getting late and their brave friend was still inside of the house. “Should we go look for him?”, asked one of boys. Joe was afraid to reply. He had no intention to get into this house in the middle of the night. What the hell was Layne doing in there? What was the purpose of his delay? Once again his leadership was at stake because of him. He hated him for this. “You should go Joe. You’re the leader.”, said another one. Everybody seemed to agree and then Joe hated Layne more.

Just before he would be forced by his gang to enter the haunted house to look for their new member, Layne's figure showed up. He stepped out of the door and walked near them. The boys laughed, congratulated and welcomed Layne to the group. Joe was about to ask him about the rune-stone. But before he got the time to speak, Layne gave him a stone with some runes written on it. All the boys clapped their hands and cheered up for him. "You should be in bed.", said Layne and walked away leaving his new gang stunned.

That night all the kids who were living in that city never woke up. The whole town dressed in black for the little lost ones. Never again a kid raised in there, nor child was born alive too. Some said, it was a haunted city and by the years it became indeed. No one was living there, everyone was too afraid to get close to this damned town.

Sometimes in the night the nearby cities could hear some strange noises. The sound of a soft but strong wind and children's screaming.



-the end-


Submitted: October 14, 2016

© Copyright 2022 Jo Palaiologou. All rights reserved.

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