Fog suffocated the surroundings outside as the three teenagers walked down the empty, lifeless street. The house they were looking for should emerge out of the darkness at any minute, they thought. Out of all the nights, they chose the night the murder happened two decades ago. If they were going to see the supposed haunted house, they were going to see it in its supreme form.
It was a night that would forever alter Daniel Grogan’s life. He didn’t know this, of course, but as they approached the house, his future was waiting for him.
The gothic architecture of the house pointed out through the fog and stood in infamy before them. A black iron gate surrounded the property and naturally, the entrance was ajar and creaked slowly back and forth in the soft nighttime breeze. Leading up to the house were cracked stepping stones resting atop wet mud. A giant rat jolted across as they approached. Daniel’s heart was pounding against his chest.
“You ready?” Rob asked. Daniel couldn’t decipher if he was asking him and Deon or if he was asking himself, considering they were all three still standing frozen at the entrance to the gate.
All the vegetation in the planters alongside the stone pathway to the front door were full of death. Dead, crinkled and faded plants laid over each other, some even overlapping the walkway. Daniel swore in his mind that he barely felt a breeze and yet, the wooden shutters slammed open and closed against the windows on the second floor. The only light available was a flickering bulb by the front door.
As the young men made their way along the stone path, doing their best to ignore the clapping of the shudders above them, the light finally gave out. And along with the sudden darkness, came a high-pitched shriek from inside.
The three teenagers looked at each other. Ever since they were old enough to conspire a plan, they promised themselves they’d have the courage to come to this house one day. It was a pact they made in elementary school and now, about to graduate from high school and go their separate ways, it was time. So, they continued to the front door. Regardless of the blood pumping organ Daniel thought was in major distress.
A stench unlike anything they’d ever smelt before, hit their olfactory systems with a vengeance. It was pungent and reminiscent of roadkill but they didn’t see any dead animals around. The front door was splintered and chipped, and as they approached they realized it was open.
Just a sliver of inside was revealed in the crack of the opening but it was enough to see a shadow jump across the room along with a loud thud.
Rob turned to Deon and Daniel, this time it was certain he was talking to them.
“You ready?” he whispered.
Daniel looked through the sliver of the door and swore he saw an eyeball floating in the darkness staring at him. His heart felt like it was going to explode out of his chest, he couldn’t take it anymore.
He turned to his childhood friends. “I…I can’t. I’m sorry, guys.”
Daniel ran back to the street, leaping over the stone blocks quickly as his friends waved him back. But he continued to run. He ran through the foggy unknown all the way back to his house where he finally caught his breath.
The following week Daniel left for college and years later developed an app which told you what type of cheese was in front of you by taking a picture of it. It was a hit, especially among rich investors who were always wondering what cheese they were eating at their fancy parties but never wanted to ask in fear that it would reveal their ignorance of high-end cheeses.
Eventually, after the sale of his app, Daniel found himself at these parties sharing the same oxygen as people with seven-digit figures in their bank accounts. He never heard from his childhood friends. It was later reported, they entered the haunted house and were never seen again. But who the hell needed childhood friends anyways? It was difficult even attempting to remember their names but he did know the names of Tarentaise and Caciocavallo, the fanciest cheeses that ever graced the presence of his taste buds. And damn, they were tasty.