The whole place was like a horror movie or like something from Doctor Who. Furniture covered with sheets, streaky windows, tables furry with dust. Creaky sounds like something your over-enthusiastic neighbours would play on Hallowe’en. Mouse tracks. Wind whistling through the broken window upstairs.
The stairs were the worst. The whole house gave her the creeps but somehow the stairs were creepier than everything else. There was something so vulnerable about being in that space, like it would be easy to push someone down or to sneak behind them while they were going up. She even found stairs in her own house a bit off-putting so it was no wonder that the stairs here were even more distressing.
They were ordinary stairs, wooden, with a carpet trailing up the middle. In a different age, there would have been a runner of that knobbly plastic covering it, but instead, there were metal rods at the juncture where the riser met the step below. They rattled with each step she took and the sound did nothing to make her less creeped out. Neither did the cloud of dust that rose with each footfall. It had to have been years since anyone had taken a vacuum to the place, and she had no intention of being the one to do so.
If she had any sense she wouldn’t be here at all but she had to get her purse back. Of course, if she had any sense she wouldn’t have come out to the haunted house with Dana and the rest of the cheerleaders, and she probably would have left when Bill and the rest of the team showed up. And if she had any sense, she would never have given Bill a hard time about not wanting to go inside. And she definitely would not have clucked like a chicken when he refused.
If she had done any of those things, he might not have picked up her purse and flung it through the upstairs window. And if she hadn’t made such a big deal about him being a chicken, then he might have cut her some slack, but she hadn’t and he didn’t and now she was trudging up the dusty steps, eating her heart every time it shot up into her throat.
Every step took an eternity, she was a living example of slow motion, the sound of her own breath rattled in her ears, she worried about peeing in her new GAP jeans. She wasn’t backing down though, she wasn’t giving Bill the satisfaction of being able to call her a chicken. And if that wasn’t motivation enough, her car keys were in that purse and it was a long, long walk to her house. Especially if she had to walk it alone.
The room housing her purse was at the front of the house, to the right at the top of the stairs. Maybe 25 feet away. She could do this. She could totally do this.
The purse was sitting on the floor in the middle of the room, light streaming in from moon outside highlighted the clear spot in the dust where it had landed. She bent down to pick it up. A shadow crossed in front of the window.
They could hear her scream from outside.