The Abandoned House


Knowing what comes next is the hardest question of all. Trying to anticipate the future to save what is yours. 

The Abandoned House

The day started like every other day. The drive from my house to work was about an hour. It's challenging most days, but I really love the area that we live in. The space and friendly neighbors made it worth the drive.

Of course, on my way home from town, part of my drive was in the dark. I knew my car sounded different, but I refused to stop at a shop to have it looked at, knowing that my husband could fix it when I returned home.

Just as the sunset behind the small hills, my car began sputtering before it completely gave out, coasting to a stop on the side of the road. I tried several times, turning over the engine before the battery died. That means I'm not getting out of here. Unfortunately, I'm in the low spot between hills, indicating I had no signal.

The next step was to hike it to the closest house. I used my phone as a flashlight as I walked down the street to find a driveway half a mile away. The road was overgrown with trees and brush. The cliché was washed out in most places. If this drive was used recently, nothing drove very fast. I dodged the branches, only sustaining a few scratches from the brier that reached out as if trying to stop me from walking this path. I refused to listen. Staying the night in my car would not be comfortable.

The path opened up to reveal a circle drive around a lost fountain in greenery in front of a square two-story house that looked as if it was barely standing-no lights shown inside or out. The house was gray from decades of weather, but all the windows were intact. That's a good sign. I stepped up on the porch that creaked and groaned with each movement-reached for the doorbell to find only a door knocker that looked like a demon holding a ring in its mouth. The detail was incredible. It looked real and terrified me to touch it. I decided to use my hand instead.


The door creaked open to reveal a house completely opposite of the outside. It was shiny and clean, renovated to a modern style. The entrance was impeccable. The door slammed closed behind me.

"Hello?" I yelled to contain my scream.


I searched through the doorways from where I stood for the sound that called out.

"Hello?" All that came out was a whisper as my hands shook from fear.

"Urgh..." The moan was louder.

I took a few steps to look into the first room. The room was full of beautiful white furniture. It must be the living room but no source of the noise. The next room had a great big dining room table with elaborately carved chairs that circled. The next room had the door closed.

I slowly pushed open the revolving door to find a kitchen full of freshly cooked food on the counters and blood puddled on the floor, sprayed up on the cabinets and walls.

"Urgh..." the response was close now.

It froze my feet as the blood crept under my shoes. I sorted through the mess to see a hand laying in the stream of blood behind the counter.

"Um... Hello? Can I help you?" I whispered, afraid of any answer, especially a yes. I don't know how to help somebody medically, and I can't call for help.

"Please..." The voice moaned as the fingers stretched out for me.

Deep breath, you can do this. I wadded through the blood as if my shoes couldn't be more covered with sticky liquid. I peered around the corner of the cabinet to see a teenage girl lying on her side as the blood flowed from her arm. The blood had soaked most of her blonde hair, turning it pink. She barely moved as I examined her arm closer without touching to see her forearm sliced down the middle. The blood in the kitchen didn't match. This was too much for one cut. I placed my hand on her shoulder to roll her over, but my hand went right through her.

"AHHH!" I screamed and jerked my hand back, standing up. I backed up to the wall. There was nowhere to go but through the blood again. I regained my composure then bolted from the room.

The girl called after me with more power, "Wait! Please don't go." She whined.

I stopped with the door still open, peering back into the kitchen to see the girl standing next to the counter, knife in hand as she chopped away at some carrots. The room was white again with no hint of red anywhere. Her blonde hair flowed freely down her back as she wore an orange sundress that looked as if it was flowing in the wind. A scent of food washed over me, reminding me that I had not eaten supper yet.

"What is going on? Are you okay? Is this a joke?" I questioned her.

She chuckled in response, "No, this is my afterlife. The name is Charlotte. Sorry for the theatrics, not really my idea, just trying to make the most of things." She explained.

It took me a minute to gather myself. "How is this possible? What are you?" My voice had reached a new octave in the desperation for answers.

She waved me closer. I hesitated, only taking one step closer. She beckoned again. One more step that made me let go of the open door made me let go of my quick escape, which made me let go of knowing that outside this room was safe.

"I know this is scary. If you let me explain, it won't be as bad. Yeah, it is bad, but I can help you. You still have time." She whispered. She was no longer preparing the food, only pretending to be.

"Help me? Aren't you the one that is... dead?" I responded in a hushed tone. I took a step back towards the door, fully realizing that she was a ghost. There is no other explanation if that is one.

"Well... Technically yes?" She answered as if asking herself a question.

"Look, I am dead, but I'm a memory in this house."

My eyes widened. "That makes less sense than just being a ghost."

She nodded. "I know it's hard to explain. You never told me your name."

"Um... I'm Penny."

She looked away then continued with her cutting of the vegetables as she had proceeded to slice cucumbers. I stepped back. I've had enough of this. I spun around to be hit in the face with the swinging door, stumbling backward. I fell flat on my back but not before going through the girl on the way to the floor. My vision blurred as it hit me straight in the face.

A man's voice spoke, "Are you done yet? What is taking so long? This food was supposed to be on the table an hour ago." He yelled at her as a boss yells at his peons.

She jumped, "I'm sorry, so sorry. I'm trying almost done with the salad. The incident overtook me-"

"Don't give me excuses! Get the food on the table now! Then get rid of whatever that is on the floor." He screamed before stomping out of the kitchen, leaving the door to swing back and forth from his momentum.

The girl looked down at me. "I think it is time you leave." Her voice had such force this time.

I struggled to my feet, "I can't. That is why I'm here uninvited, obviously. My car broke down on the road nearby, and I need to call my husband to come get me." I explained quietly.

She hustled around, getting all the food in their elaborately decorated plates and bowls.

"You are in a dilemma then because we don't have a phone. We are not plugged into that side." She answered between her movements.

I was flabbergasted, "How do you not have a phone? Everybody has a phone?"

"Then why don't you?" she did not skip a beat with that one.

She moved right past me out the door with her hands full. I waited for her return as I couldn't stand to run into that man again. He acted like he did not even see me. I wonder if he did, they are ghosts after all. I backed up to stand clear of the door. She returned a few minutes later.

"You still here?" She voiced in an aggravated tone.

"Yeah, I can't leave without a ride," I responded.

"Oh, I bet you can when John realizes that you don't belong here." She retorted.

"Wait! He can be worse?" I questioned.

"You have no idea. He controls this house and everybody in it." She whispered as she ran past me back out the door again.

"AHHHHHHHH!" Charlotte screamed.

The lights began to flicker, and I backed myself up to a corner at the other end of the kitchen. The kitchen went black with a hint of light glowing through around the door. I slide down the wall crouching, holding my legs tucked in. I set my hand down to readjust to find something warm, wet, and thick on the floor. It dripped off my hand as I raised it to see what it was.

"AHHHHHH!" Charlotte screamed right next to me.

I lost my ability to make any noise from the fear that coursed through me. The lights turned back on. She laid on her side in a large puddle of blood that now covered my hand, arm, and the majority of my pants. The door flew open to show John standing there, holding the door wide.

"I TOLD YOU NO EXCUSES!" He yelled at her. He made eye contact with me.

"You are next little miss unless you leave. NOW!"

I trembled. He did that to her. There is no telling what he could do to me. I looked at Charlotte.

"Are you okay?" I whispered.

She shook her head. "You are stuck."

I looked around. Everything is the same as when I entered.

"Nope! I'm out." I jumped up and ran for the door, sliding across the kitchen floor from the excess of blood that puddled. I hit the door, swinging it open, running for the main door down the hallway. I slide into the door again, turning the doorknob to be greeted by John standing on the other side.

A grin spread across his face, "Where do you think you are going? You have a mess to clean up." He spoke gently but firm at the same time.

I turned to see a streak of blood leading down the hall as well as every place my hand touched as I thought I was escaping.

"Please just let me leave. I'll go now and not tell anybody about this place. I promise." I begged him.

"Sorry, Penny, that is no longer an option. Please turn around and get to work. There is a bucket and rag under the bathroom sink on your right that you can use." He demanded.

"What? I'm not working for you. Please just let me leave. Steve is waiting for me." I pleaded.

"Not anymore, my pretty little Penny." He whispered as he walked beside me, bumping my shoulder, sending a shock through me.

How did he do that? He is a ghost. He can't touch me. I couldn't touch Charlotte. He stepped over a long streak of blood before he turned back to me.

"Have you put together what happened yet? Most already get it by now. You are a bit slow." He questioned in a demeaning way.

"What do you mean? My car broke down. I came searching for a phone to get home." I snapped back at him.

"Then why is your head bleeding?" He asked.

My head? I reached up, touching my forehead to feel a large opening that began emptying all the blood down my face. I tried to wipe it away, but it flowed faster than I could move. Blood began to feel my mouth. I kneeled, coughing it up, trying to breathe through the thick hot liquid. I gasped before falling on my side in the hallway, unable to move. I stared up at John with horror in my eyes.

"I know the first time is hard, but this was not me. Think back, what happened?" He asked again.

I didn't know what he was talking about. My car broke down, and I walked here. There was no time gap in my memory. This guy was crazy.

"Penny, think! Do you remember the whole drive before you broke down or where you broke down?"

This was not making sense. I thought harder, but it was the same as always. I zoned out while I drive. I don't ever remember every part of the drive.

"Well... Since you had a head injury, I'll help you out. I think you may have lost some brain matter along the way." He chuckled to himself because I definitely wasn't laughing.

"You were in a car crash when you fell asleep at the same time Charlotte did who was going the other way. Charlotte died instantly, so naturally, she arrived first, but you held on longer, not wanting to let go of your Steve. You were unconscious but not quite dead. That is why you couldn't touch Charlotte. Once you fully died, I could touch you. You died on my road, so you are now mine to command. Time to get busy cleaning. You made such a mess with all your blood." His voice lingered, echoing in my ears as he walked away.