I’m taking part in a story Blog Hop, where four writers are each contributing a piece of a story over the course of four weeks!
Mine is Week 3/Part 3, so if you haven’t yet read the story up to this point, please do so before continuing.
Then continue on below, to Part 3 of Kalli’s Story.
All things considered, it was a pretty quick walk. Actually, it was a bit too quick for Kalli’s liking – she hadn’t gone back to the house since that day, and the closer she got, the more she realized how very, very much she didn’t want to. Her stomach twisted and clenched, her heart pounded like the now-silenced beat that had been thrumming through her earbuds when Jenae had ripped them from her ears. Her heavy boots slowed on the sidewalk, until Jenae stopped too, just at the corner of the block.
“What’s the hold up, Kalli?”
What could she tell her? I’m sorry, I’ve changed my mind, I’m not really in the mood to show you how Claire died, maybe we can go for a soda instead?
“Just… give me a second.”
She pulled her arm free and dropped to a knee, carefully unlacing and retying one boot and then the other, making sure they were firm. Solid. Protecting. She’d be fine – and there’d be no more questions, after.
Standing, Kalli grabbed Jenae’s arm, and all but pulled her into motion again, thudding quickly past the several first houses on the block, toward the victorian that squatted in between a pair of ranches that looked like twins on either side of it. There didn’t seem to have been anybody living in the house since the night Claire was there, and Kalli found herself dryly unsurprised. Although the grass looked mowed, and the bushes still looked trimmed. Even the paint, which had been old when she was here before, had an unexpected sense of freshness to it although spots of flaking here and there told her it definitely hadn’t been painted.
“So we were here, with Claire,” she said without preamble, her boots thudding hollowly upon the steps as she mounted the porch. “Jordan figured out that if we reached between the boards, we could pull the door open just enough for someone to get in. And they- we dared her to go in and stay inside by herself. Not all night, even, just for a little while.”
The new boards were there, just like Jenae said, and yet… there should have been another one, and it was missing. It made it so that Kalli was able to reach between to find the old, carved metal doorknob. It should have been cold to the touch, but it was warm, even here out of the sunlight, and Kalli swallowed hard as she turned it and pulled.
The door opened without resistance, thudding against the inside of the boards nailed across the thick old doorframe, and there was a spot where, if one were so inclined, one could worm in between the boards and slip in through that open door, into the dark foyer beyond.
“So she went in, and we were out here on the porch. And for a while we were just talking, and sometimes knocking on the boards over the windows – you know, to just scare her. I swear to god, Jenae, all we wanted to do was scare her!” Her voice went high and tight with that confession, and she couldn’t drag her eyes away from the dark foyer space.
“That doesn’t sound like that bad a dare,” Jenae pointed out from her shoulder, leaning in past Kalli to squint in at the darkness inside the open door. “Even though that was kind of mean… trying to scare her. But it sounds funny. What HAPPENED, Kalli?”
“She started knocking back. Except… on all the windows at once.”
Jenae’s head whipped around, staring wide-eyed at Kalli for a minute, and then she let out an exasperated laugh and shoved playfully at Kalli’s shoulder.
“You butthead! I really want to know what happened, and you drag me over here for this campfire story?”
Kalli started to protest, but grinning wryly Jenae was already grabbing onto the boards so she could hoist herself and swing her feet through, wriggling past the boards and door to become a shadow in the foyer, her feet thudding gently upon the boards.
“You want to tell me what REALLY happened in here?” she challenged. Kalli’s hand tightened on the doorknob.