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The house next door hasn't been lived in for seven months. The house's previous occupants usually took off during the middle of the night after four or so months, and never returned. Of course that only rose Marianne's curiosity of the house that was next door.


 

The house next door was two-stories tall and was Gothic looking. The house was painted a nice light shade of blue with white trim. There was a bay window on both sides of the front door. The porch steps was wooden and kind of sagging a little. The porch swing's chains were a little rusted and its white paint was peeling off.

 


Marianne would usually stay up at night, staring at the house through her bedroom window, thankful for the streetlight that helped somewhat illuminate the house. There was a few times that she could've sworn she saw someone moving around in the house through the windows at times, but she chalked it up to some of the neighborhood kids channeling their inner daredevil by going inside the house to either smoke pot, make out, have sex, or do something else in there.


That was how Marianne found herself staring at the house through her bedroom window again. She saw someone moving around in the room, through the dusty window.


Her best friend, Joyce, said, "oh, my god. This has to stop." Marianne looked at Joyce who stood up from the bean-bag chair and she capped the bottle of nail polish, then tossed it on the chair. "Alright, let's go inside this house that has your attention so damn much."


Marianne stared at Joyce, "But, that's illegal."


Joyce rolled her eyes, "I don't care." She found a flashlight and grabbed Marianne's arm. "Let's go. This obsession of yours has got to go."

--

When they got to the house at the backyard, Joyce had managed to crawl through the dog-door and unlocked the door for Marianne. Once Marianne entered, she noticed how the air seemed kind of heavy and it was slightly hard to breath.


After going down a hallway and through the kitchen with a lone table,, they got to the living room. Marianne was looking at the floor. It was slightly dusty and strangely, there were no footprints, even though she a few minutes ago, she saw some movement in the top window.


Maybe someone climbed the tree just to use the top room for some reason, Marianne thought. She went to the stairs and looked at the dust covered railing. She listened for movement and Joyce grabbed her arm, dragging her up the stairs.


“Come on,” Joyce said. “Let’s get this out of your system.” When they got to the top floor, Marianna went straight for the first room she saw.


The room was empty, except for dust covered floors. The closet door was open and she looked out the window. She saw her room’s window, but the dust was untouched.


She frowned, so, who the hell was in here? Marianne looked around as Joyce stood by in the corner, holding the flashlight watching as Marianne explored the room. She looked in the closest, seeing something written on the wallpaper.


“Hey, I need the flashlight,” Marianne called out. Joyce walked over and crouched down, holding the light towards the words on the wallpaper, which looked like it was written in crayon, with a child’s scrawl.

Joyce wiped at the dust covering the words and read, “I killed the baby?”

There was a click and suddenly the light-bulb exploded. The two girls squeaked as they ran out of the closest, trying to shake glass from their hair and clothes.


“Why did you try to turn on the light?” Joyce demanded, shake the hood on her jacket.


“I didn’t,” Marianne stated, “I thought that was you.”


Joyce shook her head, “Whatever. Let’s just get out of here, this place seems like it’s trying to suffocate me.”


Marianne nodded, closed the closet door, and they went downstairs. They got to the kitchen and Marianne stopped and looked at Joyce. “Hey, let’s just sit down for a few minutes. What’s the rush?”


Joyce tilted her head and looked at her friend, “What? That’s the stupidest thing that I heard. Let’s sit down?” She moved the flashlight around the room. “Where are we going to sit down?”


“On the ground?” Marianne said and sat on the floor. “This is nice.”


Joyce walked over and started pulling on her friend’s arm. “Get up. Let’s go. This place is creepy as hell.” Marianne grabbed Joyce’s arm and pulled her down with a strength that Joyce didn’t know Marianne had.


Marianne looked at her friend, “I was planning on dying my hair red.”


The other girl stared at her friend. “What?”


Marianne frowned “To bold? To ‘in your face’?”


Joyce shrugged “Not...really?”


Marianne was about ready to explain her decision when she was overcame with a sudden burst of cold air. She shivered and felt goosebumps form. She couldn’t breath and there was a weird tingling feeling throughout her body, like the feeling of a foot falling asleep. The next thing she knew, she was on the sidewalk in front of the house, coughing and breathing heavily while Joyce was holding onto her arm.


Marianne looked at her friend, “What happened?”


Joyce looked at her friend. “A black shadow, I think it was a child, rolled out from under the table and sat on you. You started looking around and I grabbed your arm and dragged you out of the house. Let’s get back to your house.”

--

An hour later, while Joyce was in the bathroom, Marianne looked out her bedroom window to see the house next door. A little girl was looking out the window at her. Marianne closed the curtain and didn’t look out the window at the house again.

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