The Haunted Mansion
By Firenze

Atop a hill at the edge of town is a big mansion. Large knotted trees with twisted branches and dead leaves cast dark shadows on the lawn, making it impossible to see what could be looming around the front yard. Dark clouds envelop the entire sky anyway, covering any of the moonlight or stars. From the shadows, thousands of glowing red eyes seem to stare at you.

As you reach the house itself, it does not seem very inviting. It's old and falling apart, the wooden areas rotting and crumbling. The shutters on the window don't close properly, and being a windy night, they slam open and closed. The windows don't have any glass to them, but some broken shards on the sill, and dark curtains hide whatever could be inside. Except for a large, circular window, with a pale green face seemingly trapped inside, a horrified expression on its face. The porch steps creak no matter what, even when no one appears to be there. The front doors, made of some very strong and expensive looking wood loom over you, with brass knockers with grotesque and gargoyle-like faces. Dare you go in?

Noises of the howling wind, a hooting owl, a barking animal, or anything else seem to always be heard, until there's one short second of silence, like time itself has stopped. Then an anguished scream of terror shatters the moment and is then cut off abruptly. Needless to say, it isn't very comforting already, and the noises only make it worse.

Not only looks and sound terrify people of this spot. This mansion has been the site of more crimes, murders, unexplained suicides, and any sort of deaths than any other place. It first belonged to a very rich man, but he was insane. His spirit is said to haunt the house, along with his family and anyone else who ever stepped a foot inside. The bravest, least superstitious would never even imagine going up to the porch. Nothing could make anyone walk inside. People were said to have gone mad just looking at the place. So it's been uninhabited by living humans for nearly half a century or so. Until one day…

"Trick or treat!" the six children shouted, dressed in imaginative and scary costumes. It was October 31st, Halloween night. This really made no difference to anyone, except it was the day where you dressed up for fun to get tons of candy. No one truly understood the real point of Halloween, or why it was even celebrated in the first place. Had they known that spirits and demons were supposed to walk on that day, and people had dressed up to blend in with them so as not to be killed in the first place, they still wouldn't have cared. Jack-o-lanterns, plastic skeletons, people dressed as bloody vampires…that just wasn't as scary anymore to them.

The six kids collected their candy and walked to the next house. The kids were: Stan, his younger brother Kyle, Eric, Jane, Ken, and Stacey.

Stacey sighed. "My feet hurt from all this walking," she complained, making them all stop and wait for her.

"Hey, it's free candy," Ken pointed out. "Even though it isn't the least bit scary."

"Or fun," Matt added.

"I bet Kyle's the only one who still finds this fun," Stan remarked.

Jane looked around. "Speaking of the little monster, where is he?"

All the kids quickly scanned the neighborhood. But the youngest child, conspicuous in his bright yellow Pikachu costume, was nowhere in sight.

"Where'd that brat run off to?" Stan asked angrily, but the others sensed a note of panic in his voice.

"I don't really feel like playing hide-and-go-seek right now," Stacey whined, hitching up his long, frilly, pink princess dress as they ran and searched the bushes and anywhere he could be hiding. "Kyle, where are you?" They all started shouting his name, looking all over the neighborhood. It was just too dark, there were too many kids, and it was just impossible to find him.

"We've practically searched the entire town," Matt said, panting. "Where is he?"

They all stopped to rest, and Jane looked at their surroundings. They were at the foot of the hill that the haunted mansion was on. "There's one place we haven't looked," she said tensely.

"No way," Ken said steadfastly. "We are not going in there. Plus, Kyle would never go there either."

Suddenly, they heard a terrified scream. "Let me go! Let me go! Help me, Stan!" It definitely came from up the hill, and it was definitely-

"Kyle!" Stan shouted. He dropped all his fear of the haunted mansion and started running up the hill.

"Are you crazy?" Matt cried. "If you go up there, you'll die!"

He looked back for a few seconds. "My parents will murder me if I let Kyle get kidnapped and killed!"

"This is stupid," Ken said. "We'll be waiting for you!"

"What are you so afraid of?" Jane asked them all. "Ghosts don't exist. The only thing to fear is what the kidnapper will do to Stan and Kyle. If we get up there early, we won't even have to go in the house." She ran after Stan, who was almost up the hill.

"If a girl is going, so can I," Matt said, sprinting off.

Ken clenched his fists. "If Matt's going, I won't let him show me up!"

Stacey thought for a while. "I'll be safe if I stay here. But…I'm all alone… Wait for me!" she cried, running and tripping on the hem of her dress.

"I can't believe we're doing this," Stacey kept repeating. The five of them were right at the steps to the porch.

"Shut up, let's go." Stan took a tentative step up, and the step creaked. Gathering his courage, he went to the front door. Jane followed, and then Matt, then, and Stacey, for the same reasons they came up the hill in the first place. The front door was slightly ajar, so they stepped inside. A wave of cold air washed over them, and suddenly, the door slammed right behind them with a loud boom.

"We're locked in," Jane said, rattling the doorknob.

"We'll worry about that later, because we're not going anywhere without Kyle," Stan replied firmly.

"Where do we look first?" Matt asked, shining their only flashlight around the huge mansion.

"It doesn't matter," Jane said. "We're going to end up searching the entire place eventually."

Stacey hugged herself to stop from shivering. "Let's not split up, all right? And keep the flashlight on." Which is precisely when it went out, and the dark swallowed them up. None of them could see an inch in front of their face in the pitch blackness. Noises sounded five times scarier than they did before.

"Where are you guys?" Ken's voice asked.

"Right here," Matt replied.

"Little good that does," Jane muttered, but Ken actually found him.

"We're going that way, all right? To the left," Stan instructed. His pointing and directions was useless. Not only was it to dark to see him or his finger, but they were all faces different directions. They took their own left, making them split up.

Stacey's left led her up the stairs. She cautiously climbed up, clinging to the banister. All the while, she was talking, not realizing that no one was with her. She stepped up to the fourth step, which gave way under her feet. Red eyes glowed below, vicious monster dogs barking and jumping up to catch her… She held onto the step, but a dog took her leg in its mouth, tugging her in. Her dress tore, there was a sharp pain in her ankle, and her fingers were slipping… More dogs grabbed onto her, and she couldn't hang on any longer. She fell into the dark pit, while the dogs anxiously waited below, attacking each other to get her for themselves…

Her bloodcurdling screams echoed throughout the mansion. "Stacey," Ken whispered, trembling, until she shrieked one final note that hung in the air. He was paralyzed, hugging himself in his Scream costume.

Matt tried to be brave, but the only thing he could do was pretend nothing had happened and he had no reason to be afraid. He brushed Ken off his arm. Since he had been holding onto him, they hadn't gotten separated like everyone else. "We can only worry about ourselves right now…come on."

"How can you say that? Stacey's dead!" Ken yelled at the other boy.

Neither of them said anymore, as those words finally hit them. She was dead. Matt shook his head and kept going on down the long corridor. Luckily, it was lit with dim green candles nearly burnt out, but with the sights around them, they weren't sure if they wanted the light or not. Portraits hung on the walls, the eyes of the person following them…or was it their imagination? Their faces were horribly contorted, some missing an eye or their flesh torn in parts. The rusty suits of armor also looked like they were moving, and an axe dropped from one of its arms, narrowly missing Ken.

They heard the echo as the front door somehow creaked open, and then - BOOM! It slammed shut louder than it had before, rattling the walls. A loud evil cackles…dogs barking…footsteps… It was coming closer and closer every second.

"RUN!" Ken whispered.

Matt was one of the fastest runners on their schools track team. He ran for his life, but Ken wasn't nearly as fast as he was… Matt didn't want to look back, and he couldn't force himself to stop and wait for Ken. It was survival of the fittest now that they were in this mansion. There was another agonized scream that lasted for a long time, until it was drowned out by the evil cackling.

"Oh my god," Matt said, started to pant. He was drenched in a cold sweat, but he kept pushing himself to run. "They killed Kenny…" The line was anything but funny, now that it was real. "I've got to keep going…I can't end up like him…"

Jane set her jaw. "Keep calm, Jane…nothing to worry about," she told herself. "This place isn't haunted…" Her breath caught in her throat. "Stacey and whoever that just was isn't dead…" She wasn't doing a very good job convincing herself.

She had walked to the east wing of the mansion, but every single door was locked and noises of caged animals and possibly humans were behind them. They clawed at the door, begging her to help them. And if it was the east wing, that couldn't have been what Stan had meant by going to the left. So she had turned around and walked another way. She stopped. A long corridor was right in front of her…

Matt didn't hear the footsteps anymore. He was also too exhausted to run anymore, so now he had stopped and started walking again. He shoved his hands in his pockets of his punk outfit, and whistled a tune, forcing himself to think of happy thoughts. The feelings of winning a long race…acing a test in his worst subject…his family. This didn't work too well, because it was making him remember bad thoughts. Losing the races, failing classes, the arguments and fights he got with his parents and siblings. Losing Kyle, losing Stacey, losing Ken… Who was next? Jane? Stan? He gulped and his palms started to sweat. Himself?

Then he heard the footsteps were coming closer again. He was just too beat to start running again. He wanted to hide, but the corridor seemed endless, and there was nowhere to go. His life started to flash before his eyes… Someone grabbed his shoulder. He whipped around and hit them as hard as he could.

There was a cry of alarm, and the person fell to the ground, a bruise on their cheek. They started to sob.

"Jane?" he asked incredulously. "Is that you? I thought - I thought you were the killer…" His suspicions arose, and he moved away from her. "How do I know you're not?'

"Come on, would I kill Stacey or Ken?" she asked, getting up. "What's the matter with you? You're the one who just punched me in the face!"

"Maybe that was a good thing," he said, inching away. "How do I know I can trust you? You never liked Stacey, and you were always impatient with Ken…"

"I'd never kill them!" she said, her eyes widening. "How can you think that? Matt - I'm going through the same thing you are, we're on the same side-"

"How do I know that? How do I know you didn't just set this whole thing up?"

"Me?! How could I have done it! I was with you guys all along!" she yelled.

"What about that time you disappeared from the rest of the group when we were scouting the neighborhood for Kyle?" he asked her, remembering.

"I saw one of Kyle's friends, remember? I was asking if they had seen him-" She started getting hysterical. "Why don't you believe me?" She reached for him, but he stepped back.

"I don't know what I can believe anymore," he said, his breath coming in short gasps. The confusion and fear gave him the energy he needed to run down the rest of the hallway, away from her.

'If that was really her,' he thought, 'she would have seen Ken's corpse. There would have been a scream after she saw him. And she would have had to run into the killer sometime…' He felt he had done the right thing by running away from her. Hadn't he? He couldn't trust anything or anyone in the house but himself.

Matt wiped the sweat from his forehead and looked back. Jane must have been far behind by now, since she hated running. She wouldn't be able to catch up to him again…but how did she the first time? He slowed down and looked straight ahead.

A pair of glowing red eyes…evil laughter…

He had made a huge mistake. He was clonked over the head with something hard, and everything around him went black. Maybe that was also because the candles lost all their glow at that second also. The last thing he remembered was the evil laughter echoing in his mind, as he felt the cool metal of a blade against his neck…

The candles all went out at the same time, like a huge gust of wind had blown through. Jane shivered. She was all alone again, just when she had found Matt. Why didn't he trust her? She would never kill anyone. Maybe it was all an act. Maybe he was the one doing all of it. She hadn't seen any killer, but she saw the obvious marks and clues of where Ken had been killed, yet not the body. Maybe Matt had hidden it somewhere. He had to have killed Ken, because the killer would have still been in the corridor. It didn't make her feel any better, as she contemplated turning back around and choosing a new path. But the danger and the evil was everywhere while she was trapped in this mansion.

A tormented scream rang through the mansion for the third time that night. Jane now knew that Matt had not been the killer, but it was too late. However, that meant the killer was still in the hallway, and he'd be coming for her next…

Hardly daring to breathe for fear he'd find her, she edged her way back out the long corridor, realizing she hardly had anywhere to go anymore. There was nothing on the east wing but a dead end, this corridor seemed endless and wherever the killer was in it was the end, Stacey had died going up the steps and there was no way of telling which one had been trapdoor, and she didn't know what else was there.

Wait - where was Stan? He hadn't yelled yet, which might have been a good thing or not, depending on if she could truly trust him. She had known Stan all her life, and he would never lure them into this mansion for no reason. He wasn't like that, was he? He couldn't have just pretended Kyle was kidnapped and faked that scream they had heard, unless Kyle was in on the plan too. Was it their whole family? Was he seeking revenge for everything they had done to him? They just didn't seem like they could be evil, but in this place, nothing was what it seemed. Where had he gone, anyway? Had there been a single trace of him at all?

She thought back to when they were standing right inside of the doorway, and he told them to turn left. Which way had he been facing? Straight ahead? It was impossible to know, because it had been too dark. Like it still was… Cold air rushed past her face, and she somehow knew that she was finally out of the corridor. So where could she go?

Jane didn't care anymore. She needed to go someplace and then leave. She ran to them front door as she remembered where it was and tugged on the doorknob. It was again locked, possibly for good this time. Leaning her back against it and breathing heavily, she tried to think of where to run. But it was useless. She should just run now and get away, no matter where it led her. She ran straight ahead, to the stairs, taking them three at a time in her haste. All the while, she expected to be swallowed up and torn apart by the dogs, but she had missed them. At the landing, she paused to catch her breath. She could either turn left of right now…

A dim glow of light from down the left hallway caught her eye. Music was playing, an instrumental piece with pianos and violins and all those things. She listened to the tune. It was Stan's favorite song! Was that him? What should she do? She made up her mind and tiptoed there. It had to be Stan, and she had to stop thinking any thoughts that he could be the real murderer.

She reached the doorway, crossed her fingers, turned the knob, which was unlocked, and took a step inside. "Stan?" she called, shielding her eyes from the bright light.

Someone in an armchair stepped out from behind it. "I've been waiting for you…" the whispered, chilling her bones. It wasn't Stan…she knew who it was, but by the glint in their eyes, she knew it was them all along.

"I can't believe it," she breathed, pressing her back against the closed door, too frightened and in shock to run. "You?"

"Believe it," they said sinisterly, brandishing something from behind their back. It was sharp and metal. It flashed in the light, temporarily blinding her, and then the person threw it right for her. Jane tried to duck, but it was too late. Another scream…there was only Stan's left, unless he could beat the killer. Either way, it wasn't over yet. At least one more person would die that night in that mansion.

Stan had remained brave and determined the entire time he was searching the mansion. So far he had looked everywhere, but he always seemed to miss all the others. He had started out going down the long corridor, which led him to the living room, dining room, and kitchen, which had been dusty and covered in cobwebs. It was spooky, but he didn't think it was haunted. Those places alone held many deaths, but he wasn't afraid. The only thing on his mind was finding Kyle.

He wondered where the others had gone. His directions hadn't been clear, but they had all been facing forward, he remembered, before the flashlight went out. Hadn't they? Maybe he had been walking too fast, and they had gone the right way, or they just didn't know the difference between right or left. Now that he had heard the fourth scream, he realized he was all alone now. The others had died, and it was his fault. He wouldn't let Kyle get away too, assuming he was alive.

Right after he found out what happened to Kyle, alive or dead, he would flee. Stan reached a dead end. He turned around to walk the other way. He had chosen to go right when he got upstairs, so there was only one other way. It was really dark, but by keeping one hand on the wall, he didn't bump into anything. He kept moving his hand and he walked, and then it came to a point where his hand wasn't touching anything. It was a doorway, and it was open.

"Kyle?" he whispered, walking in. His other hand felt against the left side of the wall, fumbling for a light switch. To his luck, there was one. He flipped it on and found the room empty, except for a fireplace and some large red armchairs. Something smelled really funny and his sneakers were in something sticky…red… He took another step in, and the door closed a little behind him.

The sight made him want to throw up. Jane was pinned to the doorway, her face twisted with fright and her mouth still slightly open from when she had screamed. Feeling dizzy and sick to his stomach, Stan rushed out of the room and down the rest of the hallway. He kept going until he tripped over something. Another step on a set of stairs. Tossing the thought of Jane out of his mind, he crawled up the stairway. It had to be the last place left…he would find Kyle there for sure. His only worry was the murderer. How was he supposed to kill him? He reached the top and stood up. Immediately, a beam of light flashed in his eyes.

"Aha, so you're finally here," a voice said.

"Kyle?" he asked uncertainly, blinking and squinting his eyes. The voices sounded to evil to belong to his little brother, and why did his remark sound like a threat? "Is that you? Kyle?"

The person aimed the beam of light away from Stan. They held the flashlight up to their face, like they had often done while telling ghost stories. The light shone on a yellow Pikachu mask. It was Kyle, and the rest of his costume was stained down the front with deep red blots. "Hello, Stanley," he said.

Stan was terrified. Kyle? He had done this? There was no kidnapper…he was the murderer… His little brother? Kyle remembered their childhood together, they had gotten along well, Kyle looked up to Stan and his friends, he was always a good, obedient, smart little boy. "It can't be…I must be dreaming…"

"So pinch yourself."

Stan did, and it seemed to hurt a lot. "This isn't happening…this isn't true…"

Kyle laughed. "Oh, but Stan, it is. And I'm going to kill you."

"What? Kyle, no-I'm your older brother… Why are you doing this?" he asked, horrified.

"Exactly! You're my older brother. You always got everything. Our parents trusted you. No one cared about me, it was always Stan this, Stan that. I'm tired of it! I was tired of your stupid friends, thinking I was just a little baby. So I killed them. If you've ever wondered where I always went to after school, my secret spot wasn't the tree in the backyard, it was here. I'm responsible for killing all our neighbors; I fed them to the dogs. Or otherwise, I locked them downstairs in the east wing. I belong in this house…and so does your dead body."

"This is crazy. Come on, Kyle, this isn't funny. Let's just go home now…"

"Do you really think I'm joking?" Kyle dropped the flashlight and held up a dagger. He pushed Stan to the ground and leaned over him, holding the dagger inches away from his neck. "Does it look like I'm kidding now?"

"No, Kyle, don't-"

The final scream. The killer began to laugh evilly and pulled their mask off. But it wasn't Kyle…

A young boy in a Pikachu costume waited patiently at the sidewalk, looking all around for his older brother and his friends. He had collected a lot of candy, and it was way past his bedtime. They had been missing for hours. Ever since he had stopped to talk to his friend from school, they kept going and left him behind, and didn't return.

"Where are they?" Kyle asked, getting worried. He was alone in the block, because everyone had finished trick-or-treating and gone home. "Stan? Matt? Jane? Stacey? Ken!"

A boy in a Scream costume came for him. "Kyle, there you are! Stan and the rest of us got separated, and we were all looking for each other! I'm so glad I found you! I better take you home now. They're all probably home by now too."

Kyle nodded, clutching his bag of candy to his chest, as the older boy led him home. Something didn't feel right… Where was Ken's bag of candy? And was his costume covered in blood before? They walked away, when something fell out of Ken's costume. Kyle turned around. A plastic Pikachu mask just like his own lay on the sidewalk. He didn't see anything really strange about it, so he shrugged it off. When they passed by the supposedly haunted hill, he wondered if the stories about that mansion were true, if it was really haunted. He shook his head and kept on going. It wasn't haunted by anything; no one had died there. It was probably all just a story.

THE END

A/N: This story was actually a homework assignment. That's why it isn't completely gory and disgusting. It was supposed to be rated PG, but I got a little over that too. We were supposed to write a scary story. Well, I suck at making things scary, but I tried. I personally find it more mystery than horror. It's my first original story in a few years, because ever since I found out about fanfiction, I couldn't even make up my own characters! (By the way, read the P.S. about that) Anyway, just review and tell me what you think. Does anyone think my teacher will give me an A?

Disclaimer: Well, the characters, the house, and pretty much everything belongs to me! Whoa, it feels funny to say that. The only thing that don't are the Pikachu and Scream costumes.

P.S. The names came from: Stan & Kyle (South Park), Stacey & Jane (Daria), and Matt & Ken (Digimon, except for that "Oh my god, you killed Kenny reference.") Anyway, that's where I came up with them, but their personalities are different.