There was always something rather frightening about the old house at 116 Sycamore Avenue. The look alone was enough to frighten most of the children in town. It was a Victorian style house, with gabled windows and a rickety, wrap-around porch. In the fall, when all the leaves had fallen off the trees surrounding the house, it looked positively eerie.

It all started off with a dare. Just a stupid dare my friends and I made. It was most likely the result of staying up until one thirty in the morning watching scary movies. It was Jackie who first brought it up. We were discussing what to do for Halloween, which was just two days away. All of our parents were going to some party, so we were going to be stuck home alone together most of the night.

"We should spend the night at the old house." Everyone laughed at that, no one thinking we would actually do it. The old place was said to be haunted, you see. Sixty years ago, three sisters lived in the house. It was said that they were witches. They didn't bother anyone, weren't a problem at all. But, on the thirty-first of October, strange things would happen. Animals would disappear. Once, even a little boy went missing. Everyone blamed the three, even though they had no proof. So, on the evening of October 31, 1944, they forced the witches out of their home and burned them at the stake in the town square.

And now, as the story goes, the three spirits of the sisters come back to the house on Halloween, trying to get revenge on those who committed the horrible crime against them.

Although most didn't really believe this story, everyone avoided that house once Halloween drew near. There always seemed to be an invisible perimeter around it. No one walked past the house. No one dared too.

So you see why we laughed when the idea of spending the night there came up. Only three had ever dared to step foot in the house on Halloween. It was three boys, fifteen years ago. It was the first story I heard when I moved here. They say the boys were so scared they ran away. They were never heard from again.

I could tell that story was on everyone's mind as Jackie suggested the plan, even as they laughed. We were scared.

"Do you want to?" She persisted. She always was the brave one out of all of us. We laughed again, shakily this time. She grinned. "I dare you to." My friends and I aren't people to say no to dares. So, we agreed. I didn't like it, I don't think anyone did, but we agreed.

So that's how we found ourselves standing on the dilapidated veranda, staring at the large, wooden door of 116 Sycamore Avenue. It was almost seven thirty and already rather dark. Breathing deeply, I looked at my friends, put my hand on the doorknob, and turned. It swung open to reveal a dark room, various ghostly shapes peeking out from the shadows. I shined my flashlight on them, to see that they were merely pieces of furniture covered with large, white sheets.

We set our things on the floor around the fireplace and sat down in a circle, a lantern in the middle. It cast flickering shadows across the faces of my friends.

We sat that way for about an hour and a half, someone cracking a joke every now and then to try and lighten the tense atmosphere. We were all afraid, and everyone knew it.

At nine o'clock, someone (I don't remember who) suggested we look around the house. No one really wanted too, but we all decided it would be better than just sitting there doing nothing. So, after each grabbing our own flashlight, we started off.

There was nothing interesting on the ground level, so we headed up the creaky, winding staircase. We went from room to room, looking in each one. I should have realized that our number was shrinking. I thought that everyone was still behind me. I opened the door to the last room on the right of the hallway and entered. There was something written in what seemed to be dark brown ink on the opposite wall. I walked over to look at it and gasped. It read: GET OUT! I reached out to touch the wall when I realized the message was not written in ink, but in blood. There was a smeared handprint under the bold letters.

At that point, I didn't care about the dare anymore. I was getting out of there as fast as I could. I turned and shrieked. There, less than a foot away from my face, was the most horrible sight I had ever beheld in my life. It was a boy, his eyes were wide open and bloodshot, his mouth hanging open with a trickle of dried blood running down the side of his chin. I backed up and saw that he was not standing, but hanging about three inches off the floor, a rope around his neck. As his body turned, I saw the handle of a knife sticking out of the back of his head. Both head and knife were encrusted with dried, brown blood.

I turned, repulsed at the sight. Something fluttered on the wall. I don't know why I did it, but I went over to see what it was. It was a newspaper article. I glanced at the date. November 2, 1989. Fifteen years ago. The picture startled me. It was the boy that was hanging just seven feet away from me. My hand came up to my mouth. So he didn't run away. He was murdered. I didn't wonder how he stayed preserved that long. There was just something in the air. Something magic. Something evil.

I heard a sound behind me. I turned, trying to avoid looking at the grotesque form. I saw nothing. I shivered. Nothing was going to make me stay there.

It was then that I realized my friends were nowhere in sight. I ran to the door and down the hall, stopping dead in my tracks at the sight before me. It was a body, covered in blood. I could see the white number seven on the back of her shirt. It was Jackie. A sob raced through my body. I needed to get out of there.

As soon as I turned around, I shrieked again. There, standing in front of me, was a woman. Her skin was white, her hair black as pitch, her eyes dark, sunken holes staring out from her pale face. She spoke, her words sounding strangely hollow. "No one will survive." Her thin lips parted into an evil grimace as she pulled a glinting object from behind her back. It was a knife. I opened my mouth to scream but was first hit with a sharp, piercing pain, then all faded to black.

That was a year ago. They said we ran away. But they are wrong. We didn't run away. We are still here, our tortured souls longing to be at peace, but we can't. We must come back, every year, to warn anyone who dares set foot in that house on the last day of October. To warn them...

With our death.