Deserted

Prologue

The car slowly wound its way around our new neighbourhood as my husband and I enjoyed the scenery. After living in a cramped apartment for our first 2 years of marriage it was nice to actually be living in a house on a street in a nice neighbourhood. I was looking forward to meeting the new neighbours soon.

Everything seemed so surreal. Married to the love of my life, owning a house, and of course the baby that was well on the way, only a few months away to be exact.

"Do you like it so far?" Heath asked as we pulled in to our driveway.

"Everything I've seen so far, is perfect." I smiled. He parked the car and stepped out before coming around and opening my door for me. "Such a gentleman." I said, leaning up and planting a gentle kiss on his lips.

"How about we go for a walk?" He asked, taking my hand.

"I'd love to." I replied. We walked in silence and just admired everything. It was a beautiful area. It wasn't one of those new developments where there were empty lots, and those scrawny little trees in front of every house, and everything looked so new and clean. It was a bit of an older neighbourhood with grown up trees, and every property had a few trees so everything was shaded. The trees were all changing colour because it was early fall and a few leaves had started to fall already, littering the ground with yellow, red and orange. There were houses with ivy growing up the sides and most had developed gardens in the front.

"I don't think I've ever seen you so happy." Heath commented, squeezing my hand. I looked at him and realized he was staring at me, smiling. I knew he was right, I couldn't remember ever feeling anything close to this before. I lifted my head and breathed deeply, inhaling the sweet air.

"It even smells nice here. This must be heaven on earth." I said. Heath just laughed quietly. We made a left turn and suddenly it didn't look like we were in heaven anymore.

"Megan, if that was heaven, this must be hell." Heath whispered into my ear. "Maybe we should go back to the house, take a nap, or watch TV or something." He suggested, trying to get me to stop walking.

"Let's just go a little bit farther." I pleaded. I heard a sigh from beside me and knew Heath had relented.

The sidewalk we were on was cracked and weeds and grass was growing between the cracks and spreading to cover the concrete. There were white picket fences lining the sidewalk where the properties were. They were broken and missing pieces. All the gates had fallen off, or were crooked on their hinges. All the houses had been torn down and just the lots were left, except for one house at the end of the street. It felt like there was something pulling me to that house. There was some reason I had to go to it, so I did. Heath followed behind, looking all around and watching for anything unusual. I figured the spooky appearance of the place was getting to him and making him worry about my safety. I arrived at the house and turned to face it. The house looked sturdy but old, like it hadn't been occupied for many years. The path leading to the door was the same as the sidewalk, and in about the same shape. It was cracked and overgrown with weeds. It ended at concrete steps that were cracked and crumbling. The railing around the front porch was rotted and falling apart. The front door was faded and chipped; the window on the door was dirty and cracked. There were spider webs draped everywhere. Beside the front door was a big bay window. That window was also dirty, but instead of just cracked, it was broken and I could see the curtains inside blowing from the wind.

I stood at the gate and just looked at the house. I had this strange feeling I should leave, that I should just stay there. As I was taking in the appearance of the house I looked at the door and jumped. The door had changed back to what it would have looked like years ago and it had opened up to show 2 little girls standing there. Suddenly they're faces brightened and the older one turned, sending her blond hair flying

"Mommy, he's here! Daddy's home!" She yelled. I somehow knew to look at the big window and saw it was restored as well and the curtains had been pushed to the side to show a woman's face staring out. I looked back to the door as both girls ran out and onto the now restored path. A man materialized in front of them and picked the youngest one up, ruffling her blond hair with his hand.

"Daddy!" She screeched. She looked about 2 or 3 years old. The oldest looked about 5.

"Hello darling Ambrosia. And of course my dear Maghan." He said, glancing at his eldest daughter. They all walked up to the house together and passed the woman, who was now standing in the doorway. The door closed and everything changed back to the way it had been when we arrived.

"Heath, did you see that? Those two girls and their parents?" I asked, unsure of what had just happened. I didn't know what it was but I was fairly sure it wasn't a hallucination. It was so vivid and… real.

"Are you feeling alright?" Heath asked, concern touching his voice. I looked at him and nodded, before turning back to the house. "Megan, let's go home. You look pale. You need to rest." We walked the short distance to our house and I went up the stairs to lie down. After a few minutes of just lying in silence I heard Heath's voice carrying through the vents.

"Do you have time to see her now? I'm really worried… She was able to describe exactly what she saw and heard. I just want to make sure her and the baby are okay. You can? Thanks, we'll be there soon." He said. I heard footsteps coming up the stairs and rolled onto my side facing away from the door.

"Megan, are you awake?" He asked as he slowly opened the door. I closed my eyes and didn't move. I heard him cross the room then felt the bed shift as he sat beside me. I slowly rolled onto my back and looked up at him. "Megan, your doctor has time to see you now. Will you please go?"

"I don't need to see a doctor. I'm fine." I replied.

"You probably are fine, it's probably just the stress of being pregnant and all the moving, but I just want to make sure. Please… for me?" He asked.

"Fine." I said, sighing. He stood up and helped me off the bed. We walked down to car and drove in silence. I stared out the window the whole time. We arrived at the doctors office fairly soon and went in and sat in the waiting area. The doctor was with a patient at that moment. We were just waiting a few minutes when the secretary came to the door of the empty waiting room.

"You must be Mr. and Mrs. Gallagher. Please follow me, Dr. Dolan will see you now." She said, leading us into the doctor's office. I sat on the exam table and Heath sat on one of the chairs. Shortly a woman we both knew well walked into the office.

"Heath! Megan!" She said, first embracing Heath, then me in a hug. "I understand Heath here is worried about you Megan. What have you done to make him call on his big sister?" She asked, sitting on her chair.

"I'm fine. I swear." I said defiantly.

"Okay well, what happened anyways, just so I can make sure. Just to appease Heath so he'll stop bugging you about it. Sound good?" She asked. I nodded and told her exactly what happened. "Hmmm… interesting. I'm pretty sure it wasn't a hallucination. I mean, you didn't faint, you weren't taking anything, and you remember it clearly. Usually there's something that causes hallucinations, besides just plain pregnancy stress. It doesn't sound like ghosts because I think ghosts just appear without changing the area around them, then again, I'm no expert on the supernatural. I did dabble in it a little as a kid, right Heath?" Heath nodded but remained silent. "Let me do a little research on this and I'll call you tomorrow and let you know. For now I'll do a basic check up, just to ensure that everything is going the way it's supposed to." She explained, before proceeding to do what she does best, make sure people are healthy.

She finished up and informed us that everything was perfectly fine.

"As usual, I recommend you eat lots, make sure you're getting all the nutrients you need, and get plenty of sleep. Though I'm sure you know all this already. I will talk to some of my knowledgeable friends tonight and see what I can find out for you, and then I'll give you a call tomorrow and let you know what exactly it was that happened." She said, helping me off her exam table. She hugged me and Heath and I started to leave.

"What, no hug for you big sister?" She asked Heath. He stopped and turned to face her.

"Thanks Emily, really." He said as he hugged her. Then we left and got into the car.

"Heath, can we go by that house again?" I asked. Feeling compelled to go there. I wanted to see them again. They felt so familiar yet I had no idea who they were.

"You need to rest." He said, staring straight ahead.

"I know, and I will… I just… I feel the need to go back there. I want to see them again. Please Heath?"

"Ok, fine. But we won't stay for very long. You need to rest, you probably should eat soon too."

"Thank you." I said, grabbing his idle hand. A few minutes later we turned down the street and the house came into view. Heath parked on the other side of the street and I walked towards the house, stopping at the gate. Heath stayed next to the car, leaning on it and watching me.

Shortly after I stopped at the gate everything started shifting and changing. This time there were toys sitting out in the front yard and the two girls were playing with them. Their mother and father were sitting on a porch swing watching them. The parents looked in deep conversation, like their calm appearance was just a ruse to keep the children happy.

"Maghan! Give it back!" Ambrosia shouted. I looked back to the girls to find Maghan holding a doll and Ambrosia trying to get it back. "I had it first." Ambrosia cried.

"But she's my doll!" Maghan yelled back.

"Girls, I'll take it away if you can't play nicely!" The mother shouted to them. I wasn't sure why, but I somehow knew her name was Leighanna, and her husband was Zhane. I had never heard their names, I just knew. Leighanna went back to her conversation with Zhane and everything went away. As soon as the house was back to normal a searing pain ripped through me.

"Heath, help!" I shouted. By the time I called for him, he was already by my side, having noticed something wasn't quite right.

"It's okay, I got you. You're fine, let's just get to the car and I'll take you to the hospital.

"It's not okay, I think the baby's coming. We're not ready yet, we have nothing ready for it." I cried, clutching my stomach.

"That's fine, we can worry about that later. Trust me." He said, carrying me to the car and placing me in the passenger side seat. He went around to the driver's side and got in before taking off as fast as he could manage. We arrived at the hospital fairly quickly and were taken up to the maternity ward soon after. Once I was settled into a room Heath left momentarily to call his sister. I waited for him to come back and clutched his hand tightly when he did come back.

"She'll be here soon, don't worry." He said, kissing my forehead.

"Amber, come on downstairs now. We have to go get daddy from work." I called to my 4-year-old daughter.


"Coming mommy!" She yelled before she came thumping down the stairs and running into my arms.

"Okay, get your shoes. Let's go. If we don't hurry we're going to be late to get daddy." She grabbed her shoes and plunked herself down on the floor to pull them on. Once she had gotten them on she stood up with all the grace of a 4-year-old and ran to stand by the door.

"Ready mommy." She said, beaming proudly. I walked over to her and tousled her gorgeous blond hair. She smiled up at me, a playful glint in her crystal blue eyes. I used to look like that when I was younger. I thought to myself. Now I kept my hair short, and it wasn't such a nice blond; it had darkened slightly over the years. I still had the eyes and everyone who saw us let us know we had the same eyes.

I opened the door and took Amber's hand before heading out to the van.

"Mommy, can we have a puppy?" Amber asked as I helped her into her seat.

"A puppy? I don't know, that's something Mommy and Daddy will have to talk about." I told her, before closing her door and getting into the driver's seat.

"Can I ask daddy?" She asked.

"Of course you can." I started the van and we drove away. After a few turns I sat at a stop sign when Amber looked out the window on the other side of the car.

"Mommy, why does that street look so sad?" She asked. I looked the same direction as her and saw she was looking at the deserted street that had the one deserted house on it.

"No one has lived there for long time, it's sad because it's lonely." I explained, and then drove away.

"Oh… It's no fun to be lonely. Can we go cheer it up?"

"We'll see. We still have to go get daddy though."

"Daddy!" She shouted. Shortly after our conversation we pulled up in front of Heath's office building where he was waiting outside the front doors. I stopped the van long enough for him to take his seat next to me.

"How are my two favourite girls?" He said, leaning over to kiss me on the cheek then turned to see Amber.

"Daddy, can I have a puppy?" She asked right away.

"I don't know sweetheart, that's something mommy and I are going to have to discuss. Did you ask her already?"

"Yes… she said you had to disc… disc… talk about it too." She said sadly. I smiled at her attempts to say discuss.

"Okay, we'll talk about it and we'll decide." He said, blowing her a kiss before turning back around.

"Then can we go see the sad street?" She asked. I cast a side-glance at Heath quickly to see what he thought of the idea.

"I don't see why we can't go quickly." He said, "But not for long. We still have to have dinner and talk about the puppy."

"Ok, just quickly." Amber agreed.

"So what did you girls do today?" Heath asked, looking at Amber through his mirror.

"We played outside, and went to the park. Then we watched some TV and I helped mommy with lunch, then I watched a movie and had a nap and then I played with my toys in my room." Amber said excitedly.

"Wow, sounds like you had a pretty busy day. I hope you behaved for mommy."

"Of course I did daddy. Didn't I mommy?"

"Yes you did, you were a very good girl today." I replied.

We then arrived at the 'sad' street and I turned onto it.

"Everything looks so sad and broken." Amber said, looking at the broken fences, broken sidewalks, and dead grass. I drove a little farther and then Amber spotted the single house.

"Mommy, stop! Lookit the house! It looks sad too. Is it lonely like the street?"

"Yes, it is lonely. No one has lived there to look after it for a long time."

"Can we go look at it?" Amber asked.

"I suppose, but quickly." I replied. Heath and I got out of the van and then I helped Amber out. We walked to the gate together and stood there and looked at the house. My heart started thumping in my chest as I remembered what had happened the other times I had stood in front of this very gate. I waited and nothing happened. My heart started to slow a little and I relaxed. Then a felt an urging in the back of my head, I had to go inside the house. I had to see what it looked like inside. I pushed the crooked gate open carefully, trying not to break it anymore.

"Megan, where are you going?" Heath asked.

"Inside." I replied. I felt like a robot, like I didn't have control over my own body.

"It might not be safe. It's an old house. Megan, stop for a second!" Heath called, picking up Amber and running after me.

"It's safe. I just know it is. I have to go in though." I heard Amber whimpering in Heath's arms behind me, but I just kept going.

"Daddy I'm scared." She whispered. I walked up the cracked and chipped steps and onto the porch. The porch was made of concrete so I knew it wouldn't collapse on me. I didn't know how I knew, but I also knew the house was in relatively good shape and wouldn't collapse or anything like that either. I came to the front door and looked up at the sign hanging above it.

"Greer." I read. It was hard to read as the paint was chipped and the wood rotted. I grabbed the rusty door handle and turned. The door creaked but didn't open. I tried pushing with a little more force and finally the door slowly started to open. The interior was dusty and full of cobwebs, but otherwise not too bad. It looked sturdy enough, no missing pieces on the floor or stairs. The doors were all intact. Everything was still there too, decorations, furniture. It seemed like the family that lived here just disappeared without a trace one day, leaving everything the way it was.

I wandered around the main floor looking in all the rooms. I saw the living room, family room, kitchen, bathroom, and what looked like an office. It was just an extra room with a desk, chair, and bookshelf. I left the office and went towards the stairs. I was hoping the stairs were as good as they looked. I tested the first one by stepping lightly on it. It creaked, but no more than stairs in any house. So I increased the pressure, nothing. I lifted my other foot and put all my weight on it, it seemed fine. I slowly ascended the stairs to the second floor. Heath cautiously followed behind, still carrying Amber.

I looked into all the rooms here too. I saw two little girls' bedrooms with toys and everything still strewn about, the parent's bedroom, the spare bedroom, and the bathroom. I looked around amazed by all the stuff I saw. In my mind's eye I could see it all coming to life, but not like the way it had the day I had Amber.

As I was standing in the doorway of one of the girls' rooms it did start to change. The dust went away and everything grew really bright. I saw the older of the two girls sitting on the floor, playing with some of the toys.

"Maghan, come on. It's time to go." Leighanna called from downstairs. I stepped out of the way and turned to watch her run down the stairs. I heard the front door open and several footsteps as the family left the house. I was suddenly overcome with a feeling of dread and collapsed on the floor. I knew something was wrong, something was going to happen to them. The house turned dark, but it was still clean so I knew I wasn't done watching yet.