The Haunted House

"Go on than!" Elsie snapped. "You promised you'd do it and we're waiting."

"I'm not sure this is a good idea," Tammy muttered, her bright blue eyes were shimmering with fear. "I heard that the ghost will try and kill anyone who goes in there. It might be dangerous for Cassandra."

"Oh come on, it's only a bit of fun." Elsie replied, trying her best to sound encouraging. "You don't have to stay in there long, just long enough to creep people out."

There was a rumour, which had existed around town for as long as Cassandra had known, about a girl who had once been murdered in the very house that stood before them. That rumour claimed the spirit of the girl, would sit in the window and stare at passers-by, beckoning them to come inside.

It was Cassandra's idea. She had come up with a prank that on Halloween, one of them should dress up as the girl and sit by the window, scaring anybody who came by. Cassandra had thought herself to be a genius at first. That was until she realised that as the genius who had thought of it, she was the one that had to do it.

Now she was stuck, dressing up like a window of a creepy and supposedly haunted house, staring at people. She could have been doing something much better, like getting an early night for instance. While it was fun at times, she wasn't very keen on Halloween.

With a little push from Elsie, Cassandra forced herself inside the house and switched on her torch. As she swung the beam of light around the room, she could see that it was completely empty, other than the dust and the terrible stench. It was like rotting flesh, she could practically taste it.

The door behind her creaked, causing Cassandra to give a shriek and jump back, accidentally putting her hand on the wall, to stop herself from slipping over. She felt something sticky on her hand. Dreading what she might find, Cassandra slowly looked down and let out a sigh of relief. It was just a cobweb.

Pushing the next door open, Cassandra stumbled into a large hallway. She shone her torch onto the large staircase. As she hurried forward, something lurched out of the darkness blocking her path. Cassandra's stomach turned to ice and she froze.

Cassandra sighed with relief as the figure came into focus. It was only a girl, about the same age as she was. While she might have been wearing a long nightdress like Cassandra's costume, she seemed pretty solid as she stood in front of the staircase.

"You frightened me!" She smiled shakily, trying not to look suspicious.

"You frightened me too!" The girl smiled back, "What are you doing here?"

"Uh, playing a prank on people for Halloween." Cassandra answered nervously. "What about you?"

"Me too, my brother dared me to do this."

"What's your name? I'm Cassandra Fell."

"Nice to meet you Cassandra Fell, I'm Aveline."

"Maybe we could both scare people?" Cassandra suggested. "It won't be half as creepy with both of us up there together." She shivered at the idea, grateful to have company.

Aveline nodded in agreement and together, they slowly started to climb the stairs, which creaked every time Cassandra put her foot down. Somehow, Aveline managed to avoid making any noise, leading Cassandra to conclude that she was very light footed.

Suddenly, one of the steps crumbled beneath Cassandra's weight and her bare leg shot through the stairs. In shock, Cassandra dropped her torch and made a grab for the other girl. To her horror, her hand passed right through the girl, causing her to tumble to the bottom and land on the wooden floor beneath.

There was no time to think about what had just happened. Cassandra picked herself up as quickly as possible and sprinted through the hallway in an attempt to get out of the house. Unfortunately, she found herself in another, smaller room. Here the windows were only half boarded up and the moonlight filtered in through the dirty glass.

Cassandra turned to go back, only to find her way blocked by the Aveline; the previous shy smile had been replaced by a nasty twisted expression. "Cassandra Fell, fell down!" She giggled. "Wasn't that funny?"

"Stay back!" Cassandra shrieked, shrinking into the corner. She swallowed hard, "What do you want?"

"To be free." The ghost girl replied, her eyes narrowing. "I've been haunting this place for age and trust me, it gets old. It's time for someone to take my place and that someone-the first idiot to step foot in this place for a long time-is you."

Cassandra frowned, "Wouldn't I have to be dead to replace you?" She asked, regretting her words the moment they left her mouth.

"Very good," Aveline hissed. "So how about you die!" She snapped her fingers and quickly, the room was surrounded with burning flames. The ghost girl stood by the door, an eerie smile on her face as she watched Cassandra cough and choke as her lungs filled with smoke.

Cassandra had to think quickly as she surveyed the room, her eyes beginning to water. Her brain was still struggling to catch up with what was going on and that merely ten minutes ago, she had come into the house to trick passers-by and was instead being confronted by a very real, very dead ghost.

As she studied the dead girl an idea came to mind, if she could get past the flames, then she should pass right through the ghost girl. It was dangerous, but it was her only escape. She had to try.

Without thinking any further, she jumped right through the flames, ignoring the way they crawled up her clothes and burning through to her skin, leaving it red and raw.

Cassandra grabbed at the door handle and swung it open quickly, barely giving Aveline a chance to react. She ran through the surprised looking ghost girl, to the hallway and out into the cold air

Briefly glancing back inside the house where she had been trapped, she could see smoke billowing and the flames going wild, before they faded away into nothing, as though they had never even been there. A high pitched scream echoed only a moment longer.

Cassandra took a deep breath, letting the cool air into her lungs. She wondered if it had been a figment of her imagination but only for a moment. Glancing down, she could she her white dress covered in scorch marks, the skin on her arms and legs began to sting. Even her red hair was cindered at the tips.

She shook her head, not quite sure what had happened, even if the evidence was there. Slowly she walked back round to where her friends would be waiting, confused having not seen her appear in the window, but that didn't matter. Cassandra now had the most amazing story to tell her friends.

The burns on her skin would heal, however, the memory would remain in her mind forever, whether that was good or bad she was yet to determine.

Cassandra didn't know whether or not her friends would believe her story, but she would always know in her own heart that it was true.

Even if she didn't quite believe it yet.

A/N: A very old short story, I wrote years ago. An older version can also be found on my old account, but I thought it would be good to have everything together on one account. It's not the best thing ever but I'm quite fond of it. It came runner up in a school competition and I won myself some chocolates :)