David wasn't happy about moving, especially moving into a haunted house. Well, he wasn't sure that it was haunted. After all, he'd only ever seen it in a single picture. But David knew that an old house out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing but trees, could never mean anything good.

Mom decided to move after Dad had left with Marie. David didn't know Marie, but he still hated her. Anyone who made Mom cry couldn't be nice; Mom was the nicest lady David knew.

However, as nice as she was, Mom couldn't have chosen a worse house! It was the ideal house for a haunting. Danny even said that it looked haunted. Danny was David's older brother; he was starting high school in August so he had to know what he was talking about.

When Danny said that the house looked haunted, Mom got mad at him. Usually David agreed with Mom, but, for once, Danny was right. The house did look haunted. But there wasn't anything that he could do to convince Mom to turn around the car. David was stuck moving into a haunted house.

In the front seat, Danny was scowling at Mom, he wasn't any happier about the move than David, not that it made him feel any better. He couldn't see Mom, but she'd been excited about the move for weeks, so there was no question of how she felt about it.

David turned his head to look out his window. He held his breath; outside the trees was a massive, dog-like creature. Its shaggy fur was brown and mottled and it stood like a gorilla. Glittering eyes peeked out from behind its fur, and yellow teeth gleamed with dripping saliva. David felt his stomach lurch and his heart start to beat faster. He blinked and the monster was gone. He looked back to see the creature loping into the trees. Not gone, the car had just passed it.

How had neither Mom nor Danny seen that? It was right there!

"We're almost there!" Mom sang.

David shuddered, if that was what was in the woods, then what could be lying in wait for them in the house? He really didn't want to go anymore, if there was one monster, then surely there could be more! No! He had to be brave! David didn't know if the house was even haunted. Maybe it was safe from everything that roamed the woods. But what if it wasn't?

The car pulled to a stop and David wasn't given any more time to worry. He unbuckled his seat belt and climbed out of the car. Mom got out too, throwing her arms in the air, "We're finally here!"

David wasn't listening to Mom; he was staring up at the house. It seemed to loom over the clearing, big and menacing. Danny climbed out of the car, slamming the door shut, "It seems like a bit of a fixer-upper," David knew that was sarcasm; Mom was always getting on Danny's case for that.

Mom also didn't seem to notice Danny's disdain for the house; she just walked right up and unlocked the door. She gave it a tug. It didn't budge. She pulled hard again and the door came unstuck. She nearly fell to the ground with the force of the pull. David felt even worse than when he saw the monster. But David still ventured closer, placing a foot on the rotting wooden steps, he felt the hairs on the back of his neck rise and he didn't dare look behind him as he ran the rest of the way up the steps and to Mom. David was too old to hold Mom's hand, but right then, he really wanted to.

Danny came up too, resting a hand on David's head, just that contact made David feel a little better, he wasn't alone. Danny probably didn't know what he just did, but David was grateful nonetheless. David hurried inside after Mom, who was surveying the house. "We have a lot of work to do," he heard her mutter. She whipped off a sheet covering an old couch, dust flew into the air and Mom started to cough. Once the dust had settled some, he smiled, "We have a lot of work to do before the movers come."

The rest of the day was spent cleaning up the parts of the house they'd need first. Mom set to work cleaning the kitchen, while Danny and David cleared out two bedrooms. They had discovered many disgusting things, such as a dried out wasps nest and a mouse corpse under an old bed. They had also discovered that the old mattresses had rotted, leaving a huge mess that they were left to sweep up. But their most disgusting find was a long dead raccoon in one of the bedrooms. Mom had said that they'd deal with that later, so David and Danny were left to share a room. Secretly David was glad that he wouldn't have to face the first night in the house alone, because that bad feeling he had hadn't left him all day.

"C'mon, kid," Danny said. "We'll have to share tonight." Both of them were ready for bed and both crawled on the mattress. It was Danny's from the old house. They had just put his mattress on the bed frame already there. Once it was cleaned up it looked quite nice, and Mom said that it was a valuable antique. Danny switched off the camping lantern; the electrical work was shot, so until it got fixed they had to use candles and battery powered light sources.

In the dark David felt terror sink in. It must have been hours he had lain awake, a knot in his belly. Then he heard something. It couldn't have been Danny, it sounded like paw steps. David forced himself to stay perfectly still, he didn't even breathe. Just outside the door, he could hear the skittering of claws. He could hear the paw steps again, coming closer and closer until he could hear heavy breathing. He could smell it too; it stank of an odor that David had smelt before. The raccoon, the creature's breath smelled like rotten meat. Eventually the monster moved away, David must have been able to drift off at some point, because he awoke to sunlight coming in through the dust-caked drapes.

Danny was still beside him, and still asleep. David felt guilty that he was going to wake him up, but he had to tell Danny. He gently shook his older brother awake. Danny groaned but didn't open his eyes, "What?"

"Danny," said David. "Last night there was something- you were right, the house is haunted."

"You were probably just dreaming." Danny moaned. "Things like that don't exist." He rolled over, presumably to go back to sleep. David wanted to say something else, but thought better of it. Danny would only get mad. He had to talk to Mom.

David tried to tell Mom, but she wouldn't hear anything about it. "I know you're upset about the move, honey. All of us are, but you're old enough to know that these things just aren't real." Mom didn't believe him either; they were going to live in a house that was haunted or something of the sort. David was going to have to be the one to keep the house safe if Mom and Danny weren't going to do it. He would somehow protect the house.

For the next few days David, Danny, and Mom were busy cleaning the rest of the house. Since there wasn't much David could do without getting in someone's way, David had the job of cleaning out the closets. As boring as the job seemed there actually were quite a lot of interesting things to be found. David had discovered a few interesting relics that he decided were worth keeping, but most of what was in there was moth-eaten clothing and various small trinkets. But his biggest find was the diary of a young girl named Elizabeth. When David opened it, he didn't think there'd be much to it. Just a girl writing about mundane things like whom her crush was or the new dress she had just gotten.

But it was much more than that. The diary told of the creatures in the woods, with simplistic pictures of the ones she wrote about. David was so excited; he now he had a wealth of information on the creatures that roamed the woods. David was right! There were creatures! With more information from Elizabeth's diary David would be able to keep the house safe. For once, he would finally able to do something for Mom and Danny.

A/N: This is something I wrote for a short story contest so criticism is welcomed. So yeah. I'm not dead! (just lazy)