Boys and Ghouls!
Welcome to the Pen & Muse Haunt!
The Haunted House looms before you, threatening to swallow you up. It’s larger up close, isn’t it? You know that you shouldn’t really be here. In fact, now that you’re here, you want to leave.
But you chose to come inside. Even though you knew something felt a little off. All you can really do now is try…try to stay alive.
You can see the live list of participants and their post dates on this link.
Good luck. You’ll need it. Muahahahahaha!
by Bobby Salomons
Old houses smell; this particular one smelled extra bad, coming out of every nook and cranny.
Still it was a stately house, what was left of it. Embodying the architecture of the nineteenth century, heavy bricks and wooden ornaments, large windows and grand stature. The yard turned into a wilderness of sorts.
“Is this place actually safe?” Matt asked and pulled open the van doors.
“What do you mean?” His friend replied grabbing one of the metal cases.
“What’s not to understand about that question? Is this place ‘safe’ or is it going to fucking collapse on us?”
“I’m pretty sure it’s safe, Matt.” Danny mumbled.
“Pretty sure it’s safe?” Said Sophie, forcing her foot sideways into her Converse.
“Listen– This is our first real ‘gig’ as ghost hunters, okay? You guys want to be real ghost hunters or just amateurs?”
“’Gig’? What are we? A garage band?” Sophie chuckled.
“This has Danny written all over it.” Matt mumbled, rolling out the extension cords.
“Fuck you, Matt. And fuck you too, Sophie. I got us this case, I have to edit the videos, I listen through hours of static noise to try and spot Electronic Voice Phenomena. I’m making the effort! Me! If we hit it big just realize that I’m letting you hitch this ride for free. Jerks.”
“Fuck– You’re so anal about shit, Danny. It was just a joke, idiot.” Sophie replied and walked off with one of metal cases.
He kept quiet as his little sister strolled off towards the house. He sighed and ignored his friend. “Sowwy.” Matt said, a flashlight in his mouth.
“Hmpfff.” He replied and picked up the computer equipment. “Lets just do this.”
“This place is huge!” Sophie’s voice echoed from inside, followed by a hollow thud. “Shit.”
“Please don’t tell me you dropped the cameras!” Danny yelled, almost tripping over the wooden steps leading to the front door.
“No. Those were the lights.” She said picking up the case.
“Guys! Some help!” Matt called, struggling with a foldable table.
“Okay, lets make this our base camp.” Danny said and sat the table down.
“Base camp…” Sophie mumbled, “Thinks he’s on Mount Everest.”
Her big brother ignored her and picked up the laptop. A gust of wind rolled down the flight of stairs directly in front of them. As if the house sighed at the sight of newcomers. “Okay, uh. Who wants to do the documentary cam?” Said Danny and grabbed a camera box.
“Shit. I’ll do it. I always do.” Matt replied and opened the heavy, metal box. “There’s my girl!”
“Hell yeah the battery’s fresh!” Matt yelled and switched on the camera’s blinding light. “See?”
His friends cringed from the bright rays. “Turn that off! Sophie, you do the personal cam?”
“I guess.” She said and coughed, “I think I can taste the fungus in this place? Can you taste fungus? Cause I think I’m tasting it. Are we going to do one of those lame intros again or what?”
“They’re not lame… We need to present this the right way, all right? Think of Ghost Hunters or the Kling brothers from Ghost Lab!” Danny insisted and set up his control station.
“I like our intros.” Said Matt and shouldered the camera. “Makes me feel all pro and shit.”
“Thank you, Matt.” Danny said smirking at Sophie, she stuck her tongue, “You ready, Matt?”
“Hey there paranormal enthusiasts! Welcome to another exciting webisode of Ghoul Watchers! Last week I told you I had some big news – well it’s here! We’ve got our first paid gig, a haunted mansion! And me and my co-investigators are super excited! Right, guys!?”
“Fuck yeah!” Matt yelled.
“Okay, lets keep the ‘fucks’ to a minimum on cam.” Said Danny, “Are you excited, little sis!?”
“Sure.” She said bluntly, Danny gave an angry look, “Sure! Lets go for it!”
“That’s what I’m talking about it!” Said Danny.
Matt panned the camera around towards the laptop, their team logo popping up on-screen. “Aaand cut!” Matt said turning off the camera.
“Sophie?” Said Danny, she turned his way and raised her eyebrows, “Sorry about before. You know I want all of us in this together right?”
“It’s cool.” She said and smiled, “High five, bitch!” The two clapped hands and laughed.
“That’s cute and all but we’ve got work to do, guys. I hate to stay at a place till it gets light outside again. I can’t fall asleep when it’s light outside.” Matt said carrying a box of security cameras upstairs.
“What is with that guy’s phobia of dawn?” Danny whispered.
“I think he’s a vampire!” Said Sophie.
“I heard that!” Matt called down, “I’ll drain you of blood first, Sophie!”
“Blah! Blah! Blah!” She yelled back and followed.
“Sophie! Don’t forget to keep your personal camera running, you never know. Right?” Her brother insisted.
“Way ahead of you!”
The house creaked, as if flexing its muscles, but kept quiet otherwise. It wasn’t hard to tell that an effort had been made to strip it clean. Even more obvious was that the workers had abandoned the scene, in a hurry, tools scattered around and debris everywhere. It was impossible to breathe without getting something in – dust, bits of wallpaper and insects flying around.
“Matt!” Sophie called, the large hallway upstairs led to a meriad of rooms.
“Over here!” His voice said from the darkness ahead of her. “Switch on your radio. Channel two.”
“Oh, right. Duh.” She mumbled and picked it up. “Can you hear me?”
“Loud and clear.” He replied, followed by the typical loud static noise of a radio.
“Base camp ready! I’ll roll the cables up the stairs! You guys let me know once you start plugging them in, all right?!” Danny called from downstairs.
“Cool!” Sophie replied, dragging a case with lamps over the floor.
Not too far away from her, barely visible in darkness, stood Matt on a chair attaching a camera to the corner of a wall, with a gentle clunk a screw fell. “Shit. Can you hand me that?” He said.
Sophie let go of the case and walked his way.
“Perfect! Thanks!” Said Matt.
“Shouldn’t you thank me after I’ve handed it to you?” She chuckled.
“What do you mean?” He asked with confused and uncertain voice.
“…I haven’t handed you the screw yet, Matt.”
“What the-!?” He jumped down and rushed over. “You’re messing with me, right!? Tell me you’re messing with me!”
“What is wrong with you!?” She said intimidated, “No! I’m not kidding! Stop it!”
“Fuck. Shit. Someone handed me back my screw, Sophie! I felt your hand! Or ‘someone’s’ hand!”
“Do I look like I’m fucking around!?” Matt yelled, his voice pitched up when anxious.
Sophie switched channels on the radio. “Danny! Danny! You’ve got to come up! We just had a personal experience like you wouldn’t believe!”
“Copy. I’m coming up!” He replied and ran up the stairs.
“Jesus. We’ve been here, what? Ten, fifteen minutes?” Matt said leaning against the wall.
“What happened, guys!?” Danny said out of breathe.
“Tell him!” Sophie insisted.
“I’m too shakey, you tell him!” Said Matt.
“Ugh. We were up here and Matt was attaching a camera to the corner of the wall, I wasn’t anywhere close to him when I heard him drop a screw-”
“Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! The experience isn’t just him dropping a screw, right?” Said Danny.
“Will you shut up and let me finish!” She yelled. “Matt asked if I could pick it up for him. I was going to but- someone or ‘something’ picked it up and handed it to him before I did!”
“I felt a hand, man!” Matt said shivering, “It freaking touched me!”
“Jesus.” His friend replied, “And you weren’t messing with-”
“No!” Sophie yelled, “I swear!”
“Okay, I believe you. I believe you.” He said and stared into the dark, “This is great though, guys. Now we know something is here! Something not afraid of us, that means evidence!”
“Whoop-di-doo.” Said Matt and stood back up straight, “You didn’t get touched by a dead person.”
“No, I didn’t. But the workers did!” He replied.
“What do you mean?” Said Sophie.
“That’s what they reported! The contractor said his workers’ tools kept being moved, some felt like someone touched them. There was even a rumor that piece of drywall that fell off was somehow replaced, as if something was trying to keep its hiding place.”
“…I don’t like this anymore.” Sophie whimpered.
“Relax! It’s fine! This will be great!” Her brother insisted.
“Yeah? Well I hope they touch you, freak.” Matt grumbled.
“Guys! Keep it together, okay!? We’ve got this – we’re in it together. Nothing can beat us.”
Sophie and Matt exchanged looks and nodded.
“The stronger we are as a team, the less it can do. Whatever it is, it doesn’t have a body. Most of them barely even have a voice!” Said Danny, waving around the little voice recorder.
“Don’t give it the power to control you.” Sophie mumbled.
“Exactly. Now, I’ll be going back to base camp. I’ll switch to channel two on the radio as well, so we’ll all be on the same frequency – I can hear you. Remember, we can only talk one at a time or the channel will be occupied. Cool?”
“Sure, Danny.” Sophie said as he went downstairs, “Hey, Danny!”
“What?” He said half way down.
“Please be careful, okay?”
“Of course. Don’t worry, once you’ve got those cameras up – I’ll see anything that happens.”
“I guess I’ll get back to work then.” Matt said nervously and clicked on his pocket light.
“Yeah. Me too.” Sophie said and picked up some cables that Danny had laid out.
“One’s to the left are all for the first floor! One’s to the right for the second!” Danny called.
“Okay!” She said and put down her camera, “I’ll just put you over here for a little…”
The heavy long cable made a strange hissing sound as she dragged it over the carpeted floor and handed it to Matt.
“Thanks.” He said and plugged it into the wall mounted camera. “Can you see me?” He asked over the radio.
“Yeah, I see you!” Danny radioed back.
“Okay. Now for the rest of this place.” Matt said and quickly went back to work. “Can you roll the other cable up to the second floor? So I can plug it in?”
“Uh… I guess.” Sophie said nervously. She walked back to the stairs to pick up the heavy cable spool. “Hey? Where’s my camera?” She mumbled.
“What!?” Her brother called.
“Did you lose something again?!”
“No!” She growled. “Dork.” With a loud slam a door closed down the hallway. Her heart skipped a beat. “Shit.” She whispered and cautiously approached. “Just the wind. Not ghosts. Or zombies. Matt didn’t get touched, he just smokes too much pot.” The door creaked open and slammed again, this time softer. A breeze swept through.
“Yeah. Just the wind.” She sighed relieved and opened the door. Her knees went weak. There it stood, perfectly in sight. The small camera. It made her spine tingle.
“-Sophie.” The radio said, Matt’s voice. She grabbed it angrily.
“Are you messing with me!? Are you trying to screw me over because you think I was kidding about the screw!” She bit at him angrily.
The radio crackled, most likely Danny trying to get on the same frequency.
“-Upstairs.” Was the only part she could hear from Matt’s message.
“All right! All right! I’ll get the cables up stairs to the second floor, Christ!”
Sophie grabbed the camera and marched back down to the stairways, grabbing the cable spool. Matt walked by with some tools.
“What’s up with you?” He asked.
“You’re a douche, Matt!” She said, pointing her finger at his face. “And you smell of weed!”
“…Djeez, what’s gotten into you?”
“You know what I’m talking about! Mr. ‘I got touched by a ghost’, pussy!” She stormed off.
“Hey, Danny. I think your sister’s possessed.” He called down.
“Yeah. Possessed by the angry tampon spirit, probably. Just let it slide. She’ll cheer up.”
“That’s pretty sexist, you know.” He said hanging half over the bannister.
“And you’re not?”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right.” He said and went back to work.
With the last of her anger strength Sophie set down the cable spool with a thud and began dragging it down the corridor. She had always felt that the two boys saw her as a bit of a joke, a mascotte at best, but of the three of them she had gathered the most evidence. Her camera caught convincing footage that drew thousands of hits on YouTube, her voice recorder captures ghostly audio, her intuition brought them to the right rooms. Still she was mostly Danny’s little sister. It irked her. Irked her real bad.
“Stupid jerks.” She grumbled and rolled out the cable.
Behind her something moved, she could hear it, like sharp, broken glass over a wooden floor. Glass shards as they sound when weight is on them. It could be ethereal or a burglar or drifter.
“Okay. So… Do I turn around or just run?” She whispered to herself, her body frozen in the moment.
Matt flipped on the infrared light and picked up his radio.
“You see it?”
“I see it, good work!” Danny replied.
“All right, I’ll be heading upstairs then.”
“Gotcha, over and out.”
Matt picked up the last two cases and began walking up the steps. A cold draft rolled passed him on the stairs. A strange, electric wind that raised the hairs on his arms and drifted through him as if freezing his soul. He’d felt it before.
“My meter!” He hissed reaching for his Electro-Magnetic Field meter, “Lets see what we got.” With a flick of his thumb he clicked it on. All lights flickering. “Oh shit!” He said almost falling over backwards, “…Is anybody there?” He said with shakey voice.
“Y-Yes.” A voice whispered.
“Oh fff-… Sophie!?”
“Matt! Something’s up here…”
“I know.” He whispered back.
“I think it’s behind me…”
“What!?” He sneaked into the corridor and could see her, standing frozen. Scared to even turn her head, her eyes trying to look at him sideways.
“What is it? Can you see it?” She said trembling.
“I’ll try.” He whispered and looked behind her. Nothing.
“You don’t see it?” Her voice seemed even more distressed.
“I know it’s there, something’s there. We need to capture it. Reach into my pocket.”
“Get my iPhone out.”
“All right but why?” He said and slowly reached into her pocket.
“Don’t touch my ass.”
“I’m not touching your ass!” Matt pulled the phone out. “That’s a weird casing for your phone.”
“It’s an infra-red camera case. I bought it for Danny’s birthday as a surprise. …Surprise.”
“But it’s your phone?”
“I wanted to try it out! Sue me! Turn on the frickin’ phone!” She hissed.
“Fine!” He said and wiped his finger across the screen, it woke up from stand-by.
“It’s the app that says FLIR One.”
“’Kay.” Matt clicked, after a second it turned to infra red, “I feel like Predator!”
“Shhh! Just look behind me! Please!”
“All right – All right!” Matt said pointing the phone behind her and went quiet. The camera clicked.
“-Run!” With a firm grip he dragged her down the corridor into a room and slammed the door shut, an eerie silence inside. The kind of oppressive quiet that pressured the eardrums into a numb deafness. Deaf and blind to something absorbing all the energy in the room.
“Oh God! What did you see!?” She whimpered. “Did you capture it on camera!?”
“Are you sure you want to know?” He said.
“You’re sweating like a pig so, no. But hit me anyway.”
Matt handed her the phone. The silhouette of a man, a shadow figure, dark and jagged edges standing out between bright colors with undeniable strength.
“No. No. That can’t be real!” Sophie sniffled.
“It’s real! I saw it!”
“You must’ve taken a selfie!” She pressed.
“Sophie! You can see the rest of the corridor! I was standing half in the stairways! It can’t be me! I wouldn’t show up black either! I give off heat, remember!?”
“Danny! We’ve got to warn Danny!” Sophie reached for her radio and pressed the button.
“Danny! Danny! It’s me! Can you hear me!?” She called. The radio crackled.
“-Yes.” His voice said badly ddistorted
“Fucking radio! -Danny! There’s something here!”
“-Away.” The radio replied.
“Christ, I can’t work with this thing!”
“Hold on…” Matt said, “Why can’t I hear you or Danny on my radio?”
“What do you mean?”
“Danny switched to our channel, channel two, whenever either one of you talks I should hear you on my radio. Hand me yours.”
“I don’t understand?” She said, handing it over.
As Matt studied it his eyes went big. “Sophie…”
“Your radio’s on channel one… Whoever that was we just heard, wasn’t Danny.”
“But it was Danny’s voice! I heard your voice earlier on too! You insisted I’d go upstairs!”
“I asked you to go upstairs, once, never over the radio.”
Sophie’s radio crackled again.
“Shhh! Shhh!” Said Matt.
“-GET OUT!” A sharp, electric sounding voice yelled so loud the little radio speaker buzzed.
“Yep! That’s my cue all right!” Matt yelled pulling her along.
“What is going on out there?!” Danny said staring at the monitors, “And why aren’t all the cameras up yet?”
“Danny!” His little sister shrieked.
“What the-!?” Through the corridor thundered his friend and sister, panic struck like he’d never seen them before. “What’s going on!?” Danny said as they rushed down the stairs.
“The-There’s a thing upstairs!” Said Sophie, eyes watery and arms trembling.
“Calm down! Hold on, be more precise!”
“A fucking shadow figure like you wouldn’t believe.” Matt said.
“Did you get it on camera!?”
“Here.” Said Matt and handed him the phone with the photo.
“What is that?”
“In-Infra red camera. Bought it for you. Your birthday. Surprise.” Sophie said with trembling voice.
“Aw, really? That’s sweet – little sis’, how’d you-”
“No – for fuck’s sakes! I’m serious! Look!”
“All right.” He said and stared at the screen. “You’re kidding…”
“No.” Matt insisted.
“And you ran off!?”
“The fuck do you mean, ‘You ran off’!? What would you have done!?”
“This is the best evidence we ever captured!”
“And- And your voice came out of the radio! But it wasn’t-” Sophie sniffled.
“Okay, you need to relax.” He said to her, “And you need to lay off the pot, Matt.”
“Fuck you, Danny. Fuck you.”
“I’m getting out of here and you can come with me or stay here. You pick!”
“And leave all our equipment behind!?”
“Shit! You’re still thinking about equipment!? We’ll pick it up in the morning, douche!”
“It could be stolen or damaged by then! I’m getting our stuff out of there and if you two want to play chick-”
The radio crackled on Danny’s improvised desk.
“Oh God!” Said Sophie.
“Stop being paranoid! It’s just goddamn static!”
“My- House-” A voice crackled over the radio.
Danny froze. “What was that?” He said nervously.
“Your ego deflating.” Said Matt trying to keep his cool.
Danny turned to look at the monitors, across the screen darted a black blur. “Do you see it!?” Said Danny and looked upstairs at the first floor. “…Nothing.” A bone chilling cold gathered around the hall. Danny raised the infrared camera on the iPhone.
“Anything?” Matt whispered.
“It’s all black…”
“What? Is it on?”
Danny raised his hand in front of the camera, the bright colors of his warmth jumped out. “It’s draining all the energy…” He said and turned around, “It’s going to do something big.”
White noise from the radio, bitter cold and a tingling down their backs. All around the sound of rattling. “What is that!?” Matt said backing away.
With ear shattering noise crashed down the abandoned tools of the demolition crew, a set of pliers striking and cutting Danny on the forehead. The house creaked and moaned as if trying to burst off of its foundation. Dust and debris that had settled for decades rained down from the ceilings.
“Get out of my house!” A thundering voice, clear as day, echoed from every dark corner of the mansion.
“We’re leaving!” Matt yelled over the noise. “We’re going!”
“Out!” The voice snarled as it turned into an animalistic growl.
Matt and Sophie grabbed Danny by the arms and ran out, behind them a wind whirled through the house as if trying to push them out. Matt started the van as Sophie lay Danny in the back, taking off with spinning tires.
“Danny! Danny, talk to me! Are you okay!?” She said.
“Yeah, I’m fine…” He sighed wiping some blood from his forehead. “It’s not too bad.”
“We’ll be home soon. I promise.” She said and gave him a hug.
The van sped through every corner and street, had it not been night time it would’ve been chased by police without question.
“We’re here!” Matt called back and hastily parked the van, “Can you walk?”
“Yeah. Just don’t alert mom, all right?” Danny said and stepped out.
Quietly the three friends went into the house.
“You’re home early!” Their mother called from the living room.
“Uh, hey Mrs. Malone!” Said Matt, “Yeah, we decided to check something out- Here.”
“All right!” She said.
“…Great excuse butt wipe.” Danny grinned.
“Hey, she accepted it, right!?”
“I’ll get you some water, okay?” Sophie said and ran into the kitchen. Something plastic clanged up against the kitchen counter. “Shit.” She noticed her radio still on her belt. “Haven’t you caused enough trouble today?” She sat it down on the kitchen table, filled a large glass of water and ran up the stairs.
“Is everything all right!?” Her mother called.
“It’s fine, mom! Just perfect!”
“Okay, I’ll be going to bed in a minute! Don’t make too much noise!”
Sophie entered Danny’s room where Matt was inspecting his head.
“Bad?” Danny said.
“Well it’ll be a big, fat bruise but you’ll be all right.”
“Here.” Said Sophie and handed her brother the water.
“Thanks.” He said and sipped from the water, “Look. Even when struck with pliers by ghosts, I still kept your present with me.” He said and waved the iPhone with infrared.
“Cool.” She said and smiled, “I’m just glad we’re out of there. I’m not picking up our equipment before noon tomorrow. What’s left of it anyway.”
“Agreed.” Her brother said, “I’m sorry about all of this, guys.”
“It’s fine.” She said.
A knock on the door.
“Shit!” Danny said and turned his head.
“Uh, yeah!?” Said Sophie.
“It’s me, can I come in for a second?” Her mother said.
“Sure, Mrs. M.” Said Matt.
The door opened just a little.
“Hi – I’m just here to hand you your phone, Sophie.” She said.
“Yes, your phone – silly! You left it on the kitchen table, looks like your friend’s still on the line, I can hear him talking!” She said and handed her the radio, “Here, take it. I’m going to bed, bye kids!”
“Uh, bye.” Sophie mumbled and stared at the radio. “No…”
The radio crackled as the lights flickered in the room before a voice spoke softly. “-I’m in -Your house.”
A scream from upstairs. Their mother.