From a young age, Damir and Darcy were the best of friends. They grew up living next door to each other in the quiet, sleepy town of Timberfalls. They attended the same school and for years would imitate each other, causing confusion for the teachers. They pranked the local children, scared the adults, especially on Halloween and often pretended to be each other to confuse new comers to the town. Eventually, they were just referred to as D and D.
Timberfalls was a peaceful town. Surrounded by thick forest and a crystal blue lake, it was a hidden gem. A large saw mill employed most of the population of the town while Main Street employed the rest.
A large SUV with a U-haul attacked rumbled down Main Street just as D and D left the diner. Now in their late teens, the boys were growing bored with their small town home and longed to explore the world.
Damir stopped, watching the SUV, his blue eyes studying the vehicle and its occupants. There were two boys, about their age, sitting in the backseat, iPods in their ears. One of them glanced up at Damir and Darcy and, with a quick glance at the driver’s seat, flipped them off before grinning.
“Rude much?” Darcy said, snorting a little as the car turned onto Maple Avenue.
Damir didn’t answer. Instead his eyes lingered after the car until it disappeared from view.
“Let’s find out where they live,” he suggested, jogging down the sidewalk, his sneakers thudding on the concrete. Darcy followed suit, his dark hair falling in front of his face.
It took ten minutes before they reached the old Victorian home on Elm Street that had been for sale for years. Rumors had flooded the town when D and D were barely teenagers that it was a haunted house. On Damir’s eighteenth birthday, they had spent the night there, hoping to see some form of paranormal activity. Aside from Darcy jumping out of a closet wrapped in a white bedsheet and yelling “Boo” there was nothing unusual to report.
Now they were standing at the bottom of the drive way staring up at the home, wondering if they should introduce themselves to the new people in town.
The front door opened and the boy who had flipped them off stepped outside. His sandy blonde hair hung over his eyes and he shoved his hands into his pockets as he shuffled back to the U-haul.
Darcy turned to Damir and saw a familiar twinkle in his eyes. Last time Damir got that look they were both suspended from attending their high school graduation.
Darcy cringed as Damir walked boldly up the drive way.
“What do you fags want?”
Damir’s eyes darkened. “Well we were going to say welcome to Timberfalls, but now I hope the ghosts that haunt this house rip you apart in your sleep.”
Darcy’s hand flew up to his mouth to hide the smile that appeared.
“What ghosts?” the kid asked, moving his hair from his eyes.
“Doesn’t matter,” Damir said, running his hand through his platinum blonde hair. “Sleep tight.” He turned and stormed off down the drive, Darcy in tow, leaving the poor new kid staring up at the house with a look of concern on his face.
They rounded the corner and burst into laughter. “Did you see his face?” Darcy asked, collapsing to the mossy ground in a fit of giggles. Damir fell against a tree, wiping a tear from his eye. “If that’s the look he gets now, imagine what look he’ll have when we sneak into his bedroom tonight.”
Darcy stopped laughing, sitting up and dusting off his jeans. “What do you mean?” he asked. Damir repeated himself before divulging into a very wicked plan.
* * * * *
That night, Eric climbed into bed. His room was filled with packing boxes, his bed on an angle, fitting into the new space as best it could. Ever since he had encountered those two guys, he had been weary of the house. Every creak of the wooden floors or groan of the water pipes caused him to jump.
Eric didn’t believe in ghosts, but there was just something so off about the two guys that had followed the car to his new home that he was more than ready to return to the city, back to the life he knew and loved.
A tree branch scratched his window causing Eric to huddle underneath the covers. “There’s no such thing as ghosts,” he said aloud. “There’s no such thing as ghosts. There’s no such thing as ghosts.”
The noise stopped and Eric breathed a sigh of relief as the cool night air blew across the bed.
Cool night air?
Ripping the sheets off him, Eric stared at the bedroom window. It was closed when he climbed into bed but now it was wide open. He moved quickly across the floor. The window howled as it whistled through the trees. He slammed the window closed, locking it.
Eric returned to bed, picking the covers off the floor and laying them out slowly. He heard a creaking sound, as though someone was walking in the hall. He raced over to his bedroom and took a quick peek into the darkened hallway. He saw nothing.
The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end as he felt a presence in the room. Whirling around he let out a scream as he saw D and D sitting on his bed.
Eric slid down the door, sweat pouring from his brow. His lip trembled as he demanded what they were doing there. Before either Damir or Darcy had a chance to talk there was a pounding on Eric’s bedroom door.
Timidly he answered it. His father asked if he was alright. Eric turned back to the bed. D and D were gone.
“Yes, Dad. I’m alright. A raccoon ran across the roof while I was closing my window and it scared the shit out of me, that’s all,” Eric responded, eyes scanning the room for the two intruders. Eric’s father seemed skeptical but returned to his room at the end of the hall.
Eric closed the door, locking it and turned back to his bed. Damir and Darcy were sitting there, legs crossed, eyes trained on him.
“What do you fags want? Eric demanded, getting annoyed that they had broken into his room.
Damir smiled. “I thought by now you would have learned some manners. Maybe you want your heart ripped from your chest while you sleep. I’m okay with that. How about you, D?”
Darcy nodded, his eyes dancing with amusement. “Oh, absolutely, D,” he replied.
“What do you want?!” Eric was getting angry, his hands balled into fists by his side as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum continued to mock him.
“We just want to tell you a story of what happened in this house,” Darcy said. “It’s haunted you know.”
Damir nodded and put on his best spooky voice.
“It happened a hundred years ago. Timberfalls had their annual Autumn Festival which sees the town rally for the harvest. Two boys, about your age, broke into the saw mill and, as a prank, decided to set the mill into action.
‘Old man Longmire was in the mill. He would often perform maintenance on the blades when the Autumn Festival was going on. It was the only time of year when the mill wasn’t being used.
‘Sadly, these two boys didn’t know that. When they flipped the switch, the blades roared into action. Old man Longmire was dissected; his bloodcurdling screams were drowned out by the live band playing in the town.
‘As you can imagine, the boys felt pretty guilty over what happened. They tried to cover it up, but were found out. After all, they were known for playing pranks. They were cornered by the vengeful locals in this very house. Deciding it would be better to split up, one of them ran up stairs while the other dashed through the kitchen, hoping to make it to the backdoor before the locals knew what was happening.
‘He didn’t make it. Instead he slipped on a pickle that was lying on the floor. A pickle he had tossed aside from his sandwich earlier that day. He lost his footing, grabbing for the first thing he could to regain his balance. His head hit the stove, a gash forming above his right eye. He slowly got to his feet just as the owner of the hardware store burst through the backdoor, axe in hand. The young man backed up, protesting that he was sorry and that it was just a prank. The man with the axe didn’t care, raising it above his head. The young man cried out as his shoe slid on the linoleum and he fell backwards. The hardware store owner delivered one fatal blow to his face, watching with joy as blood spurted and his skull caved in.”
Darcy cleared his throat causing Eric to jump. “The other one who ran upstairs suffered a similar fate. He had locked himself in this very room, barricading the door anything he could. He raced to the window, hoping he could get out onto the roof and maybe shimmy down the drainpipe, or even jump, to safety.
‘Instead, his heart sank when he realized the window had been nailed shut from the outside. He broke the glass and tried to squirm his way through. He could hear the angry mob kicking in the bedroom door. Just as he freed his arms and began wiggling his body through, two hands grabbed his legs, holding him in place as the town priest cursed him in the name of God before slamming the remaining window pane into his stomach, cutting him deeply.
‘He howled in pain as the priest lifted the window. The remaining glass fragments were dripping in blood, their jagged edges gleaming in the pale moonlight. With another vengeful curse, the priest slammed the window back down, this time slicing the poor man in two.
‘His torso fell out the window, his mouth open in a scream as it landed on the grass below.”
Eric rubbed his arm. He could feel goosebumps rising.
Damir looked into his eyes. “It’s rumored that those two tortured souls still haunt this town. Some people say that they are doomed to repeat the night they died for all eternity. Other people say that their spirits remain, as vengeful as the town folk were who took their lives, haunting this house and luring unsuspecting souls so they can have their revenge.”
Darcy stood up, and walked to the window. “Some people say that they’ve even seen a line of blood appear on this very window on the night of the Autumn Festival.”
Damir walked over to Eric, his lips brushing against his ear. “And guess what, Eric? Tonight is the first night of the Autumn Festival.”
Eric’s lip quivered, the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end as Damir lowered a hand to his shoulder and guided him to the window.
Darcy opened the window. “If you listen carefully, you can still hear Old man Longmire’s scream as the blades saw his body into tiny pieces.”
Eric tilted his head, leaning slightly out the window, his hands on the sil. The wind howled through the trees and for the faintest of moments he could have sworn he heard a scream.
“You’re just trying to scare me,” he said finally, turned into face them. Only Darcy remained.
“Where’s the other guy?” he asked, his voice choking with emotion.
Darcy smiled, shadows playing on his face. “Well, you see Eric, in order to be free from limbo a soul must be replaced. D and I have waited a hundred years for two teens our age to move into this house. Now you must suffer the same fate.”
With a strong push, Darcy forced Eric partly out the window. Eric screamed, his eyes focusing on the window which was now jagged, dripping with blood.
He let out one final scream as the window sliced his torso in half.