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"Did you hear that?" I turned my head and listened.
Nikki looked up from her book. "Hear what?"
I didn't move a muscle, trying to listen intently. "Someone just called my name."
She gave a short laugh and went back to her book. "You're crazy," she chuckled unconcerned.
I still tried to listen, I swear I heard it. Someone whispered my name from the hall. I stood up, setting my book on the coffee table. "I'll be right back."
Nikki gave a look of surprise. "You're seriously gonna go look knowing we're alone?"
I ignored her and tiptoed towards the doorway leading to the hallway. "Jess." Nikki said sternly. "Stop playing games."
I glared at her. "I'm not playing games. Someone called my name." She was tired of me saying that, but I'd been hearing things a lot lately. No one else would hear it, but I did. They just weren't listening close enough. I peaked around the corner and whispered. "Hello?"
The lights were dim, barely giving a soft glow down the long hallway. It was eery looking, but someone was there. "Hello?" I called again.
"Hello." I heard a deep voice on my neck.
I jumped and glared at Nikki. She was gripping her sides, laughing at my expression. "You should quit thinking someone is gonna answer you." She sobered up quick, but a smirk still played on her lips. "Believe it or not babe, we're alone." She trailed her index finger along my spine causing me to shake as she busted into another laugh.
She went back to the chair with her book, but I looked down the hallway once more. At the very end of the hallway, I saw one of the doors close softly shut. My stomach dropped.
We weren't alone.
I looked back at Nikki and slipped into the hallway. "Where you goin’?" She called.
I cursed her for being nosy. "The kitchen."
"Grab me a beer while you're in there!"
I silently stalked towards the closed door. Lightly walking on the balls of my bare feet. The door was getting closer. I slowed down when I reached a couple feet away from it. My hands were sweaty and I was trying not to shake. I heard clambering in the room, they weren't trying to be quiet at all. I reached out and grabbed the handle. The noise was moving around in the room and I threw the door open.
It was empty.
Not even a scrap of furniture. Not a chair or bed or dresser or anything. The closet in the room was open wide, hiding nothing. Where did the person go? The window was shut and the curtains closed. There was nobody in here.
I walked into the room to get a better look of the place. There were no places to hide. I couldn't figure it out. They were just in here. They didn't leave because I was blocking the door.
"Jesse?" I heard Nikki call from the hallway. "Dude, where's my beer?" She was then standing in the doorway. "You okay?"
I turned back to her quickly, shaking. "They're not here."
Her eyebrows pulled together and her lips pursed into her serious face. "Who's not here, babe?"
"I don't know...the person that was calling my name, I think." I said, still searching the room.
I heard her sigh to herself. "Jesse, come on. It's late and you've had a hard week. Go to bed."
"Where is it?" I asked suddenly. "Everything. The furniture and clothes. There's nothing in here."
Nikki chuckled. "Yeah, I haven't had any use for this room yet so I left it empty until I needed it. I thought I locked the door though...how'd you get in?"
I stared at her blankly. "What do you mean? I saw someone walk in here and close the door. I just followed them."
Her eyes showed confusion and a little fear but she was trying to hide it with a smile. "I forgot I unlocked it this morning. I just now remembered. Come on, go to bed." She forced a laugh and pulled me out of the room. “Did you take your medicine?”
I was staying with my best friend, Nikki, until I got my life back on track. She lived in her parents summer home while we were going to college and the place was huge and empty. I never liked it but I didn't have a choice but to live in it.
Ever since I moved here, I'd been hearing and seeing things. I couldn't figure out why Nikki didn't. Was she just saying she didn't when actually she did?
She refuses to tell you the truth, Jess. She's lying to you.
I listened to them talk. I think they're right too. She's lying to me.
She doesn't like this place either.
If she doesn't like it, why does she live in it? I know we could afford a place in the city, but she refused to spend money when her parents were letting her live here for free. It would be stupid to move with no reason.
Let's do everyone a favor, Jesse! We can burn it down!
Why would I burn it down?
It's haunted. You saw someone that wasn't there. We have to burn it down to get rid of the ghost for Nikki. They could hurt Nikki...
What if the ghost possessed her or something? They were right, I have to burn the place down. Nikki would understand when she knows the reason.
I crept out of bed and opened the door. Nikki’s door was shut and the light was off. She was already asleep. I’d start the fire and get out. She’ll wake up and get out too when she smells the smoke. I couldn’t tell her I was starting a fire or she’d stop me.
The kitchen light was off so I flicked it on and searched the cabinets for some matches. Where would I start the fire? I’d never done this before. I opened the last drawer and still no matches. Damn. I grabbed a wad of paper towels and turned the stove-top on high. The red ringlets lit up fast, getting hot. I laid the towels over it and watched them start to burn.
What about the smoke detector?
Quickly I looked up and saw it flashing in the corner. I reached over and took it down from the wall, taking the batteries out. The fire was getting bigger and I smiled triumphantly. Now all I had to do was get out. Nikki would wake up in time.
I crept back into the hall and headed towards the front door. In the corner of my eye, I saw a shadow. I turned just in time to see them going into Nikki’s room. I started shaking again and I ran back into the kitchen to find a knife. I got the biggest knife and snuck back towards Nikki’s room. The door was cracked unlike before when I saw it.
The fire was growing fast and I had to get out soon, but I couldn’t let the ghost take Nikki. I loved her too much to let her die. I slowly opened the door and went in. Her room was huge being that it was the master bedroom. I saw her bed on the other side of the room; it was empty.
My hand holding the knife was shaking so hard. My mind was foggy from the pills I took earlier. I wiped the sweat from my eyes as I searched the room. Where was Nikki? Did the ghost take her?
I began to really panic as continued to search the room. Suddenly I heard a noise in the giant walk-in closet, heavy breathing.
I silently padded towards the closet, knife raised. It’s the ghost! Stab him! STAB HIM NOW! I screamed as I ran into the closet to save Nikki.
“Jesse?!” I didn’t stop to think, I attacked.
She gasped, gripping the knife’s handle. I stared at her in shock as her nightshirt was staining red. Blood began to pool at her feet.
“Jess, what did you do...” she collapsed onto the floor.
I couldn’t move. “Nikki? Nikki, I’m sorry I thought you were the ghost... Nik?” I knelled down beside her; I could hear wood crackling from the hall, the fire was spreading. Blood surrounded me as I tried to wake Nikki up. She didn’t stir, her eyes remained open and staring.
Firefighters finished hosing down the remains of the fire. Police were taping off the crime scene as news reporters taped it. “What appears to be an accidental fire, the Chief of Police says it started in the kitchen, but they are still unclear as to the two bodies found dead. One died from the fire, the other found with a knife in her chest. We’ll be here to report it as soon as the officials release more information. I’m Cathy Bates signing off.”
Firefighters came out carrying the two bodies in plastic bags to be sent to autopsy. “Chief?” One man called from the burned remnants of the house. “I don’t know if this means anything but look at this.” He held up a little bottle for the chief to take.
The man nodded. “I found them in the bathroom cabinet, it wasn’t touched by the fire yet.”
“So you think the girl that died from the fire could have had the pills and killed the girl with the knife?”
“It’s definitely plausible. I’ve seen the effects of this stuff, but why would the pills be in the murdered girls bathroom? I would think if the girl that died by the fire was taking them, they’d be in her bathroom.”
“Unless the other girl was giving them to her...”
The ambulance pulled away, heading towards the morgue, carrying the two girls.