If Walls Could Talk

(From the Writer’s Digest creative writing prompt No One Can See Me)

I wait for them to come. They always do. The anniversary of when they discovered that the woman who lived here was not what she claimed. Nearly two hundred years since she was found out and they still come.

I see their flashlights bobbing in the night, hear their laughter. This group is a half dozen boys, ranging from ten to about fourteen. It’s a common age group. They love to come here to scare the young ones. They tell ghost stories by flashlight and sneak through dusty rooms until something scares them away. Once one screams, the others catch their fear as if contagious, and they all run. I’ve seen this same story many times.

The stairs creak under their feet, and I can feel the worry of the smallest boy. He looks like he’s trying to prove something by being there, and if I were to guess, I’d say one of the older boys is his brother.

“Are the stories of this place really true?” the boy asks, trying to control the waiver in his voice.

“You mean that a witch lived here?” The older boy swings the beam of his light up under his chin. “Her husband caught her summoning demons and went mad with rage. He grabbed a knife and—” He lifts his arm and brings it down in a stabbing motion.

The small boy jumps, nearly tumbling off the porch. “So why do you want to come here, Gerry?”

The older boy just laughs and pushes the weathered oak door open despite the protesting hinges. “Because I’m not a wuss like you.”

They group steps inside, beams of light going all different ways. Furniture still sits where it was left after the death of the family, coated in dust that’s only ever disturbed by those seeking thrills from the supernatural.

One of the boys shivers. “Why does it feel like we’re being watched?”

“Because you’re as much of a wuss as Kevin.” Gerry’s beam illuminates the walls where English ivy crawls up to the ceiling, having come through the broken windows. “Which room do you think he killed them in? Was it here?”

“I think I read that it was the sitting room?”

“What’s a sitting room?” Kevin asks.

“A room that you sit in, dummy.” Gerry walks further into the house, dust billowing around his feet with each step. “It’s like they left everything. Even the paintings are on the wall. I wonder what they’re worth? Man…if walls could talk, am I right?”

“Gerry…”

He looks back to the boy behind him, hearing an oddness to his voice. “You’re not getting soft too, are you?”

“N-no…but look.”

The other boys follow his gaze, all their lights shining to where a circle is drawn on the floor. Ancient runes surround it, with black candles on the quarters. In the center a large stain darkens the rug. The beams of light begin to tremble.

The floors and walls groan while the boys remain frozen to the spot, staring at the two centuries old bloodstain. I exhale, and I can see the hair standing on the back of their necks.

Kevin screams first. I knew he would. He turns and runs through me and out the door, with the other boys following. I watch them go, amused.

If walls could talk, I laugh to myself. The horrors I’ve seen and still hide? You wouldn’t believe me anyway.


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