After what seemed like an eternity, Alex and Jack finally found themselves back at the top of the main staircase. Side by side with their hands linked tightly, they ran down the stairs as the banging, wailing, and screaming continued assaulting their ears to the point it hurt their heads. All the windows and doors in the mansion rattled and banged on their hinges, lights that should not be working because the house had no electricity flickered on and off, and a strong ice-cold wind raged at them, making going forward difficult.

While they were running, a grandfather clock began chiming loudly, and Alex found herself breathing fast and hard with fear coursing through her body. Jack kept going, though. He knew how important it was for them to get out of the house, so he pulled Alex towards the front door.

When they got to the door, Jack yanked on the handle to open it, but it did not budge. Alex covered his hand with hers and, using both their strength, they pulled on the door. While they were busy, the wind increased, and it blew Alex’s hair wildly and made screeching noises as it squeezed through the cracks in the windows, doors, and walls.

While they were busy, Alex glanced behind her, and she saw the dark shadow and the ghostly woman slowly descending the stairs towards them. Her desire to get out of the house intensified, and she pulled on the door handle harder. Just when she was beginning to think they were trapped, everything in the house went dead silent, and all the activity stopped abruptly. The front door then flew open, knocking the pair off their feet, and they landed in a heap on the floor at the foot of the stairs.

Jack was the first to scramble to his feet, and he quickly hauled Alex up, keeping a tight grip of her cold hand. After glancing quickly at each other and giving one last look at the gallery, they both ran out of out of the door with their hands still locked together. They rushed down the stone steps and over the gravel path, not stopping until they reached Jack’s SUV.

Once they reached the SUV panting, the pair gazed back at the mansion and saw the dark shadow at the attic window. Neither of them could find the words to express what they were feeling, so they just stood in silence facing the house, rooted to the spot as the shadow hovered menacingly in the window. While they were looking at the shadow, a final blood curdling scream pierced through the cold night air, then it faded after a while, leaving the pair once again surrounded by silence.

“Hey Jones,” Jack said, trying his best to keep his voice light. “What do you say we come back in the morning, you know, when this place feels less murderous-ish?”

“Count me out. But since you might not have the luxury of never returning, I’d suggest you bring back up,” Alex responded.

After speaking, Alex allowed Jack to open the front passenger door for her, and after she climbed in, Jack shut the door and hurried around to the driver’s side. Once he was also inside the car, he glanced back at the house, then reached for the door handle. “Yep,” he mumbled. “I’m coming back with tons of back up. Perhaps bringing the army is a good idea.”

***

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