It was raining.
And to the people of Hawk Cove, rain was always a welcome thing. They were always on water alerts due to their aquifers near empty status year round, and a good bout of rain was generally welcomed by the townspeople merely locking their doors and cuddling with loved ones indoors.
But for Trevor and his friends, as they all stood by the window watching the rain come down in sheets, it meant they would have to stay the night in Ashford Manor.
Not a pleasant thought, seeing as they’d watched all the scary movies and Chris had already joked that this was how they always started. The girls, now terrified, became positively inconsolable upon finding out that their cell phones didn’t receive a signal out in the Windyweb Woods.
“Relax girls, there’s bound to be a phone somewhere in this old house,” Trevor said, hugging Ashley tight while petting back her hair, trying to dry her tears. “We can call Brandon’s brother RJ, he has a truck big enough to ride through Noah’s flood; he can come pick us up.”
“Hope and Ashley, you stay here with Chris and try to relax.” Brandon said, patting Trevor on the back as he passed him and moved into the kitchen. “We’re gonna have look around. Smoke some weed, it’ll calm your nerves.”
Ashley nodded, sniffing back a sob as she let go of Trevor’s chest, moving away from him and back to the sofa. Chris moved to put in the scary movie they’d all found funny while hope rolled up another joint.
Trevor and Brandon made their way through the kitchen, moving to a an eloquently decorated dining room, great pictures of fox hunts hanging from the walls surrounding a long table with five high backed chairs, silver plates and cutlery set out on the table as if dinner were about to be served.
“Huh… creepy.” Trevor said with a chuckle, elbowing Brandon who merely laughed. They moved past the long table, Trevor running his hand along the red silken tablecloth, surprised at how course and uneven it felt, as if it’d been stained and poorly cleaned. The dim light of the kitchen proving to be too weak for his eyes, Trevor pulled his flashlight from his cargo pants, a pocket near his knee. Clicking the light on, he swiveled it over the table, looking at the tablecloth with a closer eye, fingering the material idly as Brandon moved past him, looking for a lamp in the room, or better yet, a phone.
Shining his flashlight down to where he was pinching the fabric, Trevor tried lifting it to better examine the cloth, but found that he couldn’t, at least not with any sort of ease. The whole length of fabric was stuck to the table as if someone had poured honey all over the table before laying the tablecloth out, a sticky crinkling sound coming from the table as Trevor pulled the cloth away from the wood. He dropped it upon hearing the scrape of wood against wood, whipping his flashlight deeper into the dining room to find Brandon cursing and holding his knee, having bumped into a low table.
“Stop looking at the fucking furniture and come help me goddamn it!” He cursed, kicking the low table and knocking a series of crayons and papers from it onto the floor.
Trevor moved to go help his friend, stopping when he heard it.
“He said a swear!” Whispered a high-pitched voice, giggling. Whipping once more to look for the voice, all Trevor found was the fluttering of the tablecloth, as if someone had just run from beneath it and out into the room itself.
“Brandon…” Trevor stuttered, moving across the room as quickly as he could so that he could be near his burly friend. “I just heard someone.”
“Yeah, there are three people in the other room watching that stupid movie about the kids in the graveyard.” Brandon replied happily as he finally found the lamp, pulling the small cord to flood the room in precious light.
The previously darkened half of the dining room seemed to be dominated by children’s toys, mostly crayons and picture books but also several board games and a number of small dolls. Trevor tried not to shiver as he noticed all of the dolls were missing their eyes, as if having been carved out.
“Look, a phone.” Brandon said, waving his hand at the small, three legged table that sat between two overstuffed chairs. Grumbling under his breath about how Trevor needs to get a grip on himself, he marched over to the phone, picking up the receiver and beginning to punch his brothers number into the turn dial.
He stopped after a few moments, his face going pale. Trevor watched as his friend stood there for a moment, phone held to his ear. Before looking to Trevor and mouthing something.
“What?” Trevor whispered to him, looking at him, eyes wide with panic.
Brandon covered the receiver with his meaty hand before whispering back. “There’s someone already on the line, and they wanna talk to you!”
Trevor turned a shade of pale as he took the phone from Brandon, hesitantly putting the phone up to his ear as the sound of a cultured, younger voice came over the line.
“Trevor dear?” The voice asked, sibilant and crooning. “I take it you have the phone now, as I can hear you breathing. Such a naughty boy breaking and entering like this. But don’t worry. I forgive you.”
“You do?” He stuttered, letting out a small shriek as the lights of the house suddenly died, a chorus of screams coming from the living room as a sudden scuttling of what sounded like long-nails over wood scrambled from the floor above, and from the just behind them. Brandon snagged the flashlight from Trevor’s cold hand as he stood there, eyes vacant as he heard the tinkling laugh of children echo throughout the house.
“My babies on the other hand are not so forgiving.” Said the voice on the end of the line before it went dead.