A Goosebumps Welcome to Dead House Sequel
Dark Falls seems deserted and surrounded by darkness. Too many trees were looming over houses and streets. Our house's gloomy. Spooky. Mysterious. Just how I like it.
"Ew! You're not serious! Are we really renting that?" my brother growled. "How could your friends agree to come here? It's horrible!"
Number 10 Fleet Street is a three-floor Victorian style: made of red bricks with a black sloping roof and windows with black shutters.
"We're not renting it," my father corrected him, all smiles. "It's free, remember?"
My dad and his co-worker won a summer vacation from a certain Compton Dawes. The house's free of charges, all included for two months.
"Mr. Dawes should already be here," my mother whispered, checking time on her iPhone.
"Whatever," my brother said, crossing his arms over his chest. "I hope it's not falling apart."
I looked away from the second floor's windows and pressed a reassuring hand on my brother's shoulder.
"Come on, Derek," I intervened. "Give it a try!"
"Easy for you to say, you love that kind of sinister place!" he whined, pulling away from me.
He's right, but I'm not too keen to live here either. We're going to share the house with strangers. I never met my parents' co-workers. They apparently have children attending our high school. I hope these teenagers aren't those who bully me.
I crushed dead leaves beneath my sneakers and looked up at the house again. It's certainly large enough to accommodate two families. Even guests.
But it was a six-hour drive and there isn't a bus stop near. My friend wouldn't be able to come over. I doubt Julie's parents would drive her to the middle of nowhere for a weekend trip. Especially since the GPS had trouble directing us and that Dad had to call Mr. Dawes for directions.
"Where do they come from?" my brother growled, kicking some leaves out of his way. "It's the middle of summer!"
He isn't usually a brat. He'd been unpleasant ever since his summer plans got stripped away.
"Derek, please!" my father begged. "Mr. Dawes's coming."
At the end of the street, a man quietly walked toward us, carrying an old brown suitcase. He waved at Mom.
"Hi," I said once he reached us.
His turquoise eyes surveyed me silently. He had a dimple on his chin.
"Delighted to meet you," he replied, holding out his hand. "I'm Compton Dawes, estate agent from Dark Falls Realty."
I shook his hand. Mr. Dawes appeared to be in his thirties, but his black cowboy hat and dark clothes gave him a goofy old look.
"Kim Belleville," I chimed.
He smiled and pulled on his dark blue jacket's sleeves.
"Would it be better to discuss business inside?" he suggested.
"Excellent idea!" my father began. "The Meyers aren't here yet, but we can sign our part."
The agent nodded before pulling out a key. The door clicked. It felt like the only noise in Dark Falls.
I've barely set foot inside that my mom blocked my way in:
"Go get the luggage first, please."
My brother and I shivered as a breeze blew through. He helped me take suitcases out of the truck and we piled them at the foot of the stairs leading to the upper floors.
"Mom!" he shouted. "Can we choose our room?"
"No," she replied. "I think it would be fair to wait until the Meyers arrives, but you can explore the first floor."
My brother took off to the kitchen. It's huge, just like the dining room who has a long wooden table that could easily welcome twenty people. The kitchen's cupboards were filled with old pots and pans, and there were two fridges and one freezer.
There wasn't much more to see beside the laundry room, two bedrooms, and a bathroom. The furniture was old, not dusty. I guess Mr. Dawes had it cleaned up. Objects seem to date from the 1900s. My brother laughed at the old radiator, one similar to those found in church. Exploring had already changed its mind and we were dying to visit upstairs.
Derek went to the living room where our parents were chatting with Mr. Dawes, and I headed to the bathroom. I tried to turn the light on. It didn't work. Electricity should be up; Mr. Dawes said so. The lightbulb must be broken.
I started to leave, but something caught my eye in the mirror over the sink. Something strange. I looked closer and froze. The mirror reflected the face of a young girl behind me.
She has short blond hair and dark clothes.
I swallowed with difficulty, not knowing what to do. I suddenly remembered that other teenagers were going to live with us.
"You scared me!" I said, turning to face her. "You're finally here! I…"
The lightbulb lit, startling me a little. The girl was gone.
"Hey!" I said, exiting the bathroom.
Nobody in the hallway. I tried the first bedroom. No one. I tried the next one.
"Where are you?" I said, feeling my voice shake.
I searched every corner of the laundry room, but there was no trace of her.
My imagination surely tricked me. She couldn't have gone to the kitchen because I would've seen it. The only rooms near the bathroom were the one I checked.
I backed out of the laundry room. And bumped into something.
"Careful!" said a voice I knew too well.
I've hit a boy.
"Mike!" I whispered, surprised.
I felt immediate relief: Mike's a popular classmate I barely talk to, but who's really kind and treat everyone with the same respect no matter their social status.
"You didn't get my message?" he asked me.
I felt myself starting to blush. Did I mention he's super cute, like way-out-of-my-league cute?
"The one I sent you on Facebook?" he answered, dropping the box he was carrying on the ground.
"Ah!" I understood. "No, my parents decided I would spend the summer without Internet. They didn't like my report card."
"Oh, I see," he said, laughing. "I'll let you read the message before my parents take my iPhone away, they weren't happy with mine either. Our parents are good friends, so they'll surely find this a great idea."
He lingered on his phone and opened his Facebook Messenger.
"I send it a week ago," he told me, handing it to me.
"Sorry," I said, taking it.
His fingers brushed against my palm and sent electrical jolts to my heart.
June 27, 2014, 11:11 p.m.
Hi, Kim! I just wanted to wish you a wonderful summer and I hope we'll get along because our families are going to share a house until late August. I didn't want to go that far away, but since I know you, it will be less boring than expected. I hope your school year ended well and that we won't have to endure Mr. Benoit next year. Ha, ha! Well, I'll see you in a week in Dark Falls. Enjoy both the city and your friends before leaving.
Touched, I gave Mike Meyers his cell back.
"Thank you," I said, embarrassed by his kind words.
Mike, sensing my discomfort, justified himself:
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have. I just wanted to be nice."
"No!" I said. "It's… It's really nice. I appreciate that. I… I just can't believe you took some of your time to send me a message. You're the only person outside of my friends who talk to me off school grounds."
"Really?" he exclaimed. "Well! I find it a shame, because I think you're a good person and that people should try getting to know you. I don't understand why…"
Mike's blue gaze went paler as he continued:
"Is it because of Jacob Miller?"
I didn't answer and he took my silence as confirmation.
"That idiot! I can't believe he continued after…"
"After what?" I asked.
He looked down, bit his lips and lifted black strands of hair falling over his forehead before looking at me again.
"I saw the fight, the day he pushed you in a locker. He pushed you twice and you didn't move. You endured. Seeing that hurting you had no effect, he turned to your best friend Amy. Nobody did anything and I was about to help, but you jumped in front of her. You slapped him and gave him what he deserved. He punched you back, but you managed to grab his head and smashed it against a locker."
He paused. I'm surprised and ashamed he can remember so many details.
"I found it so unfair that you've received a week of suspension and all he got was lunch detention. I was so outraged that the next day, I threatened Jacob. I'm really sorry. He had to know you wouldn't tell anyone. I tried to bring your case to principal Morris, but he told me you had to complain."
"Wow! I… I didn't know… Thank you for doing that for me."
"Hey!" he said, putting his hand on my shoulder. "You're welcome."
I winced in pain.
"No …," he said, his eyes lighting with panic. "That can't be true… I know I didn't hurt you."
I stopped him from pulling my sleeve over my shoulder, but he'd already seen my purplish blue.
"It's almost healed," I reassured him. Jacob saw me last week and threw me rocks."
"What the fuck!" Mike exclaimed, disgusted.
"Ah! You're the girl who beats up guys!" someone yelled.
"What?" I exclaimed as I turned.
Mike carefully put his arm around me and introduced me to his sister:
"That's Alexandra, she knows your brother. They had the same French class. She's thirteen. And no, Kim doesn't beat up guys! She protects herself."
Like my brother, Alexandra's wearing braces. She has long blond hair tied back in a ponytail. Almost as long as mine. She's wearing a t-shirt with an old band's name on it: No Warning.
She must've been the girl in the mirror.
"Hey, kids! Ready for the house's tour?" Mr. Dawes asked, coming towards us.