Breathe. In, out, in, out. It's just a house. Nothing more, simply an old, creepy looking house.

I extend a hesitant hand toward the rusty, rotting door. Creak. Startled I jump back. Run! My mind screams at me the door just opened on its own! The more rational part of my brain takes over; it's probably the wind, only the wind, calm down.

I look back towards the cold, iron gates, far away, barely visible through the overgrown damp mess once called a garden. There I see my so-called friends hiding behind the concrete wall encompassing the garden, peering through the gates. Cowards. They don't even have enough backbone to come to the door.

This dare is stupid. Fear is just setting peoples' imaginations alight. What about the door? I ignore the niggling feeling in the back of my mind.

I turn back to the door and push it open further. The door protests to this movement with a long screech like a scream of pain. I flinch. It sounded so human. No. The stories are just that, stories, rumours made to scare children away from the house . . . right? Run! My mind continues to scream, the feeling in the back of my mind growing. No I'm just being silly. I sneak one last glance back at the gate and my friends before taking a step inside.

A damp, musky smell overwhelms me. Darkness lies like a blanket smothering everything, the only light coming from the moon outside seeping in through the doorway pushing the shadows back. I take a small step forward and try to adjust to the minimal light. I look around, barely able to make out a thing. I look up at the high arching ceiling and something catches my eye. The slight gleam of glass . . . windows. They must be blacked out, but why? Because the light burns his skin. Vampire! Shut it. You're not helping they're just rumours, look the house is empty there's no man.

Once more I look at the darkness to see strange red, eye-like shapes that weren't there before. Creak. I snap around as darkness closes over me. Smothering me. Suffocating me. Shadow over takes me and I'm surrounded by red beady eyes and open hungry mouths, Shades, like from the stories we were told. Things that feed off the souls of humans. I breathe in to scream and find no air in my lungs.

I collapse to the floor gasping for air, failing to fill my lungs. "Come join us" they chant latching onto my arms and legs. Their voices shrill and painful to hear. I struggle but am still unable to scream. I thrash wildly but the world starts to spin. My brain then starts up the windows it screams. I grope the ground seeking for something to throw. My hand hits metal, I flinch at the sudden cold but grab the object. An old coin.

I shake off enough Shades to move my arm. I fling the coin as hard as I can high up hoping to hit one of the windows. Crash. Light streams in causing the Shades to scream "Aaaaaah", a high pitched wail causing me to jerk my hands to cover my ears. I suck in air like a fish out of water and look around to see all the Shades have been contained in the darkness, their beady eyes glaring at me longingly their mouths agape, saliva building up at the edges. The mouths shut and all that's visible are those cold red eyes. They glare at me once more before fading into the shadows.

Shades are real, Shades are real, oh my god Shades are real. . . if Shades are real then what else is, from those stories. . . my eyes wander over the room and land on a rack of wigs each on their own red stake. My naturally inquisitive side shows up so I gingerly stand up and walk over to them.

I reach the first one, a deep chocolate brown wig and I poke it slightly to reveal a very strange texture to the mannequin head it is sitting on. Like smooth and slightly spongy but with something hard underneath, like skin with bone underneath. I swiftly turn the stand around and take in a large breath and scream "Aaaaah".

I sprint to the door and tug on the handle. It won't budge. My heart speeds up rapidly. I bang on the door screaming. "They can't hear you" a chilling voice remarks from behind me. I spin around and back up against the door, the door knob jabbing into my back. Sheer terror rolls off me "Wh- who are y-y-you?" I stutter. He smiles a feral smile flashing his sharp white teeth. "You really are a difficult one aren't you, you thought, and managed to break my windows, effectively defeating my Shades" he smirks and begins to drum his claws on top of one of the heads "But what's your next play what are you going to do now". He enjoys the game, enjoys playing with his prey, watching it struggle and take its last breath and watch the light fade from its eyes.

I look him head to foot. From his shaggy grey furred head to his thin, agile- looking legs to his thin bony clawed toes. Could I fight him, what is he? A human? What? "Are you going to fight me? This will be interesting I haven't fought in a while".

My eyes glaze over the staircase before returning to him, as cold and defiant as I could manage. On three I run. One, two, three- I sprint towards the staircase and mount it and I can just hear his laughter over my heart pounding in my ears.

I reach the top and turn down a corridor and at the end there he is. Still as stone apart from his eyes roaming over me. I feel a shiver involuntarily roll down my spine. He steps forward, going in for the kill. I take rushed steps back and trip over my own feet. He lunges and I scramble up and slam one of the many doors open and lock it behind me. Thank god this room has windows.

I grab a chair and throw it at one of the windows. It smashes and I can hear the loud thumping of him throwing his weight against the door. I pull the remaining pieces out from the window and lean out holding onto the sill. I look back into the room as he bursts through the door, his lips pulled back over his teeth. He growls and lunges and I let go. I feel his hands rip hair out as he grabs for me.

I land in the dirt and I can feel the bruises forming already. I quickly get up, wincing and run to the nearest edge of the wall. I scramble for a hand hold and pull myself up and over the wall. On the other side of the wall I walk quickly away down the street. Looking back at the house every now and then.

I feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I stop and spin around doing a quick 360. No-one. Breathe. In, out, in, out. It's over I'm safe now. I turn round and continue walking. I then notice my shoe lace is untied and lean down to tie it up. When I stand back up again I feel strong thin and bony fingers grip my shoulder, "Aaaaaah".

Hannah Kennerley