Author notes: This was written when I was sixteen, but I still think it's a good effort. It's based on the book The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, not the movie The Haunting from either 1999 or 1963.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters, and the first paragraph is quoted directly from Shirley Jackson.
(They waved back at her dutifully, standing still, watching her. They will watch me down the drive as far as they can see, she thought; it is only civil for them to look at me until I am out of sight. So now i am going. Journeys end in lovers meeting. But I won't go, she thought, and laughed aloud to herself. Hill House is not as easy as they are; just by telling me to leave, they can't make me, not if Hill House means for me to stay. " Go away, Eleanor," she chanted aloud, "go away, Eleanor, we don't want you anymore, not in OUR Hill House, go away, you can't stay here, but I will," she sang. " They don't make the rules around here. They can't turn me out or laugh or hide, I won't go, and Hill House belongs to me.")
" They think they can send me away so quickly, so easily, take me from my home, my real home, the one place I ever belonged. They think because I'm leaving now I won't be back... but I will, I will be back. Hill House is mine, I am a part of it and it is part of me. You can't just take someone from their home; once they belong they can never not belong again. I do belong now, I do. I finally belong... they can't take that away. I'll leave now, but I'll be back. They think they have me fooled, tricked me into leaving, but it is I who have fooled them, and Hill House. They want it for themselves, but they can't have it. I'll come back and claim what is mine, I'll live there forever, and it will be they who leave. And I'll be home, where I belong... home at Hill House... just me, only me, at my home in Hill House."
Eleanor smiled broadly, pleased with her plans. She kept her hands on the wheel, driving slowly away from Hill House's huge, iron shackled gates. Already she was out of sight of the four people who had sent her away, who still believed she was, in fact, leaving. Hill House, huge as it was, was becoming a speck far off in the distance. But though she barely could see it, she could still hear it calling to her, speaking her name in a gentle whisper.
She knew what it wanted her to do, what she must do to come home again. She knew and she would do it, she would... she listened to its voice, head cocked, a smile playing at her lips, as she continued to drive away.
In the darkness, Hill house was even more ugly, menacing, and ominous than at night. Its angles appeared sharper and strangely off balance, and its dark, Gothic style seemed wrong and terrible against the starless night sky. There were no trees around it to soften the effect, nothing but the brook and garden in the backyard. All in all, the house, quite unsettling during the light of day, was alarming at night, but Eleanor, walking along the dirt path leading to the iron gates, did not see this. She felt neither unsettled nor alarmed; in fact, a rush of delight and giddy anticipation swept over her the closer she came.
" I'm here," she said aloud in a hushed voice. " I'm finally here. I'm home. Journeys end in lovers meeting. My journey has finally come to an end... I never left at all, and I will never leave again."
The wind began to blow gently, lifting strands of Eleanor's straight brown hair so they danced in the breeze, tickling her cheeks. It spoke to her; she could hear its messages being whispered in her ear.
Eleanor, it whispered. Eleanor, welcome back, Eleanor, welcome home.
Eleanor smiled as she reached the gates, for the huge bulky padlock and chains, always locked tightly at night, were not there. The gates were unlocked; Hill House had removed the chains for her. She would have no trouble getting home.
She pushed the heavy gate open, and without so much as a squeak, it swung open. Eleanor stepped inside the gates, shutting it behind her. Her smile widened as her excitement mounted. She was back at Hill House, she was really, truly there.
She walked across the overgrown lawn toward the front door, her steps quickening as she went along until she was almost skipping. When she reached the front door and put her hand on the doorknob, she paused for a second, listening. The house was speaking to her.
Hurry, Eleanor, it urged. Do what must be done.
Eleanor nodded, pushing the door open and stepping inside to the hallway. IT was dark inside, and the many doors made it easy to get lost, but she was not worried. The House would show her where to go.
The kitchen, Eleanor, it told her. Second door to the right.
Eleanor turned to the kitchen door, pulling it open and stepping inside. She made her way to the large counter top, her eyes resting on the knife caddy set on top.
That one, Eleanor, Hill House urged, and her eyes fell on the sharpest knife. Withdrawing it from its slot, she eyed it appreciatively, running her hands down the blade. Yes, this one would do.
She exited the kitchen, the knife clutched in her right hand, as she headed to the stairs, its outline barely visible in the dark. In other homes, Eleanor would have been afraid of tripping and falling, but not in Hill House. She knew she would not fall there.
She climbed the stairs with slow, sure footsteps, speeding up the closer she reached the top. At the top of the stairs, she turned down a long hallway.
The doctor's room, Eleanor, Hill House reminded her. The doctor's room first.
She turned to the door on her right, twisting the doorknob and pushing it open. Stepping inside the red room, the doctor's and his wife's room- NOT his room, Eleanor thought vehemently, this is not his house, not his home- she saw the outline of their sleeping figures in the large, wooden bed, covered with a red blanket. She heard Mrs. Montague's loud snores and shuddered in disgust. Padding silently to the bed, she stared down at them, her knife in hand. Her gaze lingered on Dr. Montague.
I thought you were nice, she thought. I thought you were a gentleman, I never thought you'd try to send me away. You invited me, after all. But you tried to take Hill House from me, you wanted it for yourself. That cannot be. I would have let you stay here- but you wanted me to leave, and I can't, I won't, not where I am accepted, not where I belong. Journeys end in lovers meeting- and your journey has ended.
Just as she raised her knife, Hill House spoke.
No, Eleanor, it said, the wife first. The wife is first...
Oh, Eleanor thought. That was only fitting, she supposed. It had been Mrs. Montague who had tried the hardest to send her away, she supposed it should be she who should leave first.
With that, she raised the knife and with a flick of her wrist, cut the woman's throat. Blood bubbled up and spilled onto the covers, but she did not make a sound; she had not awaken, she hadn't felt a thing.
Good, Eleanor, the house murmured. Now for him...
Smiling at the praise, Eleanor turned to the doctor. But his eyes blinked open, and he jolted as he saw her towering over him.
"Eleanor!" he gasped. " I sent you away- what are you doing here? Why do you have that?" he gulped, his eyes on her knife.
"What am I doing here? This is my home. I belong here. You can't send me away... I'll never leave. But you will."
With that, she slashed the knife across his throat as she had done his wife's. He let out a gasp as he slumped back, blood choking him. He too was dead.
A pleased smile played across Eleanor's lips as she listened to Hill House instruct her, guiding her to the next room- Luke's room...
Luke was even easier to do away with than the doctor and his wife; Eleanor was almost let down by the simplicity of it. But still, she was very excited, her joy increasing with each minute. There was only one person left, only one person keeping her from staying in Hill House forever. As soon as she was gone, Eleanor would be free- she would finally be home forever, her journey at an end...
The House didn't need to tell her where Theodora's room was- she had the room adjoining it. She and Theo had gone back and forth between the green and blue rooms countless times. But now they would never do so again...
She pushed open the door and stepped into the green room, exactly like the red and blue room, only with hideous green trimmings. Eleanor's heart felt as if it were being squeezed into a knot as she approached Theodora's bedside. Theodora's face was relaxed, sleeping peacefully, her dark hair spread around her face on the pillow. Eleanor stared at her, momentarily sidetracked from her plans.
How could she, she thought savagely. How could she sleep, knowing she betrayed me, she sent me away? How could she sleep without me in the next room to run in when she screams in the middle of the night? Theo, oh Theo, you didn't love me. It is not me who was wicked, it was you. And it is not me who is leaving- it is you. You wanted Hill House for yourself- you wanted all its attention- but you will not have it!
Raising the knife, she began to bring it down, hearing Hill House murmur its approval, when Theodora stirred, and her eyes fluttered open. They widened when they focused on Eleanor, poised above her, knife halted in the air from surprise. Theodora scrambled to a sitting position, her eyes startled and frightened, looking rapidly from Eleanor to the knife to Eleanor.
"Nell!" she cried, her voice high and cracking. " Nell, what are you doing here, why are you back? Why do you have that knife? You're scaring me, Nell!"
" I'm scaring you? Why Theo, you big baby. I thought nothing frightened you except noises in the night. There's no reason to frightened- I'm not," Eleanor said calmly, not moving the knife an inch. " I'm not frightened at all."
Theodora swallowed, a desperate look on her face. She looks like a child, a helpless, fearful little girl, Eleanor thought. Of course she does, that's what she is. That's all she ever was...
" Please, Eleanor, you're scaring me," Theo whispered. " Put down the knife. Please. Talk to me- I want to listen. I want to help you. I will, if you let me."
She's lying, Eleanor thought. She doesn't want to listen to me- she only likes to have the attention on her. She's afraid of me- of Hill House- she'll say anything- do anything- to make me leave. But I won't- I won't leave- she can't make me- no one can, not even Theo!
" I don't need your help," Eleanor said aloud. " You just want me to leave."
"No, Nell, I don't, I really don't. I want you to stay with me. I want you to live here in Hill House, with me. We can have such a good time. We'll have our picnic by the brook, and we'll laugh and play in the garden- we can send the others away, Nell. It would be just the two of use, just us. What do you think, Nell? Nell?" Theo asked pleadingly.
Eleanor paused, thinking over Theodora's offer. For a moment she was uncertain.
She is lying, Hill House whispered. She is manipulating you. She wants to fool you. She would not settle for sharing Hill House. Remember the two sisters, how the companion was forced to murder the older so the younger could have me? That is what she wants... you can't let her, you must stop her...
" You know that wouldn't work," Eleanor told her. " And besides, the others are already gone. It's your turn now."
With a sudden movement, she brought the knife down, and after an initial gasp, Theodora too was gone.
Eleanor stared down at the bloodstained body at her feet, her face breaking into a broad smile. She felt exhilarated, wild with joy. She wanted to sing, to shout. Finally she had done it. She was finally home, she belonged, she would never leave...
She began to dance, leaping and twirling wildly beside the bed, laughing madly. The voice of Hill House swirled around her, providing the music for her dance as it spoke, congratulating her, welcoming her home...