I stood within the crowd surrounding Dan. His body was tense and his brow furrowed indicating that he was anxious about something. He ran around the crowd and spoke in his British accent, "Please listen." The sea of people were silent as we stared at him. "Who would like to earn a little extra money?" We all exchanged slightly surprised glances and slowly raised our hands. The side of his mouth twitched slightly. "And who would be willing to enter the Drablow house with me?"
Every hand immediately dropped, including mine, as those around me began to shake their heads in fear. "That place is haunted," someone cried out, "You'd have to be crazy to go in there!"
Realizing that Dan was to be alone, I pushed my way out of the crowd and stood before him. "I'll go with you," I said, "But you don't have to pay me. My name is Cassi."
With a slight smile, he took my hand, and turning our backs to the crowd, he led me into the haunted building. From the inside-out, the Drablow house was pretty ancient; it was made of wood that had turned a dark dusty gray and had rotted over the years. Very little light shone through the grimy windows, and the air smelled like mold and something decaying.
Once I had gotten the familiar shiver running down my spine, I began to survey our surroundings more closely. It wasn't long before I spotted what I had been looking for: a ghost. It was a woman, very pale like the color of a bone, wearing a black dress that had gone out of fashion about a hundred years ago. At first, I wasn't disturbed until I got a good look at her face. Her eyes were sunken in to the point they looked like empty black sockets. Biting back a shriek, I averted my gaze and stared down at the dust on the floor bursting up in little clouds with each step we took.
"Dan, why exactly are we in here?" I asked.
"I'm looking for something," he replied, "And to be honest, I'm glad I'm not alone. This place gives me the creeps."
He soon led me to a staircase. "Be careful," he said as we began to climb up to the second floor, "The steps may be broken."
I glanced up briefly to count how many steps were ahead of us, and I felt my heart leap out of my chest and get jammed in my throat. The woman in black was now standing at the top of the stairs staring down at us, her lips twisted into an eerie smile. Dan hadn't seen her; he was too busy keeping an eye on our footing. Seconds later, other ghosts began to materialize behind the woman in black; an elderly man, a teenaged girl, and two other women. All of them were wearing clothes from the previous century and had the same sunken in eyes.
I opened my mouth to scream, but no sound came out. I didn't want to take another step forward, so I moved back slightly, which was a mistake. My left foot slipped off the edge of the step I was standing on, and I fell backwards, dragging Dan along with me. Thankfully, we weren't too high up, so that when we landed on our backs with a crash, we only had the wind knocked out of us.
"Are you okay?" he groaned, sitting up and gazing down at me. I didn't answer as I continued to stare up at the ghosts. Realizing that I wasn't looking at him, he spun around and he finally saw what I could. He paled in fear and jumped to his feet, forcing me to mine. Nearly yanking my arm out of my socket, he ran and pulled me along, causing me to stumble over my own feet. "Come on! We need to hide!" he said in a whisper loud enough for me to hear.
I gaped at him. You can't hide from the dead!
Dan opened up a door to a broom closet and dove in. Thanks to physics, I flew forward and slammed into his chest as he closed the door behind us. For a moment, I was dazed being this close to him, and I had forgotten about the situation we were currently in until I heard him whisper.
"Dammit! Those stupid gh-" I cut off his words by slapping my hand across his mouth.
"Never," I warned in a whisper, "insult the dead, or you will live to regret it." He nodded in understanding and I removed my hand.
We were both silent as we heard a female voice say from the floor above us, "Find them."