Oh God, now this was childish. The thought passed through my mind over and over as I trudged with my friends up through town and to the old high school. The place had been deserted since the new one was built over fifteen years ago and was scheduled to be demolished in the Spring. The rumor, what I was told about the school since starting here a few months ago, was that it was haunted. It was a rite of passage every year that seniors had to spend the night in the vast halls of the school on Halloween.
I was with three of my best friends, all of us 18 years old. It was late, well past the time for trick or treating to be over, making this a forbidden treat for girls who almost always did what we were told The streets were mostly deserted, lights out in most of the houses in this neighborhood as kids were tucked into bed after their exciting night of dress up and candy hording.
We giggled as we walked, ducking behind bushes and into darkened yards every time a car would come by since we were out well beyond curfew. And between times we whispered of the scandal that had been the reason the old school was considered haunted.
"I heard he shot her, then shot himself," Patricia said earnestly trying to sound a little less breathless with excitement than she was. Patricia was the youngest of the group, only just turning eighteen a few days ago. She was tall, dark haired with beautiful blue eyes, skin that was creamy white and a smile that lit up her face.
"No, he didn't kill her," Bridgett, the tiniest one in the group at barely five feet tall said. She was dark haired also but her hair curled and reached her mid back. Her brown eyes twinkled in the light of the street lamps and she almost danced along the sidewalks, eager for the adventure. "Her boyfriend found them. He got told that she was fooling around on him and followed them to the school that night. He shot them both then disappeared. No one's seen him since."
"You both are wrong." Stephanie was the oldest of the four of us and very full of her own importance. "After her and her lover snuck out of the Halloween party, her boyfriend did find them out. But she's the one that pulled the trigger on the gun after the two guys were fighting over it. She killed the guy she was fooling around with accidentally and then killed her boyfriend out of rage." She shook back her long hair, running her hands through it, a habit she'd had for years. Her eyes were gray and steady, and she pulled Bridgett back and into the brush as another car drove by. "When she went to run out of the school, she stumbled going down the stairs and broke her neck."
I was the newest member of Stephanie's crew, her word not mine. I had moved to this small town in no where Michigan a few months back when my Mom and Dad decided to get divorced. Well, decided was a timid way to put it, more like knock down drag out screaming at each other. So Mom moved me and my little sister here, stuck me in a school with a quarter of the students as my old one and half of the programs I had been enrolled in at my other school. They didn't even have a pool.
I was almost as tall as Patty, my hair also dark but straight and long. I used to be on my old school's swim team and had the long lean body of a swimmer. The idea of spending the night in an old school wasn't exactly how I had planned to spend my Halloween. Parties, boys, even stupid costumes would have been better than this. But Stephanie had taken me under her wing when I started at the school and she had decided that we were going to keep up this tradition. So who was I to argue with the Princess?
"What's wrong Danielle?"
My head jerked up as Stephanie's voice yanked me from my thoughts. She was looking at me as we walked with that look in her eyes. She was waiting for me to argue with what she wanted to do. I knew that. She liked confrontation. She was always willing to put in her two cents and she was always right, or at least she thought she was. It was about the only thing I didn't like about her.
"I'm fine, just a little cold." I wasn't used to the cold Michigan weather. Where I was from, it was sunny and warm. Michigan was rainy, and I could see my breath plume in front of my face.
"You think this is cold, wait until January." But she seemed to take the excuse and turned back towards her mission.
The school loomed over us, huge and old, two stories of moldering bricks and broken windows. There was a high fence surrounding it studded with no trespassing signs every few feet. Through the years, kids had knocked enough holes into it so that we were able to get in easy. Stephanie led the way around the building and up a pile of half rotten boards to a window that would be easy for us to climb through. She held the frame open carefully and motioned us through.
The rest of us looked at each other, waiting to see who would go first. Bridgett stood at the bottom of the pile, eyeing the big building warily.
"It doesn't look this big during the day."
"Baby," Stephanie said scornfully.
"Am not," she shot back.
"Okay, children," I stepped forward between the two of them. "Knock it off, I'll go first." Stephanie turned back to the window and I turned to follow her, but not before catching Bridgett sticking her tongue out at Steph's back.
I slipped one leg over the window frame, still laughing silently at Bridgett's childishness. Back home, Stephanie would have been told to 'fuck off', or called a 'bitch'. Not had a tongue stuck out at her. This town had to be festering back in the sixties. After climbing through the window, I stood looking at the spider web encased hallway covered in graffiti from the many years of being abandoned. I took out the flashlight that I had stashed in the deep pocket of my coat and flicked it on, shining a beam up and down the hallways.
Patricia was next through the window and she held it open for Bridgett who got a boast through from Steph. She was the last through and dusted her hands off on her coat.
"Well, it hasn't changed much." She turned down the hallway and started towards the stair leading up to the second floor.
"Where are you going? What do you mean, it hasn't changed much?" Patricia hurried after her, grabbing Steph's coat to stop her.
Stephanie had gotten out her own flashlight and used it to point in the direction of the stairs. "Tim brought me out here a couple of times last summer. No big deal," she added quickly. "And up," she said simply.
"But, that's where it happened. I didn't think..." Patty's voice stuttered to a stop at a single look from Stephanie.
"So you thought we were going to do what, come up here and sit around down here all night? Maybe tell ghost stories? Hell no. I want to see the spot it happened. I heard if you are here on the anniversary at the exact time it happened, you can see their ghosts." Stephanie grinned. Something new, something interesting, anything that took the dullness out of small town living. God she couldn't wait to get out of this town.
Bridgett grabbed for my arm and held tight as I followed Steph up the stairs. She shrieked once and almost jumped into my arms. When we all turned to look at her, she pointed with her own flashlight beam to a corner where a rat was busy doing rat things. "I hate rats."
Stephanie scoffed, tossed her mane of hair and continued towards the intersection of hallways, shining a beam of light through the mostly open classroom doors as she went. You could hear our footsteps echoing through the empty halls, smell the odor of rodents, old dust and something nasty rotting. Creepy shadows were everywhere, and I began to get a bad feeling about this whole thing.
We hadn't heard of anybody else coming out here tonight and had purposefully not told our boyfriends or anyone else what we were doing. This was our night out and our opportunity to crow the next day at school. But Stephanie wanted more than to just be able to crow. She wanted to have something special to be able to tell everyone, something guaranteed to make her center of attention for months.
So we trailed after her, Bridgett with a death grip on my arm, Patty slightly behind me. I flipped open my cell phone to check the time. Just after 11 o'clock.
"What time did the murders happen?" I called out after Stephanie.
"A few minutes before midnight." She grinned back at me, her smile slightly evil looking in the beam from her flashlight as she held it under her chin walking backwards. "Makes it even scarier, doesn't it? Wooooo!" she said, trying to sound like a ghost howling.
She turned and took another step towards the other hallway. She shifted, intending to shine her flashlight into one of the classrooms when a pair of arms reached out, dragging her inside. Her scream was echoed quickly by the rest of us and I started to run forward, ready to do what I could to rescue her. when I heard her snarl and the sound of a fist hitting material covered skin.
"Tim, you ass."
I took a deep breath calming nerves that were starting to stutter a little in the incredible creepiness of this place. Stephanie walked out of the room, Tim's arm around her shoulder, his hand inches from her breast. She pushed him off of her and glared at him.
"How did you guys find out we were here?"
Guys? Oh, shit.
My worst fear was confirmed, behind Tim, Nick, Brian and Terry walked out. Terry and I had been dating only a couple of weeks and I was still a little shy around him. I didn't need for him to see me tonight in this scary school, doing something so totally immature as screaming at shadows and maybe making a fool out of myself.
.... There is more of this story ...