Kicking up dust with every step he took, and the floorboards creaking under his feet, Edmund knew this was going to be the easiest ten bucks he was ever going to make. Stay in this stupid abandoned house until midnight? He has done way scarier things for even less money, like jump from the quarry into the water a hundred feet below, eaten bugs, and played chicken with a train. Not the brightest ideas but it was all easy money to Edmund. Sure, supposedly the abandoned house on the end of Melrose Road was haunted, but everyone knows that ghosts aren’t real anyway.
“I’ll give you ten minutes before you run out crying like a baby.” Edmund heard his friends taunting him in his head. He scoffed and rolled his eyes. As Edmund ran his hand along the hallway wall, trailing four lines with his fingers along the dust coated wallpaper. His hair pricked up on his neck and chills ran down to his toes as he crept toward the kitchen. Checking his watch, he had to admit this house was eerily spooky for only being inside for about ten minutes.
After stepping into the cobweb infested kitchen Edmund flicked the light switch a couple times to no avail. The moonlight through the windows was the only light he was getting, luckily for him, the sky was clear and the moon was nearly full. An assortment of rusty pots, pans, knives and various other utensils gleamed on the counter. A gust of wind rousing the curtain behind the sink revealed nothing but the moon and some dead leaves being pulled off the trees. The wind chilling Edmund’s face sent a shiver down his body again. He approached the window rubbing his arms with his sweaty palms, before pulling the window few times until it slammed shut. A whiff of cold air stung the back of his neck and ears, forcing his heart to leap into his chest as he spun around.
“AHHH!!” He screeched as he slammed his back into the sink behind him. A small spider was dangling from the ceiling in front of his face. “Really spider? You gotta do something like that now, and here of all places?” Edmund waved his open palm above the spider’s strand of webbing he was dangling from, sticking the web to his palm and lowering him to the counter.
“See if this was my house, I might have killed you. But, since I’m the one trespassing in your home this time, I’ll give you a pass,” he said, as the spider trickled away into a crevice in the windowsill. “This place isn’t haunted, it’s just a rickety old dustbowl of a house.”
Edmund wondered if his friends were still waiting outside for him. They better not have ditched him, he thought. Only forty-five more minutes to go and he would be ten dollars richer, and still yet to lose a bet to this day. Edmund sauntered into what looked like the remnants of a dining room. Four broken chairs around a worn out table in the middle of the room, and a crooked chandelier hanging on for its dear life by the ceiling. Edmund pulled out the chair at the end of the table, pondering about the family that would sit for supper at this table hundreds of years ago.
Edmund decided to move on into the next room which looked like the common living area. An old piano in the back corner of the room with a door next to it, a rug in the middle of the room, and a single couch across from a fireplace. Wondering what was behind the door by the piano, he turned the crystal doorknob and pulled the door open into what looked like a couple steps leading into a black abyss. Edmund shivered and immediately slammed the door shut, “Nope!” he exclaimed as he turned around and walked away toward the couch. He plopped himself down onto the couch and stared forward into the dead fireplace. Leaning forward, with his elbows digging into his knees and his chin in his hands, Edmund did wonder what was down there in that basement, but there was no way in hell he was going down there. At least not without a light. Edmund let out a sigh and checked his watch. Forty minutes left.
He was curious to see if the piano still worked. He figured he might as well practice a bit before his next lesson to pass the time. The last thing he needed was Ms. Weathers scolding him again for not enough practice time in between lessons. Creeping back up to the basement door and the piano, Edmund placed his hand on the unkempt keys. Pressing down, a low hum resonated through the entire home. He slid his hand across the keys brushing off the dust, sending a ring of notes clamoring through the room. “Doesn’t sound the best, but it’ll do.”
Edmund pulled the seat out from under the piano, and sat down staring at the basement door while thinking of something to play. After a minute or so, Edmund decided upon Superstition by Stevie Wonder, or at least his not so great version of it. He figured it would fit the mood of this dreary old house. Edmund started plucking away at the keys and the notes rang throughout the old living room. He knew he wasn’t nearly as good as Stevie Wonder, but anything was better than sitting in silence. As his fingers danced up and down the keys he wondered if his friends, or anyone could hear him from outside. If so, it probably would have sounded pretty creepy if somebody just happened to be close enough to the house to hear it. It definitely would have sent Edmund running home if he heard it from the outside. Edmund grinned at the thought of spooking any passersby, even though it was pretty doubtful that anyone could hear.
As Edmund neared the end of the song, another brisk of air pricked up the hairs on his neck. He finished up the last notes of his song, grinned and brushed the dust off his hands. Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, echoed behind him. Edmund’s heart leapt into his throat, the grin slid right off his face like butter, and chills rocketed up his entire body. Clapping? He thought. Edmund slowly turned around to look behind him. As the couch and fireplace came into his view, he could see nothing. Edmund let out a breath that he felt like he was holding for hours. He must have been imagining things.
Then the door beside the piano flung open and slammed into the wall. Edmund jumped up to his feet, but they were locked to the floor. Staring into him was a pair of glowing white eyes, which was followed by a slow smile which curved up pointing to the eyes revealing wretched yellow teeth. Edmund wanted to run, but his feet were glued to the floor. The mouth slowly opened. “I haven’t had company in a while,” whispered the dark face in the basement door, “Do keep playing.”
Mike and Eric pushed open the front door to the abandoned house. “Ed! It’s fifteen minutes passed midnight. You win!” Mike shouted.
“Mike I dunno man, he probably chickened out and left and we didn’t see. Let’s just go.”
“Stop being a wuss. Besides, I think I hear something.”
Mike walked down the hallway deeper into the house, to what sounded like a piano playing. “Mike is that a piano?”
“Sounds like it, that must be Ed.”
As the boys walked toward the sound, they came to a living room and stood in the doorway. In the room was nothing but a couch, a closed door, and a piano, playing Superstition by itself.