Lukus and his friend Lucius argued after going fishing. Lucius claimed Lukus had tried to kill them, but he would forget anything ever happened if Lukus would spend the night in the old haunted farmhouse. Lucius did not believe he had the stomach to do it. Lukus now stood alone in the evening at the front of the old house thinking he may not. His courage wondered whether it could stand the strain, but Lukus had promised his friend fish and swimming before nearly blowing up the boat with them inside. Maybe he had this coming.
Lukus looked up at the old farmhouse. Even in the daylight its gray boards, sagging roof, and vine-covered walls looked uninviting. Black shadows now filled the property in the dim moonlight. He had to stay focused and remember no man should be afraid of a shadow. On the second floor, Lukus thought he saw a flickering light pass by a window. “I bet Lucius is planning on scaring me for all he is worth,” Lukus checked his pockets. He had his tactical light, extra batteries, cell phone, a couple of Kit Kats and his headphones. It was now or never.
He took his first step and heard a branch break. Lukus jumped in the air. His head was swiveling around before his feet touched the ground. His ankle slightly twisted on the broken branch. With his ankle sore, pride wounded, and embarrassed to nobody in particular, Lukus made his way to the front door. He stepped up to the porch and felt the boards sink beneath his left foot when he stood on the landing. He quickly shifted his weight and turned on his flashlight. The front porch had seen better days. The boards were rotten. Lukus would need to stand on top of the support beams the next couple of steps to the front door.
The window to the left of the door was boarded up. “What if the front door is locked? Maybe I will be off the hook. After all, if you can’t get in you can’t spend the night.” There was a glimmer of hope until a little voice inside of Lukus’ head reminded him there is a back door. He reached out and turned the knob. The old bolt inside the knob gave way and the door opened with a screech. Lukus jumped. He needed to calm down. If Lucius was around, he must be having a good laugh at his expense.
Lukus debated going in when he heard footsteps coming towards the door. He peered around the corner. The beam of his flashlight pierced the darkness across the entryway. The footsteps faded away, and he swallowed the dryness out of his throat. Was he imagining that, or perhaps hoping somebody was there? The only thing in the entryway in front of him was dust, cobwebs, and mouse droppings. If there were mice, there might be snakes. He would have to spend the night upstairs where they would be less likely to hide. Perhaps he would just stay awake all night and stand just inside the entryway.
Seeing neither varmint nor spirit, Lukus screwed up his courage and stepped inside. He closed the door behind him before anything could manage to find its way inside. “Hello!?” To whom did he think he was talking? If Lucius were there, he would never answer. Lukus did not want anyone, or anything, else to answer. Footsteps scraped the floor above. He could hear them crossing a room upstairs towards the landing of the second floor. Lukus was sure it was Lucius. All joking aside, nobody wanted to stay in this house longer than they had to. The steps stopped just out of site.
“Lucius you old hillbilly! Let’s just go home. This place is only good for mice and spiders!” The floorboards above creaked. Lukus raised his light beam to the top of the stairs with a welcoming smile on his face for his longtime friend. The smile quickly dropped away to shock. That was not Lucius.