The Group Of Seven
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1 - The Abandoned House

While walking home from Matthews place, William walked past the same abandoned house he had passed many times. The yard was overgrown with tall grass and trees growing over the walkway. Today he decided to take a look inside the old place, as it was rumoured to be haunted. When he walked up to the door and turned the handle he found it was unlocked. He opened it and yelled to see if anyone was inside. Hearing no response, he slowly opened the door and walked through the small landing to the living room.

William thought the house would be empty, but was surprised to find most of the normal articles that you would find in a house, though out dated, were still there. It was fully furnished right down to the TV that was lying on the floor beside the stand. The TV was cracked on the picture tube, as if it had been drop. William assumed someone must have been trying to steal it but didn’t realize how heavy it was, or maybe something startled them. Others have definitely been through the house in the past, as drawers were dumped out and their contents scattered throughout, probably from people looking for valuables. Books and photos were thrown everywhere, as well as sofa cushions being ripped open and coats being spread throughout the room. William felt an uneasy feeling as he wandered through the home. He constantly felt like he was being watched, and he kept looking behind and around to the sides to see if anyone was there.

As he was walking through the living room, he noticed an Ouija board box under the coffee table. He picked up the box and looked inside, everything was still in it. William started hearing a few loud knocks coming from the direction of the kitchen which startled him. As he cautiously walked towards it, he noticed every room he looked in was in shambles. As he passed the bedrooms he could see the mattresses were tossed and the clothes were dumped from the dressers. William wondered what could have made the occupants abandon their home so quickly, without any of their personal belongings or valuables. As he slowly entered the kitchen, he could see an old fashion cellar door on the floor. He looked around and noticed the cupboards were all open, and the plates were smashed on the floor. He carefully walked through the broken pieces of porcelain and glass that were smashed in front of him. He realized that the place must have been vandalized and he pictured in his mind how some teenagers were going through the house just smashing everything they could get their hands on. The image of the vandals troubled him, as it showed there are people who have no respect for others property. He could understand the theft of valuables to get money for whatever they may have needed, but why damage the items that some poor person could have made use of to make their life easier? He started to feel a chill as he was nearing the floor hatch to the cellar. He decided to leave, as he was not about to venture into the cellar alone. Perhaps the ladder or stairs in it were weak and if he fell and got hurt, who knows how long it would take for someone to find him. He took the Ouija board with him as he headed toward the back door. He heard another load bang from beneath his feet and he was sure he felt the cellar door lift a bit as he walked over it. He now felt more frightened then concerned and quickly left the house, with the feeling of his heart pounding in his chest.

As he was walking through the overgrowth in the backyard, he saw some neighbours out in their backyard. He placed the Ouija board under a tree and figured he'd pick it up later. The last thing he wanted was for people to think he was one of the punks who vandalized the property. As he made his way to the back lane, the neighbours looked over at him so he just waved at them. They waved back so he walked over towards their yard, as it was in the same direction he was going anyway. It was a friendly looking middle aged couple who were doing their yard work and he felt comfortable approaching them. He walked up to the fence and said hello and introduced himself.

The couple both smiled and stopped what they were doing. They introduced themselves to William as they walked towards him. William was very curious as to who may have lived in the house. As he inquired he was surprised to find that, even though the couple lived in the house for the last fifteen years, they had no idea who actually owned the property across the lane. Since they had been there, nobody had actually stayed on the property. They had complained to the city a few times about the eyesore by their home that was always overgrown and the only people they ever seen come out of the house were groups of teenagers that were probably looking for a place to hang out. They were told by their realtor that the home had been abandoned for years. This really puzzled William, as the condition of the inside of the house and the articles he saw did not look like they had been left untouched for years. There was no accumulation of dust that he could remember seeing, and the paint and wall paper was not cracked or peeling. He told the couple to “have a nice day”, and thanked them for their time.

As William continued on his way home, he couldn’t understand why an abandoned home would be in such great shape after all these years. He decided to call up a couple friends and return to the house to see if they can find anything out about the “haunted history” of the property, and perhaps do a little ghost hunting themselves. William had a couple close friends that were as interested in the paranormal as he was, and one who thought it was all just a joke.

One of his closest friends was Matthew, Mr. “prove it to me or it isn’t real”. Even though Matthew didn’t believe in the paranormal, he was extremely tough and fearless for a teenager, and William knew he wouldn’t pass up a chance to taunt any of other kids that did believe in ghost. He decided to call up Matthew about a later investigation. He also thought of calling up his good friend Jessica, as they were extremely alike with their belief in the paranormal, and she was the first girl he met that loved fishing as a past time as much as he did. The fact that she was the most beautiful girl in school didn’t hurt either. William secretly had a crush on Jessica for years, but they had become such close friends he was always scared to ruin the friendship if he asked her out and she didn’t feel the same. He decided he would just be content liking her secretly, or so he thought.

William was trying to think of any of the other friends that may be interested, but he then remembered everyone else had plans that evening, so he decided he would just call up the two and see if they were interested.

Since it was a Saturday William knew everyone would be having dinner early so they would have plenty of time to look into the old house in the evening. When he arrived home his father was in the back already barbecuing and relaxing by the fish pond. As William was walking through the back door, his dad told him to grab him a drink, so William turned back inside and grabbed his father a drink with ice and then headed back outside. William’s dad never asked for anything, he told you what he wanted. It’s not that he was mean or a tyrant, but it had more to do with the power in his voice. Even when he asked for something, it always sounded like an order, and even strangers would do what he said, like they didn’t want to see what would happen if they didn’t.

William sat by the pond with his dad eating his dinner and talking about what they were each up to for the last week and what plans they had for the following week. William’s dad mentioned an auction sale that they had attended a couple weeks earlier and asked William if he’d made any use of the electronics he gave him. William smiled and told him he’d set everything up down in the recreation room for him and his friends to use. Most of the time he spent with his father was when they’d go out to the cabin or on fishing trips together and it had been quite a while since they spent time together, so when he asked William if he wanted to go to the auction, he jumped at the chance to spend some time with his dad. His father believed in working hard to get what you wanted in life without taking short cuts, and he spent most of his time working.

William asked his father about the abandoned house he saw, to see if he knew anything about it. His father laughed and remarked, “That supposed haunted house over by the park? It’s been abandoned for as long as I can remember. When I was your age some classmates swore they saw a ghost in it when they went snooping around inside. Why do you ask?” Not wanting to get in trouble for going there, William just replied, “Some kids in my class said they were going to check it out, as they also heard it was haunted. I just wondered if you knew who lived there.” His father just shook his head. William was always told to respect other people’s property, and trespassing where you were not invited was not going to sit well with his father.

Not wanting to raise suspicion, William decided to ask his dad about filing cabinets he picked up for his company at the auction, and if they were of use to him. His dad said they were just what he needed. William then told his dad that he was taking off shortly with some friends. His dad smiled and asked him if he was heading out with his girlfriend again? This always annoyed William. His dad constantly teased him about Jessica. William just shook his head.

A short while later, William decided to called up Matthew to see if he had any plans for the evening. Matthew was free so they decided to meet at his house in a little while. After William hung up the phone he decided to call Jessica. When he picked up the phone there was no dial tone. Puzzled he said hello a couple times and was startled to hear “Hi William, how’s it going?” It was Jessica on the other end of the phone. Still a little stunned, he asked her if she wanted to meet up at Matthews. She said she had no other plans and would love to hang out together. William told her he’d come by her place in the next twenty minutes and they could go to Matthews together.

William walked over to Jessica, who was sitting on her stairs as he approached. As he walked up the walkway she stood up and walked towards him. William couldn’t help but notice how beautiful Jessica looked as she walked towards him. She was the only girl he knew who acted like a tomboy, but looked like a model. She did almost everything in a skirt and heels. Jessica smiled and said hi to William, but he was staring at her so intensely, he didn’t respond at first. Jessica said it again, louder this time, and it seemed to snap William out of the daze he was in. Hi Jess, how’s it going? As the two walked over to Matthews house, William was constantly looking over at Jessica, as if to sneak a peek at her when she was looking away, thinking he wasn’t being seen. When William looked up, he noticed Matthew was standing a few feet in front of him. “Hey Jessica, hey lover boy, how’s it going?” William, realizing he was busted checking out Jessica, tried to change the topic real quick. William started telling Jessica and Matthew about what he experienced at the abandoned house and how he found an old Ouija board and hid it in the backyard. They decided it would be fun to try out the old Ouija board and decided to go back for it.

As they were approaching the house, Matthew thought they should check to see what was in the cellar, since there was still a bit of daylight left. William and Jessica were all for it. If there was someone down there, they would have left some sign they were squatting in the house like a blanket or food. As they walked inside, the setting sun was casting shadows and weird reflections all over the place. Jessica was starting to get a real uneasy feeling and suggested that maybe they shouldn’t be there. William was fine with that, as he really didn't want to be in the house as it got darker, as they forgot to bring a flash light. Matthew just laughed at the two of them, saying they were just being spooked by the shadows and their imaginations. “How many times do I need to tell you guy’s that all that spiritual crap is just that? You read so many books and watch so many shows about it that you believe in things that aren’t real.”

As they continued walking through the house towards the cellar, Matthew and Jessica were both as amazed as William was by the amount of stuff that was still in the house. William mentioned how his dad told him kids he went to school with said they saw a ghost when they went through the house years ago. “What?” asked Matthew, “you’re telling us this place has been abandoned that long?” Jessica was puzzled as well, “But the place is basically void of any dust or anything. It looks like it was trashed right after it was cleaned.” William could not offer any explanation. As they were carefully making their way through the abandoned house, a large crash was heard from one of the bedrooms. William and Jessica were noticeably shaken, and even Matthew seemed a bit cautious as he started to approach the bedroom. Matthew picked up a broken table leg on his way to the bedroom and yelled out, “Come out whosoever is in there. I’m armed and will bash in your skull if you don’t come out right now.” As they listened, not a sound was heard from the bedroom. Matthew continued to approach the room, and slowly entered it, with William right behind him, also holding a broken table leg, and Jessica holding onto his free hand. There was nothing in there. With the mess the room was in, Matthew figured that something just fell over. They continued on their way to the kitchen to check out the cellar. As they were walking across the broken porcelain plates and glass on the floor, they heard another loud crash from the bedroom they had just left. Matthew looked at Jessica and William and shrugged his shoulders. He looked around that room moments earlier and noticed there was really nothing left on the walls that could have fallen off. Then the group heard a low moan from the living room area. As it was now getting even darker in the house with the trees blocking the remaining sunlight from coming through the windows, the group decided to high tail it out the back door.

As they walked towards the lane, William asked Jessica what she thought it was. Jessica assumed it was the spirit of one of the old owners of the home. Matthew laughed, saying it was probably the person who was hiding in the cellar earlier. They could have been hiding under the mattress or a pile of clothes when they were looking in the room. Either way, the trio did not want to confront whoever, or whatever was in the bedroom in the darkness that was falling over the inside of the house. Even Matthew had no desire to face the intruder in the dark.

Matthew asked William where he put the Ouija board and William pointed over to the tree. It was a completely calm night, with no wind, yet the tree where the Ouija board was placed was shaking like it was real windy. Jessica looked at William, “You’re kidding right? You are telling me that out of all the trees you could put it under, you stuck it by the one with a life of its own?” Matthew was staring at the tree and started to take a step towards it when he stopped. He was having second thoughts about approaching a tree that was moving for no reason. “It’s just a novelty anyway. You can’t contact spirits if they don’t exist.”

Jessica looked at William and suggested that maybe some spirit that was trapped in the board was trying to get out. William looked at the tree and started backing towards the lane, without saying a world. None of the three really wanted to find out why the tree was shaking so much, and they all decided to leave without the Ouija board. They made their way to the lane, and noticed how bright it still seemed once they were out of the yard. As they headed down the lane towards Williams house, Jessica was saying how creepy the whole experience at the abandoned house was. Before William could respond, Matthew laughed. William asked him what was so funny. Matthew looked at him and with a straight face said, “You guys don’t really believe any of what we just experienced was due to ghost do you?” “What makes you so sure it was due to something else? You didn’t show us any other explanation. It’s real easy to say it wasn’t something, when you don’t have to offer up any proof to the contrary.” Matthew responded, “It’s just as easy to say it was something that can’t be proven one way or the other.” Noticing that the discussion was getting a little heated, Jessica decided to intervene, “Why don’t we just tell the rest of the group about what we experienced when we see them tomorrow, and let them make up their minds to what it was or wasn’t themselves?” The two boys agreed.

William asked Jessica and Matthew if they wanted to go grab some gear and head down to the river to try to catch some fish. It seemed they finally found something they could agree on, and they went over to Williams to grab some rods and tackle and see if they had better luck catching fish then they did catching whatever was at the abandoned house.


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