Unlike her friends, who grew out of their childish fears years ago, Sophie was still deathly afraid of the dark. Sophie was fifteen years old, and she tried her best to remedy her nyctophobia. However, all her attempts to get closer to the dark in order to defeat it ended with her being overwhelmed by dread while standing alone in the night or in a dark room. Her best friend, Kaitlyn, suggested an overnight party in the weird, creepy abandoned house in their neighborhood. Kaitlyn guaranteed that if Sophie survived the night, she’d never be afraid of the dark again. At first, Sophie was hesitant, but Kaitlyn told her that she’d invite some of their other friends, including Scott, Sophie’s crush. On its own, this wasn’t much of an incentive. But everyone knew that she was afraid of the dark. If she attended this party and made it through the night, no doubt Scott and the rest of her friends would be impressed. Sophie finally agreed after a lot of urging, and they planned the overnight adventure for the upcoming Friday night.

When everybody showed up at the house, it was eleven- o’clock at night, an hour from midnight. Kaitlyn and Scott showed up first. Kaitlyn was carrying a sleeping bag and a pillow, along with a back- pack filled with blankets and snacks. Scott packed simple. He wore a baggy sweatshirt and jeans, with his favorite baseball cap atop his head. Scott had told Kaitlyn that he’d be fine, disregarding all the items that Kaitlyn recommended everybody bring. Next to arrive at the house was Rebecca. Her bright, blonde hair made it obvious that it was her when Scott and Kaitlyn saw a figure walking from the distance. She was carrying a huge, tan backpack with her. Ten minutes later, Sophie finally arrived to the house of horrors. She had packed rather light. She had on the small backpack she carried to school every day, but now instead of thick math books, she was carrying her necessities for the night, including a flashlight, a fuzzy blanket, and her favorite earbuds, so she could block out unwanted noise. The four friends talked for a bit before the last member finally arrived. Sidney, whom everybody called Sid, walked up to the group as they stood outside of the house’s entrance.

“Took you long enough, Sid,” Kaitlyn teased, punching Sidney playfully in the shoulder.

“I tried to get here sooner,” Sid replied, “but I had to convince my mom that walking to Sophie’s house in the middle of the night was a good idea.”

“Well, hopefully your mother doesn’t find out we’re actually going to be staying in this bad boy tonight,” Rebecca said as she leaned against the old, worn out planks of the outside wall.

Sophie was already starting to panic. Everybody had their smartphones out, so the screen light kept Sophie’s fears at bay for now. Scott chuckled.

“I’m surprised you’re actually doing this. When I heard that you were coming, I just had to show up. I really wanted to see if you can make it,” he said, causing Sophie to groan a little.

“Whatever. You’re such a jerk.” Sophie rolled her eyes, even though nobody could see. Still, Scott laughed and tried to reassure Sophie that she’d be fine.

 “All right, amigos. It’s about time we start this party,” Kaitlyn said to everyone as she opened the front door of the house.

The front door squeaked on its hinges. However, the interior of the house wasn’t as dusty as everyone had anticipated. As Kaitlyn shone her smartphone’s light around the hallway, they noticed that the house seemed surprisingly well kept for its age.

“Wow, I’m impressed. I thought I’d be choking on dust particles right about now,” Sidney chuckled, walking in behind Kaitlyn.

“Me too. Maybe a friendly ghost takes care of the place,” Scott said as he nudged Sophie with a laugh. Sophie jumped.

“Oh my gosh, shut up!” Sophie said. Although, this time she managed to let out a small giggle.

The gang made their way around the house, giving themselves a short tour. It wasn’t a big house, but it did contain two stories and a basement. Everyone agreed that going into an abandoned basement was too creepy, so they stayed out of there. After examining an empty living room and a desolate kitchen, they found a medium-sized room in the corner of the first floor. They assumed that this had been a bedroom at one point, but they didn’t go inside since a colony of spiders had clearly turned this room into their home, and the kids were likely unwelcome. Instead, they made their way to the creepy staircase that was covered in cobwebs and started up to the second floor. Each step provoked an eerie creak. Sophie had to keep her eyes squeezed shut as she used her hand to guide her up the rail leading upstairs.

The second floor was made up of a storage closet, a large bed- room, and a couple other smaller rooms, which likely had served as guest bedrooms. Everyone set up camp in the large bedroom. Rebecca pulled out a battery-powered lamp from her backpack, turning it on and
illuminating a fraction of the room. Kaitlyn laid out everyone’s sleeping bags, including an extra one that Kaitlyn brought, as she knew Scott wouldn’t bring one. Sidney unpacked some snacks, including a couple bags of chips, some chocolate chip cookies that her mom made, and some pop.

“Oh yeah, Sid! Your mom makes the best cookies.” Scott instantly grabbed one of the cookies, promptly starting to devour it. Sidney giggled.

“I’m glad you like them,” she responded, setting her backpack to the side.

Already, Sophie was having problems. Even with the lamp Rebecca had brought, the room was still mostly dark. Kaitlyn had to check all the unlit spots with her phone’s light, in order to convince Sophie that there wasn’t a masked murderer or fanged monster hiding in the shadows. While Sophie still wasn’t comfortable, she was at least relieved to see that they were the only ones in the room.

“Okay, we gotta start with some good ol’ fashioned ghost stories,” Rebecca said. Everybody except Sophie eagerly gathered around in a circle, knowing Rebecca was a very skilled storyteller.

“Sophie, get over here! This night is mainly for you, you know. Just one story,” Kaitlyn pleaded with a smile. Sophie very slowly and carefully sat down along with everyone else. Rebecca smiled and began her tale.

“It was a dark, chilly night, and little Sally was getting ready for bed. Her mom kissed her goodnight and tucked her in, leaving poor Sally all alone in her dark bedroom. Sally started to fall asleep, until she heard her door slowly creep open.”

Sophie was already holding her breath out of fear. Apparently, they had left the door of the room open, but she was too terrified to open her mouth and say so. “‘Hello?’ Sally asked. There was no response. All she saw was a shadow dart inside her room quickly from the hallway outside. ”Sophie swore she just witnessed the exact same thing at their door. She was stiff. Rebecca saw the look of horror on Sophie’s face, smiled, and continued. “Sally hadn’t seen it coming. By the time she realized what came into her room, it was too late. She turned her head slowly to the corner of the room, only to see a big, dark, scary, blood lusting—”

“MONSTER!” Rebecca screamed. Out of the corner of their own room, a masked figure had jumped out from the shadows. Sophie screamed, nearly destroying the ear drums of her friends as the figure died of laughter and took off their mask. It was Sidney. Sophie hadn’t even seen Sidney leave the room at the start of the story. She panted and looked around at everyone as they laughed. Tears welled up in her eyes.

“Awe, Soph. Sorry, we were just joking. We didn’t mean to scare you that badly,” Rebecca said as Sophie covered her eyes in embarrassment, trying to hide her flowing tears. But only now did she realize she had clung to Scott, who smiled at her lightly. She felt safer all of a sudden. He had his arm around her now, and she felt ever so slightly calmer.

“Don’t … Don’t do it again guys,” Sophie said as she wiped her eye. Even though the night started off terribly, Sophie somehow knew that the night was only going to get better from here.

Joshua Makinson is a first year student in the Front Street Writers class. He enjoys writing horror fiction and complaining about how he can’t wear hats. He is currently a junior at Kalkaska High School. 2018