CatenaMature

A short horror story that was going to be more but didn't quite make the cut. I feel happy with it being this short, and am content leaving it as it now.

Catena

The night was dark and the sky clouded, threatening rain once more after it's brief relent as Sarah peered at the faces of the group around her. For a moment she thought about how she had ended up sitting on the floor of the old living room of Catena House, then remembered that she wasn't given much of a choice. Not where her friends were concerned, at least. She had been talked into staying in the musty, decrepit house for two nights, much to her dismay. She'd always had trouble saying no to people, especially her friends, and usually she didn't mind saying yes all the time. This was just one of the cases where she wished she had said no. She shivered for what could have been the hundredth time that night and huddled her thin woollen blanket around her body.

They had managed to light some wood in the old fireplace and were currently huddled in a semi-circle around it, several bottles of assorted alcoholic drinks scattered across the floorboards within the half circle. Most of her friends were already drunk or tipsy, but she didn't feel like getting drunk in a creepy old house was such a great pastime.

Come on, Sarah! Drink up, I'm not getting drunk without you!” Her best friend Nadia spoke loudly from her left side, digging a finger into Sarah's ribs.

Uh... Okay...” She struggled to say no again, reaching for the bottle of sambuca that was close to her and taking a large gulp. She grimaced a little as it burnt the back of her throat on the way down. She placed the bottle back in the circle and smiled reassuringly at Nadia, sighing inwardly as she let her eyes take in the room around them.

In the dim light of the fire everything had a large shadow that flickered and Sarah was unnerved by this. If there was anything in there with them she wouldn't be able to differentiate between shadows and figures. She shook her head from side to side, screwing her face up. Nobody would be in there with them; that was a stupid thought and she had to stop being paranoid, she told herself. Nadia noticed Sarah shaking her head and gave her a confused glance, but shrugged it off and handed her a plastic cup full of what was presumably whisky and coke.

Drink up! Don't fall behind.” She smiled teasingly as Sarah took the cup with a shaky hand, sipping from it carefully.

Hey dude, I dare you to use the ouija board.” One of Sarah's friends spoke from across the semi-circle, addressing the guy sitting next to him.

Wait what, you have got to be kidding me... I-I'm not doing that.” He protested adamantly, but to no avail. In a matter of minutes he was sitting at the rotting dining table with the ouija board in front of him, his shaky fingers pressed lightly on top of the planchette.

well, what're you waiting for? Go on.” His darer pushed.

U-Um... If there are any ghosts or spirits or whatever in here, make yourselves known...?” He asked, a questioning intonation to his voice.

Sarah watched with bated breath, sure she could see something move in the shadows to her left. However when she turned her head to see if there was anything, she couldn't see anything except the flickering shadow of the armchair just behind her. She turned her attention back to her friend, Chris, at the ouija board.

Nothing happened for several minutes, by which time everyone had pretty much gotten bored and walked away to sit in the semi-circle again. Chris sighed, mostly with relief, and re-joined the half-circle with the others, picking his drink back up and smiling nervously across at Sarah. She smiled dubiously back, brushing some hair behind her ear and looking down into her cup shyly.

Okay well since you started with the daring, I say we play a game of Truth or Dare. Sooo... Sarah, Truth or Dare?” Chris smiled mischievously.

U-Um... Truth?” She asked shyly, blushing slightly at the smirk on Chris' lips.

Okay... Are you a virgin?” He asked, laughing slightly as the others in the semi-circle's ears perked up, awaiting an answer.

U-Um... Yeah...?” She replied, pulling her blanket closer around her body.

Not many people laughed, however her best friend let out a gasp.

You told me you had sex before!” She said in an offended tone.

I-I'm sorry! I said that because I knew you'd be disappointed in me for not doing it... I didn't want you to think I'm some kind of prude or something...” She sighed, looking down into her cup again. For a split second she saw – or thought she had seen – the reflection of a man in a black cloak, but when she blinked she couldn't see it any more.

Okay, so now you ask someone truth or dare.” Chris prompted.

Okay... Nadia, truth or dare?”

Umm... dare!” Sarah looked across the circle for help in daring her friend. She had never been too good at creating dares for people, and hated being put on the spot with such.

Go into the cupboard over there with Craig for 7 minutes. You have to make out at least for 30 seconds or else you're not coming out until you do.” The guy who dared Chris to use the ouija board interjected, helping Sarah out – to which she gave a thankful smile.

Fine.” Nadia stood up and opened the cupboard door, holding it open for Craig to walk in first. She stepped in after Craig had and closed the door behind her. Everyone stood around the door and began timing them. They could hear faint knocking noises coming from within the cupboard. The wind picked up and blew through the broken window, trying to extinguish the fire which wasn't going out without a fight. The wind died down momentarily, the fire returning to it's low crackling, casting soft, flickering shadows on the walls and floor.

Suddenly another powerful gust of wind flew through the window, putting out the fire with it's mighty blow. At almost the same time, Nadia and Craig began screaming loudly, the cupboard door juddering in it's frame as they banged on it from the inside, begging to be let out. Sarah flew to the door, gripping the doorknob and trying to twist it open, but to no avail. Sarah looked down at her feet. In the faint moonlight she could see some kind of thick liquid leaking out from underneath the door, almost at her shoes. She tried to scream but couldn't let the noise out, stumbling backwards she knocked into Chris who caught her, his face pale.

The screaming and banging from the cupboard suddenly cut out and the door swung open, the floorboards covered in brown blood. The stench reached Sarah's nostrils and she couldn't do anything but bend over and puke. It smelled like the blood had been there for days, congealing and clotting. The sound of dripping could be heard as the thick blood ran between the floorboards slowly, the blood dripping into the basement below them. Chris rubbed her back without taking his eyes off the empty cupboard, barely audible as he told Sarah it was all going to be okay.

The End

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