We walked down the other side of the hill, laughing and joking, fueled by alcohol and cannabis, the night air felt refreshing, dizziness starting to settle in, yet I called over to Pete to toss me another can of larger, why did I have to drink so much?
"Hey, slowly down buddy!", Pete had all but jumped on my back, nearly knocking me off my feet, "Keep goin like that an they'll be none left for the rest us!", he meant him of course, but that was just Pete, and we loved him dearly for it, we rounded the bend at the bottom of the hill and Kate suddenly exclaimed,
"What the FUCK, is that?!!", she was looking at the old farm, "please tell me we don't.....",
"We have to walk through there!", Pete and I chanted together just ahead of her, already walking towards the old farm house, and laughing very hard, but quietly,
"How come no ones ever bought the land?", Sarah asked,
"Its dead", I replied dryly, "has been for decades, nothing will grow in the grounds anymore, no one really knows why, some of the wacko's at the cyber cafe reckon the government buried some kinda toxic waste here!", I started laughing,
"YOU WHAT?", Kate shouted from the back of the group, where she'd been hanging onto Tom for dear life,
"Don't worry!", I laughed, "it can't be, lands been dead longer than industries been trying to dump toxic waste! Just kids being paranoid!"
As we passed the old farm house, Pete shuffled off towards the porch,
"What are you doing?", I asked,
"Can't roll walking anymore", he said with his back to me, emptying tobacco into a rizla,
"Do you really need more?", asked Sarah, "You guys only put one out five minutes ago?!", she looked concerned,
"Relax gorgeous!", Pete winked at Sarah, she sighed and look unimpressed, "its only a bit of weed, not like we're cutting up coke or anything...", he looked at me and Tom, "do we have any coke?!",
"NO!!", the four of us shouted back.
A bit of weed was one thing, but none of us were into chemicals, except Pete, not like he was a junkie or anything! Just sniffed a bit of coke at parties and stuff, but then Pete spent most of his time in London, studying at Kings university, Pete was 25, six four, dark brown hair, very strong athletic body, green eyes and a nice, friendly face, despite his size, he inspired confidence just by smiling at you, and he'd been my best friend all my life.
Tom was 22, shorter than Pete, stockier, well built, he looked rather like a builder with a clean shaved head and stubble that never seemed ti ever get any shorter or longer? We often joked that his facial hair was stuck in its own personal Ground Hog Day!! No one in the group was seeing or attached to anyone, Pete always told us there was just to much choice in London and enjoyed the game to much to settle, Sarah, 24, was focusing on her career as a seamstress, Tom, well Tom was hard to figure, we knew he'd slept with women, and he was always hanging around Kate, he just never seemed to talk about it, or show any real interest in anyone? And me, well, I'd like to say I'm just to picky, fact is, no one was interested, not that I ever knew when they were, amount of times I was apparently being chatted up in clubs, in town, just to remain completely oblivious until the girl in question had walked away, and I'd received a sharp smack round the head from Pete!
I was just watching them, as Pete finished rolling the rizla round in his fingers, pushing the roach in further to stop air pockets, when Sarah suddenly darted back, away from the house, towards me, white as a sheet,
"What was that!", she was pointing at an upper window,
"What I said?!", putting an arm round her, she pushed it off again,
"Up at that window!, I saw someone watching us!", Pete started choking as he tried to laugh with a lung full of cannabis smoke, we all started laughing at him, Sarah not included, she continued watching the window, still pale and shaking,
"I know what I saw, Pete!", she snapped at him, a little sharper than I think any of us had ever heard her before,
"Wow, OK, OK, sweet pea!", Pete cooed as he put his arms round her, she clung onto him, they'd always had this big brother, little sister thing, kinda friends who would always be friends, nothing more, nothing less,
"I'm sorry!", she was sobbing, now I was going over, Sarah just didn't break down, emotionally, she was maturer than any of us!
"Maybe we should head back, Mike!", Tom made sense, but i hated him for it,
"NO!", Sarah blurted out
"yes!", I said to myself quietly,
"I'm fine really, probably just a gust of wind moving the curtain, honestly Pete I'll be fine!", she pushed away from him, Pete was eyeing me, I didn't like the way he was looking at me,
"Maybe", he begun, I cringed, "maybe, our tour guide, should just pop in and check it out, make sure every things clear?!",
"O.......K!", I said, trying to sound like the whole idea didn't scare me to death!
"Off you go then, fearless leader!!", I turned back and flicked him the finger, they all started laughing, except Sarah, she still looked very white, and It was bothering me that of all of us to think they saw something, and not only mention it but utterly freak! I never thought it would be her!
I went back round to the front of the house and climbed the four steps up to the porch. The front door was ominous to say the least, I mean it was a door! Just a door, but, I don't know, just the way it stood there, the most uninviting door I had ever seen! Beyond it, past the thin vale that covered its thin windows, black, emptiness, a dust filled dead house.
I walked to the door, and focusing on the fact that my friends were indeed just round the corner, tried the knob. Nothing. Locked. I walked round the porch to the side of the house the guys were on and reported,
"Locked up!", I grinned broadly, "Guess I won't be checking it out from the inside!",
"Try a window you tosser!", Tom, git.
I turned my back on them and walked to the closet window, I was surprised to see there was still some furniture in the house, an old rocking chair in what i presumed had once been the living room, a kitchen table and three chairs, no wait, four chairs, one of them was slightly out of sight, just two of its legs showing, the rest obscured from view by a wall, i turned my attention back to the window. The lock was about half way up the frame on the inside, meaning the window had to be lifted, I rolled my jacket sleeves out, put my hands under the frame and was about to push when my eyes flickered back to the kitchen table, along with all four chairs!
"SHIT!", I jumped back away from the window, the chair had moved!, in the split second my attention had been on the window, the fourth chair had been pushed back under the table!
"DID YOU SEE SOMETHING?!",
"ARE YOU OK, MICK?!!"
"Dude! Chill!", Pete, he jumped the rail of the porch easily and came to stand next to me, I couldn't take my eyes off the table,
"whatcha see?!", I continued to just stare at the table, open mouthed, then I thought of Sarah, she wouldn't have just dreamed up something like that, she really must have?
"Rat", I lied through gritted teeth, "biggest rat I ever saw!", I turned away from the window and back towards the group, avoiding eye contact with Sarah, no one spoke, the air was still and the atmosphere had become decidedly chilling.
"SO!", Tom breaking the silence, being a tad, overly cheerful, "how much further is this place? and who's got the spliff?!!", Pete turned laughing and threw the joint at him,
"Just threw the churchyard, then we take a very short lane through to the old village, bout anther ten minutes I reckon", I was doing my best to sound cheerful to, but Sarah was staring at me, I could feel her, she knew I was lying, and thinking back to it now, I realise, It wasn't guilt, that I was now almost forcing the others to carry on, or atleast Sarah, that I was feeling guilty about, It was the fact that I KNEW, we should have turned back, because there was no question, the chair did move.
We carried on walking, more drinks poured, the group relaxing a bit more. As we we reached a crossway in the path, I told the others that two of the paths lead to old, dead fields, and the other a run down barn, the fourth would take us straight to the churchyard. As we neared the end of the path, Kate froze, staring at the churchyard gate, enclosed under a large wooden canopy, which I knew, from past trips along this path, would run along most of the churchyard path, until we reached the head stones.
"Whats wrong with you??!", asked Tom, walking back to her,
"Nothing, I.....it's nothing", she walked on, I stared after as she walked, what the hell was her problem?! Tom caught her up and took her gently by the arm, whispering in her ear, she pulled away,
"NO Tom, seriously, I'm OK", she threw me a quick look, then to the path head,
"Lets just go, OK!"
That was weird? Why she look at me? It's not my fault churchyards freak her out is it? We reached the gate and I took hold of the handle, very slowly turning it, the gate creaked open on its hinges, sending a chill down everyones spine.