Well, its a Halloween story, so its a bit out of season obviously, but its about a nerdy kid that is triple-dog-dared to go to the haunted mansion of old man Baloogle. Sound familiar, right? Well, he goes there with the all-time popular kid, "The Lion" and.... well, you'll just have to read and find out, now won't you?
I was standing in front of the Baloogle Mansion, the rain pressing my drenched trench coat against my already damp skin. The mansion had been abandoned 10 years ago, so no one had bothered to take care of it. The gothic rooftop jetted toward the grey, seemingly mournful sky. A streak of lightning flashed, lighting up the dead windows of the mansion.
I shivered uncontrollably, standing in my brown trench coat, my glasses polka-dotted with water droplets. My teeth chattered as I took off my glasses and wiped them against my sleeve. It didn’t help. Everything was blurred into a pot of grey, brown and green. The trees were bent over, one branch almost touching me as if trying to snatch me into its dark embrace.
“Why am I here again?” I asked myself. Then I remembered. I let my thoughts drift to earlier that morning at school, a Friday. As it was the day before Halloween, all the kids were making their usually bets about the bravest thing they would do on Halloween.
The cafeteria had been full of the usually noise of lunch, silverware banging against tables, the clattering of trays on the receiving table, but not so much as the noise of the bragging voices across the way where Brandon “The Lion” sat making his boast.
I had been sitting quietly, alone at my usual table listening to the bets, but not taking any place in them. After all, what place did I have among the popular kids at school? I with my red combed hair, my large round glasses, my short, pug-like nose, vomit-colored green eyes, and face that looked like it had been attacked by thousands of brown pens.
Suddenly one of the boys, “Tiger”, I think they called him, “The Lion's" best man, called out loud, “Hey, Periwinkle!”
My real name is Perry, but everyone calls me Periwinkle because that’s the shade my face turns when I get sick or whenever someone passes a ball to me on our school baseball team.
I turned my head nervously.
I had hoped to get away without being teased this lunch, but I guess it couldn’t be avoided. After all, what better boy to pick on during Halloween than scardey-cat Periwinkle? I recalled last Halloween when they replaced my gummy worms for real worms in my lunch for their annual Halloween trick-or-treat. I had turned my famous shade of periwinkle when I threw up in the cafeteria in front of everybody. I don’t turn green when I get sick like most people. I guess my body decided periwinkle would look better with my hair than green; it could also be because my eyes already look like vomit so my face doesn’t need to too.
Anyway I called out in my small voice, “Ye-yes?”
“Tiger” laughed, and I gulped nervously. All eyes were now on me in the cafeteria.
“Tiger” snickered, “’The Lion’ has a proposition for you.”
“You better be, because ‘The Lion’ triple-dog-dares you to go to the Baloogle Mansion tonight!”
My heart stopped. The words formed on my mouth but no sound escaped my petrified throat. The Baloogle Mansion? It may sound funny to you, but the Baloogle Mansion was the home of “Old Man Baloogle”. It was said that he had a mysterious pet monster that he would set on people if they did something litter on his yard. Minor crime and major punishment right?
But most of the time people were already scared enough of the house itself to litter or something like that. The threat of a monster being set on them wasn’t registered.
Old Man Baloogle was the grouchiest, meanest person you could ever lay eyes on.
I can still picture him now:
Old Man Baloogle with his cane, his pale skin stretched tight on old bones, the smell of tobacco and pipe, with his stark white hair almost as crazy as medusa. His voice was like the crackling of trees in a storm and his eyes were always open. He never, ever blinked.
I remembered one time when “The Lion” and his buddies were playing football in his field, while was outside the gate watching nervously. He had waved the black willow cane and shouted in his raspy voice, “Get of with ye, ya varmints! Get off me property or I’ll set me monster on ye!”
One day after a bloodcurdling scream escaped the house, some neighbors went in to check on him. They found him… barely alive with fresh warm blood gushing from the stumps where his arms had used to be. The last words on his lips were: “Gordle.” People say his mysterious pet turned on him and killed him. They even say that the monster, the “Gordle” they call it, still lives there to this very day.
My contemplating and shuddering was interrupted by, “and to sweeten the deal, “The Lion” has decided to come with you to make sure you don’t chicken out!”
Hoots and yells had erupted from the cafeteria and I had gasped. “The Lion would be coming with me? I had been unsure whether to be glad or afraid, and I’m still unsure. Then I had been told when to get here… and here I am.
Lighting flashed again as I was brought back to my harsh reality. I felt a hand on my shoulder. I felt the little heat there was leave my face as I shrieked. I turned around in terror only to see “The Lion”.
He chuckled and said, “Hey little Periwinkle, so you made it. I’m surprised you made it this far. With your reputation, I’d have expected you to chicken out by now.”
I nodded and chuckled in reply. Unsure how to respond further, I stared at him.
“The Lion” was more magnificent than I thought.
He stood in his crumpled, dark brown leather jacket, holding a black umbrella in his hand, with the air of someone going on a picnic. He grinned widely, revealing a straight perfect set of pearls, and setting his dimples into action. His deep forget-me-not blue eyes complimented his wavy blonde hair. I felt him reach out and muss my matted damp hair with his muscular hand. I suddenly found myself feeling a little better with “The Lion” with me.
I saw the set of pearls again as he said, “Well, let’s go in.”
I felt fear course through my veins again, like a sweep of wind in my body, chilling my heart and soul. “Ok.”
The metal gate, polka-dotted with splotches of moss, swung open, as if expecting us. We slowly crept up the grey steps, with the rain pelting against us, as if trying to ward us away from this haunted place. I dared to look up at the mansion as we approached it. CRASH! Thunder vibrated in my ears as I covered them. But then lighting struck a few feet where we had been standing, illuminating a stone gargoyle. It’s face mangled and disfigured, but none-the-less its eyes stared at me as it peered over the gothic roof, a single tooth grinning at me like a demon.
I let a scream escape my throat. “The Lion” looked at me and clamped my mouth with his hand, it smelled like cologne, whispering, “Sssh, scardey-cat!”
“Lion” looked around and added, “We better get inside. The storm’s getting’ worse.”
He said it so calmly it made my insides squirm. How could he be so calm? As I stood there frozen to the spot in my drenched trench coat and my face turning periwinkle from cold and fear, I couldn’t help but admire him. He seemed so fearless and handsome; I wish I could be like him.
We walked even more carefully up the stairs. “The Lion” met me at the top, him being taller and having longer, more athletic legs. I scrambled to the top after him, slipping more than was wanted, but not slipping enough to sprain or break something, in other words: not enough to go home.
He gestured to the peeling, greenish door… sort of like the color of my vomit when I was given the real worms instead of my gummy worms last Halloween
I glanced at the doorknob. It was a golden knob, molded into the face of another demon. This one stared straight at me. Its elfish ears straight and pointy teeth jutted out of its mouth like sharp glass.
Looking at it made it feel like my spirit could have evaporated from my shivering body, and suddenly a horrible clenching feeling grasped at my stomach, as if eels were slithering in my abdomen, along with the feeling of despair and mourning. I shivered horribly; trying to shake the foreboding off my conscious as I slowly extended my arm towards the door.
I glanced behind me. “The Lion” sat there with his arms crossed, leaning comfortably against a column on the porch as if he were in his own home. He saw me looking at him and nodded encouragingly.
I gulped and adjusted my glasses. The wet metal wasn’t doing great things for my sinuses, that’s for sure. I took a deep breath, kicked up my nerve from the bottom of being and tapped lightly on the door. Tap, tap, tap.
Suddenly I heard a growl behind me. “’Lion’?” I turned around, clenching my hands. “The Lion” was down on all fours. I backed up into the door. “What’s going on?”
A hideous laugh escaped “The Lion” as he reared back his head. My hair-stood on an end. I whimpered. “This isn’t funny.”
All of the sudden “The Lion” howled, sounding like nails scraping across the board. I covered my ears and fell to my knees. I closed my eyes in terror and screamed, “Stop it!”
I heard a gut-wrenching ripping noise and didn’t dare to open my eyes, it was like the ripping of cloth and flesh, and I screwed my eyelids tighter together as another howl escaped “The Lion”. Suddenly it all stopped.
I heard a low growling noise and looked up. “The Lion” was gone. In his place stood a creature that crawls from the depths of nightmares, that haunts the souls of man-kind. It had three mangled heads with jagged teeth like glass, all in the form of pit bulls. It snarled as drool slipped from its lips onto my head. I shuddered in fright as I looked on.
It had the tail of a scorpion, with its poison-tipped stinger extending from a scaly tail. But the most horribly magnificent was the black slick wings of a dragon, folded over its back in a V.
It reeked of the smell of flesh and blood, and snarled viciously. It stared my down, its six pairs of eyes staring into my two. I threw down my head to hide my face when I saw the remains of “The Lion” All that were left was skin that looked like it had been passed through a paper shredder, covered in blood and tufts of leather jacket and blonde tufts of hair that looked like some kind of sick monster salad.
As I resisted the urge to vomit my previous meal, I looked back into the dog’s eyes in horror. They were forget-me-not blue. As familiarity crept into my mind, I felt a bloodcurdling scream escape from my parched throat.
As if under a trance, I stopped and stared into its eyes. I saw the pupil, like a black pool of death from the pit of Hades itself. Its breath inhaled, as if trying to suck out the essence of my soul. Its breath fogged my glasses. Suddenly, as if someone had pulled the plug on my life, I felt the will to live and the essence of life escape me in a fleet of gasps.
My eyes froze. My heart stopped. With my last breath of my insignificant life, I recalled the story of the mansion, and whispered, “Gordle.”