Nick took the stairs slowly, one at a time, his hands were shaking, his palms gammy and his throat dry. The house was so dark now, no moonlight at all, just the empty black, he was starting to wish he had asked Gareth to come with him, but someone had to stay with the monitor, they couldn’t afford to miss any evidence. Nick reached the top and stepped onto the landing, although his brain was screaming at him not to, Nick turned his head and stared down the corridor to the third bedroom, and the place he had had his ghostly encounter earlier.
The corridor was no colder than earlier, but still his body shivered, an actual tremble in his hands he was unable to shake off. Nick tried to concentrate on what he had to do, but it really didn’t help. Every sensible bone in his body was telling him to stay out of the bathroom, but by the time he had convinced himself he had to go through with it, he had reached the door, anyway.
“I’m here, buddy”
“Is it still there?”
“Stationary and waiting”
“You couldn’t have chosen better words?”
“Sorry, and hey, listen, mate”
Nick attached his radio to his belt and opened the door very slowly, he stepped into the darkened room and his eyes fell upon the desk with the dark figure behind it, Nick swallowed hard then called into the room,
He waited, his eyes not leaving the shape, he thought it might have been a man, with a large, round, bald head,
“Is anyone there?” Nick tried again, but still the figure did not move or respond,
“Go give him a poke” the radio cackled, and Nick turned the volume down, he walked around the side of the desk, trying to get used to the dark, trying to resist the urge to turn his little LED torch on, then, as he levelled out straight on with the figure, he felt his stomach relax and shaking subside as he recognised, not the head of a man, but the round, caged blades of a fan. In the dark of the room, from the angel the cam was at, it really had looked just like a human head.
“Gareth there’s nothing here, false alarm”
“Stay in the room” Gareth responded
Nick stared at the radio, puzzled for a minute, then clicked the respond button,
“There’s a new cold spot, popped up a second after you entered the room”
“Where is it?”
“So, I should go check it out, where about in the corridor?”
“No, you miss my point” Gareth answered, “Not, in the corridor, it IS the corridor”
Nick felt his heart begin to thump faster and faster again, the shaking retuning,
“Seriously, all I have on screen is twenty-five feet of ice cold temperatures, it’s below freezing out there, stay in the room”
Nick decided that just for once, Gareth might be right, he walked across to the door, his eyes falling on the brass door handle. As he watched, a thin layer of ice spread over the metal.
“Gareth, somethings happening”
“Stay in the room”
“I think it’s coming in”
“Stay in the room” Gareth sounded odd, emotionless and dry, not his usual self at all,
“Gareth I’m going to need more than stay in the room, we’re supposed to be investigating this place”.
There was no response, the radio stayed quiet,
“Gareth?” nothing, no answer.
Nick waited, watching the door handle becoming colder, whiter, the brass barely visible. Nick wanted to try and open it, despite what maybe waiting outside the room, he needed to know. Then the smell hit him again, like rotten milk, coming into the room from under the door. Nick waited a little while longer, until the stench became too much to stand and he had to get out, remembering the video camera hanging around his neck, Nick flicked the power on, checked the battery LED light and then changed the camera effect from normal picture to night vision. Somehow using the camera when scared always seemed to help, maybe, it was the feeling of not really being there, that everything was filtered down and less real.
“Gareth, I don’t know if you can hear me, but I’m going out now, if you can hear me, keep an eye on the screen and don’t miss anything”
Nick reached down for the icy handle, wrapping his jacket sleeve around his hand again, he closed his eyes, took a deep breath, the raising the camera his eye, wrenched the door open.
The corridor glowed green in the night vision, the light off the camera bounced off the walls, glaring the image. Nick flicked it off, using nothing but the night vision to see, the corridor seemed empty, all but the smell and cold. Nick turned his head left the right, looking up and down, but still he found nothing on the camera,
“Gareth......Gareth where are you?” there was still no response, Nick walked up the corridor a little, towards the bedrooms. As he walked he tried Gareth again and again but to avail, the radio stayed dead,
“Where the hell is he?”
Nick stopped by the second bedroom and put his hand on the knob, then he suddenly remembered he had turned the volume down on his radio. He turned back down the corridor as the door opened slowly. Nick turned the volume up and was instantly greeted by,
“NICK!! PLEASE NICK, HELP ME!”
Nick tore down the corridor towards the landing so quickly, he never saw the black figure of a man standing in the bedroom doorway, holding an axe in his hands.
Nick reached the stairs and literally threw himself down them, missing so many in his leap that he nearly could not stop. Regaining balance at the bottom, he ran for the dining room, crashing through the door and stopping dead in front of the desk they were using,
“GARETH?” Nick shouted for his partner “WHERE ARE YOU?”
“Nick?” a tiny, trembling voice came from under the desk, Nick bent down to look and found Gareth huddled up, his knees to his chest, shaking violently and crying,
“Jesus, what happened?” he reached under the table and tried to coax Gareth out,
“I’m sorry” he cried “I’m so sorry, Nick, I can’t do this anymore”
“What the hell happened?”
“I was watching you, been staring at the monitor so long my eyes had glossed over, I shook my head to get some focus back and....and.....”
“......and she was standing there, right where you are”
Gareth looked up into Nick’s eyes, his own bloodshot and still leaking tears down his cheeks,
“The white lady, Nick, she was just standing there, holding her lamp, watching me with these huge, dead eyes...” his words trailed off as he began rambling,
“OK, OK, mate, come on out, she’s not here now”.
Eventually, Nick manager to persuade Gareth to come out from under the desk, he sat his friend down and put the kettle on, wish he had something stronger to offer him. When he had finally stopped shaking, Gareth told Nick, who was standing by the window smoking,
“Why didn’t you answer me?”
“I’d turned the radio volume down, I’m sorry, mate, I completely forgot” then Nick remembered something from back in the room,
“Wait a minute” he said “you were talking to me, you told me to stay in the room”
“You said ‘the cold spots back, it’s of the corridor, stay in the room”
“Errr....no, I didn’t”
“You did, I heard you, I spoke to you”
“Mate, you just told me you’d turned the volume down, how could I have?”
Nick’s eye widened,
“And I mean” Gareth continued “we’re meant to be ghost hunters, why would I tell you to stay in the room, if all the activity is outside?”
He was right, Nick felt another icy chill run down his back, the volume had been down, and he had turned it down before Gareth’s voice told him to stay in the room.
“There is something seriously wrong here” Nick said, Gareth silently nodding in agreement then both jumped as the laptop ‘pinged’ loudly,
“It’s Terry” Gareth said, typing quickly and opening the emails,
“What’s his verdict on the footage?”
“He’s wants to know if we’re taking the Mick?”
“He says, ‘Here’s what you two idiots gave me, thanks for the two hour session editing nothing!” and there’s a video clip attached”
“Two hours?” Nick looked down at his watch, “Gareth, it’s half eleven”
“What??” Gareth looked at the laptop clock in disbelief “how has it been two hours, I swear it’s only been twenty minutes before you told me it was nine o’clock”
“Open the video” commanded Nick, slamming the window and marching over to the desk, Gareth opened it, sure enough, there was Nick in the hall, the door opened, a few moments passed, then Nick convulsed and turned to look back in the bedroom, both their jaws dropped, there was no lamp, no hand, nothing of the figure they had seen before,
“I’m not going to like this, am I?”
“I’m going back up, and I’m not coming back till I have something”
Gareth swallowed hard, then replied,
“And I’ll be staying here then”