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TWO

The truck stopped right in front of the old building where the boy wanted to go. The evening was starting to fall and the light of the moon gave it an even eerier look.

“This has to be it,” Tommy told the boy.

“Looks just like in the articles I read,” the boy said.

“Fucking creepy looking place,” Tommy thought.

“You think?”

“Well, don’t you? Oh shit, sorry… Never mind,” Tommy said, blushing.

“It’s okay. Thanks a lot for the ride.”

“Yeah, sure. It’s been interesting meeting you, dude. Be careful,” Tommy said.

“No worries,” the boy said and left the truck.

The truck drove off, the boy giving a wave before he walked to the Kingsbury building. He took a walk around the house, taking it all in and looking for a logical way in. He noticed there was an open window. To be sure though, he tried to go for the easy way in and just tried the door. It was locked. He figured he’d be able to pick the old lock easily enough. He’d picked up some lock-picking skills as for some time he’d figured maybe doing some breaking and entering would be scary. Unfortunately the idea of getting caught and entering strange houses without any idea what was behind the doors whose locks he picked didn’t do anything to him. After inspecting the look he decided to go in through the window.

He walked over to the window, standing on tiptoes, jumping to reach it. He couldn’t quite make it though. For a minute he thought about going back to the door. Then he noticed the tree that was pretty close to the house. That might be just what he needed to get closer to the window.

With ease he climbed the tree, not minding the gusts of wind that shook its branches while he climbed his way up. When he was high enough he climbed to the end of a branch. He gripped it tight, swinging from it, thrusting his legs forward and back until he was sure enough he had the momentum he needed and then just catapulted himself to the window.

He covered his face with his crossed arms as he went through it. He landed inside the house, rolled on the floor and got up again. He had a look at the room. It looked like it had just been abandoned, instead of decades ago. This had to be the bedroom of the children, as there were two beds that had porcelain dolls and stuffed animals on them. He picked up one of the dolls and stared in its glass eyes. He knew those kind of dolls gave some people the creeps. One of those fears he had never understood. Why fear a lifeless toy? He threw it back on the bed and walked around the room. He still had enough light from outside, coming through to navigate around it.

He wondered about how hard it must have been for the kids to have lost their father at a young age. While he did not fear the death of his parents and had left them without much trouble to go on his search for fear he did love them and didn’t want anything bad to happen to them. The owner of this place, writer Bryan Kingsbury had taken his own life when they were just ten and seven. The boy had read all about Kingsbury’s life. In fact, he’d read all of Kingsbury’s books. The subject of his books had fascinated him as they were all full of stories of cosmic horrors. Although fascinating reading it had never given him goosebumps. Some people thought Kingsbury’s own work had made him insane, thus prompting him to blow out his brains with a shotgun in his study. The urban legend had it Kingsbury’s ghost still haunted this building. The legend had been strong enough for the house to be left unsold ever since his death, more than forty years ago. There had been some tries to get it sold, at very low prices. Each time potential buyers had felt so ill at ease in the place they refrained from it. The boy had read stories that people swore they could actually feel the cold presence of death and its stink in the abandoned old building. So far the boy could neither, though.

He walked out of the children’s room and ended up in a hallway. He thought about going through the rooms there but decided it would perhaps be more logical to start at the beginning, downstairs. He walked down the stairs, being careful not to make a misstep as the light outside was fading. He wasn’t afraid of falling, but he wasn’t stupid either.

The stairs took him to the very large living room. There was a huge couch, some tables, a fireplace and a red plush carpet. The wall was decorated with a boar’s head, two crossed swords and some paintings. One was of Bryan Kingsbury himself. The boy walked closer to it so he could inspect it. On the painting Kingsbury was wearing some kind of fancy suit with a pocket watch on a chain. Kingsbury was a gaunt man with a bush black beard and piercing eyes. He exuded pain and darkness like his stories did.

The boy walked to the adjacent door and found himself in the kitchen. He opened some of the cabinets, discovering there were still pots and pans in them. He sat down on the kitchen counter, just taking it all in. Trying to feel something that could be seen as dread or fear. He felt neither, so he jumped off and walked back to the living room. There was another door there which he opened and walked through.

He found himself standing in the study. The exact place where Bryan Kingsbury had taken his own life. It had gotten darker outside, so the light from the window was hardly sufficient to look around. The boy took out his phone and used the flashlight app from it to guide his way through the room. There was a huge library full of books with subjects like the occult, mythology and the like. It was clear where Kingsbury had gotten his inspiration from.

There was the desk where not only Kingsbury had written those dark and horrific books of otherworldly horror but had also sat when he’d pulled the trigger of the shotgun that had ended his life. The boy sat down in the chair where Kingsbury had been in. He closed his eyes. He imagined his finger around the trigger, the gun between his legs. Pictured the cold steel of a shotgun against his chin. Had Kingsbury feared the appending death that the gun promised him? In his mind’s eye he saw the splattering of Kingsbury’s brain matter across as the shotgun blast destroyed his cranium with a loud BANG!

What was that sound? Was that coming from upstairs? Was he just imagining things? Was this maybe the effect fear had on a normal human being? Then there was another banging sound coming from upstairs. He got excited. Cool! Was he really about to see some kind of ghost perhaps. He jumped up from the chair and ran to the living room, up the stairs as fast as he could.

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Jochem Vandersteen

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