“C’mon babe, just this once. We’ll just look at the main floor,” said Christine, tugging Eric’s arm and pulling him across the field that lay in front of the mansion. The knee-high grass swayed in the soft wind as the moonlight glistened off the shattered glass from the windows.
“You know I hate this place, it scares the shit out of me,” said Eric, trying to slow down Christine.
“Don’t be a pussy, Eric. We’ll go just this once.”
“Fine, but you owe me.”
“Don’t worry, you’ll get something later,” Christine said with a wink.
They approached the opening in the collapsed brick wall. All the windows were on the second floor, most of them broken from drunken kids throwing bottles and rocks. The broken wall was the only way in or out of the mansion now that the construction company bolted all the doors shut since there were a series of unsolved murders that occurred throughout the mansion. Christine walked through the wall and over the piles of bricks with Eric in her back pocket. They could only see what the moonlight shining through the broken windows would let them. With the second floor mostly crumbled away, there was a lot of open space above them. Christine led them through down the corridor to the dilapidated foyer.
“How did this guy die again?” asked Eric, examining all the graffiti that covered what was left of the concrete walls.
“He was some big Wall Street guy. He invested in a lot of companies and made a buttload of money. Then he had the mansion built but before it was finished, his investments fell through and he lost everything. His wife left him, he was millions of dollars in debt, his whole life went to shit. Because of that, he ended up hanging himself above the main staircase. They say his ghost still lives here,” said Christine, running her fingers across the walls, feeling the harsh cement scratch against her fingertips.
“Why did he do it here? The place wasn’t even finished,” asked Eric.
“I don’t know, wanted to die in a mansion I guess,” said Christine.
“Can we go see the staircase?”
“It collapsed a few years ago. That’s why we can’t go upstairs. We can go downstairs though. The stairs are still there,” said Christine.
Eric’s face contorted into a grimace, “I don’t know about that one.”
“Let’s go, nothing bad is down there. I’ve been down there before,” said Christine, pulling herself into Eric’s chest. “Who knows, you might find a little present down there,” she said as she went up on her tiptoes to kiss his thin lips.
Eric sighed, letting seduction get the better of him, “Alright, lead the way.”
“Yay!” Exclaimed Christine. She began to run to the stairs, stepping over broken bottles and slabs of concrete. Eric followed behind her. They reached the stairs and Eric noticed the deep creeks each stair made as they descended into the basement of the mansion. The dark grey walls were covered in pentagrams and red satanic symbols, obviously the work of some dark-humored teenagers.
“Babe, are you sure these stairs are stable?” Asked Eric.
“Yeah, they’re just old,” replied Christine.
They reached the bottom of the stairs where the moonlight stopped and pitch-black laid out before them. Christine pulled out her iPhone flashlight. It illuminated everything. The writing on the walls, the massive chunks of concrete that acted as seats around the fireplace. Christine turned the light down toward her feet to see the rat carcass she was stepping on, the innards pushed up and out onto her white shoes. She let out a scream that echoed throughout the mansion and jumped away.
“Jesus,” said Eric, covering his ears from the piercing scream, “you sure you still wanna be here, Chris?”
“Yeah, it’s fine. Let’s just keep going,” she said. Her body shivered, “God, that was gross.”
They walked deeper into the basement, only able to see what was in the cone of light coming from the phone’s flashlight. They came to a section where there was a fire pit surrounded by folding chairs. The light from the phone illuminated all the dust and debris that was floating throughout the basement. Chunks of the concrete floor were cracked and breaking apart where the fire pit was. Light sparkled off of an old gold chandelier that hung from the ceiling. Despite the worn-down state of the mansion, the chandelier was in good shape. The basement smelled of stale beer, urine, and a foreign stench neither of them could make out.
“This is a good place,” said Christine, handing the phone to Eric and pulling his head close.
“What are you doing?” Asked Eric.
“Giving you your present for being brave enough to come here with me,” said Christine.
“Yeah, why not?” said Christine with a grin.
“Um, okay,” said Eric.
Christine leaned in, her moist lips meeting Eric’s. She slipped her tongue into Eric’s mouth and her hand began working on his pants button. A loud snap rang out. The chandelier fell from the ceiling, splintering into pieces as it crashed to the floor. Christine bit down on Eric’s lip and he yelped. The phone dropped from her hand and shattered as it hit the concrete floor, the room going black.
“What the fuck Christine!” he yelled, running his fingers across the teeth marks.
“I’m sorry Eric, that sound scared the shit out of me,” she said. She began running her hands across the ground, scanning for the remains of her phone. “Great, my phone is broken.”
“Fuck the phone, you bit me!” Yelled Eric, gently zipping up his jeans.
“I said I was sorry,” said Christine.
“Ugh. Alright, we’re leaving. Which way is the staircase?” Asked Eric.
“I don’t know, pull out your phone and turn on the light.”
Eric responded angrily, “I left my phone in the fucking car.”
“It’s fine, we can just walk along the wall. Grab my hand.”
Eric grabbed Christine’s hand and the two slowly made their way through the pitch-black basement. They walked about fifty feet.
“You sure it was this way?” Asked Eric.
“No, but I’m pretty sure,” said Christine. “Just keep close.”
The moon was now hidden behind dark storm clouds. The light that had previously shown on the stairs was gone.
Christine led the way along the wall until she slipped on a rusty old pipe, sending her forward into the old rickety staircase. A loud snap erupted from the stairs as they came thundering down, along with their hopes of getting out of the mansion, sending dust and debris all over. Christine put her hand down to pick herself up when she felt the bones of the rat carcass crunch under her palm and she let out a shriek. Tears began to roll down her face and she ran into Eric’s arms.
“I want to get out of here,” she cried into his chest. Eric pulled her in, realizing for the first time how quickly his heart was thumping in his chest.
The fallen stairs settled and the room was enveloped in silence. Out of the shadows behind them came a deep raspy voice.
“Welcome to my home.”