"Did you, did you hear that ?" Asked Lisa with a fright, "A hissing sound ?"
"It is just the wind," replied Emily.
"Where's Jacob ? He said he would be here in a day or two," said Mark, an impatient boy in his teens pouring himself a glass of lukewarm water, "He's late.....as usual."
"He must have got some work, I don't think there can be any other reason," said Emily. "A flimsy excuse."
It was a cold and dreary night. The wind was blowing hard making a 'swish' noise as it twirled around the house on the hill-top. Though there were many houses, this one was cut-off from the rows. It was old and looked as if it has not received visitors for a long time. Since it was vacant, the four friends - Lisa, Emily, Jacob and Mark had decided to stay there for a vacation. Three of them reached the place on time, but Jacob was late.
Lisa was shivering, "I don't like it here. The atmosphere is so depressing. The creaking sound of the staircase seems even louder when you want to be silent. It's too creepy....."
"It's just because it's old" Mark shrugged his shoulders. "Yes, it is, but, I find something very odd. This house was locked for years, still there isn't a single scrap of dust. The articles are all carefully preserved as though they are being taken care of. Isn't it strange ?" Emily explained her thoughts.
"There's a ghost who does all this," Mark laughed. "Obviously the caretaker checks the cleanliness."
Emily contradicted, "But, he was saying he has not opened the lock ever since he was appointed for this job. And, that's the reason we had a little difficulty in entering. The door was jammed."
"......Ha! Everyone knows that doors get jammed sometimes in the monsoon season due to moisture," Mark said in his defense.
"It's winter," Lisa giggled.
"Okay okay.....Now, please, both of you, don't worry me. Making mistakes is human," he cried.
Finally, the blaming session was over. Emily was silently eyeing everything kept in the room. Her eyes paused near the closet. A shadow quivered on the wall as the candle flickered, then vanished.
In a low voice, Mark confessed, "I know what you are thinking Emily. Even I noticed it."
"What ?" Lisa asked.
"A shadow," he said.
"Must be one of us," she said. Emily looked at her, "No! It's not one of us... ! Let's see whose it is, " Mark was ready to investigate.
The three of them went into the corridor. Both the girls had lighted some candles. As they stepped forward, a faint whistling sound came and the candles blew out.
"How did this happen ?" Lisa was scared.
"Now this wasn't the wind I suppose," answered Emily.
Suddenly, the floor started to shake violently. Lisa bumped her head against the wall and lost consciousness. The door of a room opened and she slipped inside it.
Mark and Emily caught hold of each other's hand and ran to the end of the corridor as fast as they could. The door of a room was visible to them. They tripped as they flung the door open and came out.
"A Graveyard?" Emily shuddered. While Mark was dusting his clothes, he heard a piercing cry. "No!" he shrieked as he saw many hands coming out of the grave ready to grab him. In no time, he was running to save himself from the uncanny things.
After a few minutes, he found a well. He stopped and drew some water to quench his thirst. A chill ran down his spine when he felt the rope circling around his field and then...he was lost in the darkness of the well. Outside, a dark figure was approaching the house. It was Jacob and he came inside to feel the warmth of the fireplace. "Sorry, for the delay friends. Did I miss something ?" He spoke in a loud voice and heard the door shut behind him...