haunted house

When I was a kid, there was a haunted house at the end of my street, and we'd dare each other to run up to it and touch the side. So much fear went into those little rituals--the rest of us standing at the sidewalk, as far as we could stand without actually being in the street, or too far to see.

"Did you do it?" we'd ask when our unfortunate comrade returned, invariably panting--was it from running, or was it from fear? They'd nod. They couldn't talk. Sometimes when it was me, I'd say that I heard noises coming from inside. Some of my friends thought I was lying. To the rest, this made me much cooler. Encouraged, I kept telling these stories. And somewhere down the line, I started believing them--or at least wishing they were true.

My friends all grew out of it, but not me. I stayed on that street. At nights I'd sneak out and go to the house, and sit inside. I'd swear I could hear or feel a ghost there. It was secret, sacred, mine. Throughout high school I only ever told a few people about it. Mostly they didn't understand, so eventually I stopped. I knew it was just for me.

I moved off for college, and discovered it had been destroyed when I came back. They'd built a spec house in its place, all soulless and generic. I broke into it, but there was nothing there. So I started exploring lost and abandoned places, looking for my ghost. Sometimes I thought maybe I'd found it, but the feeling was fleeting. Some of the ghosts out there didn't like my searching.

But I kept on. We had something, and I wasn't going to give that up.

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