By Rhianna Mason
The tyres of my Bentley make a crunching noise as I enter into the gravelly driveway. Looking up at the house, I’m stunned. Its ancient spires stand dark against the moonlight menacingly, casting great long shadows down the drive. Ivory grows up one side of the mansion, criss-crossing with the cracked marble walls. High, pointed arches loom over dark windows, and the paint on the door peels away in big rolls. This must be the wrong house, it looks like something from a whole other century. There’s a weird feel about this place, like one you might get if you were walking alone at night, or if you were driving past an abandoned house in the dark.
I step out of the car and check the piece of crumpled paper in my hand. The address is the same as what’s written on the old, discoloured sign that hangs limply from door. Ok, now I’m starting to wonder what the hell is going on.
You see, I’m an 18 year old babysitter. I need money, plain and simple. Minding kids seems a good and easy way to earn it. So I recently put an add in the paper. Yesterday a letter came back with an address, a time and a child’s name. Dodgy I know, but as I said I need money, and this was the only reply I got. That’s why I’m here now.
I turn back to my car, swerving on the stones. Planning on leaving. But then the door to the mansion creaks open slowly. And from the dark, lightless hallway two figures emerge.
I take a step back in fright and shock. The man and woman walk towards me. Their pale, sallow skin illuminated by the moonlight, their mouths drooping at the sides, as though being pulled down by invisible strings. The tall, angular figures limp slightly, like stiff toys that haven’t been played with in years. They’re both dressed like they’re going to a 19th century ball. As they walk silently towards me, I cant help the chill that makes the hairs on my neck stand up. I pull my jacket tighter around me as the cold night air bites at my nose and fingertips.
When they reach me, the woman opens dry lips and says with a voice like sandpaper, “our daughter is in the house. We will pay you when we come back later”. With that they continue past me. By the time I snap out of my frozen state, I turn around to find the long drive empty. Where did they go? There’s no car in the drive apart from mine and the nearest house is miles away.
This just doesn’t feel right. But they said there’s a child in the house. As much as I’d like to leave, if there is a child in the house I have to go in there. I can’t leave it alone in there, anything could happen to it. My conscience wins out, and with my mind made up I step towards the darkened doorway. Though I can’t help but feel a sense of forbidding….. And the feel of eyes watching me.
I shift my position on the armchair, sending a cloud of dust into the air. I look down at my phone, the only source of light in the room. I learnt quickly that none of the lights in the mansion work. So here I am sitting in the living room, in the dark, with only the greenish light from my phone to remind me of where I am. Speaking of my phone, it’s not working, there’s no signal. I’m alone with the child. The girl, who is totally fine with the darkness, who is off in another room playing with her dolls.
The silence is unnerving be told, I’m terrified. The house has this feel, like there’s something in here with me. Something watching me. I can feel it. The house must be centuries old; the old paintings that line the hallway are cracking and peeling, and there’s a layer of dust coating everything. So I am alone. With the smell of damp everywhere. With no sound, no sound at all. Except for my irregular heart beat, sped up by fear, ringing in my ears. You could hear a pin drop.
A sobbing cuts through the silence like a knife. I jump out of my skin with fright. The panicked wailing is long and drawn out, it seems to echo through dark the house.
‘‘Aurora” I call nervously, “Aurora what’s wrong?” there is no reply, just more wailing.
I step out from the room and into the hallway, my phone’s green light casts shadows everywhere. The type of shadows that if you stared at long enough, you could convince yourself of the monsters that cast them.
“Aurora” I call unsurely. I follow the voice through the dark, stale hallways. My footsteps echoing on the hard wooden floorboards.
I come to a room with the door slightly ajar. The wailing stops. The house is so silent, as though it is holding its breath, waiting for something bad to happen. For a moment I think maybe I imagined the scream. But then door to the room creaked open slowly. I step into the pitch black room. I have to see what’s wrong with Aurora. Something might have happened to her. So pushing back my fear I step slowly into the room. I shine my phone around the room, illuminating the pieces of furniture, one by one.
As the light reaches the corner of the room a scream erupts, piercing my head. Causing me to drop my phone face down so that I’m in darkness. I claw at the ground in the darkness for my phone desperately as the scream continues. My fingers brush cold metal and I pull upwards. Its my phone. I shine it wildly around, catching the form of a sobbing girl in the corner.
With relief there’s no axe murderer, I run over to her and touch her shoulder.
“Aurora what’s wrong?” say shakily. She tilts her head up, rubs her eyes and says quietly,
“he was watching me”.
My heart in my mouth I ask, “who was watching you?”
She looks me dead in the eye and whispers, “the clown”.
She lifts a shaky finger to point into the darkest corner of the room. I turn slowly following it, shining my light in a wide beam. Until I come to where she is pointing.
I scream. There is a clown standing there. Its eyes glinting in the eery light. Its mouth cut and stitched at the sides.
I turn back to Aurora and drag her to her feet. How are we going to get out of here?! She starts crying again. With her in my arms I turn back to where the clown was…but he is gone. As tears leak from my eyes from fear, I run from the room, my echoing footsteps mingling with Auroras wails. I run down the hallways and out the peeling front door, nearly tripping over the doorframe. My thoughts scramble around my head, but I’m too afraid to focus properly. One thought is clear in my mind though: I need to get out of here. Now.
Sprinting down the drive, feet crunching on the gravel I make it to my car. Auroras howling cries pierce the cold night air.
I throw her in the passenger seat murmuring,
“it’s ok, it’s gonna be ok”. Though I don’t know if I’m reassuring Aurora or myself. I run back around to the drivers door and get in. tears blurring my vision, I start up the car, causing the headlight to illuminate the house. And there in the doorway… is the clown. A cry rips from my throat. Then the car shuts down. The lights go off. Aurora cries harder.
I rev it up again and the same thing happens. But the clown is closer. His smile is wider. Auroras cries clog my head as I do it again, and again, and again and the clown gets closer, and closer, and closer. I fumble in my pocket for my phone, but it’s not there. I beep the horn loudly, hoping someone, anyone will hear my call for help. But the loud beep meets nothing but silence.
But this has me left in darkness for too long, and as I rev up the engine one more time the lights once again illuminate the drive. But the clown is not in front of me in the drive. I stare around wildly, my eyes blinking away tears so I can see clearer. He’s not in the drive.
As the lights die out again I sit back in my chair. I need to find my phone and ring the police.
Then I feel a cold breath on the back of my neck. I turn around and his red clown nose is inches from mine. His glassy eyes glinting, his stitched smile widening. I scream hysterically.