It was love at first sight. I know it sounds shallow, but that was what it had been. I didn’t even care that the neighbors had already warned me about him.
When I first walked past that old, creepy house with two stories, I caught a glimpse of him. He was watching me from one of the windows on the first floor. My first reaction was to gasp and turn around to run. Strange, my steps felt slow. Only a few steps away, I suddenly heard him calling to me:
“Wait, don’t go.”
Idiot, I silently cursed at myself for obeying him. Curiosity got the better of me, so I turned around. That was the moment our eyes met…and my breath stopped for a few seconds.
He was the most handsome guy I’d ever seen. Soft dark hair, pale complexion, and chocolate brown eyes. A sweet smile that sparkled his eyes. Medium height, lean, in a simple white shirt and dark trousers.
“Where were you going?” he asked me. Even his voice matched his looks – sweet, soft, almost musical to my ears. I grinned sheepishly, feeling slightly embarrassed.
“Why did you almost run?”
“Uh…I thought…you were…,” I didn’t know what to say. “I mean…that old house behind you…”
“Ah, that!” The guy understood quickly and laughed. “It’s just an abandoned old house. Nobody takes care of it, so I can come and go as I please. Nobody seems to want to buy that house.”
“Don’t you know that the house is…haunted?”
He grinned. “I don’t believe in superstitions,” he said with a shrug. “I mean, I’ve been in it many times and so far so good. I’ve never seen anything like ghosts and stuff. It’s safe.”
“Oh.” Okay, so I was convinced. That day, we ended up shaking hands and telling each other our names. Since the sun was almost down, I told him that I had to go home. My parents had already been waiting for me.
“We’re still on school holiday, right?” When I nodded to answer his question, he said, “Wanna meet here again sometime, if not tomorrow? Just for a talk?”
“Okay.” He smiled. I smiled back at him, before turning around to walk away. After a few more steps away from that house, I turned around to wave at him.
He was already gone.
Oh, well. Perhaps he’d already gone home too. I didn’t think much of it.
“A neighbor saw you stop by at that house yesterday,” Mom said the next day. She was frowning. “Please be careful.”
“Aww, come on, Ma,” I protested. “Those are just stories.”
“We’d better not risk it.”
I sighed. Living in a neighborhood full of superstitions had always been interesting. It didn’t matter how educated and rational one could be.
Long story short, that house used to belong to a rich family before a murder took place there. The couple had had a fight before the wife ended up dead. Somehow, their only son had been mysteriously missing after that. Nobody could find him up until now.
Some people had bought and lived in that old house before. Unfortunately, none of them lasted. After a week or two, they decided to move out while trying to sell that house back.
So, that was how the house ended up abandoned. It sounded like another horror story cliché, right? Old and creepy-looking house, with an unsolved mystery as its background history.
That guy was so brave, by the way. I’d like to meet him again there, but quietly. I didn’t want Mom to hear the same thing from another snitching neighbor…
“Hey, you’re back.”
I smiled at him when we finally met up in front of that house again the next afternoon. He extended his hand and I welcomed it. We went into that house. Not much we did that day, just sitting and talking. He was so enjoyable to hang out with. We talked about ourselves, our hobbies, school, and family stuff. He was the same age as I was.
I felt so sorry when he told me about his quarreling parents. No wonder he looked so lonely. He nodded sympathetically when I told him about my overprotective parents. I’d wanted to be independent, but Mom always had second thoughts about my ability. I hated that.
“I guess it’s good that we’ve found each other,” he said softly, his eyes boring into mine. My heart skipped a few beats. “It’s like…it’s meant to be.”
I laughed a little nervously. “Aww, I don’t know.”
“I do.” We fell silent as we watched the sky changing colors from blue to magenta. The sun was coming down again, which reminded me of something. I got up from my seat.
“Okay, I’ve gotta go,” I told him lightly. “Mom will be angry if I return home late again-“
“What? No,” he objected. He got up from his seat too, frowning. Suddenly, he looked so lost and scared. “You don’t have to go. You can stay.”
“No, I have to go-“ I felt his cold, tight grip around my wrist. When I turned around, my scream was stuck in my throat in pure horror.
His once angelic handsomeness had slowly turned…showing his true disfigured form. His voice now sounded so strange and hollow:
“Stay. You can’t leave. I’m so lonely here…”
And I should’ve listened to the neighbors…and obeyed Mom…