“Okay, okay,” started David. “Well, I’ve got one for you. Didn’t you all say that Mr. Armstrong had brought up the story of ‘Whispering Manor’ today in class?” He stopped long enough to catch all of their nods that they did agree. “Well I have a story that happened after that massacre, the next year the students returned.” He knew they were listening, after all it was the story of the manor that prompted this evening and even Kevin, who had seemed distant up to this point, had found his attention drawn to David and a new twist in the story.
Accepting their readiness to hear the tale, he began. “Now, like I said, it began the year the students returned to Crestwood,” he said standing himself up as he motioned for the others to follow his lead. He continued the story as he spread them apart at arm’s length and began to blow out the candles, one by one. Leslie begged him to leave one lit, but he wouldn’t.
“A group of students had gotten together one night and decided to take a walk over to the manor and check it out. They decided to at least wait until it was late enough that none of the regular school staff would be out and about, stopping them in their quest. So, at about eleven-thirty, they all started their walk towards the manor. Now, as you know yourselves, they can follow Crestwood Drive until it turns towards the library, then you can take the brick walkway that leads past the sorority houses and finally wind back to the Crestwood manor. They could see the place fall into view as they finished walking around the last curve in the walk way, clearing the trees. They were all walking toward the house when one of the girls thought she heard something.
“I can see you,” David said as he passed by Leslie in the darkness, making her jump and take in a deep, sharp breath. She had heard that herself before, or at least she thought.
David continued. “The girl wasn’t sure where she heard it from, but she heard it. They all stood in the darkness trying to make out the features of the house. But even by straining their eyes in the moon light, they couldn’t make out much of the house or its surrounding buildings. However, they all agreed that they could feel something odd about this place. They could all feel a pulse alive and beating, like a heart. After a little time had passed they agreed that other that the creepy feeling that this place gave off it was still just the old Fraternity house and that they didn’t need to go any farther. They all began to turn around as they heard, ‘I can see you’. David passed by Ken and Andrea.
“They had all heard it that time. However, not wanting to stick around much longer, they all started walking again, just a little faster than before. ‘I can see you”. Walking this time between Jesse and Casey, causing one of them to jerk when David went on.
“This time someone heard something when they stopped. They thought it was a door shutting. “I can see you,” he whispered in Brian’s ear, causing Brian to jump and almost punch David in the mouth. “I can see you, he said again as he passed behind them all.
“The students could hear it. Someone was walking out of the house. They heard the footsteps as whatever it was walked closer and closer to them. “I can see you,” David was in front of them now. “I can see you,’ it said, ‘I can see you’ It was right behind them,” David said as he snuck in the darkness to stand behind the group for added effect. “I can see you,” he said again as he tip-toed in front of them, ready to finish. He continued, “With the horror of what could possibly be behind them, one by one the students slowly began to turn around to see what was after them when…AHHH!” David screamed as loud as he could, and realized so did everyone in the room. Laughing hard and almost unable to walk straight, David turned on the living room lights, looking around the room at their faces. He realized it wasn’t as funny to them as he thought it was. The guys were holding their chests and heads. The girls were doing pretty much the same except for the fact they were all huddled together. Leslie was shaking badly and it looked as though she was about to have a break down. Tears were already filling her eyes.
“Oh my goodness, Leslie,” Andrea said, reaching over to try and comfort her, “What’s wrong? She asked as she put an arm around her.
Leslie just shook her head as if to say nothing was wrong, but she knew that she looked ridiculous sitting there the way she was. She knew she didn’t look like nothing was wrong.
David walked over to her, sat on the couch arm nearest her and tried to apologize. “Sorry Les, I mean, I didn’t think that that story would bother anyone. I’m sorry if I’ve upset you.”
“It’s okay, David. I’m just paranoid, I guess. Those dreams and stuff that’s been going on have just got me jumpy. I just don’t feel well.”
Leslie had said enough. She was sick now, and if she didn’t get to the bathroom, she thought they all might see the pizza she had already eaten. She stood up, excused herself and headed for the bathroom.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Amber thanked the librarian for helping her find the books she needed as she placed them in her bag and headed towards the door.
“Just around the corner, and I’m there,” she said as she walked through the doors of the library and faced Crestview Drive. A cool evening wind passed by her sending goose willies all over her body.
Once back out on the sidewalk she heard the familiar clicking of her boots on the pavement, creating the same echoing response in the silence around her, comforting her somewhat by breaking the stale void, yet running through her, like the thought of sliding down a razor blade into a pool of alcohol. Listening to her own steps brought to her attention what sounded like someone else was behind her. Maybe someone else leaving the library, she thought, but then remembering the fact that, besides the librarians, she was the last one out brought her feet slowly to a stop, seeming to cause whoever was behind her to cease also. She could feel her heart pounding so hard that she thought it was going to bust through her chest and splat against the hard, cool cement. With a jerk of adrenalin she turned to look into the shadows behind her. The slight breeze that had been blowing when she walked out of the library was still rustling the leaves and limbs of the nearby shrubs and trees, making shadows bounce across the walkway. The full moon illuminated open areas but confined the corners to darkness. She couldn’t see anyone behind her and to be completely honest she didn’t see or hear anyone around her.
“Maybe it’s just the echo of my own shoes I heard,” she said quietly to herself as she turned back around and started back toward the turn. One way lead to the dorms and apartments while the other went passed the sorority houses. She was only about a block away from the turn when she heard it again. She knew it wasn’t her footsteps. The others were closer and they fell out of sync with her own.
She panicked and started to run, tripping as she dropped her book bag under her feet. She hit the ground hard, knocking the air from her lungs. She saw the slight shadow cover her. She tried to scream but not even enough air to breathe came out of her open, bleeding mouth. Tears filled her eyes. She knew. Just as it pierced her back and busted through her heart. She knew.