I think my treehouse is haunted - Chap 5
Okay, tonight is the night.
I’m gonna time code this entry. If it works, it might be something to keep the details of, like a science experiment.
So, I’ve got three of the heavy white candles in my backpack. Plus the container of salt I swiped from the pantry.
I’m writing this on the laptop at my desk. If I look up, I’m staring straight through a big window that faces the backyard, the giant oak tree, and the treehouse.
The sun is about to go down. Mom and I just had dinner together, and she seemed weird, like distracted. I made sure not to do or say anything that would worry her, but she was worried anyway.
“How are you doing?” she’d asked, sitting down across from me as I ate. Watching me.
“Fine,” I’d said, maybe a bit too enthusiastically. I dipped my grilled cheese into the hot tomato soup, took a big bite and smiled at her. “Why?”
She tried to smile back, but it didn’t really work. I could tell she was bothered. Nervous. Like she wanted to ask me something.
“I think you’ve lost weight,” she said. Which, to be fair, is probably true. I haven’t been eating well. And, being honest, I haven’t been sleeping too well, either. Not since the time I was in the treehouse that night, when I’d fallen asleep and woken to the bleeding man talking to the little girl; her timid, frightened responses as I ran away.
Plus, these last weeks, I’d been focused on my plan. On releasing the girl so she could move on. Stop reliving her terrible death.
I guess, for a kid my age, maybe it’s a lot to take in. A lot to accept. And maybe it was making me anxious. I had nightmares almost every night, and lately I’ve noticed my hands shaking for no reason, or the repeated tug of a weird twitch on my left temple. My grades have been slipping, and I haven’t been hanging out with my friends much.
Okay, at all.
It’s like all I can think about lately is the treehouse. About the restless spirit that lives there. Her stifled screams. Her terror.
“I’m fine,” I said, repeating myself. “I’ll try to eat more.”
Thankfully, Mom let it go. I forced down the rest of the soup, hoping it would make her relax. But the truth was I couldn’t wait to get away from the table. To put my plan into action.
And now, at my desk, writing all this down so that… well, I guess so that if something goes wrong, I want people to know what I’ve been dealing with. What I’ve experienced. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared, but I try to remind myself that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Her ghost has never so much as looked at me. All she does is play dolls and hum that crazy, weird tune.
And the bleeding man, like I’ve said, is just an extension of her. I’m sure of it. Her way of showing me what happened. Of what she has to live through again, and again, and again.
But tonight, very soon, that ends.
I just need to wait for the sun to finish going down. Until it’s full dark. Then I’ll go out there, up the ladder, and into the treehouse. I’ll exorcise her. Drive her away so she can be at peace.
I know I can do this. I just know it.
The sun’s down now. Nothing out there but a dark red horizon. From my window, the treehouse is a giant shadow amid the blowing leaves and creaking branches of the big oak tree.
It’s time to go.
Wish me luck.
Shit shit shit shit shit motherfucking SHIT!
I screwed up. I screwed up big time. I got it all wrong. I got it ALL WRONG.
I’m back at my desk, but I don’t have much time.
Okay, I just looked out my window. All the lights in my room are turned off, so I can see the treehouse pretty good. No one came down the ladder. No one followed me.
Oh my god I really messed up.
But I think it’s safe. I think.
I need to put down what happened. I need to tell you guys. Someone needs to know.
Like twenty minutes ago, I grabbed my backpack and went out to the backyard. I had my phone, a box of matches, the candles, and the salt. All of it in my backpack.
The electric lantern was already up there, but I wasn’t too worried about that. My plan was to light the candles, throw salt fucking everywhere, especially on the floor where the girl always sits, and at the corner where the bleeding man usually appears.
There’s hardly any moon tonight, and when you’re under the tree, looking up at the floor of the treehouse, at that black square at the top of the ladder, it’s so dark you can hardly see anything at all. But I didn’t want to risk a light in case my mom happened to look out the kitchen window and notice me. I didn’t want her to worry.
It was windy. A cold wind that reminded me of Halloween, of the beginning of winter. The tree was making a lot of noise. More than normal. Creaking and swaying. The rope ladder swinging in the breeze. The wood handles tied to the rope were cold to the touch. But I grabbed on and started climbing.
Up toward that black square.
I pulled myself inside, and immediately felt a little better. The walls did a good job of blocking the wind, and even with the windows it wasn’t too cold in there. I crawled, all but blind, toward my sleeping bag in the corner.
I couldn’t see a damn thing. It was literally pitch black. But that was okay, I knew what to do, and had been in there enough to know my way around, even in the dark.
I slung off my backpack and sat down on the sleeping bag, my back tucked into the corner. I unzipped the pack and pulled out the three candles, the box of wood matches, and the cylinder of salt.
I took a couple deep breaths. I was confident that this would fix things. I wasn’t scared.
I set one of the candles on the floor in front of me, figuring I’d light one and then spread the others around. Wait until the little girl appeared – if she wasn’t already there, sitting in the dark and playing with her dolls – and then spread the salt everywhere. I hoped that the salt wouldn’t hurt her. Like garlic on vampires or something. The image of her smoking and screaming was an awful thing to think about, so I shoved it away.
It wouldn’t be like that.
This would work.
I slid open the box of matches and pulled one out.
I was just getting ready to strike it, when I heard the bleeding man speak.
“Don’t be scared.”
I froze. The hand holding the match, even though I couldn’t see it – couldn’t see anything – started shaking. My teeth began to chatter, so I clenched my jaw hard.
His voice came from that near corner, the way it always did.
I decided to ignore him. I would finish this.
Willing my hand to steady, I struck the match against the side of the box.
It flared. I quickly turned my head to the left. I wanted to see him, but the match fizzled and went out almost immediately.
Here’s what I saw: the shadow of a man. A flash of white teeth. Like he was smiling.
“Do you live here?” he said.
I knew this dialogue by heart now, and I refused to let it frighten me to hear it again.
I dropped the spent match, cursing under my breath, and pulled out another. I started to strike it against the side of the box…
My hand hovered in mid-air. My breath was trapped in my chest, and I felt a burning in my throat. I was like a statue, there in the dark. Frozen in time.
Because, right then, I realized something.
I realized that something was wrong*.*
Something was missing.
The little girl wasn’t humming. I didn’t hear the strange tune that she made – that she always made – when playing in the treehouse.
I stared at what I’d begun to think of as “her side” of the treehouse, and I was right. There was no humming sound. Just the dark.
But that wasn’t all.
There had been no reply. She hadn’t answered the man’s questions like she always did.
She hadn’t said anything at all.
Because the little girl wasn’t there.
And the man wasn’t speaking to her.
He was speaking to me.
I threw the candle as hard as I could toward the sound of the voice and scrambled for the opening. I heard a grunt, but not the sound of the candle hitting the wall. Because it hit something else. Something made of flesh and blood.
I threw my legs over the hole and dropped, not even thinking about the ladder.
I landed, ten feet later, and my legs buckled. I slammed down onto my side against the hard, cold ground. My breath shot out of me, and my ankle hurt bad, but I didn’t care. All I cared about was that black square above me, about the thick shadow putting a foot on the top rung of the ladder.
I got to my feet and sprinted for the house. I threw open the sliding door and ran straight for my bedroom. I slammed the door shut and turned the little lock on the handle.
Only a few seconds passed while I ran from the door to the window, and the lights of my bedroom were still turned off. I looked through the window, into the backyard, at the treehouse. I waited to see a shadow moving across the yard, or to see someone staring back at me through the glass, eyes wide and feverish and angry.
But I didn’t see anyone. Just the empty backyard, filled with shadows.
After a few minutes, I started to calm down. I sat in my chair and wiggled the mouse. The laptop came on – way too bright – and I dimmed it as low as it would go.
I’ve been writing this ever since, and so far nothing has happened. Nothing…
There is something out there.
Inside the treehouse.
At one of the small windows, the one facing my room, I can see a face. A small, pale face.
It’s the little girl.
She’s never done this. She’s never acknowledged me in any way. Never once spoken to me, or even glanced at me when I’ve tried talking to her.
But now… she is.
She’s looking straight at me.
Oh fuck. She’s talking, from the window… she’s yelling something. I can’t hear…
She’s screaming. She’s screaming at me.
What’s different? What changed?
I can’t understand…
Oh god. I just heard a loud thump from the hallway. Someone’s inside the house.
A door opening.
My mom is talking to someone. She’s angry.
Who is she talking to?
I have to go. I’m sorry.
I have to see if it’s the man.
I have to see if he’s bleeding.