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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)

TITLE: The Old House and Its Secret


The Old House and Its Secret

The huge, multi-storied ancient looking house sat way too far out in the country for my comfort. Why would they send a city girl out to the country to get any kind of information? The greying sky and the misting rain added further distress to my assignment.

Reaching across the seat of the car I grabbed hold of the flashlight. I had bought the largest one in the store. Oh well, all I had to do was get to the second story front bedroom and over to the window seat.

Cautiously I climbed the weather worn steps noting their weakened state. The creaking of the porch swing, as it blew in the wind, made me wish I had stayed at home. The rusty doorknob’s
grinding sound made me more tense as I slowly turned it enough to allow the heavy wooden door to open. It moaned as it crept open enough for me to peak into the empty hallway.

The musty smell offending my nostrils assured me no one had been in the house for an extended period of time. Everything inside me warned me against crossing the thresh hold. Why hadn’t I just owned up to my being afraid of these kind of assignments?

I swallowed hard as I hesitantly entering the darkened hallway. I couldn’t help but note all of the cob webs. Spiders! And only God knew what else. Covering my face with my hanky wasn’t going to be enough to prevent my allergies from reacting to the dust that was being stirred up by the rush of wind that was blowing through the now open front door.

The landing at the head of the stairs beckoned me to climb the well worn staircase. Reaching out cautiously I tested the railing to see if it was still strong enough to support me as I made the climb.

In spite of shining the flashlight on the steps I felt a tension build in my neck muscles each time they would groan at the pressure of my weight. They left no doubt that they weren’t as strong as they had once been.

“You can do all things through Christ which strengthens you.” raced through my mind. My female side verbalized a declaration to God that if anything out of the unusual occurred I was promising He would have one hysterical female on His hands.

The rustling of the trees against the house made sounds that my mind envisioned as something they definitely weren’t but my heart raced with anticipation just the same. It was mandatory that I get this assignment completed so I could get back to town, where I belonged.

As I took a moment to regroup I scanned the landing with the help of the flash light. The wood floor showed its age from a once active household. The mouse scampering into the far left bedroom made chills run up and down my spine. “God, please help me just do what I have to and get me out of this place,” I pleaded as I entered the bedroom in question.

The room was spacious and was graced with the same wood flooring. The greying skies had relented to the full force of the pitter pat of a heavy rain. It wasn’t hard to determine that the window seat would have been a favorite spot for reading or thinking or even dreaming. As I dusted it off I ran my fingers slowly under the edge of the seat hoping to find some kind of a release button so I could see if there was indeed a small box of hidden papers on the inside. Maybe the nightmare would finally end..

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This article has been read 633 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Michelle Burkhardt04/12/07
What was under the seat?,,,,Great start to a story that I would love to finish reading.

My favorite line: "My female side verbalized a declaration to God that if anything out of the unusual occurred I was promising He would have one hysterical female on His hands."

Too cute..Nice job!

Myrna Noyes04/13/07
Suspenseful story with great descriptions! I don't like to be left hanging like this, though! Too many unanswered questions! :) Did she find the box of papers? Did she get safely back to the city? What were the papers about? This story needs to be expanded! Good writing!
Connie Pilston Shoemaker04/13/07
Who was she? What was her assignment? I agree with the gals before me. Too many unanswered questions!
Jacquelyn Horne04/13/07
Good story, but I don't see any ending here. There needs to be more. It is a good ending for a first chapter though. The writing is good. Keep writing.
Kate Grey04/14/07
I enjoyed the story. There are some technical errors, and the others are right that it didn't end or wrap anything up, but 750 words is not a lot, especially for a mystery! You held my interest. :)
Jeanette Oestermyer04/15/07
Excellent writing -- it kept me in suspense until the end--- this is a cliff hanger, but not an ending. Probably the ending of a chapter in a book. Finish this one and send it off to publishers.
God Bless,