[Fiction] Friday Challenge #150 for April 9th, 2010
A child walks in to a resident haunted house and is transported to another time.
Jake loved the idea of being able to escape into other worlds. The back of wardrobes and any hole in the ground was explored on the off chance that there was something else behind the veil. Even though he knew there would be nothing there, he always wanted to believe that there might be something. When he couldn’t find that magical doorway, he created them on paper. While Jake preferred exploring the recesses of his mind, his best friend Peter was more enthusiastic about just being outside.
“Let’s go check out the old abandoned Jenkin’s place. They say it’s haunted. We’ll pretend it’s just like a horror movie.”
Two torches, a length of rope, two comics, two apples and a backpack later, the boys traipsed through the vacant block of land adjacent to the creek.
“Scared?” said Pete.
“Nah. You?” lied Jake.
“Nah. What you been up to this week?”
“Dad just gave me The Talk last night. It’s just wrong; you know what I’m saying. He was all um’s and ah’s and awkward, but at least he got the mechanics right. I think I understand more from watching Desperate Housewives or nature docos. And he kept humming this tune to himself and smiling. Just so wrong.”
They stopped talking as they trekked through the long grass at the back of the Jenkin’s place until they stood at the back door. The handle was brass and gleamed like it was brand new, despite the decrepit nature of the rest of the house. Jake took hold of it and pushed down on the lever. The hinges whispered as the door swung clear. Jake snuck through the gap. Pete heard a quiet sucking sound, followed by a distinct “pop.” He pushed the door fully open and saw nothing but empty space. The dust on the floor showed Jake’s footprints but they only went as far as two steps in. Not even a shadow of Jake remained.
Jake stumbled blindly in darkness until his nose made a connection with something solid. He ran his hands along the surface until his hands found purchase and he pushed. When it didn’t work, he tried moving it to one side. A door slid open, exposing Jake to this new world. Through the window to his left he could see he was some way up in an apartment block.
Everything looked vaguely familiar yet looked a little bit older than he was. It was a plain coloured room with a desk and computer opposite the door he had exited. Jake looked behind him from where he had come and jumped at his own reflection in the mirror of the built-in wardrobe. Sidling over to the desk he marvelled at the age of the computer; a translucent purple Apple desktop. He picked up a mobile sitting beside the computer.
“This is so old it doesn’t even have a camera in it,” said Jake. Putting it back down, he noticed the desk calendar, like his father had at home. It was a daily flip calendar, with the date boldly stating, November 25, 1997. He turned and scanned the adjacent shelves for anything to corroborate what he saw. All the CDs on the shelf confirmed the date.
“Spice Girls,” he sniggered. “Where’s all the new stuff?”
The door leading out of the room was closed. He listened intently for any sound and when he was convinced there was no one home, he ventured out. The apartment was not overly spacious, but roomy enough.
“Where’s the flat-screen telly?” Jake saw no evidence of there being children. The sound of laughter and a key in the lock sent Jake scurrying for cover.
A young couple entered and headed for the kitchen where the woman began unpacking takeaway food containers from a plastic bag. The setting of dinner was interrupted by the young man sweeping the woman off her feet and carrying her passed Jake’s hiding place into the bedroom.
“But the food will go cold,” said the woman.
“That’s why there are microwaves.”
The strains of Foo Fighters “My Hero” pumped out of a stereo. That’s Mum and Dad’s favourite song, thought Jake. They always smile whenever they hear this song. In adolescent curiosity he peeked towards the room and saw a writhing tangle of nakedness, but quickly averted his eyes. Trying to find something else to look at he scanned the room he was in and saw a framed portrait on the dresser. He recognised the couple immediately. His parents’ wedding photo.
Jake’s eyes widened like dinner plates as his pubescent mind began to join the dots and draw for him a picture that was something that nightmares shrink away from.
Jake took off back into the wardrobe from where he had come and knocked Pete clear off his feet.
“Dude, where have you been? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“Nah man, something far worse and hideous than you can possibly believe. I. Saw. My. Parents. Having. Sex!”