The BonfireA sudden gust of wind made the fire grow, adding more warmth to us.
It was the middle of November, and the trees were a mix of colors. Even in the dull glow of the fire, you could make out the oranges and yellows of the leaves.
We were sitting around a tall bonfire my friend Mitchell had made, and twenty or so people showed up to hang out. All in all, it was a great party. Roasting our own hotdogs, and the smores were to die for. There was only about ten of us left, and we were all crowded onto two logs, talking.
Then, there was a long howl. It was far off in the distance, but we all looked around nervously, anyway.
"You know what we should do?" Mitchell asked, popping a marshmellow in his mouth.
"What?" Chelsea, his girlfriend, asked.
He wiggled his eyebrows. "Ghost stories."
We all laughed and cheered. This was going to be good.
"Okay, I have one," Chelsea said.
We all leaned in a little closer to her, to hear her over the constant wind.
+++Authors Note: I hope you enjoyed the first chapter! Comment and recommend it to your friends! Thanks:)
"A few years ago, four campers stayed in this forest," she gestured around her. "They were having a good time, laughing and goofing off. They started drinking and as the night came to an end, they split into two seperate tents. Well, it was around two in the morning when they heard it."
"Heard what?" James asked, taking a swig of his beer.
Chelsea sighed. "I'm getting there! Anyway, the campers in one tent woke up because they heard a scream. It sounded alot like his friends scream from the other tent. So him and his friend jumped out of the tent to check on their friend. They saw the other campers had done the same thing and thought it was the others. They brushed it off, and went back to their tents, thinking that the alcohol was still working. The same thing happened again, and they all rushed to check each other. But thye were fine, so they went back to sleep. By this time, they were sure someone was pulling a prank. So when they heard the scream again, they didn't check. They ignored it and went back to sleep."
We all looked at each other, getting a little ansy.
"Well, the campers woke up the next morning to find the other tent empty. All that it had was two pairs of bloody handprints on the side," Chelsea smiled.
"Lame!" James called.
We all chuckled.
"Oh yeah? Do you have a better one?" Mitchell asked, wrapping his arm around Chelsea's waist.
As he began his story, I saw a shadow on the edge of the woods. At first, I thought I was imagining it. But as the figure grew closer, I realized I wasn't. I nudged Jill who sat beside me and pointed at the figure. Her eyes widened, but then she smiled. "It's one of Derek's friends. His name is Parker."
I nodded. He entered the glow of the fire, and Derek jumped up. "Hey, man. What took you so long?"
Parker smiled as he took a seat almost directly across from me. "I got held up."
Parker had curly brown hair that was cut just above his eye brows and green eyes. I couldn't stop watching him. He had an amazing smile, completely open and warm.
He was hot, I decided.
He caught my gaze, and gave me a small smile. I blushed and ducked my head.
James finished his story and we all groaned.
"That was so stupid, James," Andy said.
We all agreed, raising our cups.
James shrugged. "It's hard to tell a story when your drunk."
We raised our cups again.
"I have one," Parker said.
I looked up, he licked his lips and smiled.
We all leaned in closer to him, knowing this one had to be good. He waited for us to get settled before starting.
"I'm sure you've all heard of Derby Mansion," he said.
There was a chorus of groans from the crowd.
"Not this one again!" Mitchell yelled, running a hand through his dirty blonde hair.
"Yeah, don't you have a better one, Park?" Derek said.
Parker just rolled his eyes. "I bet you haven't heard this version."
We all grew silent again.
"The story goes, that this mansion was owned by a family named the Derby's. Mr. John Derby built the house for his family to own and pass down and hopefully start many families in it. And it did. Generation after generation of children started their families in this house. And the oldest boy always inhereted the land. In the 1800's, the current owner died, leaving his son, William Derby, the mansion. William was only 18, didn't have a wife, or any kids, so he stayed in the house alone," he paused. Then a smile grew across his face. "Then along came Katrina Porter. The minute William saw her in the town store, he fell in love. He introduced himself, and they fell madly in love with one another. People say there was never a better match. They got married pretty quickly and two months later, Katrina was pregnant."
James let out laugh. "Well, we know what they did in that big ol' house."
We laughed, thankful for the break from the tale.
"Anyway," Parker glared at James. "Katrina was pregnant. William was the happiest man alive. He would come straight from working in the feild to be home with his wife and unborn child," the smile disappeared from Parker's face. "The time came to have the baby... and it died at birth."
I sucked in a breath.
"Both of them were absolutely destroyed. Katrina didn't come out of her room for days. Not even to eat. William spent all of his time working, and came straight home to go to bed," Parked trailed off for awhile.
"And?" Mitchell asked, suddenly caught up in the story. "Did they just give up?"
"Would you just let me tell the story?" Parker asked. "But no, after awhile, they decided to try again... And again... And again. But just as they were about to lose hope, Katrina went to see a palm reader."
James snorted, and we all hushed him.
"The woman told Katrina that if Katrina decided to try again, then she would have a child. But... The child would be different. Of course, Katrina didn't care she was just so excited to finally have a child that she disregarded the psychic's last words. So, nine months later, she gave birth to a baby girl and named her Cassandra. Everything was great for years after Cassandra was born. William and Katrina gave Cassandra everything a child could ever ask for. Then, around Cassandras fourteenth birthday, things started to go wrong."
"What do you mean?" Chelsea asked.
"Well, things started... happening. When Cassandra was mad, things would fly off shelves or break. When she was happy, the lights would grow brighter in the room. When she was sad, everything dulled and shook. It was as if she was controlling it."
Mitchell interuppted. "So, Cassandra was a witch?"
Parker nodded. "Bingo. Well, considering this is the South, and it was the early 1800's, that didn't blow over to well with the neighbors when they found out what was happening."
"How did everybody find out?" James asked, when he got interested was beyond me.
"One of the servants there, one of the ones that spent alot of time with Cassandra, went and spilled everything to the ladies of the town. The ladies told their friends and they all told their husbands. It caused a huge outbreak in the town. But, William and Katrina were very influental people and so when they told everybody the servant had made it up, everyone listened. Things died down, William and Katrina kept Cassandra under lock and key, never letting her leave the house. Well, that made Cassandra even madder. Things were constantly breaking. Thunderstorms never stopped. It was just a mess. And things just kept getting weirder and weirder. Katrina started sleep walking, almost every night. She would walk to her balcony and just stand there. Every night, she would get a little bit closer to the edge. Poor William had to bring her back to bed she was so out of it. It happened every night. Now, during the same time Cassandra's mom was sleepwalking, Cassandra would leave the house to meet her boyfriend."
"This is a really long story," Andy said, stretching his legs.
"Yeah, well. I'm getting to the good part. So, Cassandra would sneak out to see this boy when her mom was sleepwalking. The day before Cassandra's fifteenth birthday, her boyfriend was shot and killed."
I gasped along with the group.'
"It was an accidental shooting. A farmer mistook her boyfriend for an animal in the woods and shot, killing him. Obviously, that didn't go over to well with Cassandra. Immediately after she heard the news, she snuck into town late at night and found the farmer in his home. And she killed him. Didn't even touch the poor soul. Just looked at him, and he died," he glanced at all of us. "Cassandra felt guilty right away. She didn't want anyone to find out what she had done, so she left in a hurry. In her hurry to get out the door, her locket fell. It was her signature locket, I may add. It had the family symbol on it, so when the farmers next door neighbor saw it, he knew immediately it was the work of the witch, Cassandra. He told all the men of the town to grab their pitchforks and torches, and they marched."
I shivered, seeing the image in my head.
"They marched all the way to Derby mansion. Now, remember Katrina had been sleepwalking about this time. Cassandra was a spitting image of her mom, about the same height and everything. So, when the men saw what looked exactly like Cassandra, what do you think they did?" He looked at us.
"They shot her," I said.
Parker nodded. "They killed Katrina. William heard the gunshot and ran to his wife's side. He just kept screaming, 'Katrina, Katrina!' and the men realized what they had done. But they also realized the witch was still alive. They told William he had one minute to get out of the house and save himself. William didn't move, he was too either too stunned or had already given up. Cassandra appeared by her fathers side a couple seconds later, and they sent in men to grab her, to spare William. So, the men came up and tried to take Cassandra. William put up one hell of a fight though, before one finally knocked him out. They dragged Cassandra too the nearest tree, the one in the back yard, and made a noose. Cassandra just cried and cried. Didn't put up a fight, didn't use her powers."
"And..." Mitchell asked.
Parker swallowed. "They hung her. Right there, in her own backyard."
"What happened to the dad?" Chelsea asked.
"Shot himself. He couldn't handle not having in family left," Parker shook his head.
"Poor guy," Mitchell muttered.
Parker nodded. "People who go there say you can still see Katrina sleepwalking, and William calling her name. And Cassandra's still there too. Things will fly off the shelves or break or just do weird things. There have been people who go and stay the night, and terrible things happen to them."
Nobody had anything to add. We just sat there, letting the story sink in. A few people left until it was just me, Jill, Derek, Mitchell, Chelsea, James and Parker.
Parker came and sat beside me. "I don't think I caught your name."
I smiled. "I'm Anna," I tucked a peice of my curly black hair behind my ear and took another sip of my drink.
"Well, Anna. I was about to head home, do you need a ride?" He asked.
I nodded, knowing Jill wouldn't mind me leaving. "Yeah, that would be great, thanks."
"Hey guys," James yelled. "We should go."
"Sit down James, you're too drunk too even stand," Mitchell said.
"We should go to the," he hiccuped, "Derby place."
We all irrupted into yelling, everyone saying no.
"What? Are you chicken?" He said mockingly.
My gaze met Chelsea's who looked at Mitchell, who looked at Jill, who looked at Derek, and we all winced. We made a pact back in the seventh grade, when we started hanging out. If someone calls you chicken because you won't do something, you have to do it, or else forever be a chicken.
"Fine." Mitchell said. "You guys in?"
Parker looked at all of us, wide eyed. "Are you guys insane?"
"I'm in," I said, surprising myself.
Everyone agreed, one by one.
So, it was settled. Details would be figured out later, but right now, we knew what was happening. We were going to spend the night in a haunted mansion.