By: Jessilyn Rich
The air felt stiff and musty, clinging to the air like a tart’s perfume on the bed sheets in the morning. The moisture sat on my lungs, squashing out the air within them as fresh air tried to run to my aid through the open door behind me. I stepped onto the wooden floorboard. My heart jumping as it creaked beneath my boot. The sound echoed off the walls and disappeared down the hall ahead of me. The room was silent, but I could almost feel the creak lingering in the corner of the ceiling, waiting for me to step again. It was watching me, waiting to see if I would turn and run. My eyes scanned the room, my head unmoving. No one had been inside this room for decades, it was just old, abandoned and forgotten. Cobwebs hung from the rafters, glittering ever so slightly from the sunlight trying to creep through the boarded-up windows. The icy wind blowing in from the cracks in the glass and wood shook the sheets that were laid over the furniture. The dust atop them seemed to cling instead of take flight. Dust rested on every surface as far as the eye could see.
The open door slammed shut behind me. I whirled around to be faced with hard cold wood and almost complete darkness. The latch had made a lethal noise upon meeting the lock. The metal handle felt frigid in my hands as I tried to lift it and force the door back open again. I should have used something heavier to hold the door open. I knew it when I had done it, but I had been in such a hurry to go inside. The latch wouldn’t budge. It was old and rusted from years of neglect and was now seeking its revenge on anyone foolish enough to let it close.
The air suddenly felt cold. The wind through the cracks suddenly felt more frigid against my pants. My jacket was doing nothing to keep out the sudden cold. I moved to the nearest window while the creaking of the floor whispered from the corner of the ceiling. The glass of the window panes was cracked and broken, shards seemed to dangle from the frame, threatening to drop at any moment. I pushed on one of the boards nailed to the outside through a missing pane in the frame, but it held strong. My blood pressure rose as I began to throw my weight against my hands trying to force the board free. Glass tinkled against the movement, threatening me, warning me. I kept on frantically pushing until finally the shards let go of their frame and crashed to the floor below. I couldn’t see them in the darkness, but I could feel them pelt my boots like hail. Something shifted in the darkness behind me.