The mysterious abandoned house niggled in the back of my mind. What was that place? Who was Miranda? Was she still there? So we decided to go back and do some more detective work.
This time we brought back-up in the form of Forager John. If there is ever a zombie apocalypse, a nuclear war, a tsunami, or some other form of disaster that would make me run for the hills, I would want to be with Forager John. Not only does he know every kind of edible plant in the woods, but he can hunt, build fires from scratch, and survive better than anyone else I know. Plus, he is a good six feet, seven inches high, and he promised to bring "gear". Our fourth friend, Emily, came as well. All four of us hiked back to the abandoned house late one afternoon. Forager John brought flashlights and a giant hatchet.
We all lowered ourselves back through the hole again, and If I thought that having a flashlight would make things less creepy this time, I was wrong. The light revealed the dead body of a cat, stretched out in front of us. We all stopped for a second. Then we saw the light glancing off of bottles and bottles of some kind of reddish-golden liquid.
We went up the basement stairs into the kitchen, out into the main hall, up the main stairway again, and back into the nursery. I showed the others Miranda's journal, and we decided fully explore the building. There was also a bit of food on the kitchen shelves.
It turned into a horror story set. First we stumbled over a little girl's dress that was ripped and covered in purple stains. Then we opened a closet door in the nursery. A tiny little bed was made up in the two by four foot space, and the words "I will be good, I will be good, I will be good..." were scrawled over and over again on the bottom half of the door. We explored the next room and found a headless doll with a dried reddish-purple hand print on it lying in the middle of the empty floor. We also found a mattress and some razor blades that looked like they had been recently moved there.
All of us were feeling sick at this point, and Forager John declared that it was a set-up, but we were all happy to go back downstairs again.
Downstairs we found our way to a high-ceilinged room with a fireplace and mouldy red velvet curtains stretching from the ceiling to floor. Half expecting Miss Havisham to walk in, we stood quietly by the empty fireplace grate. It was dark in the room except for the glow of John's flashlight. Suddenly, we heard a strange whining noise that caused the hair on the back of my neck to stand up and my heart to almost stop beating. Forager John's large figure was lit up by the flashlight with the axe frozen in mid-air above his head as he listened. None of us moved until the sound stopped. He lowered the weapon and declared it was either raccoons in the walls or coyotes outside on the property.
At this point, we realized that no glints of light were coming through the cracks in the boarded up windows and that the sun had set. We decided to leave through the basement window and go home.