"No! No no no no! No WAY in hell am I going into that place!" You quickly turned, shivering back under the pouring rain. Your shoes slopped messily in the mucky puddles. It had been a good thirty minutes since the others had left to get gas, and at least ten minutes since the downpour began. Jimmy Gibbs' wheels sat unattended in the mud of the dirt road; since Nick had taken the keys with him, there was nowhere else to turn to get away from the rain.
"Oh come on ___, it's the only place for miles! Besides, you'll get sicker out 'ere than in some musty ol' house." Ellis pleaded over the tattering sounds. Trying to guide you back onto the large porch way.
"House?? Are you BLIND? That place is like, a gateway to HELL!" You exclaimed. Lightning had struck poetically, as though luring the ever-so creepy ambiance to exude from your location.
Ellis glanced at you sideways. "We've been beatin' back zombies for days and yer scared of some lil' spooks?" It was the first time you'd ever felt out-weighed by Ellis' fore site. You gathered yourself, sighed roughly, then trudged towards the looming doorway.
"The others won't know where we are, wha-what if they leave without us?" You trembled as the moist, cool air fluttered from beyond the door. It had opened so slowly under Ellis' strong pull, it must not have been moved in ages.
"Ah, they gotta find shelter outa' this storm too, they'll be gone for the night." He seemed un-phased. You both entered the foyer, allowing the heavy door to shut behind you. The dimly lit room was large and ragged. Dust layered the floor, tattered wallpaper coated the walls and the sultry smell of musk tickled your nose."See? It ain't that bad." Ellis smiled as spiders and vermin critered about the unseen shadows of the wooden floorboards.
"You have GOT to be joking."
The obviously fearless southerner lit up an oil lamp, lighting up the large foyer. Shadows, cobwebs, reflections bound carelessly around as the light flickered. "This place is AWESOME! It's gotta be at least twice as big as ma's house!" His voice echoed down the endless hallway before you. A chilling breeze graced your cheeks as it vibrated back towards your ears.
"Ellis.... I hate you."
"Ah, come on ___!" He took your arm and pulled you easily down the hallway. Your heels skidded as you attempted to hold your ground. "I bet they got the biggest and fanciest beds in the world in here!" The front door disappeared into the darkness as you looked over you shoulder. You shut your eyes and kept with his pace. The end of the hallway led to a spiraling staircase that was lit by a single window half way up. Lightning was the only thing creating a source of light.
"Can we at least find a room down here, where the floor won't fall apart?" You pleaded, glancing back at the now black hall behind.
"You're not scared of heights, are ya?" Ellis started climbing. The old iron clamored and creaked beneath his boots. You clutched the rust-cached rail and followed.
"What if I was?" You inquired.
"Then I guess you get ta' sleep down there, all on your lonesome." Ellis whispered with a grin as he climbed slower.
His humor and wit was matched only by his impulsiveness. You groaned and caught up behind him.
Even though it wasn't a long climb, it almost seemed as though it would never end. The steps behind you bled into the black, as if there was no way back. You focused your attention at the sashaying folds of the workman's overalls in front of you. Somehow, the rubbing fabric soothed your pounding chest. Each pleat, crease, burn mark and tear was sweet release from the thrashing lightning and black abyss that surrounded you.
Ellis' hand roughly brushed against your comfort zone.
"What, is there a spider on me?" He kept checking his rear end, then your face for a response. It took you a long moment before you realized he caught you staring blankly at his ass. Your face bloomed bright pink.
"Wha-what? Oh, yeah! But you got him, way to go!" You gave a pathetic yet snarky wink and nudged him with your elbow before racing ahead.
Ellis stood back, double checking his rump before continuing his climb. "Can't really blame her." He smirked.
The last step was broken away, marking a climactic one foot hop across the blackness. You waited patiently for the southern boy to waltz up to you.
"Well? You ain't afraid of that TOO now are ya?" His sarcasm heated your face.
"Ellis, you don't just make a girl go through a haunted house and expect her not to be a little afraid." You scolded, as politely as possible, but the slight irritation made him smile.
"Did you want me ta' carry ya' across?" He offered, obviously poking fun at you.
You didn't bother wasting your breathe on his silly jokes, and strode across the short gap. Not forgetting to glare slightly back before continuing down the new hallway. His next step wasn't well-expected. The prelude to the sudden drop fell from his sudden weight. The loud clang of his upper arms crashing upon and holding up on the iron railing made you jump. You turned to see the struggling man trying to get his feet up on the higher level before him. The steps behind him crumbling like dust as he tried to regain footing.
"Ellis!" You gasped in a loud shriek, scrambling over to him. His strained expression and tense biceps left you in a state of panic, there wasn't much you could do to help. You couldn't offer a hand, let alone pull his weight up. "Swing your legs forward!" Your hand scooped inward suggesting his movement. He tried his best to swing them high enough. You lurched forward and grasped the cuff of his pants and placed his boot firmly on the ledge. He adjusted his weight and pulled himself forward, stumbling over to your safety.
Panting from the adrenaline, you threw your arms around him.
"Ha, bet that.. scared ya, huh?" He tiredly joked, arms trembling and slightly bleeding from the iron rubbing under them.
"Not in the least bit." You pulled off, smiling with that concerned sarcasm. "Well Ellis," you continued with an exhausted sigh. "you got me this far into this place. How are we gonna get out?"
He thought about it for a moment, obviously still recuperating from his near-death experience. "No point in finding a way out in the dark, what with the floor breaking down. May as well bunk up here til morning." He sounded just as displeased in saying it as you were taking it. You groaned, face in your hands, attempting to calm your nerves, you could just as easily cry than scream.
"Okay. Let's find a room with a window then." You stated, trying to sound positive.
Down the halls you both wandered. You were afraid to admit to your companion, but it seemed as though the exterior greatly mislead you as to how large the interior was. The hallways and turns were never-ending, Windows were either blocked away by impenetrable boards, or lacking in most areas. Ellis had remained mostly silent for the duration of the exploration, and had quickened his pace.
A faint amount of light glowed at the end of the next turn. You both ran towards it. The rooms you passed seemed lively, but uncomfortable. You glanced at each open doorway as you rushed passed.
You could feel it looking back.
Ellis reached the window before you. His hands met the end of his momentum as he pressed against the clouded glass. You stopped yourself from touching it yourself once he pulled back with a short breathe.
"It's freezin'!" He exclaimed, astonished at the thought. They were frosted over in the dark. You breathed against it, rubbing coarsely with your sleeve. Snow fell in short flurries against dark trees. Ellis stepped back. "This hasta be some joke. It don't snow round here."
"It was warm rain earlier..." You whispered. Too bewildered to move from the view. A door creaked open to your right, breaking the atmosphere. Another window casted the snowy glow upon the carpet. Ellis walked over to that one, double checking his forecast.
"... ___ I honestly don't rightly no what's goin on. This don't belong down here. This is mountain shit." He leaned into the glass, checking if some sort of machine was producing the scene.
"Can we please go?" Ellis turned towards your voice. You stood in the doorway, arms folded, shaking, and holding onto your last restraint before exploding into a mess of tears. "Please?" He wasn't sure what could possibly calm you down, he needed almost as much comforting as you did. He walked over and placed his hands firmly around your shoulders.
"___, I don't know what you've been through, but I sure as hell can't think anybody's been hurt by a little snow before." You narrowed your gaze, making him re-think his statement. "Okay, well, maybe a FEW people have, but I've never seen snow before! It's kinda pretty, dont'cha think?" He smiled.
You walked over to the window, and touched the glass with the tips of your cold fingers. "It is pretty... "