Aurum, Deven and Zach check out a haunted house. And while they may not meet any actual ghost that does not mean the house is free of supernatural forces.
“Remind me again, what are we doing here?” Zach asked the other two as they stood before a front door full of splinters that looked like it might crack in two if they so much as touched it. Compared to the other two, he was the most simply dressed, and shorts, a t-shirt and sandals. Then of course his glasses. Though he seemed to share the trait the other two had of his hair always being a slight mess no matter how much he combined it, though his was a paler brown than the other twos vibrant brown.
“Checking out a spooky haunted place of course.” Aurum beamed. He was slightly taller than Zach, wearing jeans and sneakers, as well as his t-shirt and a cowboy hat. “I mean, you find out there’s an actual haunted house in your city you’re pretty much contractually obligated to go check it out.”
“So basically, we’re going to act like a bunch of idiots in a horror movie and walk into the obviously dangerous trap.” Deven crossed his arms. He matched Aurum in jeans, a shirt and sneakers, though he wore no hat and his hair was longer, just short of reaching his shoulders.
“I mean, that would imply ghost were real.” Zach sighed. “There’s not really such thing as a real haunted house. I mean, just take a moment to think about it. With all the technology we have today, everyone carrying a camera in their pocket in the form of a smart phone, and so many hopefuls trying to prove ghost, aliens or bigfoot exists.”
“Or Alien Bigfoot Ghosts!” Aurum added less than helpfully.
“The point is, that if ghost are real, they wouldn’t really stay a secret in the information age.” Zach finished his point.
“Unless they don’t appear on camera.” Deven retorted.
“Nope, that wouldn’t explain it.” Zach shook his head. “Even if they couldn’t appear on camera, the second a real haunting was confirmed people would flock to it. It’d be all over social media and in the news. Heck, if ghosts were real any ghost might get annoyed by all the attention and leave.”
“So, what you’re saying… Is it’s possible that ghost sightings are real, but the ghost left after said sightings because they hate the attention.” Deven didn’t care one way or the other about the actual facts. He was arguing just for the sake of arguing.
“A ghost is just a dead person.” Zach crossed his arms and stared at Deven. “And that would mean they could have any personality a person would have. So, you know there would be some ghost that would thrive on attention, make their own social media accounts and probably find some way to charge admission to see their hauntings.”
“He… Has a point.” Aurum admitted with a note of disappointment in his voice. He was really hoping the house was actually haunted. “But if you don’t think the place is haunted why are you so reluctant to go in?”
“Well…” Zach looked over the house. And then he listed his observations in the order he noticed them. “The roof is full of holes and looks like it could collapse in at any second. The wood in the doorway is rotting, meaning most likely so is the wood through most of the house. One wrong step and the floor might give way. Not because of an angry ghost, but because the place just isn’t structurally sound. Then we have no idea how old this place has been or what may have moved in.”
“Like a ghost?” Deven insisted.
“No, like wasps, raccoons, rats, spiders, snakes.” Zach continued. “There are so many reasons this is a bad idea and liable to get at least one if not all of us severely injured.”
“And yet, you’re still here.” Deven pointed out.
“Well, if you two are going to go explore this place, someone with a level head needs to be around to try to minimize casualties.” Zach refused to meet Deven’s eyes.
“Since when do you qualify as level-headed?” Aurum grinned. “You’re just as curious as us huh? You say it’s impossible but a part of you is wondering.”
“You can’t prove that.” Zach refused to meet Aurum’s eyes as well.
“Okay, annoying Zach is fun and all but I’m starting to get bored just sitting here on the front step.” Deven held out his arms in a shrug. “So we going inside or not?”
“Right… Though I don’t suppose anyone knows how to pick locks?” Aurum asked. “I can’t imagine the place is just left unlocked and I’d rather not break a window.” As he spoke, the wooden door began to creak, and slowly it opened inward on its own. “OH!”
“That doesn’t prove anything.” Zach objected before Aurum could get to his suggestion. “This door is falling apart. It probably doesn’t even close properly and the slightest wind could push it open.”
“Rotting wood or not, the door still looks pretty heavy.” Deven suggested.
“Look, there’s an easy way to get to the bottom of this! Let’s just head inside!” Aurum shouted with glee before running into the house.
“H-hey it’s dangerous to just run off alone!” Zach was the second one in.
“Everyone is so easily excitable.” Deven shrugged. But, a large part of him was hoping the haunting was real too. That would certainly be the most exciting thing to happen in his life. If ghosts were real, hopefully they wouldn’t be vengeful.
The three crowded into a small foyer. The house groaned and creaked as they stepped inside. Depending on your point of view, you might have thought the house was warning them to leave. Or you might have thought the house was in poor condition and falling apart. There were some knocked over pedestals with broken vases laying on the ground. Two hallways on the side leading further into the front door. Then a staircase at the end of the foyer. It was missing several steps and looked just as fragile as everything else in the house. A set of double stairs led up to the second floor, while a single set of stairs led down to the basement. Though a good chunk of the basement was visible due to a large hole in the floor where the wood had given way.
“Told you this place was in bad shape.” Zach muttered.
“I mean it’d be a pretty lousy haunted house if everything was pristine and new.” Aurum retorted. “Three floors, we should split up and check each one out on our own.”
“That sounds like a terrible idea.” Zach objected, just a hint of fear in his voice. “Have you seen any horror movie ever? You don’t split up in the creepy house!”
“But ghosts aren’t real so it’s fine right?” Deven asked.
“Well…” Zach realized his mistake. He logically knew ghosts couldn’t be real. But being here inside this building, hearing the groaning of the building settling. Well, regardless of what he logically knew, the idea that ghost could be real felt a lot more real to him now. “I mean we don’t want someone falling and-“
“I call the first floor!” Aurum immediately took off running down one of the halls not waiting for Zach to finish.
“Seriously!?” Zach asked.
“Second floor!” Deven found a spot where the hole in the floor was narrower and jumped across. Then he ran up the stairs. He stumbled a few times as a few steps gave way, but was able to make his way up to the second floor.
“Wait I’m left with the basement!?” Zach demanded. But the other two were gone. They were the two who wanted the rumors about this place being haunted to be real. Why was Zach stuck searching the spookiest location?
Well… He didn’t have to. There was nothing preventing him from just saying he had looked down there or found nothing. Other than his conscious refusing to lie to his friends, even if it was over something stupid. He could tell the truth and say he didn’t want to go down, but he also felt like they’d never let him live that down. Especially one he turned out to be right and it was just a normal old house.
It looked like he was heading downward. Zach gave a sigh, crossed the gap at the same place Deven had, then very slowly worked his way down the stairs.
On the first floor Aurum was feeling slightly disappointed. He hadn’t encountered a single spooky things except for cobwebs and dust. There was some old furniture laying around in the various rooms, and as the law of physics in how they related to spooky houses dictated, they were all covered in white sheets. But after going through about five rooms of just cobwebs and covered furniture they kind of stopped being spooky. It was starting to look like Zach might have been right. There was nothing supernatural here going on at all.
“Huh?” Aurum looked up, hearing the sound of a cat. “Where did that come from?” He was currently in what he guessed was probably some kind of parlor. Aurum had never been in a house fancy enough to have a parlor room before. But as far as he could tell the room served no purpose other than being a place for people to sit and… Do something. He would have thought it a living room but was pretty sure he had already found that. Unless this was the living room and the other room was the parlor.
But none of that mattered because he was sure he had heard a cat meow.
“Kitty?” Aurum asked as he crept around the room trying to find the source of the cat’s voice.
“Meow.” It came low to the ground. From one of the corners of the room.
“Here kitty.” Aurum approached the corner. Maybe the house wasn’t haunted. But if he got to pet a cat then the trip was well worth it. But if the cat was living here in this house, it was probably feral. He’d have to be careful not to do anything to spook it if he didn’t want to get bitten or scratched.
Once Aurum had reached the corner he still didn’t see the cat. But, with all the white cloths around covering furniture there were plenty of places a cat could hide. He lifted up the cloth that was covering a chair. And then there it was. A black cat, it looked at Aurum with curious eyes. It wasn’t afraid. And the eyes seemed to shine with intelligence.
“Hey there…” Aurum reached out a hand to pet the cat. The cat allowed herself to petted and began to purr. There was a certain musical sense to the purr. She seemed to be a very friendly cat. She came out from beneath the chair and began to rub against Aurum’s legs. “Well, I like you too.”
“Meow!” The cat replied to Aurum as he continued to pet it. Then something strange was happening. He thought the cat looked like it was getting bigger. And his clothing felt like it was getting looser.
“W-what?” Was the very last word Aurum ever said.
“Uggggh, I’m bored.” Deven whined up on the second floor. There was mostly just a bunch of empty bedrooms and a couple of bathrooms up here. There wasn’t even anything interesting to find in the bedrooms. He was starting to accept he wasn’t going to find a ghost. But this place was old. Maybe someone had left behind some jewelry, or some antique that was worth a lot of money. But all the drawers were empty. Whoever had moved out of this place had taken everything but the furniture with them. And while the furniture was no doubt old, it was all in terrible condition. No ghost, and no way to make easy money. Shame, Deven would have loved an excuse to quit his job.
But this was just the second floor. Maybe one of the others would find something. Still, Deven proceeded to spend less and less time in each room as he looked for things. Most of the bedrooms were identical to each other, right down to having identical furniture laid out in an identical pattern. The only difference was the condition of the furniture in each room. Some pieces were in slightly better shape than others. But all of them were covered in white cloths so looked identical before Deven ripped the cloths away to search for things. It looked like this entire trip had been a waste of time. Well, other than the fact he got to tease Zach a bit.
And Zach was probably a bit nervous wondering around in the basement, assuming he had gone down there. Aurum and Deven hadn’t technically asked or told him to do so. But the implication was there. Deven grinned. He could probably go find Zach in the basement, sneak up on him and spook him. Maybe he could even use one of these white sheets to pretend to be a ghost.
Occupied by this new plan, and bored with searching the house, Deven worked his way back down to the first floor. He would have immediately continued further down the stairs to the basement but paused. Standing in on of the doorways leading to the hallway was a small brown tabby kitten. It was probably only a couple of months old.
“A cat? Where’d you come from?” Deven jumped back across the hole again so he could get to the hallway. The kitten made no attempt to flee. Instead, it waited there patiently, right up until Deven got to it. Deven knelt down on his knee to try to pet the kitten. Then suddenly, the kitten lifted up a paw and booped him on the nose. And with that it took off running full speed. Deven couldn’t help but feel like the cat was laughing at him somehow. “Get back here!”
Deven chased the cat through the first floor, eventually coming to the parlor room. The kitten was in there, sitting atop a tall piece of furniture covered in a cloth. It was probably a bookshelf or something. Cats. The thing was clearly playing some kind of game of chase with Deven. But Deven couldn’t reach the top of whatever the kitten was perched on. But that only occupied his attention for about half a second.
Because he noticed Aurum’s clothes and hat laying on the floor, with Aurum noticeably absent from them. This was not completely unusual. Zach, Aurum, and Deven were all budding naturists, experimenting with the idea at different phases. When they were just hanging out at each other’s apartments no one felt the need to put on clothes. And occasionally they had gone camping, and once certain they were in a secluded enough location ditched the clothing.
But, while exploring a haunted, well not haunted but still spooky house seemed like kind of a weird time to get naked. Sure, there was likely no one else here to see them. So, it wasn’t as if they had to worry about getting caught. But… While Deven wouldn’t admit it, because it was far too much fun annoying Zach about it, Zach had a few points. This place wasn’t in the best of shapes. Plenty of splintered floors and way for someone to injure themselves. Regardless of how he felt about clothes, they were kind of useful for protection in places like that.
“But I guess you don’t have to worry about that huh?” Deven looked up at the kitten again. With thick fur, pawpads, nerve endings lower in the skin and weighing less than five pounds it was doubtful anything in the house would threaten the little kitten. “You have no idea how lucky you have it. Now, why don’t you come down from there?”
“Meow.” It wasn’t the kitten that spoke. It was an older cat. Deven spun around and saw a black cat sitting in the center of the room staring at him.
“Another cat? How’d you sneak up on me?” Deven glanced around. That was a dumb question. A house like this had a million places cats could hide. And it made sense that feral cats might have moved into here. To Deven and the others, it was a rundown building. Too some stray cats, it was a shelter from the weather and a safe place to sleep. And it made sense that if there was a kitten there’d be a mama cat.
But this cat was uniform black. Did black cats have brown tabby kittens? Maybe if the father was a brown tabby? Deven wasn’t really sure how cat breeds worked. It tended to not come up as much in casual conversation as dog breeds. A lot of people didn’t even realize that cats came in several different breeds. There was just fluffy, not quite as fluffy, and weird hairless cat.
“He yours?” Deven asked the black cat, not actually expecting an answer. He also realized he had no reason to assume there were only two cats or only one family living here. There could be a bunch of cats. A shame that none of them were hanging out on the second floor.
“Meow!” The kitten shouted from atop its furniture.
“Meow?” The black cat asked looking to the kitten. It was almost as if they were having a conversation.
“Mew!” And then the kitten nodded. Deven was sure he had seen him do it.
But before he could fully process what had happened, he suddenly felt strange. He suddenly felt full of energy, but his clothes were also getting looser on him.
“What kind of cats are you?” And that was the last sentence that Deven ever spoke.
“Ugh, why am I stuck with the creepy basement.” Zach complained as he was exploring the basement down below. He took out his cell phone and turned on the flashlight app so he could actually see. Occasionally, he found himself jumping at shadows, but when he pointed the light and saw what cast them, learned they were all just perfectly ordinary objects. The basement was cluttered, apparently used for storage, mostly of excess furniture and similar items. There were a few other things. One spooky shadow had been cast by a coat rack with a top hat and a dusty old coat hanging from it. Another was from a strangely gothic styled lamp sitting on top of a table.
The various items certainly managed to cast spooky shadows. But all of them were normal. And by the time Zach had identified the sixth item that had made him jump, he had calmed down realizing there was nothing weird or creepy down here at all. He had let his imagination get the best of him and literally just been jumping at shadows. Now calmer, he felt more confident, and figured he might as well explore the basement fully. He didn’t expect to find anything ghostly, but he might find something cool. A place this old was bound to have some kind of old trinket laying around. Something odd that no doubt had a story behind it.
Exploring the basement proved to be a slow task though. Zach technically had less ground to cover than the other two. But furniture was just stacked almost as high as the ceiling in some places. It made a maze of junk for Zach to navigate. With only his ell phone for light it was easy to get turned around exploring the place. After about an hour of searching he had turned up nothing. Disappointing, but it also proved he was right. He could rub this in Deven’s face later.
He figured by this point he had been down here long enough and could return to the first floor. Besides, if any parts of the building collapsed the basement was probably the most dangerous place. Part of the floor above it had already collapsed. He could see the hole in the ceiling from some angles in the basement. Last thing he wanted was to be down here when another part of the floor gave way and get buried. Zach worked his way back to the stairs and up to the first floor. There he sat on the stairs leading up to the second floor and waited. He was surprised to see neither Deven nor Aurum had come back yet. Part of him expected Deven to be hiding in ambush to jump out and try to scare him. That was the kind of thing Deven would do. But it looked like Zach was the first one to finish exploring.
Unless they had headed outside? But Zach could see the still open door from here, and there was no sign of anyone out there. He supposed, he’d just wait for a bit and hope they showed up soon.
But they never did.
“Deven?” Zach worked his way partially up the stairs shouting his friend’s name. There was no response. “Aurum?” He gave a second shout upon returning to the first floor. Still nothing. They hadn’t left the place completely and just ditched him had they? No, they wouldn’t do that. Sure, they might like to play the occasional joke. And Zach was not exactly above that himself. But just ditching someone like that was something they would all agree was taking it too far.
Now Zach was concerned. Maybe a piece of the house had fallen in and they were trapped somewhere. Maybe unconscious, unable to call for help. Zach quickly got his cell phone back out and dialed Aurum’s number. No one picked up. Which at this point didn’t surprise Zach. He was preparing himself for a worst-case scenario and the possibility he might need to call am ambulance. He did however hear Aurum’s ringtone coming from another part of the house when he called.
Zach started down a hallway and dialed Deven’s number next. Deven’s ringtone sounded from within the house, in the same direction Aurum’s had been. It sounded like the two were together! Zach continued to dial their numbers so that he could follow the cell phones ringing until he finally arrived in the house’s parlor. There, he saw two pairs of discarded clothing. He recognized the outfits Aurum and Deven had been wearing. The cowboy hat Aurum wore wasn’t exactly that common around here. Zach dialed Aurum’s cell phone number. The ringing sound came from a pocket in Aurum’s jeans. So, he had found their clothes and their phones, but not his friends themselves.
“Guys, is this seriously the time and place to get naked?” Zach asked. If they didn’t want to wear clothes they could have just hung out at someone’s apartment and played games or something instead of exploring a house. But, with their clothing and cell phones left behind it left him unsure of how to find them other than searching the house completely from top to bottom.
“Eh?” Zach looked up, and he noticed a chair that the white cloth had been removed from had a black cat sitting on it. “A cat?” Some people might have taken the sign of a black cat as an ill omen, a sign that the house actually was haunted. As far as Zach was concerned. Any cat sighting was always a good sign regardless of the cat’s breed or fur color. “I guess you probably live here huh?” Zach asked the cat. “I suppose it’s probably better than living outdoors. Can hide from bad weather and all that. I don’t suppose you’ve seen my two friends around?” Zach knew he wasn’t going to get an answer from the cat. Cats couldn’t talk. But, it felt better just to address someone and helped him process his thoughts slower. If his friends had gotten naked it was doubtful they had left the house. Once outside, they’d have to get dressed again in case anyone passed by to avoid breaking any public decency laws.
Perhaps… The two of them had concluded the house was just a boring old house after all. And were both planning to jump out and scare Zach at some point. They might have left their clothes and cell phone behind just to lure him into the parlor and confuse him. He glanced around, expecting to catch sight of one of the two any moment. He didn’t notice when the black cat came up and rubbed against his legs.
“Oh! You’re friendly aren’t you?” Zach spoke his last words as he bent down to pet the cat. And then, his own clothing became far too large on him as he felt himself suddenly full of energy. Something was happening! But he didn’t know what! He disappeared down beneath his own clothing. Then a small lump moved around beneath his shirt.
“Mew?” A dark brown cat poked its head out from the shirt and crawled out. The formerly human kitten looked around confused, realizing how much bigger the world was. Then he noticed his own physical appearance. He was a kitten! That was… An amazing thing! Something he wanted to be excited about! He didn’t know how but he had just become a kitten, and that was definitely an upgrade from human. But he was still worried about his friends and what they might be up to or stuck in.
But as Zach freed himself from his own clothes and looked back at the discarded pile he left, his head turned and looked at the other two piles of clothes. And a theory dawned on him, just in time for him to suddenly get pounced, and pinned to the ground.
“MEW!” A vibrant rusty furred kitten purred smugly after having pinned Zach.
“Mew…” A brown tabby appeared from around the corner of a piece of furniture. It felt like he was laughing at Zach.
Aurum! Deven! They were kittens too!
“MROWL!” Zach pushed the kitten off him he knew to be Deven and swatted at him in annoyance. Zach had been really concerned! They could have tried to give him a heads up about their transformation instead of hiding to wait and pounce him.
“Mew!” Deven stuck out his tongue, then took off running through the house.
“Meow?” Zach asked confused and turned to Aurum.
“Mew!” Aurum purred playfully before he took off running as well.
Wait… Was this tag? And that meant…
ZACH WAS IT!
“MEOW!” Zach shouted in protest, and gave chase after the two kittens. How dare they start with an unfair advantage! They had been kittens longer and already gotten used to it. Oh when he caught up with them he was going to give them such a booping.
The black cat watched as the three kittens ran off. And soon, they were chasing each other all over the house. She purred. Having company was a lot more pleasant than living alone. And kittens were always so full of energy. There was never a dull moment with a kitten around. She had planned to change them back after playing a little bit. It was just a small prank. But they were all taking to the kitten form so well. So, she decided she might as well keep them. Motherhood suited her fine.
And since the didn’t seem to mind being kittens. She was sure they wouldn’t mind if she removed their ability to age, leaving them as kittens in her care forever. The place was going to be a lot less lonely now. She purred, thinking about the future fun she could have with her new adopted family.