Susan and her mom had just moved into the old house on Martin Street. She hated leaving her
old friends behind, especially at the beginning of summer break, but this town was the only place her mom could find a job.
When her dad died five years ago, her mom went to work in the only factory in her hometown. Now the factory was closed and
there just wasn’t any work for a middle-aged woman who never finished high school. Susan knew that her mom tried hard
to find something so they wouldn’t have to move. At least she got to finish the school year with her friends.
The part she hated most was being alone in the creepy old house. Her mom worked from 8 at night
until 4 in the morning. Susan kept telling herself, “I’m almost 16. I can handle staying by myself at night. There
is nothing to be scared of.” She had almost convinced herself that was true. The only time she got really scared was
when she heard sounds. They were most likely just the house settling, the way old houses do.
Susan’s mom had to start work the second day there, so Susan did the unpacking. In the
week they had been there, she had only managed to unpack a little over half of the boxes. She had come to all the seasonal
things that needed to be stored, so she decided to explore the house to find places to put them. She started with the basement.
It was a large room with block walls and a concrete floor, and was fairly clean and didn’t look like it held water.
She started stacking boxes of holiday decorations along the back wall. Carefully sorting them, she made a stack for each holiday.
She noticed a closet under the stairs in the basement on her third trip down. She tried the door, but it was locked. Fishing
the keys out of her pocket, she tried to find one that would fit. She didn’t have the key, so she gave up and continued
to stack the boxes.
The next boxes to store were winter clothes and extra blankets. She looked around upstairs for
a place to put them, when she found stairs leading to the attic. It was a big room made entirely of wood. It was cleaner than
the basement and smelled of cedar. The only thing in the attic was an old, roll top desk. After stacking the boxes in a corner,
she went to the desk to check it out. It was empty except for an old key. She wondered if it fit any of the doors and decided
to check the keys she had, seeing if any matched. One was close, but no matches.
“I wonder if it fits that closet under the basement stairs? It would be nice to store
some of the boxes there. Then I could use the attic for my bedroom since it’s bigger and a lot nicer than what I’ve
Susan went down into the basement, and up to the door. She tried the key, and it unlocked. Then,
as she opened the door, a hand grabbed her!