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Joe Badalamenti

65 Baxter Drive, the rumored haunted mansion of Harvey Spooker. Some say that he is the spirit of Harvey Stegner’s long-lost brother. Others say that he’s an alien conducting experiments under the guise of a familiar being. Year after year, many would venture into the mansion, only to meet a grim fate… by that I mean death! To my knowledge, I am the only one to have survived the mansion. This is my story.

It all began on a Friday afternoon. I didn’t want to go alone, so I informed my good friends in an effort to convince them to join me. “Sounds like a bunch of baloney” proclaimed Andrew. “Look I know it sounds strange,” I said, “But think about all the other strange events in Binghamton: Sexy Baxter, the Mothman, the Wolf of State Street… this is nothing in comparison.” Margaret looked at me funny. “Binghamton can be wacky, but how do we know you’re not making this up Joe?” she asked. “Yeah, you do tend to exaggerate these sorts of things” Chris butted in. “Look”, I pleaded, “tomorrow’s a Friday night and we’ve nothing better to do. If we go there and nothing happens, I’ll buy everyone a Tully’s dinner.” Chris chuckled. “Alright, but just to see how wrong you are.” he rebuked. The others reluctantly settled, and a plan to stake out the mansion was formed.

A day had passed, and the investigation team met outside the mansion. It was larger than the surrounding housing, and it looked decrepit from years of decay. An emptiness radiated from the house, similar to how the sun radiates in places other than Binghamton. Everyone was there except for Andrew, who was supposedly running late. “Now that we’re here, I’m starting to get a weird vibe” Chris remarked. I replied, “is it telling you that we should investigate or just how wrong I am?” Before we could argue, Andrew came sprinting in. “Sorry I’m late” Andrew muttered, out of breath. “Was it a horde of bunny women again?” Margret jokingly asked. “No… I got into a heated argument with a friend over how to eat a pizza slice and lost track of time.” “Oh, Andrew!” We all sighed in unison as if it was a scene out of Full House. I realized that we should get back on track. “Mayhaps we should stop stalling and investigate the mansion.” We all carefully walked up to the door. Once there, Margret tried to open the door, though it would not open. “Rats, it’s locked!” she said. “No way, let me try” I jolted. Before I could touch the doorknob, the door swung open. “Looks like I got the magic touch,” I replied in an effort to look cool. Upon opening the door, we were greeted by a dark corridor. The aura seemed to become more pronounced, almost as if it was calling us to enter. “Welp, the sooner we enter, the sooner we’re done,” I said in an effort to boost morale. We then slowly entered the house, unprepared for what awaited inside.

Upon entering the house, we made our way to the first room. There were 4 doors, each closed, as well as a staircase in the center. The room was illuminated by a small skylight. The debris scattered across the floor confirmed our suspicions: this mansion had been abandoned for years. “So how should we explore the house?” I asked. Andrew replied with vigor, “Well I’ve seen way too many horror movies go wrong, so I say we stay together and explore each room one by one.” We started with the first room on the right, which was revealed to be a typical kitchen. As we entered, Margaret appeared to step in a small puddle. “Is that blood!?” she shrieked. I shined a flashlight, only to see a small white puddle on the floor “No, I don’t believe blood looks like that.” “Great, I’m even more disturbed” Margaret replied with a grim tone. After taking a few minutes to investigate, we found nothing of note. “Looks like just an ordinary abandoned house, guess I was right”’ Chris eagerly exclaimed. “Come on, Chris,” I responded,  “you know we haven’t even seen half the house yet. Let’s see what the other rooms have in store.”

The next room seemed to be a guest bedroom with a wardrobe. “What’s this?” Andrew spotted a piece of paper on a dusty ottoman. He read the contents. “October 30th, 2020, I have become separated from my friends, that thing is ruthless in its pursuit. I have become incapacitated in my attempt to escape and can only hide. It was foolish of us to enter this place. However, if you’re unfortunate enough to find this, please leave while you can!!!” “Maybe we should listen to the note and leave” Margaret suggested. Upon glancing at the note, Chris objected: “hang on, isn’t this your handwriting, Joe?” “What do you mean?” I asked. Chris handed over the note. The writing appeared shockingly identical to mine, only more hastily written. “Was this all just an elaborate prank?” Margaret demanded answers. “Ok, ok” I pleaded. “I can explain… actually I can’t, this house is possessed.” Margret turned to me, exasperated. “I never agreed to be tortured in some sick prank, this was your idea, we trusted you, and now it’s over, goodbye!” As Margret and the others stormed out, they were greeted by a dark and slender figure blocking the doorway. The figure looked like President Harvey Stenger, only slightly pale. “Was this the big surprise? Look we know this is a prank so you can’t…” before Margaret could finish, the figure started to transform. Its gray skin turned mucus white, while its eyes became pitch black. Its features became disfigured to the point beyond recognition. We were all sent into a state of shock. All we could do was run away.

I soon found myself locked in a bathroom room with Chris. “Ok you were right, this place is haunted, now how do we get out of here!” Chris was panicking. I tried to stay calm and talk to him. “I don’t know, we can’t leave now, else we’ll get caught by that thing. If we wait around 10 minutes, maybe that thing will give up and we can escape after we regroup with the others.” Chris seemed slightly calmer. “Sounds good,” he added. And so a plan was formed.

After roughly 15 minutes, Chris peaked out the door. “Alright, the coast is clear.” We quickly entered the corridor and entered the first room we could find. It was the master bedroom. We saw Margaret hiding in the corner. “All I wanted to do was watch some scary movies and not die, was that too much to ask?” “Margaret, this is no time for brooding around” Chris shouted. “Come on, we’re gonna find Andrew and then we’re leaving!” Margaret reluctantly got up and joined the group. We carefully went back to the corridor. “Fellas, is that you?” a faint noise said behind a door. “Guys, I think that’s Andrew,” Chris cheered. I carefully peeked into the door’s peephole only to be dismayed by the familiar figure waiting for us. “Oh no, we should probably leave,” I said as I hastily led the group away to safety.

We now found ourselves in a spacious office. “Well great, stuck again. Can this mansion get any worse?” Margaret spoke up. “You know guys, I’ve been thinking. In all the movies I’ve seen, there’s usually only one survivor, and it’s a woman. No offense, but you guys might wanna watch your backs.” As Margaret leaned against the wall, she flipped a light switch which triggered a trap door that opened right beneath her feet, causing her to fall into the dark depths. “Well, I guess things can get worse. Thanks, life,” Chris said sarcastically. Frustrated and out of ideas, I went to bang my head against the wall in hope of some divine revelation. Upon realizing that I was right next to a window, I had a brain blast. “The window! Of course, we can escape through the window!” Chris was hesitant. “Now I want to escape as much as you do, but I don’t want to break my leg in the process.” I sighed, “Don’t have to, we can just shimmy to the other room and then run to the exit while the demon thinks we’re still in this room.” Chris chuckled, “That sounds stupid, but maybe just stupid enough to work.” Chris went to open the window. “Huh, what do you know, it’s locked.” In desperation for my plan to work, I picked up a book and fiercely threw it against the window, shattering it to pieces. “Magic touch, remember?” We had a bit of a laugh before returning to our dark situation.

In a feat of acrobatic excellence, I crawled out of the window, shimmied across to the other side of the house, and opened the nearest window. I turned to Chris and briefed him on the situation. “Now we’ve only got one shot at this. The good news is that the exit is just straight ahead. All we have to do is go in and get out. Simple.” Chris nodded. As soon as I opened the door, I bolted in and ran like my life depended on it. I burst through the door and flew out of the house onto the lawn. As I was catching my breath, I saw Chris to my side. “Glad you made it out.” “Yeah, glad I did too.” As Chris was speaking, he began to cough. It seemed like nothing at first, but then it became violent. He then began to spew out some dark substance. “Chris! Chris, are you ok?” I asked. As he turned his head, I saw a pale, dark-eyed, and disfigured head where Chris’s face once was. I ran home without turning back.

As soon as I got home, I locked my door and gave a sigh of relief. I checked my phone only to realize that it had died. I plugged my phone into the charger and went to bed, hoping that this nightmare would end. I woke up in the afternoon the next day. Before I could do anything, I heard a knock on the door. It was Chris, though he looked completely normal. “Chris, is everything alright?” I shouted. Chris seemed amused. “That’s what I should be asking you, since we lost you last night.” “But we lost the others,” I said, confused. “And you had transformed into this abomination.” Chris looked at me like I was insane. “Lost the others? We all went back to Andrew’s place to watch Spider-Man after checking out the house. I don’t know anything about this ‘abomination’ you’re talking about.” So yesterday did happen, I thought, but everyone is fine. “Maybe I need some more rest,” I sighed. “Alright Joe, whatever works for you,” Chris responded. Before leaving I looked up to see Chris’s blank stare; it was almost as if he were looking at my soul.

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