To Touch The Darkness

I warn you, this is a true story. It has the potential to either make you scoff at the paranormal and question my sanity, or to make your mind question and test the limits of reality….

There is a house, on an empty country road, in a vacant part of town, in a place called Tennessee, USA. I will never repeat the name of this house lest the monstrosities of that house come back to haunt me… literally.

I was going to be there for a few weeks out of the summer with my best friend Aiden. His parents are rich business owners, always flying to this country, and at that time something had happened with a product label and they had to fly to New York immediately.
I wanted to call my mom and tell her but I knew she’d make me come home. She was always afraid that Aiden and I would do "something". I never quite understood her logic.

Aiden and his chauffeur Howard had picked me up at the airport. Never found out Howard’s last name, not that it matters. As I got into the car I got a funny feeling in my stomach. I wasn’t sure what it was then but looking back I realized it must have been some sort of premonition but all I could think at that moment was, "I hate airplane food".

It took us almost an hour to reach the house and when we did I got my first taste of the rich life.

It was amazingly huge, much bigger that my tiny, cramped two-bedroom apartment. "What do you think? You like it?" Aiden asked smiling at me. "Like it? I Love it!" I squealed in delight "Yeah my parents just bought it as a fourth summer home." "Yeah, don’t rub it in." After saying that I looked up at the house staring in awe and in the window one of the curtains moved, I quickly glanced over and focused on that window in particular and for a split second, I could have sworn I had seen a little girl standing there. I ignored it not wanting to ruin the happiness of seeing my best friend.

As soon as Aiden and I got inside we began patrolling the hallways and rooms laughing and playing as we did so. He was always so fun loving and adventurous. Whenever he suggested something I went along because I knew that anything with Aiden always ended as a worthwhile experience.
"This, is my room." He said opening the door to a room with light blue walls. That color fit it perfectly since as soon as you walked in a huge chill swept across the room. There was a walk-in closet but neither of us went in there. If you got close enough your teeth would start chattering from the cold. There was a dartboard and we played a couple games, I read the titles of the old books on the shelves and we just sat up there and talked. A little while later Aiden’s cell phone went off, it was the maid down stairs, Rita. From up here it was impossible to hear her voice so she had to call and tell us dinner was ready.

We both went out of the room before I forgot that I’d left a hair tie in there. I hated having my hair tied back but I didn’t want to leave anything, I’d never find it again in this huge house.
"One sec, I gotta get my hair tie." I told him before re opening the door. When I did it was to a huge surprise. All the books once neatly on the shelf were on the floor in tatters. All of the darts that we’d been playing with that had been strewn all over were now in the very middle of the dartboard and my hair tie, which I’d sat on the table, was in the center of the floor right in front of me. And worst of all… the closet door was open letting an icy cold breeze blow through out the room and chill me to the bone. I felt Aiden behind me as he looked at the scene as well. I turned and closed the door. "I don’t really need my hair tie," I said nonchalantly. We walked down stairs and ate a wonderful dinner before, undeterred by the events in Aiden’s room went exploring again.

At the end of the hallway on the fourth floor there was a narrow doorway. We opened it and went in still role-playing as adventurers.
After a long flight of stairs we reached a door. We both tried to open it but it wouldn’t budge. "Why isn’t it opening?" I asked Aiden. "Well, it looks like it was just freshly painted. Maybe the paint is what’s keeping it closed." "But, who painted it?" "…I don’t know." He answered turning and looking at me. We worked on the door for another few minutes without success and finally we decided to leave. It was late and we should get to bed.
As we were walking back down the stairs when suddenly when my back foot had finally hit the last step there was a creaking sound above us. Our heads whipped around and we stared at the door, now ajar, at the top of the stairs. "Isn’t funny how things always work out in the end." He said laughing and returning to the top of the stairs. "No, more like creepy." I said reluctantly following him. We walked inside and it was obvious that it was an attic. Aiden smiled at me and began going through the old trunks and books and things. There was one thing that particularly stood out to me. It looked fairly new, a magenta colored diary. It was thick and sturdy but unlike its surroundings, it wasn’t covered in dust and cobwebs. I picked it up and was about to open it before Aiden called me over to look at something. I sighed placing it in my side bag for later. (I carry my bag with my everywhere) He was reaching his arm behind a large wardrobe. "There’s something behind here, I can feel the frame. A window maybe?" he said grunting as he tried to move the wardrobe. I came over next to him to help and after much effort we finally were able to move it enough to get to what was behind it.
A door. "Let’s go inside, there’s probably more cool stuff!" Just before his hand was on the doorknob I stopped him. "Wait. This doesn’t make any sense. From where we are we should be right above the purple room (a room we discovered with deep plum colored walls, aptly named "the purple room.")" "Yeah so." He answered. "Well the purple room was on the edge of the house facing outside. Which means that must be the same with this room." A look of understanding crossed his face. "So this door is built into the side of the house." "And it opens up to nowhere." I finished for him. "Oh come on! It’ll be fun. Please! I have to see what’s behind this door!" he pleaded. And somehow I couldn’t refuse him.

He opened the small door twisting the clear crystal door knob. It opened into absolute darkness. We stepped in on the wooden floor that we could see. I stopped but I knew Aiden would keep going. I reached out and grabbed his shoulder. "Stop! There’s no floor there!" I nearly yelled. "Oh come on Amanda, there’s got to be a floor, I bet it just dips down." I heard a squeak behind me as the door closed itself and I squeaked too, in fright. "Scared?" asked Aiden’s voice, I could no longer see him in the dark. "No." I replied simply. "Here, let’s test your "no floor theory’" he said pulling a penny out of his pocket. "I’ve got penny and I’m going to drop it. We’ll hear it hit the ground, I promise. 1…2…3" I listened hard to hear even the faintest click of the small piece of copper hitting the ground but I heard nothing. Neither of us did. We stood for about two minutes before finally I had had enough. "Aiden…." I asked but I didn’t hear anything in return. "Aiden?" I called again a little louder. I reached my hands out in front of me and I groped at the darkness feeling around for my friend but I didn’t feel him. Instead my hands came in contact with a hot slimy surface. It felt almost like picking up a slug but much larger and hotter. I wanted to scream but I was so paralyzed with fear that all that came out was pitiful squeak. It seemed to be closing in all around me. The air was so hot and sticky that it hurt to breathe in. I felt like crying, regretting that I’d ever allowed myself to come up here but suddenly a hand slipped into mine. "A-Amanda, let’s go." I nodded and we turned and opened the door fleeing as fast as we could. Afterwards I looked at the diary I had put in my bag. I remembered seeing small bits of handwriting when I first picked it up. But when I opened it in the car it was empty.

Aiden never revealed to my what happened to him during those few moments of time when we couldn’t hear each other. But even still I never again doubted the paranormal, or told myself ‘it’s just the wind…’ I’ve learned to trust my feelings and when I feel like something bad might happen I don’t do it. Because I know what it’s like to touch the darkness, it’s an experience I hope never to have again.

Submitted by Amanda Toran, CA, USA