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Rated: 18+ · Fiction · Horror/Scary · #2277812
An earlier story of mine. Canine must stay in a haunted house overnight to collect $200.
"So that's it. That's all you want me to do for two hundred dollars," Steph said. His ears were cocked back, his muzzle curled up in a sarcastic smile. He raised a beer can to his lip and tilted it backwards till just a splash of beer touched his tongue. They stood on a freshly manicured lawn that ran all the way to a high privacy fence that rung the entire back yard of the frat house. It wasn't a loud party, at least not yet. Later on there was certain to be more than one keg stand and more than one game of beer pong as one of the frat boys gave their sad impersonations of a DJ. But for now the party was pretty quiet, with groups of friends and acquaintances scattered all over the yard and house, huddled together talking.

"That's it," Saran replied. Her thin striped tail twitched a bit in annoyance. "One night in Mancroft Manor. You can't leave till sunrise."

"That's right," Chuck chimed in. His eyes were bloodshot and gone. His large frame thicker than normal. A natural habit of bulking up for the winter thanks to his ancestors. Dark brown fur stood in contrast with his white T-shirt and blue jeans. "Stay from sun down to sun up. Set up the camera so we can see you. That's it."

"It's just some old building. What's the big deal? All I'll probably find is a rat or two. Give them some cheese, they'll leave me alone," Steph said, his ears cocked in a smile. His tail moved behind him in a confident wag.

"Bro, you don't know about Mancroft?!" Chuck's eyes went wide, his round ears folded back in shock. "So, get this right. Mancroft was an old cervine. He went insane one night and killed and ate his wife and infant son right in the crib!"

"That's not true," Saran rolled her eyes, folding her ears back as she did so. Her thin orange and black tail twitched behind her even harder now. "He wasn't even forty. He did go insane though. They say, he didn't sleep for weeks. Went to a bunch of doctors, but they all kept telling him the same thing: get some exercise. Try meditating to relax. Eat better. That sort of stuff. So one night, around midnight, he finally snapped. He went down stairs to the kitchen, creeping as quietly as he could, grabbed the meat cleaver, then snuck back upstairs, being ever so quiet so as not to wake his wife.

"He walked into her room, grabbed the cleaver and slit her throat in her sleep. Then he went into his infant son's room and did the same thing. Afterwards, he cut them both open and ate their hearts right out of their chest."

"Eww," Steph said, a little grossed out. "Raw? Couldn't he have cooked it first or something?"
Chuck giggled. Saran's tail stopped in dead twitch. She cocked an ear back and raised her eyebrow as if to say, 'really?'

"Well, I'm just sayin," Steph replied. He looked down, his ears folding back in embarrassment. "Sorry," he muttered.

"Anyway," Saran continued, glaring at Steph, "He went upstairs, still holding the knife. Laid in bed, and thought to himself, 'now I can finally rest.' But he didn't. He kept staring at the ceiling until dawn. When the first rays of light hit the window, they say he couldn't take it anymore and," She drew a clawed digit across her own throat. "They say he's still up there, wandering the halls. Anyone who tries sleeping in the manor is going to get their own throat slit, in their sleep and Mancroft will eat their heart."

"Who are 'they' anyway," Steph gave air quotes around the word 'they' as he spoke, his tail tip twitching in annoyance now. "'They always talk about these things. Well, who are 'they'. How do 'they' know."

"I don't know, it's just 'they'. That's how you know it's a legend, besides," Saran said.

"You need to quit stalling. Either you're in, or, you're scared. A poor little fraidy pup, peeing his diapy!" Chuck laughed.

"First, I'm not scared I already said I would do it. Second, what are you, in the third grade? Fraidy pup? Really?" Steph said, cocking an eyebrow of his own. "What are you going to do next, give me a purple nurple?"

Chuck gave him a dark look in response.

Saran smiled at Steph, her tail still twitching. "Tomorrow then," she said.

"Yeah, we'll see you down there, bro," Chuck said, a smile on his muzzle and ears.

"What, you gonna join me," Steph replied, looking over at Chuck.

"No," Chuck looked down in embarrassment. "I meant on the laptop, cause the camera thing."

Saran held her own hand paw out, palm up. Chuck placed his on top of hers, palm up as well. Steph looked at it for a moment, then sighed and placed his on top of theirs, palm down. They pumped their hand paws up and down twice before letting them go. "It's a bet!" Chuck said, smiling.

Mancroft Manor looked even creepier in the late evening if it was possible. Most old abandoned places didn't look creepy to Steph. They just looked rotten. Empty buildings that had for one reason or another outlived their usefulness to the ones who had it last and simply didn't or couldn't find another owner.

Mancroft Manor was different. It sat in a field on a hill covered in tall weeds. The massive house looked as if it was a bad photocopy of a Victorian house that simply didn't look quite right. There was a widow's walk that Steph was certain led to no where and had no way to even access it. The doors themselves were oversized and almost massive, with fake wooden roman columns next to them, and peeling paint. Each door had a fake archway above it, wood that had been bent and carved with the imagery of vines and words written in latin. Steph wouldn't have been surprised if they spelled out 'abandon all hope, ye who enter'. An old porch wrapped around the front of the building, with the roof near the end collapsed long ago.

"Okay," Steph muttered to himself, "All I have to do is stay the night in this place and I win the bet." Too dang easy. At least that's what he told himself as he pushed open the ancient door. It creaked open, sticking halfway. Inside was about what you'd expect. The interior was just some old house. There were holes in the wall from someone stealing the copper wiring. Other than a few cob webs in the corners and a lot of dust, there wasn't anything in the place.

"The easiest two hundred bucks I've ever made," Steph with a tail wag.

The last few rays of light shown in through the broken windows as he unrolled his sleeping bag. His back pack was set down beside it. From inside he pulled out a camera and set it up. "Can you see me?" He asked. His phone chimed. It was a text from Saran saying, 'yes'.

Saran sat back in her apartment on her couch. Her laptop was open before her on a small coffee table. A green and black image of Steph kneeling before the camera filled the screen. The camera was already in night mode. That meant there would be barely any light left in the old place. Perfect.

Saran and Chuck crowded next to each other, giggling a bit. "So, you got everything ready," she asked him.

"You bet. This is going to be great," He tilted an ear in a grin back at the tiger next to him. "So, what's first."

"Lets try, some creepy stair sounds," Saran replied as she opened an app on her computer and clicked a button.

Inside the ancient house, loud echoing thumps rang out. Followed by an echo of a set of stairs loudly creaking under a heavy weight. They giggled as they watched Steph pop his head up on screen. "What the hell!" he shouted. "Oh," He replied, looking at the camera. "You. Very funny. I'll be right back."

He stood up for a moment, then walked off camera. "What's he doing," Chuck muttered.
Saran just shushed him, her tail tip beginning to twitch as she leaned forward towards the screen. Steph walked back in with a wireless speaker. "Funny," he said, his ears tilted backwards in annoyance. "Not the only ones though. I'll be right back."

He left the screen again for a few minutes, then returned. "Another speaker. Ohh, a projector, that would have been funny. Did I get it all?"

Saran and Chuck glowered at the screen. She wrapped her tail around herself as she leaned forward, holding her knees. Chuck slashed at the air with his claws, growling loudly.

"I can't believe we're gonna have to give that jerk two hundred bucks," Saran muttered.

"Like hell," Chuck replied. "I have a couple friends on the football team who owe me a favor. We can,"

She shushed him, looking at the laptop. "Did you see that?" She asked, looking up at Chuck.

"What," he asked, leaning towards the screen. Nothing happened. The grey wolf on screen had settled back into his sleeping bag. That was all.

"I thought I saw..." She muttered. Then it flashed across the screen again. An Antler moved in the distance. Then a pair of glowing eyes. The creature crouched down, then disappeared.

They both looked at each other, ears folded back faces washed in shock, then they looked back at the screen. Saran grabbed her phone and started typing. 'get out, get out, get out," she texted.

The wolf looked back into the camera and cocked an ear grin. "Hell no," he replied. "Easy money."

A loud thump rang out from the laptop. The grey wolf looked up. "What else is in here?" he asked, clearly annoyed.

"Nothing bro! Get out!" Chuck shouted feebly at the laptop.

Saran texted 'Not us. Get out please.'

Steph looked down at his phone, then back into the camera. "Not you? Then, who..."

A ghostly image of a deer stood above him, blade held high above his head. His eyes glowed bright in the pale green of the night vision of the camera. The blade came down. Steph threw his arm back in defense, knocking the camera backwards. His blood curdling screams rang out from the laptop.

"Oh shit, oh shit, Oh shit," Saran muttered, her lip curled up on her muzzle in fear. Her tail thwacked against the couch loudly.

"I'm calling the cops," Chuck said, pulling his cell phone out.

"We killed him," Saran said, clutching her hand paws to her chest. Her eyes glistened with tears.

Chuck spoke on the phone as Saran sat on the couch, holding her knees and rocking back and forth with her tail twitching. "They're sending a cop to us," Chuck replied, stuffing his phone in his pocket.

A few minutes later a police officer arrived at their door, a large minotaur with his horns filed down in that strange fad that most minotaur's had at the time. His sharp blue suit was pressed and starched to a near stiff cardboard perfection.
As he entered the doorway, he ducked down, smiling apologetically. "I'm sorry but we'll need to take a statement," he said.
Saran sat on the couch, curled up on herself. "Is he?" She asked.

"I'm sorry ma'am, but we just don't have that information yet. Try to not give up hope." He replied.

"What the hell, don't give up hope?!" Chuck shouted, "Is Steph dead or what?"

The bull looked up at the bear. "We got a team investigating that right now. What would really help us though, is if you could answer a few questions."

"We just watched our friend die," Saran muttered.

"I'm sorry that you had to witness all of that," The bull muttered, looking down into his blue hat, "really I am. But right now, we have an ambulance down there. If anyone can help your friend Steph it's them. He's going to see the best doctors in the county. If there's any chance to save him, we're taking it. You can't help them. But you can still help your friend." They both nodded.
He started asking questions. Then asked more questions. His questions ran through most of the night and on into the early hours of the morning. Chuck and Saran felt rung out by the time the large bull stood up. "I think that about does it," he said with a polite smile.

"Can we," Chuck said, "can we see him?"

"Is that what you want," The cop asked. Saran looked at Chuck. They both looked back at the cop and nodded.
"Alright," he said. "Follow me."

They rode in the back of the cop car in silence through the small city. Traffic was light, though if that was a blessing or a curse, neither Saran nor Chuck could tell. As they entered the old section of the city houses began to thin out. Trees grew larger, shading part of the streets. The street itself was speckled brown and gold with the last few remaining dead and dying leaves of fall.
The trees finally parted and Mancroft Manor rose in the distance, a black crumbling keep upon it's hill of weeds. An ambulance sat parked in front of it with it's back door open. It's lights weren't even flashing. A black van sat next to it with the word 'Coroner' printed on the side. Saran put her hand paw to her muzzle, her ears plastered against her skull, her eyes wet with emotion.

The bull parked the car, then reached for the receiver on his radio and pressed the button on the side once. "We're here," he said, then walked around the car and opened the rear door to let Saran and Chuck out.

They walked slowly through the tall weeds, dragging their feet as they walked up to the ambulance. Out of the large front door of the Manor, a gurney started to be wheeled out. A body laid on top of it, covered with a bloody sheet. "Oh my God," Saran said, turning towards Chuck.

The bull walked forward, holding his hat. "I really hate to do this," he said, looking down, "but we need you to identify the body since you're here."

"Oh God," Chuck muttered.

"We really need you to do this," the bull said gently. "I know it's going to take a lot of strength, but..."

"No, no," Saran replied. "We'll go." Slowly, they shuffled forward towards the gurney. She and chuck stood side by side as the EMS personnel stopped. Their muzzles pointed down. One a black mask of a face, whose ears shook violently as he looked down and away, almost as if he was ashamed. The other was a deer with short antlers.

"On three," the other said. He had red fur and triangular ears that reminded Saran of the sunset. "One....Two..."

"Three!" The body on the sheet shouted, sitting upright. It held it's arms out like a zombie. Saran screamed, jumping backwards. Chuck yelled, stepping back as well, both raising their claws in a fighting stance.

Steph's laughter echoed down the hill as he pulled the sheet off of himself. "A joke?" Saran said. Steph nodded. "A joke?!" She said again. Steph continued laughing as he climbed off of the Gurney.

Chuck didn't say anything. He looked down for a moment. His ear tilted in a smile. Then he began to laugh too. Saran finally joined in, her anger turning to humor.

A couple hours later, the ambulance and the coroners van had both left. The cop stuck around, however, sitting on the porch with Saran and Chuck. "So, how did you," she asked.

Steph smiled. "Those two EMS are Josh and Kareth. I did two tours with them over seas. This big guy I met through them. He's Carter." The bull smiled and waved.

"I'm still stunned," Saran said. "That was one hell of a prank."

"I'd have to say though, that you did almost as good. I don't know how you set up that rusty kitchen knife to fall from the ceiling like that. Damn thing bout gave me a heart attack when it landed next to my head," Steph said smiling.
Chuck and Saran looked at each other, then back at Steph. The humor was gone. Their ears had folded back slightly in panic. The lips on their muzzles curled up in shock. "We didn't do that," Chuck said.

"Oh come on," Steph replied. "Of course you did."

"No, we didn't do it," Saran said again. "We set up the sound effects and the projector and stuff. But a knife?"

"Yeah," Chuck replied, looking back at the door of the house. "That could kill you, bro. We wouldn't go that far." The front door of the mansion was hung open. A shaft of light pierced through the darkness of the portal, revealing only dusty floorboards. Just beyond the light, two eyes glowed for a moment back at Chuck, then disappeared.


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