just as the dusk comes hooting down through the shivering black leaves of the swinging trees we (the brave ones swaggering like marshalls through a lynch-mob) crash-bang our way to the door of the so-called haunted house
knock knock - kick in a pane of glass and the dusk hoots louder in our ears and the swinging trees ride like a mob with murder in mind - knock knock - the heavy knocker on the solid door shaking the house - knock knock knock knock - louder shaking our brave bodies the heavy knocker of our hearts
knock knock - knock knock knock
we laugh with a harsh laughter we have never heard before push and shove each other in a boisterous fear lean on heave crash open the door fall in a heap inside - pick ourselves up courageous still giggling and bruised.....
find words bounce our voices off the walls....
yell catcalls scream shriek roar batter and shatter.....
shush shush shush
oh shush yourselves
no really - shush in the air under the stair what can we hear shush
are you getting scared we knew it we knew that if we dared....
we can hear noises
noises noises in an empty house the sound of our voices echoes in crevices rattles in doorways booms in the hollowness of empty rooms
no that isn't all that doesn't explain the tall hooded silence standing in the hall or the whispering smell of dust bristling the floor scurrying like the dried-up bones of mice to the hole in the crumbling wall something snatches our voices away from us too quickly for our voices to be all
nonsense the house is dead it can't harm us old bricks and wood you're letting the darkness go to your head shout if you don't believe us shout if anybody's there if anybody's there you won't get us afraid of you whoever you are whoever you are this is what we think of you boo boo boo what's wrong what's wrong tell us what's wrong
no nothing at all your voices went but they didn't return you called but nothing came back at all there's something there swallowing up words absorbing them into air heavy waiting alert
(daddy-longlegs pitch on skin sinister fingers whisper through the roots of our hair....)
....we're not afraid of you nothing nobody we know you're there
what is it at the end of the passage in the gloom by the still door eyeing without eyes everything we do sucking us in with its black stare
you think it's funny don't you trying to frighten us keeping out of sight come out here if you're anything - we'll show you
arms move suddenly along the wall the moon riding hard on foaming clouds stands solid in the door and it's not a good moon at all
why did we come we should have stayed home but here we are in an evil room trapped between the witchcraft of an empty house and the cold hard grin of the moon
i'm going in
you'll become air a heavy silence a dance of dust
there's nothing there nothing nothing there
he gives a brave laugh but a laugh drained of blood and moves down the passage to the masked door hesitates and turns wanting our support frightened to his heart's core steps no - is drawn - backwards into a black space rapidly dissolving in our misted eyes we half-hear a short gasp - no more the moon's grin is louder as (on his restless clouds) he bucks about the sky
no one returns to us and in the morning (rooted in fear we could not leave the place but spent the night huddled in one big stack in the frozen hall) and in the morning we find not a single trace of the friend who went as simply as any word into thin air