They stood at the bottom of the giant moss covered grey steps. Their feet could not be seen as high grasses and weeds swamped the garden. The three Lockhill sisters stood grasping hands, three tiny figures against the backdrop of the stone-fronted mansion. Each sister looked as different from the other two as night from day. Hilda stood on the left dressed in black from head to toe, long raven black hair spilled down the back of her floor length ankle length dress. Grace stood in the middle dressed in emerald green and sported a deep red bob. Last of the sisters was Lavinia, she wore a light white summer dress with golden curls piled on top of her head.
Lavinia took a deep breath and looked at her sisters with the bright blue eyes, the one similarity that all three shared – “Time to say goodbye girls”. The two younger sisters weren’t surprised that Hilda was the one leading the situation as she’d been bossing them around since they were children! This would be their last look at the house. This house was like no other; this was a place of dreams, which had quickly descended into nightmare territory. When their parents had died in a car crash five years ago they found that they’d inherited a property that they’d never spoken of while alive.
The news of a secret family property in the little seaside village of Ardmore occupied the minds of the three sisters and distracted them slightly from their heartbreak. They’d gone there and stood as they did now holding hands in front of the giant grey house. It was rundown but it was beautiful and with some love and care it could be restored to its’ former glory. For weeks on end they drove to Ardmore every Saturday and Sunday scrubbing, cleaning, ringing electricians, plumbers, plasterers and roofers to come and do various repairs.
Finally, three months later the house was ready to stay in. The three sisters were excited for their first night sleeping there. As soon as they parked in the spot they’d cleared for a car space Hilda had a sense of foreboding and anxiousness. She looked at the window next to the first floor balcony and she could have sworn she saw a face there; she rubbed her eyes and looked again – nothing this time. She said nothing of this to her sisters. Lugging their small wheelie suitcases through the long grass and up the mossy steps they entered through the huge wooden doors at the top of the stony staircase.
It was late afternoon and shadows gathered in the high-ceilinged hallway. “Our first sleepover in our seaside home” Grace shouted, her voice echoing. A big salty gust swept in the front door and made the three girls shiver. Even in the middle of Summer, it was chilly out here near the ocean. Neither of the three Lockhill sister would forget that night. By the next morning, they felt as if they had descended into madness. Throughout the evening there were incidents – a glass of wine knocked over though no one was near, doors shut by themselves, Lavinia got locked in the toilet, the nightlights on the kitchen counter blew out, creaking noises were constant and the lights throughout the house all flickered. Of course, this could all be explained as this was an old house and being three rational girls they ignored the incidents and enjoyed a nice night.
All three were yawning by midnight and agreed it was time to go to bed. They had refurbished just two of the rooms so two of the girls were sharing. As if they’d taken a sleeping draught they were conked in their respective beds within ten minutes. At 3am Lavinia woke suddenly, covered in sweat and sure that she’d had a nightmare but couldn’t recall what it had been about. She sat up in the bed and reached for her phone under her pillow. There was no signal. Wide awake now she started to sit up. Suddenly, she was pinned to the bed by what felt like a heavy weight over her entire body. She opened her mouth to scream but no sound came out. Frantic and terrified her mind was racing. At first she could see nothing on top of her, but as her eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness she saw a shadow of a person crouching in the farthest corner of the room. She passed out cold.
She came to what felt like moments later, grabbing her phone she jumped out of the bed and ran to the room where her sisters were sleeping. She burst through the door screaming for them but to her shock she saw the room was empty, she stood there frozen to the spot. The single beds were no longer there and there was no sign of her sisters, she looked at her phone screen in panic, the time was now 4.30 – she’d been out for an hour and a half? She raced from room to room shouting her sister’s names getting more and more panicked by the minute. She went to the top of the staircase shouting over the landing, hoping to see her sisters laughing at her, after pulling a very cruel prank. She felt an invisible force push her over the balcony and she felt herself falling. She felt like she was falling forever and eventually landed, she bounced on to a soft springy surface – she was in the room where she’d fallen asleep again on her new bed.
She didn’t know what the hell was going on and left the bedroom again, sweating and trembling as she made her way to her sister’s bedroom. She opened the door with shaking hands and peered in. Her two sisters, looking slightly worse for wear, sat hugging each other tightly at the corner of one of the single beds. She ran to them and tears and snot streaked down her face as she gripped them tightly.
All three had similar experiences that night and as the dawn sunshine broke through they sat there, still traumatised. This house was evil and showed each of them the thing that they feared the most – losing each other. They gathered their things quickly, never leaving each other alone for even a minute and ran out of the house. They drove away never once looking back or returning until today. They sold the house and the acre of land for no profit and it was to be demolished.
Hilda thought they should go for one last look and get closure the day before the demolition. They looked at each other once more as they stood there facing the house of fears. It looked innocent and promising, seducing them again. All three knew that this was a trick, the house would need to be destroyed to allow them to continue with their lives, they also knew the reason why their parents had never told them about its existence – they had been protecting them.
They squeezed each other’s hands and walked back to the car, a whistle of wind blew past them – it sounded like someone calling for help. They continued to walk, knowing the house was trying to draw them back. They drove away without a backward glance. Grace smiled as they drove back the windy road leaving Ardmore, the three sisters had each other and that was all that mattered.