The rain was falling harder than ever, beating against the clattering window panes with a vengeance. Peter walked along the unfamiliar corridors of the new house, wishing more than ever that he had gone along with his parents to receive the last of their luggage from the railway station. Being alone for the first night in a strange new place didn’t seem quite a good idea now, even if it was only for an hour.
His father had lost his job, and unable to make both ends meet, his family had just shifted to a suburban town called Ghost Town today. The rent was cheap here, which made it easier to get a new place for them to live in, but Peter was terrified by the very prospect of living in a town that went by such a tell-tale appellation.
The creeps that hearing the name of the place gave him were nothing compared to the gooseflesh that racked his skin when they had first entered the town. It looked deserted — with large Yew trees along the roads blocking their view from what was out there further beyond. Most of the shops were either padlocked, or shut for the day. The only place which showed some signs of life was the Wayside Inn from where they had picked up lunch. The crowd inside was motley and even though it was dark to see clearly, the din suggested that the house was nearly full.
A huge bolt of lightning flashed above, splitting the sky in two.
Peter waited for the roar of thunder to follow, but all he heard was a deafening silence, during which the shadows of the room grew noticeably deeper.
A chill ran up his spine.
Brushing off the uncanny pause as completely natural, the ten-year old walked ahead towards the safety of his room. His shadow trailed long and black behind him, skipping, dancing in the flickering light of the candles on the walls.
He pushed the wooden double doors open and walked towards the promised warmth of the four-poster bed. On the way, he glanced at the huge pendulum clock by the door. The hour hands stood resolutely still, and he counted twenty more minutes before he would have company. Sighing, he flopped down on the bed and closed his eyes.
A tap on his shoulder, a sudden gust of wind across his face, and Peter jumped up, his eyes ablaze with fear.
There was no one around — the empty walls of the room stared blankly at him. He shivered, hoping the minutes would trudge on faster.
Just as he was about to sit down again, he felt a sharp tap on his shoulder again and turned round violently, his heart beating faster than ever.
“Who’s there?” he called out.
The gushing gale outside answered his call with a disembodied wail.
Hugging himself in fear, Peter stood helplessly rooted to him spot. The room looked completely empty, except for himself.
As he looked down, he suddenly realized that his shadow was stretched out long on the floor behind him, its arms outstretched, as if getting ready for an attack.
Gulping, he realized his own hands were folded tightly across his chest.
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