‘Hailey, you can’t say anything. To anyone.’ Kara grabbed her bag off the floor before turning to face her sister. ‘Can I trust you not to say anything to mum and dad?’
‘Of course you can.’ Hailey said quickly. ‘But Kara-’
‘No buts.’ Kara interrupted her.
‘Its dangerous K. Please don’t go.’ Hailey pleaded with her sister.
‘Nothing you can say will make me change my mind. I’m going.’ Kara threw her door open and headed down the stairs. ‘I have to go there Kiddo. You know the reputation that place has. All those people that have gone missing. The amount of people that swore they saw someone in the window. I have to find out if it’s true or not. Every night I see that castle in my dreams. It’s calling me.’
‘Then block its number!’ Hailey cried. Suddenly she pushed past her sister and stood in front of the door blocking her way out. ‘Don’t go. I’m begging you.’
‘I’ll be back in 2 hours.’ Kara roughly shoved past her. ‘See you later Kiddo.’
Hailey slowly lowered herself onto the stairs as she watched her sister slip out of the door. Was this the last time she was going to see her? Knowing the stories that surrounded that castle it was likely. Could she have stopped Kara? Definitely not. She was 7 years older and significantly stronger. Nothing could ever stop her once she got an idea in her head.
She rested her head against the cool wooden banister. I’ll wait for you Kara she thought to herself. Even if you’re mad at me when you get home, I’m still waiting here.
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The old abandoned castle stood on the hill like a sentry to the window of time. The ivy was creeping up the cracked stone wall and tickling the mossy roof. Hailey took one last look at it before continuing on her way, the snow crunching loudly under her feet.
Today she would be the exact same age that Kara was when she disappeared. 17 years, 217 days. She had been presumed dead today. Missing for 7 years, never to come back now. Everyone said she was kidnapped. The police. Her parents. The cameras. But Hailey knew better. Or at least she thought she did. Now she wasn’t so sure.
Hailey let out a deep sigh as she stopped in her tracks. Finally, she understood what Kara had meant by the castle calling her. Every night she saw it in her sleep. Every day she purposefully walked past it just to get that better look at it then what she got from her bedroom window. From her spot at the bottom of the road she could see every single brick, every single crack in the foundation. Every single face in the window.
‘Stop thinking about that stupid place.’ Hailey muttered to herself. ‘None of its real. You’re just imagining it. You’re not your sister. She couldn’t take it, she gave in. You’re not going to die like her.’
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‘Hey mum!’ Hailey called through to the kitchen as she slipped in through the door.
‘How was your walk honey?’ Hailey’s mum stood in the doorway.
‘It was okay.’ Hailey glanced over at the stairs. In 7 years, they had barely changed. She would know having spent many nights there. Sitting. Waiting. Hoping.
‘Hurry up stairs then and get your homework done before supper.’ Her mum hesitated for a moment. ‘Are you feeling alright? You’ve gone awfully quiet.’
‘Just… tired. I’ll maybe rest my head for a bit.’ Hailey turned to head up the stairs.
‘Yeah mum?’ Hailey spun round to face her.
‘I just don’t like the thought of you walking around by yourself. Can’t you call one of your friends and spend some time with them?’
‘Don’t have any friends.’ Hailey muttered angrily.
‘Well, that’s not true. What about that girl I saw you talking with the other day? She looked nice.’
‘First of all, are you watching me? That’s just creepy. Secondly, she was just one of the many people that take pity on the weird girl whose sister was kidnapped. They’re not my friends mum.’
‘Just please be careful out there.’
‘I know what I’m doing. Don’t talk to strangers, if I see anyone following me run and definitely do not get into anyone’s car.’ Hailey looked her mum directly in her eyes, almost challenging her to say more about it.
‘Alright.’ Her mum said quietly. ‘I trust you. Go get some rest then honey.’
Hailey watched her mum go back into the kitchen before running up the stairs. She’s acting strange. Really strange. Is that because of Kara?... Or something else.
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Hailey rolled over in her sleep as she felt a cold wind brushing against her cheek. That’s weird she thought to herself. I didn’t leave my window open. Her hand reached out and brushed against something damp and fuzzy. What on earth was that?
Her eyes flew open as she sat up and looked around. All she could see was moss, trees and a shimmering white blanket of snow. The moon was resting in the midnight sky, illuminating the castle.
‘How am I here?!’ Hailey screamed as she scrambled to her feet. She spun around quickly. ‘I don’t recognise this place.’
She hesitantly took a step forward. Calm down Hailey. It’s probably just a dream. Hailey shivered as the wind began to howl around her. A really realistic dream.
‘Hello? Is there anyone there?’ Hailey shouted as she wrapped her arms around herself.
I have to get inside Hailey thought to herself. She glanced down at her bare feet, the cold slowly creeping up her legs. All of a sudden, a bright light came from a window high up in the castle.
‘How can somewhere so dangerous and creepy look so inviting?’ Hailey held her head in her hands. Should I go in she thought to herself. No, that’s crazy. I am not going in there. She looked around at the trees dancing in the wind. But it’s either I freeze out here or…
Suddenly a wolf howled in the distance causing Hailey to jump. That made Hailey’s mind up for her.
‘I’d rather die up there than out here to a wolf.’ Hailey blew on her hands to try and warn them up. ‘Just go up to the castle Hailey. You don’t need to go in, just go see what it’s like.’
She took a deep breath in. Find a separate building to hide in she thought to herself as she trudged through the snow. The branches of the trees grazed her skin as she began to make her way up the stairs. Well, the stairs were more like a ramp with the amount of snow that was piled on top of it. Hailey stopped in her tracks as she looked up at the castle, now shrouded in darkness.
‘I don’t want to go in there.’ Hailey whined. ‘But then I don’t want to get eaten by a wolf. The wolf’s not going to be cute.’
Out of the corner of his eye she noticed a small building, split off from the rest of the castle. That seems safe enough to me she thought. She took a small step closer to it. It will be warmer. And it’s not technically part of the castle.
‘I’ll do it.’ Hailey said out loud as she marched forward. Her hand instantly reached out for the door handle. Her eyes opened in shock at how hot the handle was. Not burning hot but… hot. The weathered door creaked ominously on its rusty hinges as it slowly opened. She hesitantly stepped inside as she frantically looked around her. The room was empty besides a small wooden stool in the corner.
Should I go in? This room seems fine to me. Nothing dangerous or weird about it. Just for a couple minutes and then I can leave. Hailey slowly walked in. She jumped as the door slammed shut behind her.
‘Hello?’ She shouted as she backed up against the wall. ‘Please don’t hurt me.’ Her hand brushed against something cold behind her. Slowly she turned around to see a small wooden door, her hand clutching tightly onto the door knob.
‘Th-That wasn’t there before.’ Hailey stuttered. ‘I have to get out of here.’ She hesitated for a moment. ‘Or I could go through.’
Quietly she pulled the door open and crawled in. Am I going to regret this? Probably. Damn my curiosity. That is for sure what will be written on my gravestone. Hailey Lewis, aged 17. Her curiosity got the better of her so she died in a creepy, dust-filled, smelly castle. She never achieved anything in her life due to being kicked out of every school club she ever joined.
Carefully she stood up, making sure not to bang her head. Her hand went through a cobweb and she recoiled in disgust. Why am I doing this she thought to herself as she looked at the tiny room she was in. To find my sister? She was seen, on camera, getting into a van 7 years ago. The whole story of her going to the castle was probably a lie. Simply a story to scare her younger sister. A story that she didn’t realise would come true in the most horrible way. She too would go missing just like the others. Kara never even stepped foot in the castle grounds. Instead, somebody took her and they never gave her back. Hailey let out a deep sigh as she leaned against the door.
‘I need to get out of here.’ Hailey rubbed at the back of her neck as she looked around at the bare shelves that lined the walls. Nothing interesting was here like she presumed there would be. And worst of all, there was nothing she could grab to protect herself if she needed to.
‘I think that you should stay.’ A voice came from through the wall. ‘It’s time for something new.’
‘Who’s there?’ Hailey shouted. She glanced back at the door she had come in through to see… nothing. There was no door, not even a splinter of wood. Just stone. Grey boring stone.
All of a sudden, a fire was lit at the other side of the room, illuminating the grand red carpeted staircase in front of Hailey. Either she should’ve gone to Specsavers because she was wrong about the size of the room… or it had changed with her in it.
‘Hello Hailey.’ She looked up to see a figure stood at the top of the stairs. A figure she instantly recognised.
‘Kara!’ She screamed. ‘This isn’t happening. You’re not real. You are dead.’
‘Obviously I’m not. I’m standing right in front of you, aren’t I?’ Kara slowly began to make her way down the stairs to the trembling Hailey.
‘That’s not enough proof.’ Hailey scanned the room looking for something to defend herself with. ‘There was CCTV footage of you. You were kidnapped 7 years ago. How can you be here?’
‘It’s the castle. It protects all that resides in it.’ Kara stopped at the bottom of the stairs. ‘Now that includes you.’
‘No, no it doesn’t. I’m leaving.’
‘How do you plan on getting out? Do you see a door in here?’ Kara gestured to the room. ‘No doors. No windows. No way out.’
Hailey glanced around. All that was in the room was her Kara, the staircase and the fire, burning bright in the corner.
‘This is your home now.’ Kara continued. ‘You can stay here with me.’
‘What if I don’t want to?’ Hailey backed away as Kara stepped closer to her. ‘What if I want to go home?’
‘You must stay.’ Kara insisted. ‘The castle needs you to stay. You are the chosen one.’
‘What do you mean?!’ Hailey cried as Kara stopped in front of her.
‘Every 7 years someone is chosen to live in the castle. That person this time round is you sister dear.’ Kara reached out and placed a hand on Hailey’s cheek.
‘Your hand is as cold as ice.’ Hailey’s mouth dropped open as the realisation hit her. ‘Kara, what do you call me?’
‘Hailey obviously, you idiot.’ Kara laughed. ‘That’s your name, what else would I call you?’
Hailey hesitated for a moment before shoving whoever or whatever was in front of her and tearing up the stairs. The real Kara would know. The real Kara would call her Kiddo.
‘Come back Hailey!’
‘You’re not real!’ She screamed as she ran along the corridor, her bare feet flying across the cold wooden floor. Hailey winced as she felt something sharp stabbing her foot but still pushed her exhausted body onwards. She could feel her heart pounding in her chest as she skidded around the corner.
‘Got to keep going.’ She panted.
‘Hailey.’ A haunting voice came from behind her.
‘Leave me alone!’ Hailey screamed.
A loud crash made Hailey stop in her tracks. She spun round to see a bookshelf had fallen over behind her and Kara was floating a few inches above it.
‘Stop running. It’s impossible for you to get out of here.’
Out of the corner of her eye Hailey noticed a heavy looking vase on a table, positioned perfectly under a window. Can I do that? Can I throw that? It’s better than being stuck in here with that. Hailey took in a long shaky breath.
‘Nothings impossible.’ Hailey rushed towards the window and quickly picked the vase up as Kara shouted at her to stop. She hurled the vase with all her might through the window. The window shattered just as Kara grabbed onto her wrist. She shoved her off as she clambered onto the table.
‘Stop! You cannot go out there!’ Kara wrapped her arms around her waist and pulled her back.
‘Don’t kill me!’ Hailey screamed as she hit out at Kara.
‘Look at your hands.’ Kara instructed. Hailey slowly glanced down at her hands to see shards of glass sticking out her palms. But no blood. Not even a single drop. ‘You can’t kill what’s already dead.’ ns184.108.40.206da2