Inside the house there is a group of teenage girls, all around fifteen to seventeen years of age. They are all dressed in pink pajamas and have set up their sleeping bags into a circle. One girl with blonde, curly hair looks up at the door, "Who is here?" A brunette with sharp blue eyes looks at the door and groans, "Don't tell me…Shelby! Did you invite the weirdo?" The girl with auburn hair slowly stands up and steps over the bags, heading over to the door, "Oh, come on Hilary, it's just Asta. Besides, it would be wrong to leave her out." Hilary huffs and looks over at a heavier, red headed girl, "Whatever…anyway, Yvonne what do you think of the tryouts?"
With them distracted with conversation over the dance tryouts and coming up performances, Shelby walks over to the door. She opens it to find a shy, blonde haired girl with glasses. Shelby smiles softly, "Hey Asta, glad you could make it. Come on in." Asta smiles sheepishly, "Thank you, Shelby." Once the door is shut behind her, Asta looks at her surroundings. The house is a pearl white color on the inside and everything is so neat and tidy, much different from the comforting yellow around her house and scattered papers and art supplies.
She looks around the corner to see all of the girls conversing, very few looking in her direction. Shelby goes in the opposite room, "I will be right back. I am going to get us some snacks." Asta swallows hard and nods her head. She takes in another deep breath and steps into the living area. The coffee table has been moved over to the side and a fireplace is dimly lit. All the sleeping bags in a circle are so different from her old, green sleeping bag. She halts as silence engulfs the room. Hilary makes an unpleasant expression and groans, "Hey, here is the freak-a-zooid." Asta flinches at the words and sets her duffel bag down next to the couch. Yvonne snickers to herself and starts to talk again. A girl with a long, black ponytail stands and walks over to her, "Hey, I'm Opal Franklin. I'm new to this group." She extends her hand a little towards Asta, "We haven't gotten to meet."
Asta looks down at the girl's hand. The newest girl to the group, and yet Opal was still more liked than Asta. She takes her hand and lightly shakes it, whispering, "I'm Asta Grey, nice to meet you." Opal looks concerned as she looks back at Hilary and Yvonne. She frowns, "Don't worry about those guys. They just don't understand." Asta smiles weakly up at her. Since she had first started taking dance classes in the town three months ago, the only nice person had been Shelby. It was comforting to know the new girl was just as nice.
Shelby comes back into the room carrying a package of soda and a platter of meat and veggie wraps. Asta quickly helps her by taking the sodas. "Oh, thank you Asta." Shelby smiles as she puts the platter down on the coffee table and the group of girls swarm it. Asta carefully takes a few cans and then sets the pack down. She walks over to Opal and Shelby, who are now sitting on the couch. She offers them each a soda and they both smile up at her. "Asta, what I don't understand is how no one seems to like you," Opal replies with a frown, "You are such a nice girl." Asta shrugs as she pops open the can to take a drink. The bubbles tickle her nose as she lifts it to her lips and she giggles to herself.
Shelby smiles and looks over at the coffee table, "Well, not much we can really do though. It isn't like we can change their minds…easily that is." Asta seems to slump with disappointment as she takes another sip of her drink. Hilary moves from the group and shifts to the middle of the floor, "Hey! Let's tell stories; scary stories!" She smirks at Asta; because she knows Asta doesn't like scary stories. Shelby and Opal try to persuade her to join the group, but Asta shakes her head and huddles up on the couch.
Hilary smiles wickedly and asks sarcastically, "Oh, what's wrong? Are you too afraid?" Asta replies to her hateful question with a blank stare. Hilary frowns, "Well, fine you big baby!" Hilary looks at Yvonne, who starts telling a story about a man in the woods. Trying to ignore the story, Asta quickly rummages through her duffel bag and pulls out a sketchbook and a pencil. She starts to draw random lines and forming them into any shape that she could to drain out their voices. Yvonne's voice got softer and louder at the exciting or scary parts in her story, unfortunately making Asta curious and a little jumpy. She was trying so hard not to listen to the words. Asta mainly gets startled by some girls gasping or screaming, and sighs with relief when Yvonne says, "The End." Hilary grins to herself and says, "I have a really good one! It's called the House of Memory!" Asta stops her drawing, but her eyes remain glued at her sketch as she listens in.
"There was once a breakfast and inn, just outside of our town gates. It was owned by a single mother. But they had no idea that they had a murderer in the house! There was a doctor who stayed there, who seemed nice, but was really a horrible man. When the lady of the house went on a business trip for a week, she came home to see that he had killed everyone! Her three daughters and two residents! He had slit one of her daughter's throats, his assistant, because she wouldn't be his. The other daughter he drugged, killing her by overdosing, and then he killed her lover by stabbing him in the chest! Her youngest daughter he choked and raped, and then shot her! Because she fell in love with another man, who he pushed over a railing on the third floor! The mother came home, and as soon as she went up the steps, he set the whole house on fire, killing the lady too. They say that the house is still standing, just burned on the inside, and if you go in, the doctor's ghost will find you, and you will never come out for all of eternity…and…"
A high-pitched squeak rings out, stopping the story short. The group of girls turn around and look at Asta, who has dropped her book and is shivering. Hilary has a sense of victory in her voice, "Well, if you don't like it, leave!" Shelby frowns, "Hilary, that wasn't nice!" Asta, still shivering, tries to stand her ground. "Well…well…" her voice tries to sound more assertive, "what if it isn't true? What if there isn't any old, burned up house?! And even if there is…what makes you think a…a stupid story like that is correct about the man!" Hilary glares at Asta and stands up, "Oh really? You don't believe me? I've seen the house! My dad told me the story himself! The woman that murderer killed, well, that was my dad's great aunt!" Hilary crosses her arms and Asta stands up nervously, "Well, your family history could be wrong! Maybe you just use that story to get…get sympathy that you don't even desserve!"
Hilary gasps and snatches the collar of Asta's gown, "You little freak! Don't start talking to me like I am the one in the wrong! If anything is wrong, it's the fact that you and your stupid family made residence in our town!" A hand grabs Hilary's shoulder, it is Yvonne. "Why don't you just show Asta the house? Would that satisfy you?" Hilary grumbles and smirks at Asta, "Alright, fine, I'll give you the proof of the house." She releases her grip on Asta, and grabs a jacket, "Well, come on! You want proof; I will give it to you!" Asta fiddles with her fingers and whispers nervously as everyone gets ready, "I have a bad feeling…"
The group of girls successfully reaches the gate of the town without being noticed, to Asta's horrible surprise. Hilary smiles and takes out a key. 'Most likely a skeleton key,' Asta thinks to herself. Asta's thoughts are proven true when the key unlocks the gate and they all file out, without making a single noise. Asta nervously follows behind, as they all start to pull out…motorcycles from the bushes!?
Asta freezes as they each pull out a motor bike. Opal even looks a bit confused, "Wh-What in the world? Why do you guys have motorcycles?" Hilary smirks and chuckles to herself, "Oh come on, this town is perfect and all, but it can get boring sometimes. No harm in wanting to spice up our lives." She glares at Asta and nudges her away, "Now, pick a partner and get on!" Opal gets on a bike with a blonde named Rena, and Asta is partnered with Shelby. Shelby smiles and replies to Asta's confused look, "Yeah, wasn't expecting this one, huh?" Asta shakes her head gently. Shelby giggles, "Well, hold on."
They all start up the bikes, which rumble like a stampede. They all put on helmets and Asta is instructed to make sure her glasses don't fly off. Asta holds on tight as they take off. She stares to her side as the road, trees and houses seem to speed past them. The wind feels nice, but is just mild enough to make her wish she was wearing pants. Within a few minutes they reach a dirt road and she coughs to herself and tries to hide her face in Shelby's back from the dirt flying. There seems to be no one out this far, just lots of trees. The motorcycles slow down and they all park them outside of an old, rusty gate. The gate has vines running up it, covering up the words Happy Pine Breakfast and Inn.
Hilary starts to push on the gate and it screeches open. She smiles to herself and motions to the gate, "Well, come on, your proof is in here!" Hilary struts passed the gate, with everyone else fearlessly following. Asta's shoulders roll forward in fear as she follows all of them. Within the gate, there is a dense mass of trees, making the moonlight disappear. The grass surrounding the cracked, stone walk way is up to her knees almost, with weeds growing everywhere. There are loud noises from crickets and owls as she makes her way to an opening.
In the clearing she joins the other girls, all gaping up at a three story building. Blackened baby blue paint seemed to be curling from its exterior and the windows were dusty or broken. A wraparound wooden porch seemed to be falling apart in some areas, but not in front of the soot covered door with a broken window. The thing that counteracted the eerie building was the wild sunflowers that surrounded the house on both sides. It looked like at one point, it was a beautiful building.
Hilary smiles and says mockingly, "See? This was at one point the Happy Pine Breakfast and Inn, owned by my father's great aunt!" Asta smiles weakly, "Alright, fine. The building is here, but that doesn't prove your story of the murderer." Hilary glares at Asta and yells, "You want the truth? How about you go in there then! Miss Smarty Pants!!!" Asta's eyes widen and she shakes her head, "That is an old building, it can easily fall on top of me from its weakened state. I mean, it went through a fire somehow without toppling over!" Hilary scowls and grabs at Asta's wrist, "Listen, you big dork! I'm not giving you a choice!"
Asta struggles as Hilary and Yvonne drag her up to the house. Opal and Shelby are frantically yelling for them to stop. They are being held back by some of the girls though. Asta nervously chuckles as they reach the porch, "Haha, ok…this is a joke, I get it…now please, just let me…" Hilary turns back to Asta and grabs at the collar of her gown again, "Joke?! What kind of joke do you think this it? This isn't any joke, loser! You are going in there, whether there is a ghost or not!" Asta gasps as Yvonne and Hilary pick her up by her arms, open up the door and toss her onto the floor of the house. They slam the door behind her, everything is dark, and the only other things there…are two smoky red eyes staring at her from a corner.