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Summer Dare

Photo by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash

Some people swore that the house was haunted.

My older brother Ray and his friend Chuck were two of those people. That summer they had nothing better to do than try to scare me.

It could have been Boo Radley’s house, or the one on the hill behind the Bates Motel. Known as the Wilton Manor, it sat at the dead end of Floral Lane, a dirt road flanked by chest-high weeds.

The day began like every other Florida summer day: hot, muggy, and boring. It ended up—as it usually did—being pick-on-Bobby day.

“I dare you to stay there overnight,” Ray said.

I laughed. “How many movies start like that?”

“I hear druggies live in there,” Chuck said.

“You’re just yellow,” Ray said. He clucked like a chicken. “All sophomores are; you’ll fit right in this year.”

“I’d be more scared staying with Chuck’s little sister.”

Chuck punched my arm. “Jenny’s too good for you.”

“Hey, Bobby,” Ray said. “I’ll even let you drive my car.”

The day wore into the evening and before I knew it, I had taken the dare. We told Mom and Dad we were sleeping over at Chuck’s. As nine o’clock approached, my stomach twisted like a wet towel being wrung out. I was glad summer nights were short. We trekked up the road to the dirty white picket fence in front. Ray and Chuck stopped.

“We’ll be back at seven,” Ray said. “And just so you don’t try something funny, we’re camping out at the corner back there. We’ll probably stay up all night, in case you wimp out.”

“Yeah, and drink some cold ones,” Chuck said.

I knew he meant sodas, what with Chuck’s dad being a cop.

At the porch I turned for one last look at Ray. He and Chuck were already backing down the street; still eyeing me. I tested the door and it opened easily.

Stepping inside, I hesitated, listening for any sound. A last glance out front—I couldn’t see them anymore—and I put my plan into action. I didn’t intend to stay the night inside the house. I was going to sit in the backyard until sun up.

I strode through the hallway, into the kitchen, and out the back door.

“Bobby!”

I jumped off the steps and nearly tumbled to the ground as I spun around.

“Jenny! What are you doing here?”

She blew out smoke. “My brother ’n’ yours dare you?”

I blushed. “Yeah.”

“Why don’t we have some fun?” she said.

My heart raced, but I didn’t trust that I knew what she was suggesting. “What did you have in mind?”

“Let’s make the house haunted.”

After dark we slammed the front door several times, opened windows on the second floor and howled at the moon as loud as we could. Jenny shrieked and I screamed and we ran up and down the stairs, stomping noisily. We laughed, knowing they probably couldn’t hear that. After a while we collapsed on the living room floor, out of breath.

And then she kissed me.

As Ray and Chuck neared the house the next morning, we considered slamming the door one last time, but changed our minds. Ghosts don’t come out in the daylight. Instead, we walked out holding hands, and smiled at them.

“Why don’t we go driving tonight?” I asked Ray.

Nothing was ever the same again after that.

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in All Stories, Coming of Age, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Humor, Young Adult (YA)

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