A house stands upon a shady hill. That's the first thought that pops into Ali's head when she sees the ramshackle building perched precariously above her on the overgrown hill. Ali was always trying to put things...poetically. It was something silly she'd been doing since she was seven. Her father was a poet, her mother was a song-writer...Ali wanted desperately to follow in their footsteps, but her attempts at poetry and music were not only disconcerting, but down-right terrifying in the case of trying to play the violin. Animal control had shown up once, with reports of an injured cat.
Ali had been so mortified she hadn't wanted to go to school. But here she was, finally able to run away from the jeering pack of predatory teens who seemed to follow her around these days.
With a sigh, Ali shielded her eyes from the sudden glare of the sun and stared at the house. It was falling apart, with its gutters barely hanging on, and its shatters hanging at odd angles. One or two of the windows on the large house were broken, and the gardens were overgrown. The front porch pillars were covered with ivy, and one of them was broken, and had fallen over, causing the rotting roof to sag.
Ali was adventurous by nature, but when she heard the sounds of a hurt animal--it sounded vaguely like a kitten--she perked up.
Looking around quickly to make sure no one was around in case she did something stupid, she hurried up the hill as fast as her strong legs could carry her.
Reaching the top, she paused once more to survey the house. A sudden gust of wind caused blonde hair to blow in front of her eyes. When she brushed it away, the air seemed colder and the sun had slipped behind a cloud.
The sound came again, and Ali followed it across the sagging, rotting porch (avoiding the large holes in it as she went) and into the entry way.
It was silent again as she surveyed the entry way. It was rotting, and the once ornate wallpaper now hung in tattered shreds. The carpet on the floor looked like rats had chewed it away, and the paneling on the wall was battered and splintered. The solitary window was covered with cobwebs and so thick with dust and dirt just a dull bit of sunlight pierced the shadowy depths of the room.
Her eye was drawn to the dark red stain in the corner. Curious as always, Ali leaned down and touched it with her fingers.
Horror made her shiver as she drew them back and saw them covered with blood.
Animal blood. The injured animal you hear, Ali.
Everything seemed to slow down. She could hear her thudding heart, and also the creak of a door opening somewhere down the hall.
Everything was going fuzzy.
"Stop it!" she shrieked, slapping herself. Hard.
Surprised, she stopped, and gradually her breathing slowed down.
"It's just animal blood and it's a drafty house."
That explanation would have worked, except it didn't explain the knife blade that was now at her throat.