Nobody had live there for years, not since those children had died. When it happened once people were angry but then it happened again and there was outrage. Why didn’t anyone stop it?
Someone must have been able to do something. Heads would roll now for sure.
The first to go was the local police chief. He stuck things out for a few days until his commander called him and suggested he should do the honourable thing. Protesting that strictly no crime had been committed did him no good. He should have known, he was told, and done something about it after the first one.
The council chief went next, within a day or so of the police chief. The papers said he should have sent his officers there sooner, they should have prevented both tragedies. That was what the council did, wasn’t it? He needed no advisory call from above and offered his resignation to the packed council chamber.
But did it make any difference to us? No of course not. We kids had been going there for years and two deaths made it even more exciting. We had played chicken and rat-tat-ginger and smashed windows when old Mr Davies still lived there, so when he closed up and moved to his daughter’s house in town, we saw his house as an even better playground. Most of us didn’t even like the boys who died there, Dylan Parr and Mike something was it?
We renamed it the Ghost House and knowing the old man wouldn’t be there to shout us off the premises, it became a place for night visits as well as daytime ones. We dared each other to spend a whole night in the place whilst we lied to our parents about which friend we were staying with. Anyone who managed a full night would be sure to see the ghosts of the two boys. We all had questions to ask them and first to get a reply would become leader of our gang, probably for ever.
I tried it once, just once. I was almost 16 and sure that I could do what all of my mates had so far failed to do. None had spent longer than a few hours in the house, especially once it started to get dark. Gary was coming too but pulled out with a convenient cold just before we left. So I went alone. Pah, no problem I thought.
I’m still not sure what happened or why I couldn’t stay. I saw nothing, heard nothing, felt nothing. But I knew I had to get out of the place. There was no ghostly vision of the two boys and I made sure I kept well away from the cellar where old man Davies found their bodies. Most of his furniture had been stolen or smashed up, so I sat on a sleeping bag I’d brought from home. From the floor everywhere looked so tall and I felt small and insignificant. Being there no longer mattered. Seeing ghosts wasn’t important and I’m ashamed to admit I wanted my Mum.
I ran all the way home, sleeping bag trailing behind me like a cloak. I hammered on the door knocker and when my mother called out “Who is it?” I shouted “Let me in Mum, it’s me Darren.” Boys didn’t often hug their mothers at my age, but I did and held onto her for an age. She walked me to my room, tucked me into bed and never asked where I’d been.
I think she knew, even though I never, ever told her.