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House Across the Lake 4by: Paul G Jutras
A wooden side panel station wagon could see the house by the lake sticking out from behind the tree tops. Jason stared nervously. When he moved away from his old school, his friends joked about his name and the fact so many murders happened by the summer camp across the lake.
"Have you heard the stories?" Jason asked his parents. "The camp across the lake was force to close due to the number of deaths that happened."
"Just stories." His mother, Ann said. "You cant believe everything you read or told. I think well be able to see the old camp from the second floor."
Once inside the house, Jason felt a prickle on the back on his neck. The hairs on his arm stood up on end as a hollow feeling appeared in his stomach. The place was old and one wondered how it managed to remain so charming.
Taking his suitcase, Jason went upstairs to put his things away. He looked in one empty room after another, until he saw just the one he wanted. He put his suction cup basketball hoop over the inside of the door and through the case on top of the dust covered bed.
As Jason turned with a bunch of shirts and started to carry them to the closet, he saw a little eight year old girl walking pass his doorway. "What the?"
He ran out into the hall and gasped in surprise. It was completely empty with no sign of where she could of gone.
"Pull yourself together," Jason whispered to himself. "There has to be an explanation. Like listening to those kids lake tales one too many times."
Thats when he heard footsteps running along the floorboard in the attic. Climbing up into that attic, he took one step at a time. "Mom, Mom are you there." Jason said as the old house seemed to be watching him.
In the corner of the attic was a doll house, which looked exactly like the one he was now living in. Inside were three dolls. A father. A mother. A little girl. Jason then felt a tingling sensation between his shoulder blades.
"Some old Christmas wrappings." Jason said as he read a label. TO LESLEY FROM MOM.
"I wonder if she could of been one of the campers or the daughter to the camp owners." Jason thought as he looked back to the attic door. A little girl, pale to the point of being transparent stood before him.
Before Jason knew what was going on, he found himself racing pass the little girl. He ran downstairs and out of the house as fast as his legs would take him. Getting a stitch in his side, he bent down and grabbed his knees while panting.
The wind started to pick up in his face.
"Ill find out who she is later." Jason said, going over to an old swing set while Lesley stared down from the attic window. Inside Lesley was dressed in a gray satin dress, suntan nylons and a pair of Mary Jane shoes putting on her lipstick with mirror held by purple finger nails.
After a game of baseball with his father, Jack, Jason went back up to his room. He reached for a model plane on his dresser when he notice his nails were polished purple. He jerked it back and saw his hand was normal and unpolished.
"This is getting spooky." Jasons foot bumped the solid block under his bed and found a hidden draw. Inside was what appeared to be some kind of diary. Jason picked it up and started to flip through it.
The girls walked through the woods. Reaching the cabin, they notice the light inside was moving about. The cheers of the crowd inside made Amy sure she had the right place.
"Oh, man." Complained a new boy in the cabin. He set his cards aside and looked over from the his bed. "What do you girls want here?"
"To beat you at your own name." Amy smirked. "Go ahead and shuffle."
"Knew it." He grumbled as he dealt her in. When the game was down to just the two of them, he looked up and smiled. "I tell you what. Loser jumped into the lake after the game...naked."
Before anyone could say anything, Amy spoke up. "Hope you like your baths cold. "A royal flush!"
"Real impressive." Steve joked.
Everyone soon went down to the docks where Jason began unzipping. Just as he was ready to step off into the water, he spun around and grabbed Amys arm. He then stepped backwards and pulled her in with him.
The two started laughing as she stripped off her own clothes to join him in a little kissing and skinny dipping. The cold lake water aroused Amys nipples and proved her to be more of a girl than her friends first through.
"Cmon you two," Lesley started. "If you two get caught out there like that youll be booted out before camp even begins. Besides we have to get to the campfire. Maybe we can learn the secret of that house."
"Probably nothing to learn about the house, but best keep this anyway." Jason thought as he put the book in his nightstand for future reading. After he finished unpacking, he got ready to turn in early.
A cold wind caused him to shiver late that evening. Getting out of bed to get another blanket from the closet, he saw lights moving in the woods. It looked like people with torch lights. Ducking there heads, the girls tried to keep the low branches from smacking them the face.
Finally they seem to gather about a camp fire. The groups were sitting in a circle on logs, separated by their counselors. The campers off with a camp song - Michael Row His Boat Ashore,"
"Mom! Dad!" Jason cried out as he watched his parents come rushing into his bedroom. They saw Jason staring out the window to the camp across the lake. The silence was broken with the chirping of crickets.
Jason just kept starring with his eyes darting from one end of the lake to the other. The lights had all gone out and there was no sign of movement. "Do you know if the camp is really closed? I just saw some campers at some sort of camp fire."
"It was just a nightmare." Ann assured him as she kissed and tucked him back in. "Too many stories and being nervous about moving into a new home. Everything will look brighter in the morning."
As his parents walked off, he could swear that he could smell roasted marshmallows.
"Ghosts?" Jason thought as he saw the rocking chair in the corner of his room start rocking by itself. He shivered despite the extra blanket. He listened to the houses pipes, and creaking boards, unable to sleep.
He reached into the draw and pulled out the diary.
JUNE 12 - EVENING.
"The first counselor to go near that house was never the same again." John went on. "He was by hiking by himself when he found himself near the house. When the camp employees found him the next morning, he couldnt even speak."
"How did he die?" a kid named Jason had asked.
"Thats the mysterious part." John said. "Nobody knows if he died or not. When the nurse when to examine his body... it was missing."
"Yeah, right," muttered Lesley.
"How do you know this?" Ann asked.
"The counselor who vanished," remarked John. His skin started to melt off his face. "Was me."
Ann jumped up from the log - and backed away from John.
"Even one of the kids in this diary has the same name as me." Jason shivered more as he laid in the pitch blackness that surrounded his bed. More tiny footsteps were heard walking about out in the hall.
The next morning, Jason got out of bed and went to the bathroom. As he reached to fill the sink with water, he noticed the purple polish had returned to his fingers. As he looked in the mirror, a beautiful blonde hair was staring back in a red sun dress, white hose and black shoes. When he looked down, he realized it was more than just a reflection.
"Jason, you in there?" His father asked as he barged in. Jason quickly pulled the shower curtain off the railing and covered himself up with it.
"What are you doing?" His dad asked.
When Jason looked down, he saw he was only wearing his stripe pajamas under the curtain. "I dont feel well." Was all he said as he went back to his room and diary.
The next day at the lake shore, Lesley stared at the house across the lake. She was impressed with the great joke that counselor John and the others played on me. She didnt see the shadows of one of the camps lifeguards fall over me. "In the water, kid."
"Here I go." Lesley said as she jumped off the dock and swam through the dark water. It didnt take long for Goosebumps to appear on her arms. She felt the familiar feeling of being watched as she moved away from the shore. She had to remind myself that the near drowning was all part of the joke. The picture of the lifeguard pulling the camper from the lake filled my head. I remembered Johns face melting and how scared I felt. More scared than I ever had in my life.
"Could John of gotten this lake any more frigid?" Jason joked. He looked around only to see Lesley way out in the middle of the lake. She didnt have any idea just how far out I had gone.
Steve peered behind me.
A green slime oozing on the surface of the lake, started to come up behind me. Doing the back float, it was about to take me unaware.
"Hey!" Steve cried out as he tried to stay afloat and pointed at the slime at the same time. His voice echoed in my ears. As Steve got my attention, I sat up and glanced over my shoulder. Panicking, I tried to swim for the dock. Not knowing what it was, I could only think of getting away from it. Each time I opened my mouth to scream, I swallowed water. My blurry vision saw Steve heading toward me.
"What, whats going on?" Lesley gasped for air.
"Swim," Steve cried, trying to reach me.
"I cant believe this is happening."
"C- C- Cold." Lesley said, feeling the green slime sticking to my feet. It felt like the bottom of her bare feet was becoming hard plastic. Just when she started to go under, She spotted Ann up on the dock.
"Got you!" Ann said, dropping to her knees and reaching an arm out to me. She had finished climbing on the dock and Lesley felt herself being pulled free of the slime. When she looked back she saw the slime was retreating in the direction of the house.
"No way," Lesley said with a look of fear in my eyes.
"Check it out." Steve said, climbing ashore. He jogged along the beach and over to us. "Its heading toward that old house."
"Weird." A previous camper name Susan muttered. "This cant be another camp tradition, can it? Part of another practical joke?"
"Perhaps there is a mystery to be solved after all." Lesley said. "I think wed better change and get over to that house."
"Count... me .. out." Susan suddenly spoke as if she was in a trance. I heard a hum that sounded like a bee hive, but couldnt see one if the nearby trees. "I...have...better. .things...to...do."
When Ann and Lesley returned to their cabin, they really wondered if the lake was a joke. For their cabin had been Toilet papered like some sick Halloween practical joke. It wasnt even the right time of year for such a prank.
"Has to be more to this place and the camp than pranks." Jason thought as a ghostly voice from a little girl broke the silence of a house that stood like a tombstone over a grave. "Ill get you Jason. You will be mine."
Thats when Jason felt a cold wind pass through his entire body. Jasons head and limbs jerked about like a puppet on strings. As Jason was moved before the mirror in his room, it wasnt his face that he saw staring back.
"Hi Jason," He heard a little girls voice come out of his mouth. "My name is Lesley. I died in this house a long time ago."
That was when Jason had realized it. He had been possessed.
"Please." Jason said. "Let me go."
"My name is Lesley," The unfamiliar voice repeated itself. He found his new female body moving up to the attic. "I am one of the ghosts in the house. Just be glad I got to your before John or Mary. Listen to my tale."
"Terrified, he was taken to a pile of junk. The photo album beside it was picked up and opened to the first page. Under a picture of the summer camp was the words: CAMP THUNDERCRACKS SUMMERCAMP FOR GIRLS."
"What the?" Jason muttered as Lesley turned his body around to face a large, transparent man.
"I see you found out about the best part of my camp fire tales." John gave one of his weird smiles as he reached up to his neck. He then saw Jason or Lesley shiver with her female shoes rooted in place. In Lesleys body, Jason found himself wearing the camp uniform.
Lesley and Jason just stared in horror as Counselor John grabbed hold of Lesley neck; which had become flesh so long as she was in Jason. They both felt their vocal cords being squeezed by Johns strength.
The room filled with a silvery, blue light as Lesley, gave Jason to break free of Johns grip. The light seemed to come from Lesleys form as it drove John into the attic closet. In a strange swirling cloud, his body vanished.
Another smoke came together and formed a new image. The image of counselor Mary. Jason managed to break his frozen hold that Lesley had placed his body in and let out a scream.
"Thats Mary." Lesley told Jason as she picked up a brush and threw it at her. It skittered across the wooden floor and stirred up the fine layer of dust that covered the area they stood on.
Jasons head was too rattled to think straight. It was light he was stuck in the Twilight Zone or something. Jason could see the sadness in her pale, hallow eyes. His heart was pounding as he shuddered in fear.
"You have sent the evil John to the other side." Mary said as her skull like face took on the features of a lovely young lady. "We are all finally free of the houses course. Though Lesley needs to stay and guard the gate so that John never returns."
"Wha-- what does that mean?" Jasons mind asked Lesleys.
"Im afraid it means well be partners from here on." Lesley made him smile. "Dont worry. With my help, youll get use to being female. The others have already summon up the last of their powers to make your parents forget you were ever Jason. Theyll think you were always born Lesley.
With that, Jason found himself stripping out of the uniform, putting on a night gown and going to bed. "Ill finally be able to grow up into womanhood."
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