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The street was dark. The sidewalk that I stood on was only illuminated by the dim glow of the old street light. The smell of rain and the smell of gas filled my nose, combining into a scent impossible to forget. I looked up at the big brick house. Number 341. There was a light on in the upstairs window to the left, and none anywhere else. I sighed. The house seemed more dismal than I remembered. I had seen pictures of the house, but I had never seen it for myself. My phone buzzed, I picked it up.

“Hi honey!” said my mom.

“Mom, why do I have to stay here!?” I half questioned, and half yelled.

“Your aunt Ingrid is already very excited that you are coming. Plus, I’ll only be gone for a week,” she said.

“You promise it’ll only be a week this time?” I said half in tears.

“I promise,” she said, and then she hung up. My mom was an actress, and her work took her all over the place. She always said that she would only be gone a few days, but she was sometimes gone for months. We used to live with my grandparents, in Los Angeles, but about a month ago my grandparents died in a boating accident, leaving us with the house, and me having to stay in Fern Ridge, Massachusetts, with my aunt Ingrid, who I had never heard of.

I walked up the stairs and knocked on the door. It flew open almost the second I knocked, revealing the polar opposite of the woman I had expected to see. I had expected a plump old woman,wearing colorful clothes, when in fact, the woman standing before me was tall and thin, wearing black jeans, a grey shirt, and a black jacket. She had reddish brown hair, that fell neatly on her shoulders, and was parted in the center of her head. She had golden brown eyes, that looked knowing, as if she had seen things no one else had. She had sharp features, but also a subtle softness, like she was a rose who prefers for people to see her thorns, instead of her beautiful red petals. “You must be Kellie, I’m Ingrid. I’m your father’s sister. Come in,” she said, stepping aside. I had always thought that she was my mother’s sister. I hadn’t seen my father since I was five. He had been in the navy, and went missing. I stepped inside the house. It had plain white walls, and the stairs were right in front of the door. The smell of freshly baked bread reached my nose, and I relaxed slightly. “Your room is upstairs on the left. I already set everything up, so you won’t have to do that. You have a bathroom connected to your bedroom, and a small closet. I’m going to go finish getting dinner prepared, so just come down when you’re ready,” she said.

I walked up the stairs to my temporary room, and when I opened the door, I saw a room painted in a depressing grayish blue color, and furniture that was made of a dark colored wood. This was not at all the room I had wanted or expected. I tossed my suitcase onto the bed, and started to unpack. I first pulled out my pink stuffed cat, named Paws, and quickly shoved it into my pillow. Then, I pulled out my clothes, most of them colored yellow, and placed them inside a drawer on the dresser. “Kellie, are you ready to eat? I made chicken stew. Your mother told me that it was your favorite,” Ingrid said. I decided that that was enough unpacking, and I walked down the stairs, not really wanting to share a meal with Ingrid, but also quite hungry.

The next day, I woke up,  got dressed as usual, and went downstairs for breakfast. On the table, I saw a note, saying that Ingrid had gone to work, and would be back at six o’clock. She left an emergency phone number at the bottom of the note. I was glad that I would have a day to explore the house, and the town. I shoved the note in my pocket, and went upstairs. I decided I would explore up there first.

After about an hour of looking around, and of finding nothing interesting, I went back downstairs to search the main floor. I looked through all the rooms, finding nothing that really surprised me, and decided to walk back upstairs. So far I had found all the typical things. Old photos, books, old clothes, not even the attic had anything more interesting.  As I was about to go upstairs, I saw a room that I hadn’t noticed yet. I opened the door and walked in. Inside, I found a dark room, with no windows, and only the lamp in the corner to give the room light. The room was filled with bookshelves. On the shelves there were books, figurines, and other unknown objects. I walked over to one of the shelves, and saw that I couldn’t read any of the titles. The room was also filled with pictures of my father, and even a few pictures of me with my father, but none of my mother. On one side of the room, there was a huge door, decorated with strange designs. I pulled on the door knobs, and it opened. I peered into it, but only saw darkness.

“ What are you doing in here!” Ingrid shouted.

“ This is my private room! Please don’t come here again!” she said.

“ Ok” I answered.  I knew she didn’t want me to come back. I knew I shouldn’t come back. But I did come back. Infact, I went back almost every day that I was there.

“ I’m so sorry Kellie.” I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. She said she would only be gone for a week. She said she would be back soon. How could she… I couldn’t even bear to think it. How could my mother, who never did anything for me, how could she have died?! “ She died in a car crash, on her way to come and get you,” said Ingrid. The one time that my mother had actually planned on being there when she said she would, she had died. I couldn’t believe she was dead. I couldn’t believe I was stuck here, in this stupid little town, with my aunt, who I had never even heard of a week ago. I felt like my brain was going to explode, and all the grief and anger would come pouring out of me.

“ Kellie! It’s going to be okay! Please just settle down!” That was it. I didn’t even know why, but in that moment, all the emotions just came pouring out of me.

“ You don’t know anything! You’re just some kooky lone wolf who doesn’t even have human emotions! How can you know anything!” I screamed. I pushed past Ingrid, and ran upstairs. I flung myself onto my bed, and started to cry. The tears streaming down my cheeks. I heard Ingrid come into the room, but I didn’t care.

I woke up, and all the memories of last night came flooding back to me. My brain quickly filled with the same emotions I had felt earlier. I knew Ingrid had already left for work, so I went down stairs. I know longer cared about being good. I went into Ingrid’s room, and opened the big doors. I stepped inside. I was greeted by darkness. I saw nothing. A strange smell drifted over to my nose, and I passed out.

“ Kellie! What are you doing here!” I woke up to the sound of Ingrid scolding me.          “ Wha- where am I!” I looked around the room. It was a big gray dome, with small black doors lining the walls. On the far side of the room, there was a big black archway. I could see nothing beyond that. The room was filled with an unnatural silence, making it feel as if life was non-existent here. Next to each black door was a small wooden table. Each one had different items on it. I didn’t recognise any of the items. In the center of the room, there was an altar. On the floor around the altar, were words and designs, written in some language I didn’t understand. On the altar, was a glass jar, with a purple crystal inside of it.

“ This is going to sound crazy. You are in my work place. I go out, and collect the magic of the human world, and then I bring it here. This place is extremely dangerous, and the portal you came through is really unstable.” I had no words for this statement. It sounded too crazy to be true, but somehow, I believed her.

“ How do we get back?” That was all I could say. “ I have to build another portal. Please don’t go anywhere while I do so.”

“ What is the altar for?” I asked.

“ It is to remind me of the promise I made when I first became a magic worker. It reminds me to never use what I collect for my own good. The crystal is also highly combustible, so if some magic escapes, I can use it to save myself... In a way.” I couldn’t imagine what kind of magic would be worse than death. While Ingrid was working on the portal, I walked around the room. I listened at every door, trying to figure out what could be inside. After walking and listening for quite some time, I came to the archway. I peered inside, and saw nothing but darkness. I stuck my hand in, and couldn’t see it. I was about to pull my hand back out, when I felt something cold grab my hand. I screamed, and jumped back in surprise. I assumed that Ingrid couldn’t hear me, because she had no reaction. I looked back at my hand, realizing that I had pulled out whatever grabbed my hand. Grasping my hand, I saw another hand. A gray, cold, dead hand. The hand was attached to a girl. She was about my size, but she was entirely gray. Everything was gray. Her hair, her skin, her clothes were gray too. The only things on her that weren’t gray, were her eyes. Her eyes were completely yellow. I backed away, pulling my hand out of her grasp. The, well, thing I had released didn’t seem to be alive, and certainly wasn’t moving. I grabbed a green bottle from the table by the archway, and threw it at the girl. I hoped it was some kind of disappearing potion. The bottle hit her, and shattered. I decided to walk away, but as soon as I turned around, she put a hand on my shoulder. “ You can’t run, flesh child,” she said. I turned around to face her. She was no longer stone. She now was made completely out of fire. She also had grown… a lot. She was now almost thirty feet tall.  I screamed, and ran back over to Ingrid. “ Ingrid, I uh, may have released one of your um, creatures…”

“ You did what! Kellie! You didn’t just release one of them! You released the fire fiend! She controls all the monsters! Go through the portal! Now!” It was true. I looked around the dome, and saw that now, all the doors were open, and all kinds of fiery monsters were coming out of them.

“ What about you?”

“ I’ll be right behind you. Go! Now!” I ran through the portal, and came out in the kitchen. I waited for Ingrid. I waited for hours. Just sitting there, waiting. It was almost midnight, when the portal started to close. “ No!” I screamed. “ No! Ingrid! You said you would be right behind me!” I felt the tears start to stream down my cheeks. I couldn’t believe it. First my mother, than Ingrid, It seemed as if I was destined to lose everyone in my life. I pulled the blinds down on all the windows. I locked all the doors. The house looked more dismal than it ever had before.

For days I moped around the house, thinking about Ingrid. Thinking about my stupidity. After all, I had brought the creature out. I had killed Ingrid. I thought about my mother too. I thought about how she had died. I saw them sometimes. Or at least, I thought I did. They haunted me. All of them. My mother, my father, my grandparents, Ingrid. I saw them in the shadows, but when I looked back, they were gone. The house got dirtier and dirtier. The floors gathered dust, and the walls, cobwebs. I rarely ate, and when I did, it was only stale bread. I hadn’t left the house since I went through the portal, and the only people I saw, not including the ghosts, were children. I saw them through my windows. They called this house the witch house. They threw rocks at the windows, and if they saw me watching them, they ran away.

After weeks of living like this, I decided that it had to end. I could only see one escape from my sadness. I had grown tired of living. I wanted to see them again. I wanted to run into the outstretched arms of my family, and never leave them. I was ready. I climbed the ladder to the attic. Once I was there, I opened the window and climbed out. I stood on the roof, at the very edge. I looked around. The crisp air surrounded me, and reminded me of a time without this misery. The sun was just starting to come up on the horizon. The birds sang in the trees. I stepped forward. The air blew around me. I couldn’t feel the pain anymore. I knew that I would be on the ground soon. I knew that soon it would be over. “ Goodbye.” I said. And I let the cold embrace of death wrap itself around me.

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