The story below was actually written for us and sent via an email. it turned out to be freakin awesome amazingness so of course we are gonna put it up here for a bit! thank you so very much Patgalca!!!!
Patgalca TSW Stillwinter Story
The Stillwinter’s House
“It’s a pretty rundown old house,” said Ian as they wandered through the rental unit in a Southern California neighborhood.
“But it’s cheap,” said Richie.
They were two members of a band who thought living together would make life easier.
“It’s three bedrooms. Obviously Gabby and Verenna can move in with us.”
“Still, a third bedroom,” added Ian. “We need more people to help pay the rent.
“Zoro is always couch surfing. He could join us.”
Ian stood in the living room looking around thoughtfully. “I guess it will do if we can come up with the money.”
“There is a basement. A great place to practice.” Richie led the way through a door and down stairs.
“Yeah,” Ian agreed as he looked around at the sparsely finished room with wood panelling and old quilted carpeting. “This would work.”
“Hello?” came a female voice from above.
“We’re down here,” Ian called out.
Gabby and Verenna, Ian and Richie’s respective girlfriends, made their way down to the proverbial rec room.
“What do you think?” Richie asked.
“I’m glad I’m not a member of the band and don’t ever have to come down here,” said Gabby.
“What do you mean? This is a cool spot,” Richie gave her a puzzled look.
“Cool is right,” Gabby agreed as she pulled her sleeves down over her hands. “Is there any heating down here?”
Richie and Ian looked at each other. “It’s not cold down here, Gabs,” Ian said.
“In fact it’s hot and stuffy,” Richie added.
Ian went over to his girlfriend and put an arm around her. “You’re shivering, girl. You sure you’re not coming down with something?”
“I find it a little chilly too,” Verenna added hugging herself.
Richie rolled his eyes. “I guess it’s a good thing you’re not a member of the band either.”
Verenna gave Gabby a sideways glance.
“We went through the rest of the house,” Gabby said. “It’s fine, great, cheap. I could live here. But I’m not coming down into this basement – ever.”
“Me neither,” Verenna agreed.
Ian and Richie looked at each other puzzled, then back at the girls.
“The basement suits our purposes for band rehearsal,” Ian said.
“Good. Fine. Whatever.” Gabby started back up the stairs. Verenna was close behind her.
“There’s more to this than it just being chilly, which it is not,” said Ian. “What’s going on Gabby?”
She stopped half-way up the stairs and peered down at them. “The truth?”
Richie and Ian nodded.
“I swear I see ghosts everywhere down here. Good luck with rehearsals.” She rushed up the stairs with Verenna close behind her.
Richie entered the kitchen where Ian stood leaning his back against the counter, ankles and arms crossed.
“Are we practicing?”
“Yup,” Ian replied and pushed himself away from the counter. “Just making a cup of tea.”
“Okay, I’ll go down and start setting up.”
“I think we’ll record it today.”
“With the cameras?”
“Yes, they are still set up on the tripods. Just need a push of the buttons.”
“Gotcha.” Richie turned and made his way to the basement, a finished rec room used strictly for band rehearsals.
Richie had flicked on the light switch at the top of the stairs but the overhead light didn’t do much to brighten the dingy room so he turned on a couple of floor lamps. As he was reaching for his guitar he was startled by the clang of the cymbals on the drum set. He swung around to see the cymbals teetering back and forth. A chill ran through him and he felt his heart rate increase.
With eyes wide, he glanced around to see if one of the cats may have snuck down from the upper level. They usually didn’t want to come anywhere near this room, just like Gabby and Verenna. He saw no other movement besides the teetering cymbals. He was still frozen to the spot when Zorro and Ian descended the stairs.
“What’s wrong?” Ian asked.
“Uh, nothing.” Richie looked around cautiously as he returned his attention to his guitar, plugging the amp cord into it.
Zorro reached for his guitar as Ian turned on one camera and then the other. He grabbed the microphone. “Let’s do this.”
“What about Mike?” Richie asked.
“Sorry I’m late, guys.” Mike rushed down the stairs and fetched his guitar, plugging it in. “How are we going to do this without drums?”
“We’ll manage,” Ian responded.
At the mention of drums Richie’s face paled but he said nothing.
“Okay, guys. We’ll start with Zombie,” Ian announced.
Zorro plucked a string on his guitar and began the count. “One, two, one, two, three, four… “
Two hours later Ian placed the mic back on the stand and the others unplugged their guitars before placing them in their stands.
“Okay, I gotta go,” Zorro headed for the stairs.
“Turn that camera off, will you?” Ian indicated the camera positioned at the bottom of the stairs. Zorro hit the off button and bounded up the stairs. Mike was close behind him as Richie and Ian proceeded to turn off the equipment.
“They’re always in such a hurry to get out of here,” Ian said.
“Yeah, well, it’s kinda creepy down here, you know?”
“It’s not that bad.”
Richie pursed his lips together in the shape of an ‘o’, choosing to remain silent about the incident with the cymbals.
Back upstairs in the kitchen, Ian was greeted with a warm embrace from Gabby.
“Everything go okay down there?” she asked.
“Yeah, why wouldn’t it?”
Gabby looked over at Richie.
“Uh, yeah, sure,” he said avoiding eye contact.
Gabby released Ian and turned to the stove. She turned on the element under the kettle. “Want some more tea?”
“That would be awesome,” Ian replied.
“Where’s your mug?”
“Uh, I must have left it downstairs.”
“Are you going to go get it? Or are you going to dirty another one?”
“Gotta use the little boy’s room. Can you get it?”
“You want me to go downstairs?” She looked at him incredulously.
“It’s just on the table at the bottom of the stairs.” He gave her a quick kiss on the head and turned to leave.
“Richie?” Gabby looked at him hopefully with puppy dog eyes.
“Uh,” he hesitated. “Gonna see what Verenna’s up to.” He quickly left the room.
Gabby had made it quite clear when they moved in that she would never return to the part of the house she deemed to be haunted. But rather than dirty another mug (because no one liked washing dishes), she carefully made her way down the basement stairs.
“Gabs?” Ian returned to the kitchen.
Suddenly he heard her chilling scream from the basement. He ran towards the stairs and was nearly run over by Gabby. Her face was white, her breathing heavy, her eyeballs huge.
“What the fuck?” said Ian.
“I told you I’m never going down there again and this time I mean it.” She bunched her sleeves up around her tightened fists and held them to her face.
“Why? What happened?”
“That goddamn ghost happened. Get your own fucking mug.” She pushed by him into the kitchen where the kettle whistle shrieked.
Ian followed her. “What do you mean?”
“A pluck of a guitar string, a clash of the cymbals and a black mist. That fucking basement is haunted and I refuse to ever step foot down there again.”
Richie had just re-entered the room. “Oh fuck! It happened to you too?”
Ian experienced no ghostly experiences in the basement but for the sake of the band he was willing to move their equipment into a shed at the back of the property where they would now hold rehearsals. It needed a little work; nothing a good paint job wouldn’t fix. Since it was above ground and had windows it was much brighter and more desirable for everyone, even the girls.
“Ian, it’s 12:30,” Gabby pointed out as he made one last stroke with the paint roller. “You’re supposed to be live.”
“Oh shit. I gotta wash up. Can you go to our profile and change the time to 12:45 before I get an email from Lady Patgalca?”
Gabby laughed and pulled out her iPhone as she wandered out of the shed back to the main house.
After Ian had changed his shirt and scrubbed the green paint off his hands, he moved to their little makeshift studio in the living room. Zorro was already in place nearby playing with one of the rehearsal cameras. Richie had all the computer equipment and phone on but was staring curiously at the monitor.
“What’s up?” Ian asked as he sat down in his chair and pulled a blanket across his lap.
“Didn’t we record the last rehearsal?” Zorro asked.
“Yes,” Ian replied.
“There’s nothing on here.” He handed the camera to Ian who examined the camera.
“There’s something weird going on,” said Richie.
“Indeed,” Ian agreed. “There is nothing on this camera.”
“Not that. On the computer.”
Ian put the camera down on the table. “What’s up?”
“I’m… not… quite… sure.”
“Well, we’re late so we better get started.”
Richie reached over and pressed the “go live” button on his iPhone.
As they sat waiting for their crowd to roll in, Ian shuffled through his papers. “Gabby, are we doing news today?”
“Uh-huh.” She leaned over and clicked the mouse on his computer to the appropriate page.
“Holy shit!” Richie bellowed.
“What?” Ian looked over at him.
Richie was pointing at the computer monitor used for filming. “There’s a fucking ghost in our computer!”
Ian looked at where Richie was pointing.
“Did you fucking do that?” Richie asked him.
“No. I haven’t touched a thing.” Ian stared at the small figure of a ghost drifting across the computer screen. “Gabby?” he turned to her.
“Hell no! I don’t know how to work all that stuff.”
Unfazed, Ian leaned over and peered closer at the ghost. “It’s kind of cute. Maybe we can use it in the broadcast.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Richie yelled. “There’s a fucking ghost in the computer.”
“Relax. I’ll just give it a name and everyone has to guess it.”
“How are you going to do that?”
“I’ll show you.” Ian made a few keystrokes on his keyboard. “There. The name will flash up randomly and our viewers have to find it and tell us what it is. The first one to guess it gets a diamond entry.”
“I don’t want no fuckin’ ghost on the computer,” Richie said.
“It’s kinda creepy,” Gabby agreed.
“Aw, it’ll be fun.” Ian laughed.
Richie suddenly felt nauseous. “Zorro…” He nodded for him to take his spot and dashed from the room.
Zorro watched Richie retreat as he stood to take his seat in the chair. He squinted at Gabby, who shrugged. He gave Ian the side-eye, which he didn’t see as he stared at the computer screen.
“Disciple!” Ian hollered. “Welcome!”
Their broadcast had begun. Ghost and all.
Two hours later Ian and Richie, who had rejoined the broadcast, ended with “A big Paul Walker – Yeah!” accompanied by flexed arm pumps.
“Well that was cool,” Ian said after Richie turned off the videos. “People seemed to like the ghost.”
“But where did that fuckin’ ghost come from?”
“I don’t know,” Ian threw his arms in the air smiling. “But it was fantastic!”
“Yeah, but bro, there is a ghost in the computer. And you didn’t put it there.”
“And then there’s this,” Gabby said as she fiddled with the camera. “There is literally no footage on this camera. “Are you sure you turned it on?”
“Yes, I did it myself.”
“Here’s the other camera.” Zorro jumped in handing it to Ian.
“Maybe the battery was dead,” Gabby suggested.
“Uh-uh,” Ian muttered as he examined the second camera. “They were both plugged in.
Richie looked over at the screen of the camera in Ian’s hands. The video played for a moment showing Richie tuning his guitar. The image was grainy and dark.
“What’s with the poor quality? We just bought these cameras,” said Ian.
“Oh my fuck – “ Richie stared at the screen. “Did you . . . did you SEE that?”
“Hold on a sec. Let me try this.” Ian turned the camera off, waited ten seconds, and turned it back on. He restarted the video. It was still dark and grainy.
“Watch behind me,” Richie said pointing at the screen. A white mist drifted past behind Richie and disappeared off the side of the screen. “Like what the fuck was that?”
“I don’t know, man,” Ian said. “What?” The screen went completely blank. He kept the video on play waiting to see if any picture reappeared, but the clock stopped. The video had ended.
“What?” Gabby and Zorro said in unison.
“That was so weird,” said Ian.
“Weird?” Richie hollered. “You think it was weird? There was a fucking ghost behind me!”
Gabby and Zorro both pushed their way in behind Ian.
“Roll it again,” said Gabby.
Ian turned the camera off and on again.
“Fuck that!” Richie said as he got up and stormed out of the room. There was no way he wanted to watch that again.
Ian played the very brief video.
“Oh my God,” said Gabby.
“That’s fuckin’ crazy,” muttered Zorro.
Ian’s face paled. His hands shook slightly as he placed the camera on the desk. “I can’t do this right now. I need a break.” Pushing the blanket off his lap he got up and headed out the back door of the house.
Gabby picked up the camera and played the video again, shaking her head as she and Zorro watched.
“Well,” Zorro said as he moved away from the desk. “All I can say is it’s a good thing we don’t go down there anymore.”
Gabby slowly and carefully placed the camera on the desk. She released a slow, quivering sigh and backed away from the desk as if the camera would jump up and spray her like a skunk. The she too headed out the back door.
Ian was pacing back and forth across the patio.
“You okay, babe?” Gabby asked.
He looked up at her. “Are you?”
“Hell no! But I hate to say I told you so… “
“No you don’t.”
“You’re right.” Gabby laughed lightly. “I don’t. I told you the basement was haunted.”
“Okay. I get it now. But we’re out of there now.”
“As long as it’s just the basement,” she added.
“Oh, no, no, no,” Ian wagged his finger at her laughing now. “Don’t even start.”
Gabby pressed her lips tightly together and shrugged. They stared at one another saying nothing for a good ten minutes.
“Okay then,” Ian finally broke the silence. “It’s hot. I’m going to change my shirt.”
Ian went upstairs to the master bedroom he shared with Gabby. He pulled his sweater off throwing it on the bed. He went into the bathroom, took his glasses off placing them on the side of the sink, and turned on the cold water. He cupped his hands under the stream and splashed it on his face. He then grabbed a towel and dried his face muttering, “Ghost on the computer, ghost on the camera, things that go bump in the night.”
He put his glasses back on and returned to the bedroom where he grabbed a tank top and pulled it on. He yanked his phone out of his pocket.
“Please don’t let there be a ghost. Please don’t let there be a ghost.” He clicked the button and his phone lit up. There was no ghost, just a bunch of email notifications. As he scrolled through them, out of the corner of his eye he noticed something move. He glanced over by the tiny window expecting to see one of the cats. It was not a cat. He saw a dark shadow standing in front of him. He hadn’t turned a light on and it had grown dark outside. The only feature he could make out was long hair.
No response. He squinted his eyes trying to make out the image. “What are you doing, Gabby?”
The figure did not respond. It just stood there, not moving.
Ian’s hands grew moist; his forehead also grew sweaty. “It sure is hot in here,” he said to the unmoving figure. “Let’s go back outside.”
As he turned towards the door the figure moved for the first time. Her arms raised up and Ian could see the dark outline of an axe as the figure raised it over its head. He gasped and grabbed his chest with one hand. The dark silhouette began to move towards him. He quickly stumbled out of the room. His heart raced and his legs wobbled like jello. They gave way beneath him and he tumbled all the way down the stairs, knocking the coat rack over where it landed on top of him.
“Noooo,” he yelled.
Gabby came running and stood over him where he lay sprawled, one hand on his chest, his other arm out at his side with his cell phone in hand.
“Texting again?” she asked.
Ian lay at the bottom of the stairs. Gabby stood over him smirking.
“Will you get this thing off me?” he struggled with the coat rack.
As Gabby reached over and picked it up, Richie and Verenna arrived on the scene from the back entrance of the house.
“What the fuck happened?” Richie asked.
Ian straightened his glasses and pushed himself to his feet. “None of you were just upstairs?”
“You know we don’t go up there. That’s yours and Gabby’s space.”
“Where’s Zoro? And James?”
“Ian, we haven’t seen Zoro in 3 days. James is away,” Gabby said. “What is your problem?”
“None of you were upstairs?”
The three looked at each other and shook their heads.
“Ian, you’re looking awfully pale,” said Gabby.
Ian stood rubbing his forehead, a look of confusion on his face. “I think I was attacked,” he finally said.
“By what?” Richie asked. “A rat? A bat?”
“A cockroach?” Verenna added as she hugged herself for comfort.
Ian looked around at his three roommates. Up until now he had brushed off all incidences of hauntings that had occurred in the house. If not for his own sake, but to ease the fear of the others who were totally convinced the house was haunted.
“Well, it was kind of a shadow.”
“You were attacked by a shadow,” Gabby said unconvinced.
“Well, yeah.” He looked around at Gabby, Richie and Verenna. Gabby stood with most of her weight on one leg, arms crossed, eyebrows raised. Richie’s eyes were wide, his mouth drawn into a tight circle. Verenna flipped her hair over her face keeping her eyes focused on the floor. Ian took a deep breath and continued, “It was a lady with an axe.”
Verenna’s head snapped up. “That’s it, Richie, we’re moving out. This place is too freaking haunted for me.” She turned and headed to the bedroom they shared.
Gabby became nervous, pulling her sleeves up over her hands and pushing her fists together. She took a step backward. She had heard Ian talk about a lady with an axe before but she had assumed it was a dream.
Richie tilted his head back. “Care to elaborate on that?”
“Just, well, it was dark, I saw a shadow. I thought it was Gabby. But then she came at me with an axe and I fell down the stairs.”
“Are you hurt?” Gabby whispered.
Ian felt various parts of his body. “Nothing’s broken.”
“I…” Richie started. “I think… well, I think I better check on Verenna.” He bolted out of the room.
“I’d ask if you were sure about what you saw but I’ve heard this story before,” said Gabby. “This whole house appears to be haunted.”
“I guess I can’t argue with you about that. The basement, the cameras, the computer…”
“Now our bedroom?” Gabby raised her voice in fear. “Not sure I want to go back up there.”
Suddenly their three cats came flying down the stairs, each screeching in its own way. They ran in different directions seeking refuge behind the couch, in the kitchen and in the Harry Potter closet. Gabby lunged at Ian and held tight to his arm. Ian’s hand reached for his chest.
“Well,” Ian let out a long breath. “The cats were up there all this time. Maybe it was just them. I had just washed my face and…”
“Ian, how can three cats look like a crazy lady with an axe? You saw them just now. They’re spooked by something.”
Ian stood silent for a moment contemplating his next move. He put his arms around a quivering Gabby. “I hate to say this but I think we should go up and take a look.”
“Are you crazy? I’m not going up there.”
“It’s our bedroom, Gabs.”
“Maybe Verenna has the right idea about moving out.”
“And go where? Let’s go up and take a look.”
“Ian – “
He took her by the hand. “Together we’ll be fine.” He pulled her along as he took the stairs up, one slow step at a time.
Gabby squeezed his hand and grabbed his arm just above the elbow with the other. “I can’t do this,” she wailed.
Ian stopped, turning to look down at her. “Not a real woman. Not a real axe.”
Biting her lower lip she nodded slightly.
Ian continued to ascend the staircase to their room. When they got to the door he reached in and flicked on the light switch.
“It feels creepy,” Gabby whispered.
Ian ignored her as he glanced around the room. The placed appeared to be undisturbed. He walked around the bed, Gabby still clutching his arm.
“What the heck?” Ian said.
Gabby let out a squeal when she saw the floor lamp lying across the floor, its raggedy old lamp shade a couple of feet away.
“Where’d this lamp come from?” Ian released Gabby’s grip and reached to pick it up. “We never had a lamp up here.”
“It’s from the basement. I figured since we weren’t using the basement anymore and this room is so dark, I’d put it up in here.”
Ian grinned at her now. “You took something from the supposedly haunted basement and brought it up here? Can’t be that scary down there.”
“Well I didn’t go down there alone,” she whined. “Verenna and Richie were helping me clear things out.”
Ian shrugged, put the lamp back in an upright position and placed the crooked lamp shade back on top. “Well if that doesn’t look like a lady with an axe,” he said with a laugh.
Gabby slapped him on the shoulder. “Not funny, Ian. How did it end up on the floor?”
Ian stared at the lamp, thoughtfully rubbing his chin. “The cats,” he said as he clapped his hands together.
“The lamp came after you before the cats came flying down the stairs.”
“Well I don’t know what spooked the cats but obviously that lamp falling over looked like a woman with an axe moving towards me as it fell.” He bobbed his head up and down. “Uh-huh, uh-huh. That’s what it was. Mystery solved.”
Gabby brought her fists up to her chin and peered at Ian, then the lamp, and back at Ian. She was not convinced.
He spread his arms out wide. “The cat or cats knocked the lamp over.”
“What spooked the cats?”
“Probably each other.” He started towards the door. “Come. We’ll get some tea.”
Gabby rushed him and grabbed his arm. As he reached to switch off the overhead light they heard a loud bang. Startled, they swung around to see the lamp lying on the floor once again.
Gabby let out a scream. “Explain that! The cats aren’t even up here.”
Ian walked back over and picked up the lamp again. As he stood it up he moved it from side to side. He smiled again. “It’s a little wobbly.”
“It’s not wobbly. I set it up myself and it’s perfectly fine.” She grasped the stem of the lamp and tested it. The old brass lamp stood flat and firm on the floor. “It’s not wobbly.”
Ian laughed. “Let’s go get some tea.”
They walked together out of the room and down the stairs. As they reached the bottom they were startled by a loud crash from above.