It was a dark and stormy night. The rain was pounding on the windows of the old mansion, creating a gloomy atmosphere. A group of six friends had gathered in the living room, sitting around a fireplace. They were bored and restless, looking for something to do.
“Hey, guys, I have an idea,” said Jake, the group leader. “Why don’t we play a game?”
“What kind of game?” asked Amy, his girlfriend.
“A scary game,” Jake said with a grin. “A game that will test our courage and nerves.”
The others looked at him with curiosity and apprehension.
“What do you have in mind?” asked Ryan, Jake’s best friend.
Jake reached into his backpack and pulled out a black envelope. He waved it in front of them.
“This,” he said. “An invitation to a haunted house.”
The others gasped and exchanged glances.
“Where did you get that?” asked Mia, Ryan’s girlfriend.
“I found it in the mail this morning,” Jake said. “It was addressed to me but didn’t have a sender’s name or address. Just this.”
He opened the envelope and read the contents aloud.
You are cordially invited to spend a night at the House of Horrors, the most haunted house in the country. If you dare to accept this challenge, you will experience terror beyond your wildest imagination. You will face your deepest fears and darkest secrets. You will encounter ghosts, demons, and other creatures of the night. You will witness unspeakable horrors and gruesome deaths. You will scream, you will cry, you will beg for mercy. But no one will hear you. You will need help. No one will save you.
The House of Horrors awaits you. Do you have what it takes to survive?
If you are brave enough to accept this invitation, bring five friends and arrive at the house by midnight tonight. The address is 666 Devil’s Lane. Don’t be late.
Jake finished reading and looked at his friends with a smirk.
“So, what do you think?” he asked. “Are you in or out?”
The others stared at him in disbelief.
“Are you kidding me?” asked Zoe, Amy’s best friend. “This is a joke, right?”
“No, it’s not a joke,” Jake said. “It’s real.”
“How do you know?” asked Liam, Zoe’s boyfriend.
“I don’t know,” Jake said. “I just have a feeling.”
“A feeling?” Mia repeated skeptically.
“Yes, a feeling,” Jake said impatiently. “Look, I know it sounds crazy, but I think this is an opportunity we can’t miss. Think about it. A haunted house. A night of adventure. A chance to prove ourselves. How awesome would that be?”
“Not awesome at all,” Amy said nervously. “It sounds dangerous and stupid.”
“Come on, Amy,” Jake said coaxingly. “Don’t be such a scaredy-cat. It’ll be fun.”
“Fun?” Amy echoed incredulously. “How is spending a night in a haunted house fun?”
“It’s fun because it’s scary,” Jake said. “Don’t you like scary movies? Don’t you like being thrilled and excited?”
“I do, but this is different,” Amy said. “This is real.”
“Exactly,” Jake said. “That’s what makes it even better.”
He turned to the others.
“What about you guys? Are you with me or not?”
He looked at Ryan expectantly.
Ryan hesitated for a moment, then shrugged.
“Sure, why not?” he said casually. “I’m always up for a challenge.”
He nudged Mia.
“What do you say, babe?”
Mia sighed and rolled her eyes.
“Fine,” she said reluctantly. “But only because I love you.”
She looked at Zoe and Liam.
“You guys coming?”
Zoe shook her head firmly.
“No way,” she said firmly. “I’m not going anywhere near that place.”
She clung to Liam’s arm.
“Tell them, Liam.”
Liam looked torn between his loyalty to his girlfriend and his curiosity about the haunted house.
“Well…” he began hesitantly.
Jake interrupted him.
“Come on, Liam,” he said persuasively. “Don’t let Zoe hold you back. You’re not afraid of a little haunted house, are you?”
Liam felt his pride being challenged.
“Of course not,” he said defensively.
He glanced at Zoe apologetically.
“Sorry, babe,” he said softly. “But I have to do this.”
Zoe gasped and looked at him with hurt and anger.
“Liam!” she exclaimed. “How can you do this to me?”
Liam tried to calm her down.
“Hey, hey, it’s okay,” he said soothingly. “It’s just a game. Nothing bad will happen. I promise.”
He kissed her cheek.
“I love you, okay?”
Zoe pushed him away.
“No, you don’t,” she said bitterly. “If you loved me, you wouldn’t leave me alone.”
She turned to Amy.
“Amy, please tell them this is a bad idea.”
Amy looked at Jake with pleading eyes.
“Jake, please, let’s not do this,” she said softly. “Let’s just stay here and watch a movie or something.”
Jake shook his head stubbornly.
“No, Amy,” he said firmly. “We’re doing this. And you’re coming with me.”
He grabbed her hand and pulled her up.
“Come on, guys,” he said to the others. “Let’s go.”
He headed for the door, dragging Amy along.
Ryan, Mia, and Liam followed him reluctantly.
Zoe was left behind, alone and scared.
She watched them leave with tears in her eyes.
“Guys!” she called out. “Guys, wait!”
But they didn’t hear her.
They were already gone.
To be continued…