Amber was stubborn and a know it all. She was only eleven, but she always had been full of attitude. She had to be first at everything. She would never share anything with anybody, but she expected others to share with her. She had an opinion on everyone and everything, and she always had to be right. If you didn’t agree with her, she wouldn’t have anything more to do with you. She had just moved to a new town, where none of the kids knew her. However, as they got to know her, they started avoiding her.
Amber couldn’t understand why none of the kids liked her. It was the same everywhere she lived. At first, children were curious about her. They seemed to want to be her friends, but after a few days, they started ignoring her. She knew it couldn’t be her fault. She was the same person she had always been. She was smarter than everyone, cuter than all the other girls, and so much more fun to be around than anyone else. She decided that it must be other people’s fault. She just accepted the fact that everyone but her was a dork. She was hoping things would be different here, but it was the same as everywhere else. It was just her against the world.
One day, Amber saw some kids from her school standing outside an old creepy house at the end of her block. She’d noticed the house before this and wondered if it might be haunted. She never saw anyone around it, and there were never any lights on. The yard was a tangle of dead weeds and dead grass. She figured it was empty and only ghosts lived in it.
She walked up to the kids and asked, “What’s up?” The kids stopped talking and just looked at her. Amber got mad and said, “What’s the matter with you creeps. Are you afraid of an old empty house?”
The oldest girl, Susan, responded with, “Amber, mind your own business. We weren’t talking to you. Why don’t you go and play with your friends?” All the kids laughed and Susan added, “Oh yeah, I forgot, you don’t have any friends.” The kids laughed even louder.
Amber was so angry and embarrassed that her face turned red a beet. She screamed at them, “Just shut up you dorks. I’ve got plenty of friends.”
Susan came back with, “Oh? I suppose you know the people that live in that house.” She nodded toward the old house.
“As a matter of fact I do. I know them very well. They let me go into their house anytime I like, and I don’t even have to knock.”
Susan said, “Prove it. Go in. We’ll wait out here.”
Amber went up to the house, looked back, and the kids waved her on. She was scared, but she was too proud to admit it, so she tried the door. It was unlocked. She opened it, and it was dark inside. She hesitated, and the kids taunted her with, “What’s the matter? Are you scared, miss know-it-all?”
Amber yelled back haughtily, “I’m not afraid of anything, especially an old house. She stepped inside and found herself covered in cobwebs. She could barely see that the front room was filled with old furniture covered with dust. Moving farther in she heard a cracking noise, and then the floor collapsed right under her! She chocked on dust-filled air and cobwebs. She smelled a disgusting odor that made her retch. She was unable to see anything. She wanted to yell for help, but if she did, she would have to admit that she was lying.
Just as she was about to stand and try to feel her way out, she saw a light overhead. The light slowly formed into a woman. The woman spoke, “Amber, why are you here?”
Terrified, Amber said, “Those kids made me come in here. I didn‘t want to but they threatened me.”
“Well they tricked me--.”
“It’s true!” the girl sobbed.
“Have it your way. You will never be free until you are honest with yourself.” The woman vanished and a door opened in the wall in front of Amber. She stepped through it and jumped as it slammed shut behind her. She quickly turned back to see that the door had disappeared. She was in a hallway now with just enough light to see that it led off into dark shadows. As she moved toward the darkness, she heard a creepy whispery voice behind her say, “Amber, where are you going?”
She spun around, and an old man was standing in front of her. She wanted to cry or scream or run the other way, but instead she said, “I’m getting out of here!”
“That is not the way out.” The old man pointed down the hall into the shadows.
The scared girl started to feel more stubborn than scared, so she said, “I know. I was just going to have a look, and then I was going to come back this way and go out the door you just came through.”
The old man laughed at her and said, “There is no door here, foolish girl.”
“There must be. I came in through it, and you must have come through it too.”
“I have been here all along; you just did not see me.”
“That’s not true. You’re trying to trick me just like those kids tricked me. There is a door; it’s just hidden. All I have to do is find it, and I will be out of here.”
Suddenly, the old man’s eyes began to glow red, and he reached out to grab Amber with hands that were not hands but were razor sharp claws. The girl screamed and ran down the hall toward the shadows. The shadows were cold, and they shifted and changed shapes taking on the looks of mocking faces. Terror overwhelmed the girl, and she fell to the ground and sank into darkness.
When Amber regained consciousness, she found herself in a dimly lit room with no doors and no windows. The room was empty except for hideous paintings that covered the walls. The portraits were of drooling, pustule covered, scraggly toothed, vomit colored, ghoulish faces that were so horrible the girl could not look at them.
“What? Do you not like my lovely paintings?” Amber heard a voice from above that grated on her like fingernails being drawn across a chalkboard. She looked up. “Yes, I’m up here, child.” An unimaginably ugly old witch face appeared above a hole in the sealing. It was wrinkled and covered with warts. The warts had hairs growing out of them. Her eyes were bloodshot, and her snot colored, scraggily hair looked to have chucks of dead creatures matted in it. The face screamed, laughed a hideous laugh, and said, “If you want to get out of this place, you must take my hand, and I’ll help you up and out.”
Amber covered her eyes. The face was so ugly and the witch’s hand was boney, filthy, and had long sharp dirty nails. She shook her head, crying and said, “No! Go away! You will kill me.”
The ugly woman said, “It is the only way out. You must take my hand, if you want to leave this place.”
“No! It can‘t be the only way out. You’re lying.”
“What makes you think that?” the old woman said and laughed again.
“I just know. You are trying to trick me.” Then a door just small enough to crawl through opened in a wall. “There,” Amber said. “That’s the way out. I knew there was another door somewhere close by.” She quickly got down on her hands and knees and crawled as fast as she could through the small door right into a muddy pit full of creepy, slimy creatures. Amber tried desperately to crawl back the way she came, but she was in a deep pool of mud and slime. It was too slippery to crawl out of, and the creatures that lived in the muck were trying to crawl into her ears, nose, and mouth. The girl knew she was dying. She screamed, thrashed, and cried in terror. “Help me! Please, someone help me!”
Just when it didn’t seem that things could get any worse, the witch’s face appeared at the entrance to the slime pit. “I told you the hole in the roof was the only way out. You don’t think anyone knows anything but you. What is your problem, girlie? So, what is it going to be? Are you going to trust me or trust yourself? You aren’t doing too well trusting yourself are you? You have no friends. You are always alone. You are trapped in this awful place, but worse than that, you are trapped in your life. You are stubborn, selfish, ignorant, rude, and arrogant. Unless you change, you will always be trapped no matter where you live. So, what is it going to be, Amber? What’s it going to be, Amber? Amber? Amber…”
The girl heard the witch’s voice as from a distance as she sank into the muck, covered with the slimy disgusting creatures. Then, she opened her eyes and saw the neighborhood children standing around her. “Amber, you fell through the floor and hit your head. We need to get you to the hospital,” said Susan.
Now the kids didn’t know why, but Amber changed after that. They thought maybe she was grateful to them for helping her out of the hole, but Amber thought it was something else. It was a dream she had while unconscious, a dream that seemed very real. She remembered the last thought she had as she was sinking into the muck was, Please help me, and I’ll try to listen to others. It’s true that I don’t know everything. If I did, I wouldn’t be in this mess now.
fantasy, action adventure, religion and spirituality, children, kids, young adult, horror, dark, christian values, church, spooky, thrilling, christianity, Sunday school, teaching story, home schooling, children's church, YA, arrogance, pride, humility