pooh_collector: (pooh again)
[personal profile] pooh_collector
Title: A Little Halloween Fic
Author: pooh_collector
Word Count: 2,145
Rating: G
Pairings: Gen
Summary: A little something to go with this wonderful Halloween art (below the cut) created by [livejournal.com profile] kanarek13.




The house was old, built in the mid-1800s and abandoned for almost as long as it had stood, by the look of it. Peter’s informant had insisted the art forger they were currently looking for was using the space as a studio. Neal was more than a little skeptical. Of course, Neal was always skeptical of any information Peter got from anyone other than him.

The old house’s roof was sagging on one side, the windows were all boarded up, the paint on the exterior peeling and grey. Not the kind of place Neal would have chosen for a hideout in his darkest hour, let alone a working studio.

As Peter ascended the steps leading up to the front door, Neal looked critically at the rotting wooden boards. They didn’t look remotely capable of supporting two grown men.

Peter turned when he reached the landing and looked back toward his partner. “Come on, where is your sense of adventure?”

“Right now?” Neal asked, sarcasm sharpening his words. “At the backgammon tables in Monaco.”

Peter snorted a laugh. "Sadly, you won’t be following it there anytime soon. Let’s go,” he said with a wave of his hand toward the front door.

Neal started up the steps gingerly, and went to place his hand on the railing for whatever little support it might provide. He felt the decades of accumulated grime on its surface instantly and pulled his hand away with a grimace.

Peter tapped his foot impatiently from the landing. “Sometime before dark would be nice.”

Neal glared up at him and then bounded up the stairs as lightly as he could. “Let’s get this over with.”

Peter nodded and then pounded on the door. “FBI! Morris Wilkins, we have a warrant.”

There was no response, and no sound came from inside the old house, so Peter nodded to Neal. Neal pulled out his lock pick set from his breast pocket and within a minute the solid wooden door was unlocked. “After you.” Neal said, stepping aside.

Peter gave the door a kick with his foot and it swung in with an ominous squeal.

The interior of the house looked as gloomy and disused as the outside. Detritus of all sorts covered the floors of the entryway and into what was once the living room. From the meager light that filtered in from the doorway Neal could see old magazines and bits of cardboard and plastic strewn around the dirt-covered wood planks.

A cold shiver ran up Neal’s spine. “Peter, no one has been here for years.”

“Chester’s information is usually reliable. We’re here, let’s a least give it a quick look.”

“I think the key word there was usually.”

Peter gave Neal a long-suffering look. “I’ll take the lead,” he asserted, as if that would somehow be enough to convince Neal that he wanted to set even one foot over the threshold. Peter pulled his phone out of his pocket and turned on the flashlight app. He waved it once, back and forth across the space and then stepped inside.

Neal sighed, and then did the same with his own phone before following Peter. Neal wasn’t generally superstitious and he didn’t put much stock in ghost stories, but as soon as he set foot in the foyer, he felt something that he couldn’t define. The air was thick with dust and felt heavy against his body, weighing him down. His senses tingled and goose bumps rose on his skin.

Peter had already moved into the living room and Neal quickly followed, oddly nervous about being out of his partner’s sight. The living room was worse up close. There was more debris everywhere, including a torn up old sofa, and strangely several children’s toys, including what was once a stuffed animal, an old soccer ball and a red sports car. The tingling sensation grew worse and when Neal glanced toward what was once the dining room, he thought he saw a semi-translucent swirl drifting purposefully across the space.

“Peter, I think we should go,” he murmured, trying to keep his growing fear from showing in his voice.

Peter looked back at him, his brow furrowed. “You’re probably right, it looks like no one has been here in a very long time, but that would make it a perfect place to hole up. Let’s just take a quick spin around, then we can go.”

“No self-respecting forger would work in any place with this much dust,” Neal attempted to reason.

Peter looked at Neal through the diffuse light of their flashlights for a long moment. “Tell you what, you take a quick spin around this floor while I take a quick look upstairs. That will get us out of here twice as fast.”

Neal liked the idea of fast, but he wasn’t so keen on the idea of being separated from Peter. He weighed the two for a moment and then decided. “Okay.”

Peter gave him a pat on the shoulder as he walked passed him and back toward the stairwell off the entryway. Neal stayed where he was and listened to the creak of each step as Peter climbed up to the second level.

When Neal could hear Peter moving on the floor above him, he hesitantly made his way into the former dining room. The space looked much like living room, an old wooden table coated in dust stood in the center with several chairs scattered around. The wooden floors were covered in pieces of old garbage, wooden boards, an old red plastic gas can, cardboard scraps and Neal was certain he saw an old doll abandoned in one corner.

He shivered again as he made his way through the room toward what must have been the kitchen. The floor here had once been a bright yellow linoleum, now faded to an ugly beige and covered in more abandoned crap. There was something about this room that heightened the tingling of Neal’s senses to a new level. Neal hesitated at the doorway, sweeping the light from his phone around the space. He was about to turn away and retreat back to the safety of the entryway when he saw a closed interior door on the far side of the room.

It was probably just a pantry closet, he reasoned, trying to convince himself that he didn’t need to go and check. Or more likely a basement, which Peter wouldn’t approve of him skipping out on.

Neal sighed and stepped into the room and made his way carefully over to the door. Wasn’t the first rule of horror movies “don’t go into the basement?”

He didn’t actually have to go down there alone, he acknowledged. He could wait for Peter. All he had to do now was open the door and confirm what was on the other side. Still holding his phone in his right hand, Neal reached out with his left and grasped the levered handle.

The handle was freezing, and an icy pain shot through his palm and up his arm. “Ahhhh,” Neal exclaimed as he pulled his hand free. A ragged cut stretched across his palm, the skin around it an angry red. Something moved behind him, Neal could see it just out of the corner of his eye. He spun around, pulling his hand up against his chest protectively. The air swirled around him. At first Neal thought his quick actions had stirred up the dust forming a small cloud over the kitchen. But, that wasn’t it. There was form to the white mist. Neal couldn’t quite make it out, but its movement wasn’t random and it clearly wasn’t being generated by a draft.

Neal stood in place too frightened to move and stared. The shape drifted between him and the doorway that led back to the dining room. Neal’s escape route was cut off. He withdrew slowly until his back hit the cabinetry. The shape moved closer, coalescing and dissolving and then resolving into something Neal could almost recognize. The fear that had been simmering in him since he had entered the house bubbled up. His chest tightened and Neal struggled to take in a shallow breath.

The shape moved closer still, until Neal could feel its cold touch. He shuddered and pressed himself tighter against the cabinets to try to evade the icy, malevolent feeling that emanated from the misty cloud.

A frigid breeze passed by his head. A whisper grazed his ear. “Play with me.”

The voice was soft, child-like, but tinged with something dark.

Neal shuddered again and tried to slide away. The mist followed, brushing against him, the coldness burning where it touched his skin. Another sound filtered in, a hiss of laughter. Neal knew he needed to get out of the kitchen, out of the house and away from whatever this thing was. He stepped to the right quickly, then took two fast steps to the left. The mist followed a pace behind. It laughed again, the sound sharp and stinging in Neal’s ear. He danced right again, then shot to the left diving down under the cloud.

He landed hard on his shoulder, hitting something unyielding that had been lying on the linoleum. He winced, but kept moving back to his feet and across the kitchen to the entrance to the dining room. He could feel the mist following, from the disturbance it created in the air, but he dared not take the time to look.

He cleared the dining room quickly, making his way back into the living room. “Peter!” He yelled as he ran. He turned his attention toward the entry, toward the stairwell that Peter had ascended, hoping his partner had heard the urgency in his voice.

The lapse of attention was his downfall, literally. He stumbled on some bit of trash on the floor and went down hard on his right knee. As he fell, his phone flew from his hand. It skidded and finally settled face down underneath a piece of cardboard and Neal was suddenly in the dark.

“Peter!” Neal yelled again.

He struggled to get his feet under him, and turned to look for his pursuer. The mist was still there, still moving with what seemed like purpose to Neal, but it had thinned since they left the confines of the kitchen. It looked more like a stirring of the dust in the air, than a creature of the shadows.

As Neal watched it moving behind him, close but not touching him as it had before, he heard footfalls on the stairs, the sound of Peter descending.

“Neal?”

“I’m here, Peter.”

Within moments, Neal could see Peter rounding the corner from the foyer into the living room. As soon as Peter saw Neal down on the floor, he rushed forward.

“Are you alright?”

Neal wanted to tell Peter that he was fine, but he couldn’t utter the word. Fear was still tightening his chest, his hand, where he had cut it was throbbing, and he seemed to be stuck on the floor. He shook his head.

Peter was beside him in four strides. His arm was warm and steadying as he wrapped it around Neal’s shoulders.

Neal opened his mouth to warn Peter, but no words came out. What could say? Watch out for the malevolent mist?

He let Peter pull him up to his feet.

“My phone,” he was finally able to utter, pointing to where it had slid.

Peter followed Neal’s finger and reached down under the dirty cardboard coming away with Neal’s cell. He slipped it deftly into Neal’s jacket pocket and then he led Neal toward the door. “Let’s get out of here.”

Neal could only nod in agreement.

As they reached the entranceway, Neal looked back over his shoulder. The mist was hovering in the threshold between the dining room and the living room as if it was watching and waiting. Let it wait, Neal thought to himself as he let Peter guide him through the foyer and out the front door.

Back on the street, bathed in the light of the afternoon sun, Neal left the adrenaline rush fade, leaving him trembling.

“How did this happen?” Peter asked, taking Neal’s injured left hand in his own. “It looks pretty nasty.”

Neal shook his head, unwilling to talk about what had happened, unwilling to admit even to himself that what he had experienced had been real. “I just cut it on a door handle.”

Peter wrapped a steadying arm around Neal’s shoulders again. “Well, come on, let’s get to you Urgent Care and get it looked at and make sure that your tetanus shot is up to date. There must have been a hundred years of dirt floating around in there.”

“Among other things,” Neal replied with a final shudder, as he let Peter lead him away from the not so deserted house.


Date: 2015-10-31 09:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dennih23.livejournal.com
**shivers** I don't blame Neal for wanting to get out of the house.

Date: 2015-11-14 10:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pooh-collector.livejournal.com
Me neither! I got a little creeped out just writing it.

Thanks for reading denni!

Date: 2015-10-31 09:38 pm (UTC)
kanarek13: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kanarek13
SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE \o/ You did it!!! and it's EPIC!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, poor Neal, even the ghosts want to play with him. Creepy house is creepy, I absolutely love it how you incorporated the image into the story and actually used the mist to make it the manifestation of whatever evil thing is hiding there.

Thankfully Peter was there, it gives me double chills when I imagine the scenario with Neal being all alone there *clings to Neal*

This is awesometastic and makes a perfect Halloween fic :D Yay for words \o/

Date: 2015-11-14 10:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pooh-collector.livejournal.com
YAY!

I'm so glad you liked it. Your art has been on my mind since you originally posted it two years old. I'm glad I was finally able to get my brain in gear to write something I hope did it justice.

Date: 2015-10-31 09:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aragarna.livejournal.com
heee only Neal...
Cute Halloween story!

Date: 2015-11-14 10:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pooh-collector.livejournal.com
Thanks Ara!

Glad you liked it.

Date: 2015-10-31 11:45 pm (UTC)
elrhiarhodan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] elrhiarhodan
Seriously, seriously creepy.

Someone needs to card his fingers through Neal's hair and hold his uninjured hand while he gets stitches.

And ogle his ass when he drops trou for the tetunus shot.

Date: 2015-11-14 10:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pooh-collector.livejournal.com
YES, to all of that!

Now, you're putting sequel ideas in my head.

Stop it!

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