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I HELD THE gun at my side, staring at the small curtained window in the center of the door, waiting for the shades to draw back. Waiting for Joshua's eyes to peer out and meet mine.

The wind pounded against the house. The walls moaned like they were in agony. My eyes burned and watered. I ground my teeth together inside my skull. Then, just when I was about to raise my hand and knock again, the door creaked. Slowly, slowly, it slid open like the jaw of some terrible beast yawning.

Joshua stood in the open arch, his gaze like cold stone as he glared down at me. Dark bags hung under his eyes, and a sinister grin spread across his face.

I clenched my hand tightly around the gun, and then I raised it up and pointed it at his chest. "Hello Joshua," I spat with venom.

He didn't say anything in response as he stood there, still as death.

"Put your hands up, and back up into the house," I told him.

Slowly, Joshua raised his arms until his thumbs were at the height of his ears. He smirked. "It's good to see you, Harper..."

"Shut up and back the fuck up," I cut him off.

He laughed lowly and looked at the floor, taking a few small steps back. I grabbed the door with my other hand and stepped up into the house. The wood boards creaked under my feet as I took a few steps towards Joshua, and he took another two steps back.

"I thought you'd be showing up sooner or later," he said, trying to hid a grin, but he kept his hands up at the level of his head. "I was worried for a bit I might have to come and get you myself... but something told me..."

"Shut up!"

"Something told me, Harper... you'd find your way here when it was time."

I clenched my teeth together tightly, the muscles in my neck and jaw tensing and twitching. "The girl," I said. "The girl you made me help you take here." I paused for a second. "We are going to the basement."

Joshua didn't say anything or move a muscle. He just stared at me, his eyes burning into me like wildfire.

"Walk," I told him sternly, adjusting the hand I held the gun in to emphasize it.

"Okay, Harper," Joshua put his hands down.

"Hands up!"

He raised his arms again. "All right. Come with me." He turned and walked across the bare, dusty wooden floor of the house, through what should have been a living room but in this hell house was empty and void, and then into what I guessed must have been the dining room. An ancient chandelier hung from the ceiling, too low to walk under, marking the place where a table should have been.

Joshua maneuvered around the useless fixture, and I followed his lead, trying my best not to limp on my bad leg and keeping the gun fixed on his back in case he turned around. My arm shook, but I didn't dare drop my focus.

Joshua paused when he reached the door to the basement, his hand resting on the knob. "Come here, Harper," he told me.

I crept closer, keeping him at an arm's distance away, the gun still aimed at his chest, my hands shaking with nerves. I placed my finger over the trigger, ready to fire if anything went south.

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