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To be honest the trip there was quite uneventful. Sure some of us slipped over due to the slimey clay and got their arses dirty. Others somehow managed to find the deepest part of the bog, sinking past their knees into the dirty filthy water. Squeamish Maria even managed to convince Randy to piggy back her across the bog, though me and Matt were really hoping that Randy would trip, sending them both face first into the bog. I would have loved to have seen that. Anyways, we all crossed the bog eventually, and after a decent amount of hiking up the steep inclined hill, we made it. We all stood under the cover of the manuka trees that bordered the edge of the bush, drinking in the sight that lay before us.

Perfectly mown grass lawns stretched before us, intercepted by what looked like to be vegetable and flower gardens, and behind that – the Mansion. To be honest, it truly was a mansion in every sense. There was a massive tiled courtyard that surrounded the main entrance, decorated with tables, chairs  and even barbecues in a perfectly symmetrical design. All the doors and the frames of the windows and sliding doors appeared to be made out of solid mahogany wood, which in turn colour complemented both the tiled courtyard and the rest of the house’s exterior walls. There seemed to be so many windows, that I never even tried to guess how many rooms lay within. All in all, I’d say that the Mansion covered at least 600 meters squared, if not more.

I remember it was Kate who made the first move. She must have stepped forth, her feet scrunching the perfectly trimmed grass, but to me it had always seemed like that girl glided on the air. The way she moved and turned…a dancing angel in our midst. The way that she flicked her long black curls, causing the sunlight to frame those deep blue eyes. Eyes that seemed to dance and smile whenever I saw them. She was my dream girl.

Kate turned around, surprised that no one had followed suit. “Come on guys” she giggled “Last one there buys next week’s beer!” And with that, she raced off in a sprint towards the Mansion. That definitely did the trick. Within a matter of seconds we were all sprinting over the grass lawns, none of us wanting our wallets to be lighter next week.

Out of the eleven of us that sprinted across the imaginary finish line and onto the tiled courtyard,  it was Hayato and Patricia who tied for last place. “I guess that means we’re having the double the amount of free beer next week!” I shouted to both of them, giving Matt a sneaky wink at the same time. Hayato immediately started cursing in Japanese, very unhappy at such a thought – which only caused us to break into fits of giggles and laughter.                                                                                     “It’s okay Hayato” I called back to him, struggling not to break in laughter again. “We don’t drink that much…”. That proved to be to be the last straw, as we all burst laughing again, the truth usually being far from that. Laughter is thankfully infectious and it was only a matter of seconds before Hayato was laughing alongside us, our lungs gasping for air.

“Well, I guess no one is home, or we would know by now I think” proclaimed Randy, pushing his ever slipping glasses back onto his nose. “He’s got a point, guys” replied Tane ” If there was, we would have been chased off by now by some guy with an air rifle, or some stupid freackin son of a-“

Tane was suddenly interrupted by a bloodcurdling scream that came from behind us. We all turned around, startled and freaked out by the terror that the scream had expressed.

 It was Maria.

She was standing rigidly still. Her body frozen in fear. Her mouth still open, as if her bloodcurdling scream had frozen in her throat. Her eyes leaking tears. Her right arm stretched out, pointing with a trembling hand. Pointing at one of the many sliding doors of the mansion.

Time slowed as my eyes followed her trembling pointing hand, hoping this was all some sick prank. But what I saw still haunts me to this very day. Leaking down the glass sliding door was two bloody handprints. Two long bloody handprints that seemed like they had been clawing at the glass.

 

“Girl….” Maria gasped “There was a little girl there.”

 

 

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