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 just as the dusk comes hooting
down through the shivering black leaves
of the swinging trees we (the brave ones
swaggering like marshalls through a lynch-mob)
crash-bang our way to the door
of the so-called haunted house

knock knock - kick in a pane of glass
and the dusk hoots louder in our ears
and the swinging trees ride like a mob
with murder in mind - knock knock -
the heavy knocker on the solid door
shaking the house - knock knock
knock knock - louder shaking our brave
bodies the heavy knocker of our hearts

knock knock - knock knock knock

we laugh with a harsh laughter we
have never heard before push and shove
each other in a boisterous fear
lean on heave crash open the door
fall in a heap inside - pick ourselves up
courageous still giggling and bruised.
shush find words bounce our voices off the walls.
shush shush yell catcalls scream shriek roar batter and shatter.
shush shush shush oh shush yourselves no really - shush in the air under the stair what can we hear shush are you getting scared we knew it we knew that if we dared.
we can hear noises noises noises in an empty house the sound of our voices echoes in crevices rattles in doorways booms in the hollowness of empty rooms no that isn't all that doesn't explain the tall hooded silence standing in the hall or the whispering smell of dust bristling the floor scurrying like the dried-up bones of mice to the hole in the crumbling wall something snatches our voices away from us too quickly for our voices to be all nonsense the house is dead it can't harm us old bricks and wood you're letting the darkness go to your head shout if you don't believe us shout if anybody's there if anybody's there you won't get us afraid of you whoever you are whoever you are this is what we think of you boo boo boo what's wrong what's wrong tell us what's wrong listen nothing no nothing at all your voices went but they didn't return you called but nothing came back at all there's something there swallowing up words absorbing them into air heavy waiting alert (daddy-longlegs pitch on skin sinister fingers whisper through the roots of our hair.
) .
we're not afraid of you nothing nobody we know you're there what is it at the end of the passage in the gloom by the still door eyeing without eyes everything we do sucking us in with its black stare you think it's funny don't you trying to frighten us keeping out of sight come out here if you're anything - we'll show you arms move suddenly along the wall the moon riding hard on foaming clouds stands solid in the door and it's not a good moon at all why did we come we should have stayed home but here we are in an evil room trapped between the witchcraft of an empty house and the cold hard grin of the moon i'm going in you can't i must you'll become air a heavy silence a dance of dust there's nothing there nothing nothing there he gives a brave laugh but a laugh drained of blood and moves down the passage to the masked door hesitates and turns wanting our support frightened to his heart's core steps no - is drawn - backwards into a black space rapidly dissolving in our misted eyes we half-hear a short gasp - no more the moon's grin is louder as (on his restless clouds) he bucks about the sky no one returns to us and in the morning (rooted in fear we could not leave the place but spent the night huddled in one big stack in the frozen hall) and in the morning we find not a single trace of the friend who went as simply as any word into thin air

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