The door swung open with a long screeeeeech. Tony cleared his throat and looked back over his shoulder. At least his friends were going in with him.

“OK guys, let’s just–” Tony started. But his friends were having second thoughts. One was shaking his head slowly. The other two turned and started heading back down the street mouthing “I’m sorry.” They didn’t want to even be too loud around the creepy Haunted House of Harper street.

Tony sighed and turned back to the old house. The front door had swung open with just a light shove. He could barely see inside through the gloom. Even though it was a hot July day without a cloud in the sky, the air coming from the house was cool and moist. The house looked pretty plain from the outside, if a little old. White paint flaked off the wooden sides of the house, and several tiles had fallen from the roof. They lay here and there in the overgrown grass of the yard.

With another deep breath, he stepped inside the house and turned on his flashlight. He and his mom lived next door, and for the last few nights he had heard whimpering coming from the house. Since he didn’t believe in ghosts, he was pretty sure someone’s dog was trapped in the house. Of course, it was easier to believe in ghosts when you weren’t walking into a haunted house. He walked a few steps into the front room and jumped when something crunched under his foot. Wincing, he looked down and saw broken mouse bones beneath his shoe. Well, that wasn’t exactly a ghost.

Tony looked through all the rooms, until there was only the attic left. As he walked up the stairs, he could hear the same whimpering he had heard before. He hurried a little, wondering if the dog was hurt. But when he got to the top of the stairs, he couldn’t believe his eyes.

There in front of him was a bedroom, with an old wooden trunk, dresser, and a bed with rotting blankets hanging from it. But on the bed was what truly shocked him. There was a dog all right… and petting the happy pup was a small, pale boy. Tony could see right through him.

‘I don’t believe in ghosts,” Tony blurted out. The little boy laughed.  “Were you looking for Duke?” he asked. “He’s been keeping me company. It gets really lonely here sometimes.”

Tony shook his head. He couldn’t believe what was happening, but he couldn’t just ignore it, either. “I could come visit, if you like,” he said. He looked at the dog. “And I can bring some dog food. He looks hungry.”

At this the puppy jumped off the bed and started licking Tony’s hand, pawing at his knee. The boy smiled.

“I’d like that a lot,” the boy said.

It was weird at first, visiting the puppy and the ghost. But Tony was glad he did- they were always so happy to see him. After awhile Tony’s friends agreed to go with him, and they all had a great time together for a long time.

adorable animal blur canine