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The pledges were finally done decorating, and the Alpha house was now well-adorned with spooky and festive ornaments. The old house somehow looked even scarier than it did during the rest of the year, which was quite an accomplishment. Once the decorating was complete, the pledges wasted little time marveling at their work before making the trek back to the dorms. All except for Tom.
It was getting late, and Tom knew that he’d been assigned to clean the basement the following day. This was a tall order that took quite a bit of time, and Tom also had four classes and a doctor’s appointment that day. His plan was to sleep at the Alpha house overnight, get his cleaning done early in the morning, then head off to his classes. This meant that he’d be passing out in the front room tonight, something that was made more distressing on account of all the scary imagery. Tom wasn’t superstitious or anything like that, but the darkness and frightening decorations made it hard for him to sleep.
Tom finally managed to doze off a little after midnight, but was quickly shaken out of his slumber by a creaking noise. It seemed to be coming from the basement, and Tom waited a few minutes to see if it would be followed up by another noise. Ten minutes passed, and there was not the slightest sound. Must have been the floorboards or something, he thought. He pulled the covers up to his chin and tried once more to fall asleep. Just then, a wail came from downstairs. It sounded like the last pitiful scream from a dying animal.
Tom was beginning to lose his shit. That noise had been even louder than the first, and it was followed by footsteps from upstairs. A tall figure approached the living room, and it was revealed to be Jeff, one of the actives who lived in the house. He stopped once he entered the front room, then spoke in a hushed, uneasy tone. “You hear that, pledge?”
“Yeah. Yeah, I don’t know what the hell that was,” replied Tom. “It’s freaking me the fuck out.” Jeff nodded, then said, “I think I might know something about this.”
Jeff cleared his throat. “You see, back when our house was built in the 1920s, there was a member named Chip Masterson. Now this guy, he was the drunkest of the drunk. I’ve heard accounts that said he was known to put away a whole case of beer in an afternoon. When he did this, he would wander around like a lost soul for the rest of the night, drunkenly moaning and trying to form words.”
“Anyway, one night he drank a beer too many. It was his sixth year in school, and Chip was only a week away from graduating. In a drunken stupor, he tumbled down the stairs into the basement. When his brothers got there, he lay dead on the floor. Legend has it that on a quiet night like this, you can still hear his-”
Another loud noise interrupted him. “Fucking hell, man,” said Jeff. “We need to go down there and check that out; it’s driving me nuts.” The two of them slowly headed over to the dark staircase, then on down, one step at a time. It was noticeably colder in the basement, and for some reason the light switch didn’t work. Tom pulled out his phone and used it to light the way.
The men found nothing in the main basement area, but then the loudest noise so far came from the boiler room. They looked at each other, gulped, and began to head in that direction. Tom took point, and slowly opened the door to the room. They navigated past piles of old junk that had accumulated in the room over the last few decades, and finally found the source of all the noise: the boiler itself.
Jeff and Tom let out a bout of hearty laughter. “This isn’t a ghost. It’s just the fucking boiler acting up!” Jeff couldn’t hold back his laughter as he said this. “Jesus,” Tom said. “We got all worked up about nothing. Say, some of the gauges on this thing are going absolutely haywire. This one even says ‘danger.’ Do you know when the last time this thing was-”
The boiler let out a final, ghastly roar, and exploded, leveling the entire block. Everyone died. The end..
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