Things for the Kneed family haven’t been the same since they moved to their new home in Salem, Virginia on a warm April morning 7 months ago. Jonathan Kneed was a young husband and father of two beautiful kids who lived in the suburbs of New York City.
He was assistant accounting manager of a large computer company and recently had been recommended for a promotion to be the new head accountant.
Jonathan was a strong man with brown hair and glasses. He was ecstatic to hear about his new promotion, but he then learned that he was to be the head accountant of the facility in Salem, Virginia and must be there by the next week to accept his new position. As he pulled his BMW into the driveway, he then put together the courage to tell his family the news and wondered what his wife and kids would think about the move. He walked into the front door to see his wife Caroline in the kitchen as she washed the last bit of egg from the breakfast plates. She was a beautiful red headed woman with hazel eyes, delicate hands, and a lovely voice. Jonathan then looked in the living room to see his two kids playing house. The youngest, Jeremy, (who is only three years old) took after his father with brown hair, hazel eyes, and an exceptional imagination. The other child was a girl who was six years old. Joy was a cute little red-head that looked exactly like her mother.
After supper he gathered his family to the couch in the living room to break the news to them about the new job.
"Caroline, kids, I have some thing to tell you." He paused anxiously as he tried to remember the way he rehearsed the speech. "As you know, I've been working extra hard during the past few months of my employment at this company and...I've been promoted to head accountant!" Caroline jumped up and clapped her hands in excitement from this new development and the two children followed suit, though they really had no idea what a head accountant was or why it was so exciting. "But", he began again, "there's a catch".
"What's the catch, dear?" asked Caroline, excited to find out what this 'catch' was.
"We have to move."
"Move!" exclaimed the kids and Caroline at the same time, "Move where?"
"Salem, Virginia." said Jonathan in a not-so-enthusiastic tone that effected the entire party.
"We have to move to Salem before the end of the week or I can't get the job." said Jonathan.
"Then I guess you're not getting the job then, are you dear." said Caroline with an air of defiance.
"Honey, I have to take the job, just think of all of this as an experience!" he said, trying to cheer up his wife.
" NO! I don't want to just think of all of this as an experience!" she exclaimed very strongly. "I don't want to move. I like it here and this is the only home the children have ever known! We can't move at the drop of a hat!"
"But honey, we haven't been doing so well financially lately, and this could be our big break." Jonathan said, trying to calm Caroline down.
"Our big break, you mean your big break. You never liked it here so you're just using this as an excuse to get out of here. Kids, go to your rooms, NOW!", she demanded in a huff. At that the kids ran off to their room and the argument between Caroline and Jonathan rolled on nosily into the night, but eventually Caroline reluctantly agreed to move.
Three days later they headed down south to a new life in Salem, Virginia not knowing what things are in store for them at their new house. As they entered the driveway of their new home, Caroline's feelings toward the move changed. She was amazed as she witnessed the old house from the passenger side window. She saw a beautiful, two-story house built with dark brown wood. It had three large windows in the front of the bottom floor and four on the top. Each window had large shutters made with a lighter shade of wood. The porch and the roof had the same color roof shingles, which was dark grey. The porch was small and built of dark red bricks and had three steps leading to the dark brown door that had a large oval window with clear white floral designs. The yard, which was covered by lovely dark-green grass, is cooly shaded by tall oak trees that look hundreds of years old. As they go up the driveway to the small two-car garage, Caroline feels a chill go down her spine. She looks up at the house to see a young man staring out of the second story bedroom window with an expression of unexplained malice in his eyes. As she looks up at this young man, staring her straight in the eyes, they passed behind one of the oak trees. When the window came back into view from behind the tree, the angry adolescent was nowhere to be seen. This unnerved Caroline, but she didn't say anything to Jonathan for fear of frightening him or the kids. She dimissed it as a trick of the light and went on.
Jonathan parked his car in the garage, got out, and took a look around the house. The garage was small and filled with different tool drawers and compartments. A door in the corner led to a small downstairs laundry room which had the usual things a laundry room should have; washer, dryer, and a small wooden hamper, fairly standard. The walls were white and the beige linoleum floor matched well with the room. This room also had two doors, one led to a small bathroom, very plain, white, but it had a small shower in it. The second door led to a large hardwood living area. The space was already furnished with three large sofas that matched the spacious floor and a 32" television. The beautiful area was also fitted with mood lighting and the front door was visible from the laundry room door.
The living area fed into the kitchen, which was equally amazing. A large stainless-steel refrigerator/freezer was sitting by the wall next to the flat top stove. Also, a large island was in the middle of the kitchen and on the opposite wall were the sinks and cabinets.
Just beyond that was the dining room. The dining room had a large table with six chairs and in the middle of the linen coverd table was sitting a gorgeous center piece. The walls were the same color as the kitchen and the living area- nice, dark, warm, wooden walls with a contrasting off white trim at the top and bottom.
Next they went upstairs. The staircase was wooden like the rest of the floor, and had a handrail that is painted an off white color with beautifully designed wooden spires which supported the handrail.
The upstairs had five rooms. A bathroom much like the one downstairs, three bedrooms and an attic. The master bedroom had a large bay window with a seat that looked out over the field to the west of the house to veiw the sunset. A large king size bed occupied the center of the room and had a thick maroon comforter to match the carpeted floors and dark wooden walls. A small desk with with a single drawer and reading lamp was at each side of the bed. It also had a large bathroom to finish off the room. The sinks were made of black granite and had stainless-steel faucets.
Jeremy's room was a smaller room with a small bed with a dark blue comforter. His room also had a single window overlooking the driveway.
Joy's room was a little larger than her brothers. It had a single bed, a window, and a medium size closet. Her window looked to the east where she could see the sun rising over the small woodlands behind their house.
The attic was the last thing they looked at. The attic had things piled to the ceiling, old articles of clothing, old photographs, and chests and trunks of all kinds. Everything was coverd in what seemed to them like a couple centimeters of dust. As Caroline and Jonathan left the attic to go unpack their things, Caroline thought she heard someone saying her name behind her. She turned around but no one was there
"Coming Caroline?" asked Jonathan, eager to get his things unpacked and ready for tomorrow.
"Yeah, I just thought I heard something" she said, still looking around for the noise.
"Heard something, what did you hear, honey?" he said with concern.
"Oh, nothing. Just forget it." and she turned around and followed Jonathan out of the attic. Things where about to get a little stranger for the Kneed family over the next couple of weeks.
The First Encounter
Strange things started happening after the Kneeds moved into their new Salem home, bumps in the night, things sometimes seemed out of place, and the TV turned itself on once. Caroline and Jonathan dismissed these occurrences as mere coincidences. Soon things escalated into more noticeable acts that could not be debunked. Jeremy started complaining about a man standing at his doorway in the middle of the night, or entering his room when he was playing. Touching and pushing occurred more often, almost leading to a broken arm from falling down the stairs. During the middle of the night the parent's door would swing open and bring a cold gust of air with it. But the family was terrified one month after they moved into their new abode. Joy awoke one night screaming "Mommy there's someone in my room!" Caroline and Jonathan came running to her aid, but when they got there, nobody was there but the little girl, sobbing.
"Oh, honey are you all right?" Caroline asked Joy, afraid for the safety of her daughter.
"There, was a-a s-scary m-man in my ro-room! He hur-hur-hurt me!" she explaind as she showed the gaping scratches on her arms and began to bawl again.
"Jonathan, we have to do something about this, I mean, look at Joys arms. This is serious!"
"You're right, but what are we going to do? We can't move again, there's no other houses for sale close enough for a daily commute. Huh, looks like our dream home has just become a living nightmare." So they let the kids sleep in their bedroom for the rest of the night, but no one would get anymore sleep that night, because there were a lot more noises than usual. In the morning when they got up as usual, something unnerved the parents. Carved in the walls of the master bath where the words "Stay away!"
The Second Encounter
After that night nobody felt safe. The family tried to find a different house to live in but to no avail. One day, after Caroline was rummaging through the attic, she found an old photograph of a frowning young man of what looked to be eighteen standing in front of the house with a smiling man who looked like he was forty-nine standing beside him. As she was looking at this picture she heard the door to the attic open. She looked to see what it was but she saw nothing and went back to inspecting the photo. Caroline looked at the back of the old photo and found a date and two names. "Will and Steve, 1901" She read aloud to herself as she flipped the photo back over to look at the boy and the man, but the boy was gone and the man, instead of smiling was frowning. She couldn't believe what she had seen. She blinked several times and looked again, but the boy had returned but his eyes where crimson red. At this point she started to freak out, and she tried to look for a light that could have been shining on the photo, but there was none. She looked back at the picture and the boy had turned his frown into a cynical grin. She gasped, tossed the picture on the floor, and ran out of the room. Jeremy, who had entered the room earlier, producing the creak of the door, came out from behind the boxes and crates and picked up the old photo. He looked at the photo, wondering why it scared his mother so badly. In the picture stood the boy and the man, the same way his mother had found it earlier, but as he looked at the picture he realized that the boy looked familiar to him.
Several days had gone by since the photo incident. Caroline had told Jonathan about the experience she had with the photo but he hadn't believed her, and Jeremy had stuck the photo under his bed to show his parents at dinner that night. Later that day, Jeremy and Joy went to play on the swingset and jungle gym their father had bought for them. As they where playing, Joy caught something out of the corner of her eye. She looked up at Jeremy's room and saw a black figure standing at his window holding something in its hand. She called her brothers attention to this but when they looked back at it, it was exiting his room, still clasping onto the object. The two kids ran into the house to chase the black thing with their mother yelling "No running in the house, you two!"
Not hearing their mother, they keep running. Up the stairs, down the hall, and into Jeremys room they went to find out where it went to. They started looking in his room to see if it had hid in there, but they discovered nothing except that the picture Jeremy had stowed away under his bed had disappeared. "That thing has it," said Joy, looking out the door to see if she could see the black, thieving object. The two children exited the room and looked down the hallway to find, to their horror, a large young man standing in the hall. Jeremy recognized him as the young man from the picture. He was a tall, brown haired, green eyed, man wearing old tattered clothing and black shoes.
"Give it back!" Jeremy demanded as he started running towards the youth.
"Wait!" Joy exclaimed, chasing her brother down the hallway, but it was too late. The youth had turned into the large black figure she had seen before. Jeremy lunged at the black thing, but instead of hitting it he ran into the stairs leading up to the attic. The black figure was gone, the picture was gone, and Jeremys right shoe was laying half way down the hall where it had flown when he lunged at the man. Joy and Jeremy, after getting his shoe back on, ran down the stairs to tell their mother what had happened. She almost didn't believe them until she saw a large red bump on Jeremy's head.
The next day she went to the local library to find out the history of their haunted abode. After several hours of research she found that a family had lived there before their arrival; about one hundred years before that is. The family built in 1878 and lived in the house for twenty-three years before it was burnt down in 1901 . The house was reportedly burnt down by the eighteen year old son named Will, who committed suicide in the attic after he set fire to his parents bedroom. The house was then rebuilt to look like it did before the fire. Caroline was startled upon finding this information and returned to show it to her husband.
The Death of the Kneeds
Meanwhile, Jonathan had just gotten home from work early and decided that since Caroline wasn't here that he would get a snack before dinner. As he made his way to the kitchen, he turned the TV on and threw off his coat. He rounded the corner to the kitchen only to find that the kitchen looked like it had erupted. water was running out of the sink, the stove had started to catch on fire, and all the food was smeared all over the floor. As he looked on in disbelief he saw something flash through the dining room. He quickly threw water on the stove and gave chase to the vandal. He chased what he now saw as a man through the dining room, to the living room, and up the stairs into the attic. As he burst through the attic door he saw the person he was chasing. It was the young man that Caroline, Joy, and Jeremy had all seen. This youth was now standing in front of Jonathan, not fifteen feet away. "Now I have this troublemaker in my sights and I'm gonna teach him a thing or two," he thought to himself as he started to approach the young man. As he approched, however, the youth started to grin that cynical grin and his green eyes, just barely visible in the dim light of the attic, became a vibrant, glowing crimson red. This changed Jonathan's thoughts from triumph to pure fear. As Jonathan looked into the menacing face of the youth, he started backing away, getting ready to run. The youth continued to change into the terrifing black figure, but this time he was different. He was bigger than before and had dark wing-like objects protruding from his back. His small, dark hands transformed into large, long fingered hands with huge black claws instead of fingernails. His body lifted off the ground with one cold flap of his now long wings. Caroline was now pulling up the driveway, thinking that things were a little too still and quiet.
"Whats wrong, Mom?" said Jeremy, startling his Mom.
"Nothing, nothing sweetheart." She said still looking up at the house. Caroline exited the car and entered the door. The house was freezing cold on the inside and everything seemed dark, even though the lights and TV were on. There was a low sound emitting from the darkened stairway. The TV went blank and seemed to make a noise like that coming from the stairway. All of a sudden, a sound like a bomb came from the walls and floors. All around them was an ear splitting, high pitched whistling sound. Caroline covered her ears and the kids screamed. Then all the sound stopped, and all was quiet except for the ringing in the family's ears. Seconds went by without a sound being made. "Jonathan," she called timidly. Then came a sound so loud, so terrible that it shook the very foundation of the house. An utterly ghastly sound arose from all around them like a thousand terrified and mournful screams from the bowels of Hell and the house shook as if Satan himself was ripping it apart. They saw Jonathan running down the stairs screaming. His tan skin was now snow white and his body had terrible tremors pulsing through it. As he made his way down, the black form of Will rushed upon him, throwing him on the ground before them. The awful form of Will, now hovering before them began to speak in a demonic voice unlike any thing anyone had ever heard before. "I warned you not to stay in this house. Since you have not obeyed my order for you to leave, you will all join me in never ending pain and suffering!" then the terrified family was consummed by the demon that was Will, and was never seen again.
Three weeks later Jonathans job was filled and the world had forgotten about the Kneeds. No one knew what happened to the Kneeds, no one knew the pain and suffering they were being put through and no one else knew about the history of the house because the documents that Caroline had brought had been consummed in the darkness. But there is a new family that has moved into this dark abode, and the story of the Salem house of horrors lives on.
The Night's Plutonian Shore: the 2007 Halloween Horrorquest