By Megan, age 16, Colorado

Growing up in Seattle, Washington, you become so used to hills that you hardly acknowledge them anymore. So, driving home from work that Friday, when I tried a different route, I almost didn't see it. I was speeding, as usual, to get home to my husband and children. Work had run late and I still needed to make dinner. I wasn't paying any attention when an enormous Fed Ex truck came my direction, clearly out of control, and nearly crashed into me. Out of reflex, I jerked my wheel to the right and turned onto the perpendicular road.

The long, worn out pavement I was now parking on led to the top of a mysterious hill. It was almost cliché how creepy this scene was. The sky was getting darker, so the moon shone right above a house at the top of the road. The trees were empty, although it was in the middle of spring. I was almost frightened, but being fearless, I quickly pushed away the fear. The thought came across my mind that maybe this was fate; maybe the Fed Ex truck almost crashed into me because I was meant to see something on this hill. Although I was a scientist, and highly involved in my work studying cell reproduction and evolution, I sometimes had thoughts that Christianity may not be so wrong after all.

My car seemed to take over as we began our journey up the side of the odd hill. I smirked as I saw a few warning signs, advising its readers to take caution and not enter the 'haunted' house on this hill. One sign even mentioned that there was a ghost named Socks who was currently residing in the large mansion. Some stupid teenagers must have thought this would be a funny prank to pull, I told myself. More and more signs appeared though, all using the name 'Socks', which sparked my curiosity even further.

The fear and anxiety that built up in my head seemed to stretch out time. After practically days, I parked in front of the mansion. Of course, the place became more like a storybook every second, and it was as if I were stepping into my television and onto the set of Ghost Hunters. Before I entered, I called home to explain that something had come up, so I would be late. Feeling invincible, I grabbed the handle of the tall, brown door, and slowly tugged it open. The house was warm, which comforted me greatly. There were spider webs sprouting from every surface, and an abundance of dust polluted the air. The staircase on the right was missing half of its rail, and a few of the windows were shattered. 'Socks' was written on the wall in spray paint, no doubt the aftermath of yet another teenage joke. The mansion was gorgeous, though a little beaten up, and I began exploring it without hesitation.

The first room on the left was dark, with a broken chandelier dangling from the center of the ceiling. There was a royal red couch with a golden frame that had been collecting dust for centuries. Behind that was an old bookshelf, with books tilting every which way. I began looking through the book collection when I stumbled upon one labeled "The Story of the Mansion of Millbury Hill." Millbury Hill? I recognized the name, and almost instantly had a flashback to when, in order to avoid the accident, I swerved away from the truck and past a sign that said 'Millbury Hill'.

The book was very short, and talked about an old man who had once lived in the mansion. He was married for many years, and most observers thought that they were a happy couple. They would bake cinnamon bread for the church every Sunday, and even go ice skating while holding hands on the pond nearby. However, articles suggest that his wife may have been abusive or overpowering. A neighbor reported to sources that one day he was admiring the young couple ice skating outside his window. They seemed happy, but all of a sudden the woman started hitting her husband. She didn't stop, and eventually he fell onto the ice. The hard fall caused his skates to fly off, along with his hat and leather gloves. She seemed to refuse to get him his shoes, so he was forced to walk on ice barefoot in order to find warmth. This incident is why he lived the rest of his life with black, frostbitten feet.

Being startled by this anecdote, I flipped to the next page of the book, which explained how their marriage ended. They were both in their mid-forties, still making the cinnamon bread and putting on a façade that made them look like a happy couple, when the calamity took place. One night, the next door neighbors heard three gunshots. The man shot his wife twice in her chest, in order to escape from her abuse and power. Then, with the third shot, he took his own life.

After that night, the mansion was vacant for years. Finally, about thirty years ago, a young couple bought the property. They moved in, ready to start a new life, when the unthinkable happened. They were sleeping when they heard two gunshots. Then, the woman reported, on the third gunshot her husband was murdered. She escaped without a scratch, but her entire life was ruined. Investigators concluded that every time the third gunshot went off, it killed an innocent person, seeing as two people had been killed walking by the mansion as well.

Like anybody is actually going to believe this stuff. The sun was nearly set when I left the library room. I thought of leaving, but then decided to keep looking around until it was too dark. I was cautiously stepping up the stairway when I heard the twist of a lock. Either the front door had been locked, or I was hearing things. A little intimidated, I decided it was just in my head and that this house was perfectly safe. I kept telling myself how there was no possibility that ghosts were real. After all, I was a scientist and there are plenty of studies denying the existence of ghosts.

I made it to the top of the cracked, wooden stairway to find a beautiful portrait of a young man and his wife. It was dated 1910, and I figured that the painting must have been of Socks and his wife. The upstairs hallway was long and filled with portraits of the same couple, who must have had millions of dollars. The house was still furnished with expensive-looking furniture, so I was anxious to see what the master bedroom would look like. I stepped around the corner and into the most beautiful room. The bed was even made, and looked like it had been slept in last night. The carpet was blood red and another chandelier hung from the ceiling, only this one was not broken at all. Portraits and other paintings filled the wall space, while a fancy wooden dresser held the clothes.

It was such a breathtaking scene, almost like walking into the early 1900s. Unfortunately, the sunlight was getting rapidly dimmer, so I decided to head home. I began walking across the room and was almost to the doorway when the door shut right in my face. I gasped and stepped away slowly, trying to pinpoint a scientific explanation for this. A cool breeze overcame my body for a mere second, followed by the smell of cinnamon. The cinnamon bread from the book. The shock of realization came quickly, and hot tears stung my cheeks as I jerked the handle of the bedroom door in attempt to escape.

I was locked in a dark haunted room on a Friday night with only a cell phone. I opened up my phone and quickly dialed 9-1-1 when it was snatched out of my hand. Then, by some invisible force, it crashed to the floor and split into two pieces. My heart was beating out of my chest as I ran over to the bed, seeking some sort of refuge. I made the decision to crawl under the covers, like a little child afraid of the boogie monster. I covered my face with the soft blankets, and thought about how to escape.

I fell asleep rocking back and forth to keep warm and to comfort myself. On the bright side, the bed was comfortable and I slept very well, because you'd be surprised how much energy fear consumes.

But that perfect sleep only lasted for a few hours. At about two o'clock in the morning, I woke to the feeling of warmth leaving my feet. I looked down, to see my feet exposed completely and turning black, as if they were frostbitten. "Now you'll have to suffer as I did," a soft voice whispered into my ear. A stinging shock ran up my spine like lightning, and my feet felt as if they were soaked in ice, as I regretted not wearing socks that day. Socks.

I forced my eyes to bravely look to the foot of the bed, where I saw a milky-colored translucent outline of a younger man. He had a hole through his chest, and was missing feet. The figure was gone as soon as it had appeared, and my hair stood up on the back of my neck. It was then that I heard the loud, almost firecracker-like sound of a gunshot. The sound pierced my ears and shook my brain. On the third gunshot, someone dies. I heard the second blow, almost immediately following, and nearly passed out with fear. My entire body shook like I had been electrocuted.

I'd had enough. I jumped out of bed and ran across the room to the door. The handle was oddly unlocked, so I continued to sprint towards the exit out of the mansion. I fled down the steps, and grabbed the cold, hard handle on the front door. Come on, I thought. I swiftly pulled back, but I had no luck. I knew that only seconds were left until the blast of the third shot. I tugged on the door with all the power I had left in me, and somehow it broke open. I looked back to see a white blur traveling down the staircase.

The pit of my stomach felt like I had been socked in the gut. My head hurt so badly that I could feel my pulse going through my veins. My legs grew stiff, and I kept telling myself not to give up. My feet were black and numb due to my frostbite. I busted open the unlocked door of my small white Lexus, and I swiftly slid inside. Just then the third gunshot went off. I saw the bullet the second it left its rounded home. It slowly swerved in my direction until it struck my windshield, the only barrier between life and death for me.

The crack of the bullet spread slowly along the windshield, the effect like ripples in water. It looked like a spider web, taking over my car. The bullet continued through the hole. The small metal object made its way through my final source of protection, my skin. It was the magnet for blood, which seemed to be everywhere within seconds.

I felt cold and helpless. The bullet passed through me and then through my headrest. I looked around, not knowing what was even happening. I felt the side of my head, discovering that the bullet had left a small hole in my right ear. My heart continued to beat blood through my veins. My lungs continued to fill with air. My brain continued to reassure me that I was okay. I was alive. I realized then and there that science cannot always explain everything. Sometimes events occur for no reason with no explanation, but solely for a purpose.

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February & March Magazine Issues

March 15, 2012

The February and March issues of Sweet Designs Magazine are now online, featuring a combined 53 new articles and features!!

- Cover: Stephanie Lynn reflects on 5 years
- Cover: India (of Darn-licious knitwear)
- Life in the dumps (moving in with my bf)
- The difference between men and women
- Angels among us (parts 1 and 2)
- Arts graduates & the dark night of the soul
- Triple threat (how I survived my teen yrs)
- Dating isn't easy (my true story)
- How to turn not-so-great gifts ... (fashion)
- Ten reasons to love being single
- Taking the big leap (college)
- Valentine's Day (not what you'd expect!)
- The last of the cold (hopefully) (fashion)
- A month full of love
- Ten tips for successful airline travel
- Reasons I love writing for SDM
- Who needs love?
- They're not all the same
- The life I'm glad I don't have (fiction)
- Professional dress/ finding Fendi (fashion)
- An airport anniversary: a true story
- Inappropriate Facebook photos
- The perks of a big city (college)
- A night(mare) to forget (part 2)
- The Anita Blake series (book review)
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington (book)
- Under the Mesquite by GG McCall (book)
- The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (book)
- If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (book review)
- My sweetheart (original poetry)
- Isn't it funny (original poetry)
- The stranger (original poetry)
- A winter wonderland (original poetry)
- One night valentine
- The thick envelopes (college acceptance)
- Southern love
- Healthy hair and vitamins
- It's a date (dating idea alternatives)
- The 30 hour famine
- School's out forever!
- Marching right back into spring? (fashion)
- Dear John
- When TV shows depict your life
- 3 Fun ways to rock spring's hottest trends
- Neglected teeth
- Starting something new
- Guy movies
- To hesitate or dive in?
- Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro (book review)
- Beastly, by Alex Flinn (book review)
- I don't care (poetry)
- Together, alone (poetry)

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