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Excerpt from Into The End
The tree house lay secluded behind an abandoned mansion on a gated estate that had its own haunted lore. No one went near it except these boys. Not to break in. Not to throw rocks at the windows. Not on a dare. Not for anything.
It earned the nickname Spooky Mansion by the sheer creepiness of its existence. Townsfolk referred to it this way if they referred to it at all. In truth, barely anyone in Taunton thought about it let alone talked about it. Even the boys only mentioned it by way of territorial marker. Let’s meet up at Spooky Mansion, they’d say. It was interchangeable with tree house.
The boys thought there was something cool in the idea of keeping a treetop shack camouflaged by a sprawling mansion as their getaway. They called it the Reverse Batman because Batman had that unassuming cave exterior camouflaging his palace of high-tech gadgets. James liked to joke, “If only people knew that behind the façade of this filthy rich mansion was our dirt poor bird house, they’d be completely jealous!” That line in all its permutations was always good for a cheap yuck from the boys.
But the people inside the condemned mansion were not laughing. No, they were not laughing at all.