Est. Reading time: 25 minutes
“I struck the jackpot!” I sing-songed as soon as she answered the phone.
Allison, my older sister, squealed in delight. “Oh my gosh, Katie, that’s great!”
I had just applied, been approved, and gotten the best deal in the history of ever. I got my first home away from home!
“I know! I can’t believe nobody’s rented it yet. It’s so last minute and so close to campus!” It was unbelievably, awesomely lucky. It’s too good to be true, but it totally happened!
“I suppose you’ll need help moving in, but I’m so far away!” I had some suspicion that Alli was at least a little bit relieved about that. “But I bet mom and dad would help their youngest baby move her things.”
“Yeah, yeah. Well, I’ve gotta start packing! I just wanted to tell you the news…”
“Make sure you get a nice, comfy couch so you can sleep on it when I visit!” She chuckled at her unoriginal joke.
“Alrighty, talk to you later!”
Now, to pack my things.
~ ~ ~
“Phew! Here’s the last box” Dad panted. He was all dusty and had sweat through his shirt. Actually—I lifted my arms and checked my pits—I think we both did. But finally, everything is here, if not yet unpacked.
My landlord, Bill Murrison, helped us with some of the bigger furniture. I was thankful for the help, but he was still as awkward as when we first met.
Two weeks ago, my mom and I were looking for affordable housing near the campus and this listing caught my eye. It was only 5 blocks from the college, was in a beautiful, quiet neighborhood, and cheaper than it had any right to be. We called Bill and asked to tour immediately.
When we arrived, I noticed that it was the most beautiful house on the block, which was an amazing feat since all the houses were gorgeous. There were 3 stories and it had a grand, old-fashioned style—with columns and everything! Mom raised her eyebrows and smiled at me, impressed and happy with it so far.
Bill came out to greet us, but he was kind of weird. He spoke quietly and never actually looked us in the eye. But he was polite and didn’t commit any other social faux-pas, so we could look past it. The foyer was amazing. Right at the entrance, there were another set of huge doors with brilliant woodwork. Next to it there was a grand staircase with matching designs. I guessed that Bill probably lives on this floor.
He led us up the stairs to the rental, and my breath was taken right out of me. It wasn’t nearly as beautiful as the main floor, but I could have this whole floor to myself. It had its own fully-equipped kitchen, a cute, old-fashioned bathroom, a living room with a huge rug covering most of the floor, and a luxurious bedroom with its own fireplace.
However, I could see why the price was on the lower side. It was outdated. It was a little dusty and dirty. It had a bit of an odd smell. But it was perfect for me! I could live alone, be free, and do what I want! All it’d take is a bit of elbow grease and some getting used to.
I asked him about the third floor, if anyone lived up there, but he said that floor was for storage. Must have a lot of storage, then.
Anyway, we applied that night and waited a while for the background check. Two weeks later, here I am, about to live the dream!
“Well, thanks for the help, mom and dad! Oh, and for this awesome place!” I gave them big hugs and there were some tears and ‘I love you’s’ and ‘you’re all grown up now’s’ so I had to shoo them out. If they didn’t hurry they wouldn’t be able to make the 3 hour drive back before dark. Now all I had to do was unpack and go to bed. I looked at the dusty mess of boxes everywhere and let out a huge breath.
~ ~ ~
School has been great so far! I’ve been to all the freshmen events and to a few clubs and have already made some friends. Everyone is so friendly here! Other than that, I’ve finally just managed to clean the second story and make it feel like a nice and comfortable place to live. But I have to do another chore when I get back home. My laundry’s been piling up and I keep forgetting to ask Bill where the laundry room is.
“Oh, Katie! There’s that guy I’ve been talking about.” Michelle pointed across the dining hall to a tall, well-built, brunette guy. I believe his name was Justin.
“He’s too far away, I can’t see!” I grabbed and shook her arm, pretending to be way more interested than I was for her sake. Michelle and I share a couple of Gen Ed classes together and she’s been talking about this cute guy in her Chemistry class nonstop. It wouldn’t surprise me if he also noticed her, to be honest. She’s beautiful—with dark skin and long, dark hair. Oh, and the longest natural eyelashes I’ve ever seen on a person!
“Then, come on! Let’s get closer look...” She pulled me up by the arm and led the way. At this point, I was starting to feel a bit giddy and could feel the adrenaline pumping through my system. Now we were on a mission.
“Ok, but we can’t get caught,” I said, getting much, much more interested. We snuck into line behind him. As we got nearer, I could see how tall he really was by how he was towering over us. I looked over at Michelle who wiggled her eyebrows at me. She was planning something. Before I could do anything about it, she shoved me against his back with enough force to set us both off balance, and me to the ground. Justin spun around and peered down at me. That’s when Michelle rushed in.
“Oh my gosh! Are you ok? My friend just tripped out of nowhere.” I glared up at her, but she didn’t notice.
“Oh, yeah, no, I’m fine,” he said, stumbling a little over his words. He looked back down to me. “Are you ok?” He extended his hand to help me up which in turn made my face turn red and somehow made me lose the ability to speak.
“She’s fine,” Michelle cut in, “just a little embarrassed, I think.” She paused for a second and a look of familiarity lit up in her eyes. “Hey, aren’t you in Chem. 101?” she asked. I stood there dumbly during their conversation, trying to evade all the imaginary stares I was receiving. But while I was there, I could tell why Michelle had such a crush on him. He had a few cute freckles along his nose and cheekbones and striking green eyes along with an amazing jawline. Michelle tapped my shoulder and I realized that I was staring and that he had noticed. I quickly looked down, another blush spreading across my face and chest.
“Where should we sit?” She asked and both were looking at me expectantly.
“Um, ok, over there.” I pointed to a quiet-looking spot in the corner and the three of us sat down. Michelle and Justin on one side and me on the other.
“So, miss clumsy, what’s your name?” Instead of answering, I blushed again. Thanks, Michelle.
“Oh, I’m sorry, this is Katie. We met last week.” She laid her hand on his arm.
“Um, hi.” I whispered, feeling shy.
“What year are you?” He asked politely.
“Me too. Where are you from?”
The three of us spent the rest of the hour talking and didn’t leave until we had to for homework or class. I left the dining hall smiling and in a much better mood. That was an unfair move, but I don’t have any hard feelings against Michelle. Besides, I think I made yet another friend.
~ ~ ~
When I got home, I remembered I had to ask Bill about the laundry room. I went downstairs and knocked on the huge, ornate set of doors in the entryway. After a few moments, I heard a latch opening sound to the right of me and saw Bill come out of a small door that I never noticed.
“Hello,” he said, eyes not looking at me, but just past me. I felt almost bad for bothering his poor, awkward soul.
“Hi, Bill. Um, could you tell me where the laundry room is?” I tried to be as polite as possible. He’d been so nice and quiet. I'v never heard him make a peep when I've been home. No television, music, or anything. Oh, now I hope I don’t make too much noise.
“Oh, yes, yes. Come on, I’ll show you.” He waved me in through the door and into a hallway. It had the same feel as the second story, not as grand, but still had an old-fashioned elegance to it. At the end of the hallway were two doors. He stopped at the one going straight and opened it. Mildew-y air with a hint of something stronger came rushing through the open door. An odd feeling came over me then. The only word I could really put to it was 'uncomfortable'.
“It’s right down there. You can come through this hallway anytime you need to.” Again, he looked past me, but he also had a different expression than normal. He had a sudden wet sheen on his forehead and seemed like he might be shaking a little bit. Maybe he’s scared of the dark, or maybe gets antsy with unexpected company, I don’t know. I thanked him and went to get my dirty clothes.
When I got back, he was gone. Maybe the other door lead to his room and the huge doors in front just don’t get used often. Old houses are weird.
The basement door was still open and the lights were on, but I felt strange about it. Basements in old houses, when has that ever been a good idea? I looked down the stairs and was surprised by how clean it was. It wasn’t decorated like the rest of the house, but it wasn’t like one of those unfinished basements in starter homes either.
I started down the steps, laundry in tow. When I got about five steps from the bottom, I suddenly heard a loud, hissing sound. The noise startled me mid-step and I fell the rest of the way down. Luckily, I landed on my pile of laundry, but I still might have stubbed my toe. After a quick evaluation of my health, I scanned the room, looking for the source of the hissing. It was probably some kind of icky animal. After a few moments, I gave out a loud groan and gave up. Now that I could see the rest of the small room, it wasn’t too terrible. In the corner were the washer and dryer and on the opposite wall was another door which had a padlock on it. For a second, I got really curious about what might be behind that door. Was it treasure? A dead body? Just another boring room filled with junk? Probably. I decided to go back to my dull task instead.
On my way back, I skipped the last two steps and ran the rest of the way up.
~ ~ ~
Michelle, Justin, and I are officially lunch buddies. We’ve been hanging out a lot and are becoming quite the trio. As soon as Michelle realized that Justin wasn’t interested, she backed off and started crushing over a basketball player. She must like them tall.
“Dr. Fog is crazy, I swear!” Michelle started complaining as soon as we sat down. “She wasn’t going to be here today, so she recorded her lecture yesterday. She had a TA take attendance and even called us by names in the video!” My jaw dropped.
“Yeah, it was some next level stuff,” Justin added, a cool look of humor on his face. “She called on me 4 times.”
“Oh my gosh, that’s awesome!” I cracked up. I’ll have to make sure to take Dr. Fog’s Chemistry class.
“No, she’s crazy! Just let us have the day off,” Michelle groaned. I laughed at her pain and so did Justin. Michelle didn't like that.
“No! It’s annoying! Ugh!” Michelle folded her arms and pouted.
“Sounds like you need a drink.” Justin suggested, putting his arm around her. Michelle harrumphed, but looked interested in the idea.
“Yeah, I do. But I can’t get any! Plus, we can’t drink in the dorms, they’ll catch us!” Justin winked at her.
“Oh, I can get us some. But we can’t drink at my house either. My parents would kick me out.” Justin and Michelle both looked at me expectantly… again. I smiled.
“Well, guess who lives on her own off campus?” We all celebrated and made plans to meet at the water fountain in the front entrance of campus at 7 to walk to my house.
~ ~ ~
It was starting to get cool. Especially at nights. Especially during this night while I was waiting for Michelle and Justin, anticipation in my belly. I’ve never been drunk before. I mean, I’ve snuck of few sips and drinks here and there, but I’ve never gotten full on wasted. Tonight though, that was my plan and I was stoked.
Before coming back to the school to pick the two up, I asked Bill if it was alright for me to bring friends over. I didn't want to make him mad or disturb his silence or anything. At least not without permission. When he answered the door, he seemed a bit jittery and breathless along with his usual oddities. I wondered if he was sick, but he said it was fine, that he was going to be out tonight anyway. I thought that was kind of odd, since I’ve never seen him leave the house before, but it was definitely lucky for us.
“Hey!” Michelle shouted, plastic bags in her hand and Justin trailing behind her with his backpack on. “We just went to get some chasers. Let’s get this party started!”
“So, where is your house?” Justin asked.
“Just a few blocks that way. It’s really nice.” I commented, taking a bag from Michelle to share the burden as we started walking towards my place.
“Oh yeah, that’s a nice area. You don’t usually see college students coming from there.” Come to think of it, he’s right. On my walk, I don’t come across any university students. Ever. They’re mostly middle aged adults going to work, elderly people walking their dog, and sometimes children playing in their yards.
“Actually, it was pretty cheap. My mom and I were so surprised, we felt like we won the lottery with this deal.” There was a slight lull in the conversation once I finished, so I turned around to see Justin looking distracted and distant.
“Hm, that is pretty lucky.” He half-heartedly said, staring down at the pavement. After that, the rest of the walk was filled with Michelle happily chatting away about drinking games we were going to play and about this new horror film she’s been wanting to watch. Thank God it’s Friday.
When we arrived, I gestured majestically at the picturesque estate I was living in. Michelle gave a pleased, awed sound, but Justin just stood there. Staring. That caught me off guard.
“Yeah, so, this is it!” I laughed and skipped towards the door, trying to lighten the mood. “Come in, guys!”
~ ~ ~
“He was the worst, you know,” Michelle sobbed, wiping her tear and mascara soaked cheeks. “The worst ex ever. I cannot BELIEVE I ever dated him!” I tried to calm her down, but feeling a little dizzy and tipsy myself, it was proving to be quite difficult. “So stupid, so STUPID!” I shushed her, and rubbed her back. When she started crying hysterically, I looked desperately to Justin.
He barely drank or talked the whole night, he just sat there, pretending to listen with a nervous look on his face. Was he really that scared of getting caught? I tried to get his attention, but he was focused on something on the wall. That’s when Michelle suddenly stood up, nearly falling right back down.
“I-I gotta go, I-I-I need to be alone,” she started stumbling away.
“Uh, I don’t think that’s a good idea right now.” I stood up, felt the world spin around me, and then tried going after her. When she noticed, she made a whining sound and then started running. “Hey, wait!” Finally, that got Justin’s attention. He quickly stood up, grabbed my arm, and dragged me along to chase after her. This did not do well with my nausea.
It was only when I heard Michelle’s piercing scream that I realized we were going up to the third story. Justin dragged me faster in response and we almost tumbled right into her frozen figure. When I got a hold of myself, I could see why Michelle screamed like that.
The room was dark, but enough light was coming in from the windows that we could see a thick layer of cobwebs and dust covering the room. There was also silhouettes of several rectangular-shaped boxes lining the edges of the walls. My gut filled with dread.
There were Caskets. Everywhere.
“L-Let’s go back downstairs,” Justin said, fear filling his voice. Nobody said anything, but we all huddled close and started backing away without turning around until we got to the stairs. Then we made a run for it, seeking the safety of my room. We all ran into my bedroom, slamming, and locking the door. I paced over to the window, adrenaline still pumping in my veins.
“What the FUCK was that?” I shook my hands, trying to get this horrible feeling out of me.
“Was that-was that your l-landlord’s? He’s a fucking f-freak!” Michelle yelled, tears starting to dry on her fear-stricken face. Justin was pacing back and forth in front of the door, but he stopped to reply.
“No, no, guys. Well, yeah, probably, but...” We both looked at him with confusion coloring our faces. He sighed. “Listen. This house…is known. I mean, it’s infamous.” I stepped closer to him, but Michelle was frozen stiff.
“What do you mean? Why?” Boy, fear sure sobers you up quick. He leaned against the door and slowly slid down to the floor putting his head in his hands. I sat down next to him and Michelle followed. When he looked back up at us, his eyes were hauntingly beautiful. Probably because of the contrast of the green with his bloodshot eyes.
“Everyone in town knows about this place. If I knew you were considering living here, I would have stopped you. But you’re already here and I didn’t want to scare you, and I didn’t want to sound stupid, and we just wanted to have a fun time—”
“Justin! Why is this house infamous? Isn’t this supposed to be a nice, safe neighborhood?” I yelled, suddenly getting angry.
“Yes! Yes, it is! Just—this house. It was a—it was a funeral home…” He trailed off and I wanted to punch him in the face.
“That’s it?” I stood up before he could reply and went to sit on my bed. “For real? So what? Then that must have been like a place to sell caskets or something, right? That makes sense.” I had to rationalize it. Of course there’s caskets somewhere in a funeral home. “I guess Bill didn’t know what to do with them when he bought the place.”
“Bill?” Michelle asked. I could tell we were all starting to calm down.
“Yeah, Bill Murrison, my landlord. He said the third floor was for storage. Guess he didn’t want to freak me out.” I laid back on my bed and started laughing. All this craziness was so ridiculous! Michelle joined in. Justin didn’t.
“Bill’s infamous, too.” Our laughter faded out.
“For what?” Michelle asked, interest piqued.
“He didn’t buy this place, he inherited it. His parents ran this funeral home while he was growing up. But they were going out of business and had less and less, um, clients, I guess, when the new funeral home opened up.”
“So what?” I crossed my arms and almost rolled my eyes.
“So he grew up around death. He saw dead people all the time, even helped his parents prepare the bodies.”
“I don’t see why that’d make him infamous.”
“Well, it’s the way he acts. His parents died when he was 15. Their funeral was the last funeral ever held in this house. Since then, he rarely talks and never looks anyone in the eye. Nobody knows what he does in this house all day and he’s rarely seen in public. And, you know, he’s weird and kinda creepy when he is seen.” I actually did roll my eyes then. Sure, he is weird. He must have some sort of social phobia or maybe even Asperger’s or something, but I wouldn’t call him creepy.
“That’s not all, though.” Justin continued, anxiety coloring his voice. “There are… rumors about him.”
“Like what?” Michelle was really interested now, having forgotten all about her ex.
“When he would help his parents out with the bodies, sometimes he would…take things. Small things, like a ring or a button from their suit. His parents caught him doing it a couple of times, but he kept stealing these little trinkets, keeping them as some sort of demented collection.”
“That’s fucked up.” Michelle started to look scared again, but I couldn’t stop from furrowing my brows in anger.
“That is so mean! Why would people make up rumors like that?” I exploded in defense of my landlord.
“I think it’s true. My parent’s friends had their grandpa’s funeral here. During the funeral, they noticed that the dog tags he was supposed to be buried in were missing. When they questioned the Murrisons, they immediately went to fetch Bill and told him to give the tags back and apologized for his behavior. Also, there’s another rumor. I’m not sure if this one’s true, but it really seems like it would be.”
“What is it? Is he a murderer? Should we call 9-1-1? Do we need to get out of here?” Michelle blurted out in a frenzied rush.
“No, no, that’s not it. I don’t think he’s ever hurt anyone. It’s just that when his parents died, many people came to the funeral, but there was no burial. He never buried his parents at the cemetery or anywhere as far as we can tell. For all we know, his parents’ bodies are still in the house.” Michelle shivered.
“Oh shit! I just got chills!” She rubbed her arms, and the conversation lulled for a bit while we were processing the information. After a while, Michelle piped up with a carefully excited, “Should we go and check it out?” I had a flashback of our first encounter with Justin together.
“No way.” I replied, turning my back to her.
“Why not? You said it, you said your landlord won’t be home tonight!” Michelle whined.
“That’s not a good idea. Who knows what else could be in this house?” Justin’s look of unease intensified.
“Uh, yeah. That’s why I want to look.” She spat back. She turned to me.
“Come on! Don’t you wanna learn more about who you’re living with?” Well, yeah, I kind of do.
“It’s not like we’re living together, he’s my landlord. I barely ever see him.” I retorted.
“Then don’t you want to know if he’s potentially dangerous? Don’t you think he should have told you about this house, and the fact that he hasn’t is kind of suspicious?” For real. Why didn’t he tell me? I know it could hurt the sale, but that really seems like something he should have disclosed.
“But it’s—it’s just not right!” Michelle smiled because she knew that my determination was slipping and my argument weak.
“So is keeping all this information from you. This is for your safety, Katie. We need to make sure.” Michelle crossed her arms and waited for the answer she knew was coming. I looked at Justin to get his opinion. He shrugged.
“I kind of always wondered about this place, and this will probably be the only chance I’ll get to explore it.” He took a deep breath. “Ok, I’m for it. But we need a flashlight—just in case.” They both looked at me expectantly for the third time. I gave out a long and heavy sigh and then a wild smile spread on my face as the adrenaline began to fill my veins.
“Ok, I know a good place to start.”
~ ~ ~
With a flashlight and heavy rock in tow, the three of us went through the side door in the entry and down the hall straight to the basement door.
“Bill showed me this door when I asked for the laundry room. As soon as he opened the door, I started feeling… really weird. There was also something different about him, too. He looked nervous and sweaty, but I shrugged it off as one of his odd behaviors. Also,” I turned on the light switch and led them down the stairs, “there’s a locked door—”
As we neared the bottom of the stairs, I had to stop mid-sentence when I saw a padlock on the floor and the aforementioned door ajar. I turned to look at my friends with genuine disbelief.
“That door has always been locked since I’ve lived here.” Michelle pushed past me and went towards the door.
“Guess we won’t be needing this then.” Justin dropped the rock gracelessly on the steps and followed her.
I started after them but before reaching the bottom of the stairs, I heard the same loud hissing noise from earlier and scrambled to the floor in surprise. The two came to my aid when we heard a loud screech and the slamming of the basement door at the top of the stairs. Before we could take another breath, another noise came from above as the lightbulb shattered and rained tiny shards of glass all over the room and covered us in complete darkness. The three of us screamed at all the sudden commotion and we huddled together in fear.
It was eerily silent after all that racket, so I could hear the rapid breathing of my friends’ breaths and even the fast pitter-patter of their heartbeats. Suddenly, I remembered about the flashlight. I dropped it in my fall. Moving ever so slowly, I reached out, carefully feeling for it amongst the tiny shards of glass.
“What are you doing?” Michelle whispered, scared out of her mind.
“I’m trying to find the flashlight, help me look,” I replied, trying to keep my cool. After a few moments, I felt something on the ground, but it was definitely not the flashlight and definitely a hand.
“Oh, sorry,” I said, thinking it was either Michelle’s or Justin’s.
“For what?” Michelle asked.
“Found it!” Justin rejoiced and suddenly the room was filled with light and directly in front of me, I could see an opaque wisp of smoke fade away near the bottom of the stairs. I screamed and backed up into my friends.
“Katie, what is it?” Justin asked in a calm voice, but I could feel his heart beating rapidly in his chest along with mine.
“Let’s get out of here!” was all I could say. We got up together and ran to the top of the stairs. Justin reached for the handle, but it wouldn’t budge. I tried it after him and then Michelle, but the three of us couldn’t get the door open.
“It’s locked!” Michelle cried. Justin then began ramming his body into the door, hoping to break through or something, but it was an old-fashioned, solid wood, heavy duty door and it just wouldn’t give.
“We have to find another way,” Justin admitted, voice coming out in ragged breaths.
“I’m not going in there!” Michelle pointed at the open door in the basement and shook her head, eyes bulging in fear and all sense of adventure gone.
“Well we’re not getting out through here! Don’t basements usually have emergency exits or a window or something? We have to find it and then we can get out of here and have a nice cup of coffee and laugh about how stupid we were to come down here in the first place.” Michelle and I looked at each other and nodded, calming slightly at the idea.
“Sounds good,” I said, and the three of us slowly made our way down the stairs and to the unlocked, slightly ajar door in the small room.
Past the door came a strong odor of formaldehyde which made my eyes water and Michelle gag. Justin pointed the flashlight around the rather large space and it looked almost like a hospital room. Along the walls on shelves were some medical equipment, jars of fluid—perhaps formaldehyde?—cleaning supplies, and even what appeared to be makeup and hair styling products. In the middle of the room was a long, metallic table that had a drain right under it.
“They must have prepared the bodies down here,” Justin whispered, as if he accidentally spoke aloud his thoughts. We inched ourselves through this room, looking for any windows or ways out, but all it led to was another door. As we got closer to it, I thought I heard something and quietly shushed my two friends. That’s when I realized there was a faint, flickering light shining underneath it.
“Mother… … … I don’t… … no… … she’s… it’s ok…” Pieces of a conversation could be heard coming from behind the door… and it sounded like Bill. I mouthed my thoughts to my friends, and we kept on listening. “I will not… … … some other way? ... … … but … the police… …father, no! ... … … wrong… … secret… … … not fair!” Suddenly, a yell of frustration came from behind the door along with a loud crash of glass shattering against it. We couldn’t help but to cry out in surprised terror and were frozen in place as we heard footsteps getting louder, approaching the door. We watched in horror as it swung open.
“How did you get down here?” Bill asked, staring at the three of us—directly in the eyes. This disconcerting behavior only got more worrying when he turned around, rage filling his voice. “Mother, father, you did this!” With Bill’s body away from the frame of the door, we could see into the room. I gasped when I saw them. Propped up in what were once magnificent chairs in the back of the room were two human remains, withered away into little else except bones and tattered cloth. When one of the remains tilted its head as if it was considering us and the other raised its hand to its mouth and started chuckling, all the air rushed out of my body and a sinking feeling came over me.
Justin found his legs first and began running the opposite direction, then Michelle, and then, while I was fighting the urge to faint, I caught Bill’s eyes one last time. His brows were furrowed upward and the ends of his mouth pointing down. My ears were ringing, but I saw him mouth the words, “I’m so sorry,” before managing to get the hell out of there.
We ran like mad past the hospital-like room and the laundry room. Justin ran up the stairs and into the door first and managed to knock it off its hinges. We sprinted top speed down the hallway and past the door and into the entryway. I finally got to see the huge, beautifully ornate doors open.
Justin was also the first to reach the front door, but as soon as his hand touched the handle, his legs slipped from beneath him which caused his head to slam against the door. Before we could get to him, he started moving towards the room that the huge, ornate doors had guarded. It looked as if he was being dragged by an invisible force. Michelle screamed his name and ran to help, but when she got in front of the doors, she, too, fell to the ground and started being dragged by this invisible entity.
I dashed back into the hallway to try to escape through the other door, but pummeling down the hall with a feverishly fast pace was a dark, opaque cloud coming straight at me. At this new threat, I sprinted back towards the front door and got caught in the same force as my two friends. My head slammed against the ground as my feet were pulled from under me. My vision blurred and I almost passed out again, but it didn’t stop me from fighting against the force pulling at my legs. I desperately tried to get a hold of anything nearby, but nothing was in reach, so then I tried using my nails, clawing deep scratches into the hardwood floor. I barely felt it when my nail beds ripped from my fingers.
When that didn’t work, I desperately searched for another escape and noticed that we were being dragged down an aisle and were surrounded by pews. I turned to look at the back of the room and found three open caskets lined up in front of the pews. Michelle was screaming so hard that she had lost her voice and was making strangled choking noises instead. Justin looked like he was knocked unconscious.
When I realized there was no way out for me and my friends, I quit struggling and started sobbing my eyes out. I cried at the thought of never seeing my sister, mother, or father again. I cried at the guilt I was feeling for getting my new friends involved. I cried at how stupid I was for living here when the deal was obviously too good to be true. At that final thought, anger poured out of me and I began pounding at the floor with my fists and growled out my frustration. It wasn’t fair!
The three of us were dragged in front of the three caskets. I was laid out in front of the third one, Michelle in the middle, and Justin the first. The invisible force hauling us around against our will suddenly grabbed us by the shoulders and lifted us up off the ground like puppets. In that moment, I noticed that the pews weren’t empty like I had thought. In fact, small trinkets and random little objects were spaced evenly and neatly on the pews. We were moved directly above the caskets and before being lowered in all the way, I saw the objects begin to morph into people.
Now all I could see was the ceiling as the invisible force kept me down and unable to move anything except my head. My hands were arranged across my chest and my body laid out straight. Is this really going to be the end? I heard a howling scream then, which I knew meant Justin had unfortunately just come to.
“Michelle! Katie!” He yelled our names. He probably didn’t even know that all of us were caught.
“We’re here, Justin,” I cried out, my breaths heaving. I heard him let out a loud sob and knew that he felt just as hopeless and helpless as I did.
Agonizing seconds passed by and nothing happened until the sound of footsteps filled the room. Maybe it’s Bill, maybe he’d save us!
“Bill! Bill! Help! Please help! We can’t move! Bill!” As the footsteps got closer, my hope for surviving past this horrible experience increased. “Bill, get me out of here! Please!” Suddenly I could see him leaning over the casket I was occupying. His look was pitying and direct, never leaving my eyes.
“I’m terribly sorry,” he said. I could see the dark cloud gathering from behind him and by the renewed sounds of terror, I guessed that Michelle and Justin did, too. “They’ve just been dying to have another funeral in this home again, and I couldn’t turn them down.”
I heard a loud wind-like rush of sound as the dark cloud cleared out of my line of sight. Bill turned to look at it. Then I heard the most terrible, gut-wrenching, intense scream I’ve ever heard in my entire life. 1,000 times worse than any movies I’d ever seen. It was Justin.
After a few seconds, Justin finally stopped and then there was silence. Then Bill smiled the brightest smile I’d ever seen from him.
“They’re so happy…” He turned back to me. “My parents haven’t been this happy since… well since right after their own funeral. Oh, I can’t wait for you to meet them.” I wailed in terror at the thought and Bill reached into my casket to rest his hand against my cheek. I heard the wind rushing sound again and then Michelle’s horrible choking, gargling cries. I became more agitated in anticipation.
“Oh, shush, shush, shush. No, it’s going to be fine. You’ll see. You like it here, right? I know you do. Now you can stay here! You’ll like that, won’t you? I know you will. And you’ll have your friends and many, many more friends that you can meet! They’ve all come to witness!” He gestured back towards the pews. When he turned back to me, Michelle’s cries had ended and I struggled as hard as I could against the force. I heard the loud, rustling wind sound again before seeing the dark, ominous cloud creep into my vision. Before it descended onto me, promising pain, fear, and death, Bill smiled sweetly down at me and gently pulled out my right earring and placed it in his pocket.
“See you soon.”
If you've made it this far, thank you! ^3^ It's been a while since I've written anything and when I heard about this contest, I felt really inspired. I think this story wrote itself! It's loosely based off my brother. He bought a house while going to college and found out later that it was actually used as a funeral home!
I hope you were sufficiently spooped!
Story entries for the October (2015) Sixpenceee Story Contest can be found here. Simply submit a story to enter. Stories don't necessarily have to be creepy, for example, thought provoking stories or stories with a twist are definitely acceptable.
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