Horror and Thriller Fiction posted October 30, 2016


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A short Halloween story.

The house that feeds...

by Rasmine


The house stood stoic on the mountain side. Its walls lived as we don't know life. It breathed in human souls and ate the remains. It retained its outer appearance by absorbing the birds and insects that dared land on its roof or crawl up its walls. But it was getting hungry. This hunger reached out to unwary victims as they drove past--the 'for sale' sign was as old and tattered as a 19th century dress.
***
Camilla and Derrick Devers were driving down Route 72 on a leisurely Sunday drive. He knew that it was time for them to buy a house but Camilla was reluctant. Every house he wanted she found fault with. He finally decided that they needed a day to just relax and drive out to the country not thinking about a new house.

"Daddy! Daddy!" came a cry from Chryssy in the back. Chrystal was their five-year-old daughter. She was soon to be in kindergarten, and was 'school ready,' as Camilla called it. She was an early childhood teacher who taught her own child the alphabet and numbers.

"Yes, baby?" Camilla turned to her little girl in the back. Chryssy looked excitedly out the window pointing up a long hill.

"A house--it wants us to see it!"

Derrick laughed shaking his head. His daughter knew they were house hunting and loved every house they had gone in. During the showings she ran room to room. In one house in Durham, she said that she was playing with a boy in one of the rooms. When he, Camilla and the shocked realtor got to where the boy was supposed to be, there was no one. It was only one of her pretend friends. Still, it shook Camilla thinking it may be haunted, and they turned down the nice two story Victorian.

"Okay, we will drive to see the house." Camilla frowned at him, and he shrugged back. "Never know."

He drove slowly up the winding hill until a house appeared. It was a beauty! The walls were brownstone and looked hardy enough to withstand the terrible snowstorms they got in upstate Montana. It certainly would hold the heat in and not have it escape out of flimsy walls and gaps around the windows. He hoped for the latter part--it was still far off to tell about the true condition of the windows. He shook his head. There was only so much putty would do to block all the drafts--.

"Honey?" Camilla was frowning, but he shook his head.

"Daddy, daddy. Look a face!"

They all looked up but there was no face.

"The house is lovely." Camilla simply said.

"It is," Derrick said this softly as he continued to look up at the dark brownstones and the grand turret. The turret was octagon or was it heptagon? The rest of the house was square, even the chimney. The windows needed cleaning, but afterward.... The house did look dark, like a haunted house, but it still had a very beckoning quality. It still could use some sprucing up a bit. He couldn't wait to start. He wondered for only a sec what his daughter saw. There had been no face anywhere, not even gargoyles.

"It needs a family," Camilla said enchantingly.

He turned to stare at Camilla. He started to smile; she had a far-off look in her eyes. Whenever she started to look like that he knew that she was willing. His best friend Bernie, back in college, said it was the 'yes' look. He sighed and pulled into the driveway. He passed a 'for sale' sign. It looked old like this house had been on the market for years. He drove up to the front door. He looked up at the brownstone house. Derrick wondered if he also had the 'yes' look, as Camilla did. He opened the door and got out, walking to the back door and opening it for the eager Chryssy.

"There are people here, people inside, but not really there." Her parents didn't seem to notice the way her sentence didn't make sense.

Camilla and he walked to the door and joined hands. He reached his hand back to his daughter's. They were finally home.
***
The Devers started to fix the house up the following week. There were a few unsettling moments as Chryssy threw a couple of tantrums when her father told her she couldn't go off on her own. For one thing, the house was too large. For another, out of sight, mischief can alight. She or her parents may get lost trying to find each other. She may get into trouble or cause trouble, maybe even get hurt, so she was supposed to stay with one of them always. Of course, Derrick and Camilla knew that this rule would not be followed. So, they all tried to get used to the whole house rather quickly.

The turret room was an octagon shaped with a small door. His daughter wanted the second-floor turret for her bedroom. Camilla and he had picked out the attic turret for theirs. After picking out their bedrooms, they commenced cleaning. Even little Chryssy helped. She would hold the cleaning supplies for her parents.

One thing, the color of the brownstone didn't require painting like their apartment had. It had taken three weeks to finish. Camilla was pregnant at the time with Chrystal and he didn't want her breathing in the fumes. She was to stay with her mother during this time.

Camilla and he were trying to have another child when they decided that their small apartment needed to go and a house was finally necessary.

It took a couple of weeks to fix the house for living. Then they moved their belongings out of their old apartment and into their new house. Chryssy, who would start kindergarten in a month, was the most excited. She ran in and out helping to bring in their furniture and carrying small items that her mother handed her from boxes. She didn't want her daughter to feel left out.
***
After they settled in, the house started to further wake. It had excitement to have food so near for the taking. Thing is, it had to wait. To wait for their fear, which tasted the best, to be at its height. When a person died in fear, the walls soaked up the essence. A family of three could fill it enough to last for a decade or so. A family of six, maybe twenty years. More human souls, and the time the house remained full; was longer. It wouldn't take long now for it to feed, and it was starved!
***
Little things started happening--images out of the corners of their eyes, light specks which ghost hunters called orbs would fly in and out of their vision, and sometimes moans and groans could be heard at night.

Derrick thought all this was hallucinations. After all, the house was dark and spooky looking. That probably added to the mass spectres that they all witnessed as 'orbs.' It was probably dust, but Camilla swore that it was ghosts. He shook it off. There were more important things to worry about, such as bank payments for the loan for the house started the following month. He worked as a high school teacher but now thought of getting a second job to help pay for everything. Camilla had found out the second week in August that she was indeed pregnant, which meant another mouth to feed. Perhaps it was time to start that all-American novel.

One night, Derrick and Camilla were awakened by their daughter screaming. They quickly got out of bed and rushed down the stairs to find Chryssy asleep. They looked at each other as they watched the five-year-old sleep.

"What was that, Derrick? What is going on?" Camilla sniffed and wiped a few invisible tears from her eyes. Soon they were real, though.

"I don't know. Maybe we were mass hallu--."

"Don't start with that, please. We both heard screams and were sure it was Chryssy. We both see it's not, there is something in this house."

He walked off, shaking his head, and stomped back upstairs. But charged right back down when there was a loud crash from the downstairs.

"Derrick?!"

"Shhh." He turned to her feeling fear for the first time. "I wish I had my father's gun."

They were both pacifists, but at that moment, Camilla wished he did too.

"Mommy, what's going on?"

They both turned to their daughter. Her dark hair was sticking up and she was rubbing her eyes. Derrick went to her and got on his knees. "Honey go back in, get into the closet, latch the door." He turned to Camilla as she wiped at real tears this time. "You go too, Camilla. You know that latch we laughed about," he turned at the sound of an approaching footfall coming up the stairs, "go now quietly--don't make a sound," he whispered. He watched them go inside the bedroom and soundlessly close the door. He sharply drew in a breath and swallowed, turning around. The moonlight shone in the window in the hallway lighting it a little. He bit his lower lip as the intruder, ghost or human, continued up the stairs. He grabbed a two-by-four that he never threw out, and stood there like he was ready to hit a home run. The footsteps got to the top floor but there was no one.

"Okay, where are you?" He swallowed and felt something go through him. What the hell!?

Derrick listened intently hoping the unseen intruder wouldn't go into the turret. He stood in front of the door holding the wood hoping that this was just a dream. He looked to the sides of him, then above.

The ceiling seemed to lower, he laughed nervously. Just a hallucination. Then it started to move towards him like a quickly lowering elevator. He screamed.
***
"Mommy, Daddy's screaming!" Chryssy pushed her head into her mother's chest.

Camilla held her daughter on her lap. She was scared. She didn't know if ghosts were out there, or an actual human intruder. Maybe this was a ghostly house invasion. She smiled and bit her lower lip trying to hold in her laughter, tears, and screams. She felt she was going insane. Perhaps she was already there, and this was all her imagination. But if so, why did her husband scream? She tensed and pulled her shaking daughter further onto her lap as she heard the door to the turret open.

Footsteps walked around the room and she rocked her daughter back and forth. She wanted to call out to Derrick, but he would have called out for them. This was not Derrick. She put her cheek to her daughter's and felt it was soaked with tears. The being marched around the bedroom and then to this door. Maybe it would go away. She felt herself urinate a small amount and then felt wet under her daughter. Her daughter had wet her pants. The doorknob started to turn.

She pushed her back to the cool stone of the closet wall and held her breath. Her daughter was very quiet. She wondered where Derrick was. Her eyes stung with tears as she shut them tight. The person or ghost or whatever was now yanking the door quickly, and the latch looked like it was going to break any second. She rocked her daughter quickly and thought of her unborn child, as the door was yanked off. No one stood outside of it.

"Mommy!" Chryssy pushed more and more into her mother's body like she was trying to climb back inside of her to hide. Camilla rocked her and stroked her hair. She wondered if the baby was a boy or girl. It would have been nice to have a boy....

There was a pulling behind her, it felt like hands jutting out of the stone wall. It was a spooky, weird hallucination. That is what Derrick called it, hallucinations. She had always known there was something else in this house with them. It was too dark now to see what it was that encircled her and Chryssy's shuddering form. It felt cool like the stone. She felt herself pulled into the stone, so much she let go of her daughter. She hoped with all her might that her small daughter could get away.

"Run...run Chryssy, r--," her words were cut off as the rock of the house enclosed her head and then the rest of her was sucked inside.

Chryssy, at five years old, stood up and watched her mother disappear. She cried and screamed, then took off through the door and down the stairs. Her father was nowhere in sight. Where did Daddy go? She wondered this and then thought, maybe he was the same place as Mommy. She ran out the door, and then down the sidewalk.
EPILOGUE
Chrystal Devers looked up at the brownstone house that had taken her mother and father many years ago. She stood with a construction hat on and hands on hips. It had taken her many years of therapy but she finally decided the only way to deal with what happened was with revenge.

"Okay brownstone bitch, you killed my parents, but now I kill you." Maybe then all the souls would be free, including her mother and father.

She had done extensive research to find out that everyone that moved into this house disappeared without a trace. Then she found a site that was titled "Houses that eat people." It was a theory that these two German couples came up with to explain disappearances of people from certain houses. Chrystal thought it was weird logic, but one that started to make sense to her. The only way to stop the eating was to destroy the dwelling.

She stood out of the way as the first wrecking ball swung free and hit the turret side of the house. She smiled as the old brownstone started to crumble under its forceful swing.





Haunted House contest entry

Recognized


Thanks to Webweaver's Free Clipart for the perfect picture--well not that perfect but it was the closest I could find.
I enjoyed writing this, it was fun. Happy Halloween everyone that celebrates it, or whatever you celebrate at this time. :)
Thank you to all who helped edit what I missed--you all know who you are. :)
Thank you Giraffe and everyone else, for catching those little typos!
Pays one point and 2 member cents.


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