Monday, July 25, 2016

Short Stories & Such 25: Selling Your House

This story was written back in March 21, 2013 when Writer’s Digest had a writing prompt about selling your house. I never got the chance to post it. I was busy with my novel and I lost track of time. I unearthed it for you. I hope you enjoy it.

Selling Your House

Kaden thrust the market sign into the lawn on the front yard of the house. He grappled with it until it stood on its own. He stepped back, wiped his forehead, and took in the scenery before him. The gray roof tiles and the round windows on the second floor made the house different from the rest on the block. The sun hit the right side of the house causing the shade on the left to cover the neatly placed garden that led into the side door to the kitchen. He had been waiting for this moment for over six months. After his daughter left for college out of state, he finally agreed to sell the place since all the upgrades were complete. He worked night and day to make sure it was ready.

Kaden strolled on the red bricked walkway to the house, wiped his feet on the outside mat, and stepped inside. Before he closed the door completely, he heard a knock. It was too early for anyone to come asking about the house, but he shrugged the uneasiness and opened the door.

“First day on the market, eh?”

Kaden lowered his head to see an extremely old woman stand before him. Her wrinkles were so deep he had a hard time following where they started and ended. Strange he thought. He hadn’t noticed anyone down the street this morning or while he adjusted the sign. She couldn’t have walked that fast. There was a slight incline to get here.

“May I help you?”

The old woman picked up her cane and pointed to the sign, “You selling this house?”

“Yes, yes I am. Are you buying?”

The old woman grinned. One of the few teeth she had protruded out.

Kaden hoped she wouldn’t laugh at his novice expertise in selling his own property. He’d like to avoid any surprises to the inside of her mouth or rotting gums.

“No,” she finally said.

“Oookay,” Kaden held the doorknob ready to close the door and bid farewell.

“I used to live here as a child.”

Kaden loosened his grip. “Ah, I see. Come to see the changes?”

“Come to tell you something about this place.”

“You mean like a history of the property? Well, I already did my research years ago.”

The old woman’s wrinkled lips creased before smiling up at Kaden.

Kaden wasn’t sure what to do. He’s heard of old people getting crazy the nearer they were to death. Maybe she’s one of those old people and his one of the recipients of their behavior, but there was no need to be rude in trying to get her to leave.

“Would you like to sit down to tell me?”

“I would never enter this house.”

“Um, I’m going to be really busy soon so -”

“Years ago, this house was occupied by two boys. When they grew up into adolescence, they did some things in here that no boy should ever be able to do.

Suddenly, Kaden felt a tingle radiate up his arm to his jaw. He rubbed the back of his neck for the mood had suddenly changed from strange to morbid. Whatever the terrible thing that took place here was better left behind. Maybe that’s why he never heard of such a story.

“Look,” Kaden started to close the door, “I’ve lived here for more than a decade -”

The old woman used her cane to stop the door. “Those boys buried their mother in the basement. They twisted her corpse into a knot and hid her down there.”

“I don’t think you have the right house. I can assure you there is no skeleton. There was a check on every board and tile in this house.”

“You will never sell this house.” The old woman stepped back to go, but turned to say, “She likes you too much.”

Taken aback, Kaden shook his head and looked down at his shoes and when his eyelids rose, the old woman was gone. He closed the door and continued to shake his head. He put his elbow over the other arm. He brought his thumb near his mouth thinking over what the old woman revealed, but it was so out there. He didn’t want to consider it. Instead, he proceeded to get the furniture plumped up. Even though he tried to keep busy, he couldn’t get the old woman’s last words out of his head. He paced in front of the door to the basement and after several minutes, he opened it. The loud creak caused his fingers to tremble. He reached in for the light. The bulb flickered before it lit the room. He went down the stairs scrutinizing the corners of the floorboards, but all he saw was emptiness.

Kaden kneeled at the bottom of the steps and chuckled. “Huh, just putting the spooks in me.” He proceeded to climb the stairs when he heard a sudden crack. He turned and detected the floor had warped. “What the -”

A silvery image ascended out from the floor. Kaden realized it was a woman. Her face was similar to the old woman outside, except, the wrinkles were gone. There was a sadness in her dark eyes and an anger in her movement. Before he had a chance to run up, it snatched him with elongated arms and dragged him under with her.

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