Friday, April 8, 2011

Decipio Lemures

The prompt  over at Write Anything  this week gives us the theme of looks being deceiving

As always, this is in first draft format.

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Madison slapped the wall and grinned at his mates. “Well, what do ya think? Did I land on my feet or what? Not a bad place for a first home?”
Terry drained his can. “I can’t see anything wrong with it, mate. Its structurally sound, in a good neighbourhood, no rot. Could do with a bit of spruce up, but thats it.”
“So whats the catch with the place, Madison?  How’d ya get it so cheap?” Patrick  gazed at the lounge room with open fireplace with undisguised envy. 
Tracing his fingers along the roughen walls, Madison smiled conspiritually.” She’s solid, built at the turn of the century, meant to withstand the winters”
“and home invasion.” grinned Patrick.
“Solid stone walls, built the right way; by real craftsmen.”
Terry gave Madison a friendly shove. “Now you’re starting to sound like one of those real estate dudes.”
“So its not on any developers path, near a railway or flight path, what gives? Ya can’t leave us hanging Madison.”
Tossing Terry another can of beer, Madison looked sideways and motioned the men towards him. “The real estate agent was real cagy. Nervous as he showed me round.  I finally got it out of him that it was…. haunted!” He  hooted with laughter.  “As if. ”
“So it was discounted because its haunted?”
“Yep.” Madisons chugged another beer. “The past four owners haven't stayed longer than a year each.”
“So?  What actually happened? Its not like one of those horror movies where everyone gets murdered with chainsaws or something.” Patrick looked about the brightly lit room, expecting any minute to hear the hungry roar of a small two stroke engine firing up. 
Crushing the beer can on his head and laughing again, Madison continued. “No-one really said much - noises mostly. No-one could sleep at night. Some went mad or paranoid about little noises. Load of rubbish if you ask me.  Over active imaginations or too many drugs more likely.  But its all good for me - I got myself a bargain and a good investment.”
The gathered men looked about and shivered; their own imaginations now running wild as silence stretched out between them. 
“Well, congratulations on your new home. Umm.  Great kitchen for something this old.” 
“Built to entertain thats for sure.” Terry hastily added, not keen to have the silence engulf them again.
Madison shrugged. “Pity there isn’t more storage space, I mean its got a walk in panty but theres no other storage. I guess thats what the old designs were like.  Anyway - cheers for helping me move. Better get back to unloading the truck.”
The men hastily drank the rest of their beers and continued unpacking.
Later that night as Madison snuggled under the quilts of his hastily made bed, a low creaking sound reverberated  underneath him. His heart hammered as his ears strained to hear any further noises. The crickets held their song  as the air buzzed with nothingness.   A huge crash, sounding as though ten windows had simultaneously been broken echoed around the house.
Madison shot out of bed, thrusting his feet into slippers and dashing down stairs.  He fully expected to see a wild animal or vehicle crashed into his lounge room.  Turned the lights on to see the lounge room in disarray packing boxes, exactly as he had left it a few hours earlier.  He frowned and searched every room, checking every window; only to find them all intact.
Over the next few weeks there were no more noises, until Madison convinced himself that he had imagined the noise. 
In the following few months, an echo of a single glass shattering  would wake him in the early hours of the night. At first, he sprang out of bed to explore his home, sweating and shaking as he discovered nothing astray. Eventually, Madison would put a pillow over his head and mutter his mantra confirming his disbelief in the spiritual world. 
Late one autumn evening, Madison and his new girlfriend lay sprawled across his kingsized bed. The crisp evening air was shattered by an enormous crash of tinkling glass. 
Verity sat up, her eyes wide with fright and looked at Madison for reassurance. 
“You heard that didn’t you?” He whispered.
“Of course I heard it.  Why are you whispering?” What the hell is going on downstairs?” She clasped the sheet around her.
Madison stumbled out of bed, shrugged on a t-shirt and slipped his feet into some crocks. “You stay here.”
“Are you kidding? I’m a nurse. Someone has run through your window and they're probably cut to pieced and dying downstairs.”
 She wrapped the sheet around her body and shoved her feet into sneakers.
They furtively went downstairs but were dumbfounded when they flicked the lights on to discover everything appeared normal and intact.  A further smash sliced the air.
Verity frowned. “The noise is coming from underneath us.  I didn’t know you had a cellar.”
Madison shrugged. “I don’t.”
The sounds of more tinkling glass filtered up from under their feet.
Verity flung the doors of the pantry opened and pushed the half filled crates of beer onto the kitchen floor.  She banged on the flooring of the pantry, smiling as the hollow echo of a large space underneath answered. Together, they picked at the shoddily laid lino flooring and tore it away from the wooden planks underneath.
“You got a torch?” Veritys heart hammered as she pulled  the hatch door upward. The hidden cellars inky darkness yawned below them. Another glass shattered from its maw. 
“Why don’t we look at this in the morning?” Madisons hand shook as he handed her his mag light. 
“I thought you didn’t believe in ghosts. Come on, lets see what you have down here.”
“Ghosts no, creepy things that live under my house for years.. maybe” Madison groaned as Verity disappeared down the narrow staircase. A yellow light suddenly flicked on, dispelling the darkness.
“Hey, you better come down here and see this.”
Madison clambered down the stairs and stood staring at the carnage around Verity. Years worth of preserving jars had been lovingly stored on wooden shelves around the small cellar. Decades of disuse and dry rot had set the natural decaying process in motion.  Beneath their feet lay smashed bottles and their contents as shelves had gradually given way to the weight and rot.
“Well that solves your ghost problem.” Verity grinned at him.





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This is a first draft.

Story inspired by the [Fiction Friday] prompt at Write Anything  and submitted to JM Strother’s #FridayFlash via Twitter. 

This story will be recorded and posted up for Spoken Sunday via Audio Boo at a later stage.

9 comments:

Adam B said...

Nice work, Annie. Wondered for a while where it was going, but a clever ending.
Adam B @revhappiness

sinisterechoes.com said...

I loved this! It got me from the start and I could not stop reading until I got to the end.
Great use of the prompt, you really fooled me, here I was expecting some hideous undead ghost, but this was so much better than that.
Alannah

Mauvekat said...

Amusing story, I like that it wasn't ghosts but something mundane that everyone assumes isn't.
Wendy

bellsbookspace said...

Hehe, love a good ghost story. Thanks for commenting over at mine too, until next week :)

AidanF said...

I like the way “looks being deceiving” applied twice in the story, giving it a nice depth.

PS: although I could imagine them enjoying a "walk in panty" if they've had enough beers, it probably won't interest them for long.

Paul said...

Very amusing. I'll never be the same again when I hear glass breaking.

laradunning said...

Very gripping. I bet it smelled horrible down there. Years of rotting canned food busting open. One typo in "Madison smiled conspiritually.” She’s solid," the " is in the wrong place. This guy will be extra pleased with himself now, he did get a good deal.

Anonymous said...

:) excellent story needs a different finish

Anonymous said...

:) excellent story needs a different finish