Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Dark · #1571444
A young couple move into a cursed new house.
| Finders Keepers |
A small group of workers stood in conversation circles guzzling from soft drink cans in the muggy August morning slapping flies away. Two men wearing bandannas across their foreheads unloaded lumber from a truck and hauled it inside an A-frame tract house under construction. At a quarter past eight, hammering and sawing alternated in the humid air. Sawdust clung to sweaty bodies of tanned shirtless men who laughed at raunchy jokes as young women jogged past.
At eight twenty-five, crackling erupted from the interior of the house and escalated to a roar of thunder. The foreman rushed out and screamed, "Get an ambulance here. The top floor just collapsed."
Two men were severely injured, another one died beneath the fallen rubble. The rest of the crew choked with fear knowing the house would be forever cursed. Some would never return and hastily gathered their tools, but they all believed in one thing.
They worked around a tight budget and planned every detail of their lives, but Sam and Addie Sawyer found a bargain house on the market and moved into their new home in the early spring. Each gave up luxuries and simple pleasures to keep costs down while they slowly furnished and decorated their new home with restrained style. They found antiques and refurbished old Shaker furniture to brand new condition. Colors and patterns of cushions coordinated with the reds and blues of the braided oval rug Addie had labored over many hours into the dawn until her fingers cramped. She found she just didn’t need as much sleep anymore since moving into the neighborhood. Or, maybe it was the nightmares that robbed her of rest
During the late summer, Sam suggested a break. "Why don't we take some time off and go up north to do some fishing and swimming. We could rent a cottage along the lake and stay cool."
Addie snapped back. "We don't have time for fun. You have to finish the attic. I want the space as a sewing room and we have enough money to do that now." Sam had hoped to use the area for the new computer equipment he had secretly ordered. Addie had become so economical since moving here, and not just with money.
Sam seemed to think she had lost her zest for life. Disappointed, he relented to her request. Sam repressed his anger over the rapidly aborted suggestion of vacation and escaped to the basement, muttering, "It's too hot to work."
The following weekend Sam reluctantly worked in the attic. The sub-floor had already been laid and was piled with drywall to be installed over pink insulation. He measured, cut, and hammered three walls before he discovered it. Protruding from a splintered rafter was a claw hammer. He pulled it down with both hands and admired its wooden handle, well oiled from another's grip. He liked the weight and decided to finish the job with a professional hammer. Sam pounded nails, working rapidly in the August heat. Sweat ran into his eyes to burn and mingle with sawdust grit. He was tired, but the hammer kept going in a steady rhythm until there was no need for nails. Sam felt his grip tighten and pounded into the drywall frantic for a target to bash. In a frenzy, he smashed his own hand, over and over, crushing all the bones; leaving it pulverized bloody meat.
Sam thrashed with pain and sank to the floor screaming for Addie. He tried to release the hammer, pushing with his useless pulpy hand. Addie reached the attic door and stood staring at the wall smeared with crimson streams. Her hands covered her mouth, eyes wide in shock. "Pull the hammer out of my hand, Addie." Sam gasped.
She gripped the hammerhead that was slippery with Sam's blood and fell over backward. It was still in Sam's hand pounding on the wooden floor leaving indentations. Addie scrambled to the corner before it hit her naked feet. "Sam, stop it. You're scaring me." Addie cried.
But the hammer kept coming toward her, pulling Sam's body behind it. Addie's screams were deafening as the hammer repeatedly pounded her flesh. Sam smiled with pleasure and then methodically clawed through her flesh and bone. The screaming stopped and so did Sam, collapsing on the blood-soaked lump.
It began as a flickering buzzing sound hitting the rafters. Neither Sam nor Addie would ever hear the swarm of flies that threaded their way into the attic on a hot humid day in August.
Word Count - 756