A man moves into a dusty old house and history comes back to haunt him.
It was dirty and dusty everywhere in the old house. Every time he touched the surface of something, a patch of dirt appeared on his finger-tips, making a clean patch at the point of contact.
He walked through the house, avoiding the walls so as not to dirty his new beige sports jacket. The floorboards creaked beneath his feet as he headed along a narrow corridor towards what he presumed was the kitchen.
On one side of him, he looked out of the window onto the fields that were flooded with sun. On the other side of him were solid looking, oak doors that led to a dining room and a parlour.
He reached the end of the corridor and walked through a warped door, that wouldn't close properly, into what was indeed, the kitchen. With his dirty fingers, he brushed a cobweb from his face. The trap of a long gone spider.
He heard a scratching sound over to his left, near to one of the storage cupboards. He moved towards it, past the worksurface in the centre of the room, with pots and pans hanging above it.
He reached a line of cupboards against the wall and realized that the sound wasn't near to one of them; it was in one of them. Something was scratching to get out.
He reached down and pulled the cupboard open, at first he didn't see anything in the griminess, but then jumped back with shock as a huge black rat squeaked and leapt from its prison. It ran across the kitchen and hid under the worktop in the centre leaving little footprints behind it on the dirty, dusty floor.
"Hello!" Gavin called out. "Anybody here?"
There was no reply, just as he had thought. He ran his now dirty hand through his shoulder length brown hair, pushing it away from his eyes. It was irritating him, sticking to his forehead. He wished he had a shorter cut, but Kelly his agent wouldn't let him.
"You won't get any roles," she had told the budding actor. "Your hair is a large part of your charm."
No big deal, he thought, once he had made it big he wouldn't be relying on one certain aspect of his appearance. No, not once his talent had been recognised by those who could actually make him a star. Keeping the long hair would be fine for a while.
Pulling out his cell phone and beginning to dial a number, he noticed his hand was clean; the dirt must have brushed off when he pushed his fingers through his hair.
"Hello," he said into his phone after it had been answered on the other end of the line.
"Gavin Thompson here, I just want to enquire about a property."
He found out that the house was for sale and for a good price too. It was within his price range and the work that would need to be done didn't look as though it would be too costly.
As he left the house, he didn't notice that the clean spots his shoes had left in the dirt were gone and covered with dust once again.
Tommy brought the last box in out of the van. It hat been incredibly hot all day, hottest October day in 59 years they had said on the radio. The sweat was running down his face as he dropped the box onto the porch floor.
"That's it," He called out, "the last one."
"Finally," Gavin called from inside the house where he seemed to have stayed most of the morning.
The cheeky sod, Tommy thought. He'd done most of the work while Gavin and Kelly said they were putting things away, but nothing seemed to have moved and the boxes began to fill the parlour.
He wiped away another bead of sweat from his forehead as a wave of tiredness came over him. He sat on the box to relax, presuming it was the heat that had tired him out. He felt a sharp pain in his arm and the tiredness was joined by dizziness and faintness.
He tried to call out to Gavin for help, but only an almost silent croak came from his mouth. He fell forward from the box and thumped to the wooden floor. He tried to drag his way from the porch into the front door all the while trying to call out for Gavin, but his effort was wasted. He didn't have the strength to pull himself more than a few feet.
Turning over onto his back, he tried with all his effort to call Gavin. He presumed he was having a heart attack, but as his mouth opened a cloud of black dust flew out like smoke from a jet engine forcing his head back and making him slide along the slats on the porch a little.
Tommy was dead by the time the cloud of dust spread thinly and disappeared into the field around the house.
Kelly and Gavin had found Tommy lying dead about an hour after he had collapsed. They had been talking about the show Gavin was to appear in in a theatre in a small town in Yorkshire. There were already flies around him, landing on his body and then jumping up and flying away. They were probably planning their return, anticipating a fantastic meal if they gave the meat time to decay.
The ambulance took him away before the flies had their feast and Kelly went with him after phoning his wife. They were quite a close knit little family in the agency. They had all worked together for a long time; Tommy had been the driver ever since they started.
Gavin stayed at the house to unpack. This was the big day he had chosen to move into the house, he had been quite excited about it all week. The others had volunteered to help him after he promised to provide them with plenty of beer afterwards, but now he would have to unpack alone.
He went outside and picked the box, the last place Tommy sat, from the ground and carried it into the parlour. He peered over the top of the box to find a space to put it down. He didn't recall there being so many boxes in the van, which Kelly took to follow the ambulance.
He found a space behind the oak door and put the box down. As it hit the floor a puff of dust flew into the air from the carpet, almost choking Gavin and making him turn away so he wouldn't breath the stuff in.
Damn cleaners, he thought. They hadn't been cheap and it seems they hadn't done a very thorough job. He would call them as soon as his phone line was connected; he only wanted to use his cell phone for business.
He picked up the nearest box, leaving the one he had just put down, and carried it to the kitchen. It contained jars of coffee and boxes of tea bags. It also had his Tigger cup, the only mug he had used to drink hot chocolate before bed for about ten years, since he was about 20.
Monika had bought it for him. The girl who made him go to auditions because she said he had the right look and that he oozed the confidence of a star. The girl he had married.
"Them eyes baby, them eyes. They're so blue; it's like looking into the pool of life itself." He recalled her saying just before his first audition. "Your smile could charm gold from a miser. Use them all you can."
He had used them all he could and he never got the part. What he did get though was a registration with an acting agency who had sent him out to theatres and got him parts making advertisements ever since.
He took the Tigger mug out of the box and reached to open the cupboard. He remembered the rat in there the first time he had visited and how it had ran underneath the worktop in the centre of the kitchen. He pulled the cupboard open, nothing jumped out. It was clean and empty and he put the Tigger mug in there, along with the other things for his hot drinks.
He kept unpacking until darkness fell late in the evening and he decided to kick back and drink a beer or two in front of the TV.
He got up and drew the curtains, looking out of the window as he did and found that he couldn't make out the field properly in the darkness. He knew there was a shed out there amongst the corn, that was owned by farmers in the area. Only the area directly around the house belonged to him, including the small walled off garden at the back of the old building.
He smiled at his reflection in the window and out of the darkness surrounding it, it smiled back at him.
"Your smile could charm gold from a miser," He thought to himself, pulling the curtains closed. He turned off the TV and headed to bed, up the creaky staircase.
His room was a converted attic which once must have been used to store things, but the previous owners had converted it into a bedroom and done a very good job.
He walked along the room, along the centre of the room which was shaped like an upside-down V. He looked in the box he had left on the floor next to his bed, beneath the window, and found his toothbrush and other bathroom things.
He had brought a photo of himself and Monika with him, to place next to his bed. Although she had left him for somebody else, the picture of them together, her smiling at him from the picture, was heart-warming and made him feel comfortable. He placed it on the bedside table and turned on the lamp he had placed there earlier in the week.
He walked into the ensuite bathroom, something he had always wanted but never had, and turned on the light. He was looking directly into the mirror as he did so.
A charcoaled black face was looking at him over his shoulder. The white eyes were staring at him intently. It made as though to move towards him from behind and he felt something touch his shoulder.
Gavin spun around on the spot to confront the person, but there was nobody there.
He walked up and down the bedroom and checked the closets. Nothing. Nobody was in the room.
He put his toothpaste down on the bed and went downstairs, turning on lights as he went. All he could hear were his own footsteps as the floorboards beneath the carpets creaked.
He opened closets, cupboards and checked behind the curtains. He looked in every hiding place he could think of. He was alone in the house and he was sure nobody was hiding anywhere, but he didn't feel alone.
He walked around again, double checking everywhere he had looked before. Nothing. There was nobody in the house with him.
Unnerved, he went back upstairs, picked up his toothbrush and toothpaste from the bed and went back into the bathroom.
As he brushed his teeth and washed, he couldn't resist looking over his reflection's shoulder every couple of seconds. Nobody appeared behind him, he didn't feel anybody touch him. He was in a big old house alone and it was his first night there, maybe his nerves were getting the better of him.
Heading back into his bedroom, he turned off the bathroom light. He took off his clothes and looked at the picture of Monika and himself outside a MacDonald's restaurant in Liverpool.
"Goodnight Hun," he said out loud and for some reason he didn't add "You dirty slut," out loud; but he said it loud and clear in his mind.
He woke up, his bedside lamp was still on and the first thing he seen upon opening his eyes was the picture of him and Monika both smiling. He smiled sleepily back and leaned over to turn off the lamp.
He heard a noise coming from the staircase that led straight into the bedroom without a door separating upstairs from downstairs.
Gavin sat upright immediately. Visions of the face in the mirror flashed into his mind.
He was about to get up and go to search for the source of the noise, but he found himself shoved back onto the bed by something he couldn't see. He was forced onto his back; his arms were pulled up over his head and legs pulled apart.
He tried to cry out, but he felt an unseen hand cover his mouth stifling his screams. Not that anybody would hear him if it didn't stop him, he was far enough away from the nearest farm houses for them not to hear a thing.
He began to struggle, to try and work himself free. Whatever it was was too strong for him to escape.
Above him, appearing as if from nowhere, was the face he had seen in the mirror. It didn't seem solid and as if to prove that it wasn't, it became a cloud of dust and then came back together again.
The eyes were the only thing that remained constantly in place, unblinking and not moving their stare from his own eyes.
He tried to look away, to turn his eyes to the side, but when he did he felt something hit him on the side of the face. At first he kept trying to move his head out of the way, but whatever held him pulled his legs further apart and tightened their grip on his arms making it hurt. He decided looking straight at the eyes would be his best bet.
The face lowered itself down to his own, its nose almost touching his. Something resembling a tongue came from its mouth and licked at his lips. It was as though they were being rubbed with sandpaper. He felt them scratch as the tongue moved across them.
The tongue forced his lips open and began to rub his teeth. He felt them being scratched too and automatically opened his mouth. He felt the dust flood in and begin to fill him.
Voices began to come from around his bed and the figure above him had gone. He still couldn't move his arms and legs, but he could move his head to look around.
The bed was surrounded by similar dust beings. They were standing all around him, in a semi circle around the foot of the bed. They were saying something, repeating the same thing over and over again. It was almost a whisper and he could only just make out what it was.
"Monika... Monika... Monika"
Gavin could smell smoke now and looked towards the foot of his bed again, out between his feet that were still held well away from each other. He couldn't actually feel anything holding them, could just feel them forced open.
From between his feet, he could see a figure coming slowly up the stairs. Another dust figure.
Its appearance swirled and joined repeatedly. Taking on a shape and then losing it, the eyes looked at him. The large, unblinking, white eyes never removed their stare from his face as the thing slowly walked down the centre of the room, right beneath the point of the roof.
He watched as it came closer and then it stopped at the end of the bed.
He recognised the shape the thing kept taking on.
"No... no it can't be," he whispered, whatever was covering his mouth had gone.
It leaned over and a tongue protruded from its mouth like it had done from the other dust thing. It began to lick the inside of his leg. It was rough to touch and felt warm. Very warm. In fact, he realized it was burning him. Scorching his flesh where it touched.
He let out a scream.
The tongue continued to travel slowly up the inside of his leg, the exact way Monika used to do it. It reached a certain point just below his balls and stopped. He heard it giggle. It was Monika's giggle.
He'd gone to pick her up after a show the night he found out. She'd told him that Mike was gay; he found it hard to believe now, after he saw her kissing him through the glass door at the stage door entrance.
That was no friendly peck on the cheek, that was full blown passion he could see through that door. That was the type of kiss he had thought she only reserved for him.
Tommy had warned about this, had said he should stop things before they went too far.
He walked back to his car near to the front entrance and pulled out his cell phone. He dialled Monika's number and told her he was in the car by the front entrance. She said she would come around in a moment.
He knew she was giving him a goodbye kiss. Who knew how far things had gone, she had been spending so much time with Mike lately, Gavin hadn't minded in the knowledge Mike was gay. Now though, now he knew.
He waited around the front of the theatre building for almost fifteen minutes before she came around, apologising for taking so long. She needed to remove some really tough make-up, she told him.
They drove home.
Gavin had no idea what to say to her to let her know he knew about her affair with Mike. He loved her so much, loved more than he had ever loved anything or anyone in his life. He couldn't lose her. Not now. Not ever.
He headed up to bed making excuses about his day; he'd been filming a deodorant advert. His muscular body and general appearance was exactly what they wanted. He told her it had been tedious, but quite hard work and then headed up to bed.
A few minutes later he heard her coming up the stairs. She came into the bedroom and lay on the bed next to him. She began to kiss him on the neck, her hands moving around his body. She knew all the right places to touch to make him unable to resist.
Tonight though he would resist. The visions of her kissing Mike flashed through his mind and he pushed her off him. She looked at him with shock on her face; he'd never done that before.
She leaned back into him, not kissing him this time, just hugging.
"What's wrong baby?" She asked with genuine concern in her voice.
This made Gavin angrier. He was filling up with an uncontrollable anger, like steam in a pressure cooker.
"Nothing, go to sleep."
She never got off him.
"Come on babe, tell me. What's bothering you?"
Just half an hour earlier she had been kissing another man, kissing him so passionately. Gavin could still see it in his head. He pushed her away from him shouting, "You, you fucking slut."
She fell off the bed and smacked her head on the corner of the bedside table on her side of the bed.
Gavin lay on the bed fuming for a long time. Monika never said a word. He leaned over the bed to see if she was actually still there on the floor she had lay still for so long. She was and a pool of blood had formed around her head.
He had wrapped her up in the bed sheets and put her in the boot of the car. She was dead, that was certain, her eyes were open and staring into the great nothingness he believed came after death.
He drove and drove, looking for somewhere to put her where she wouldn't be found. He drove to the dales, miles away from any city. He found a place remote enough to put her, he took her body from the car and doused it with petrol. He then set it alight.
He stood watching her burn not knowing if he felt satisfaction or dread. A light came on, not far away. He hadn't seen a house.
He ran away from Monika's burning body into the corn, at first away from the house, but then thought better of it. If they found the body now, they would identify it and he would be screwed.
He turned in the corn and headed back towards the house. Back to the light that was a beacon of danger.
Thirty minutes later occupants of the house were also on fire, lying side by side with Monika.
The Monika thing's hot tongue slowly worked its way up the inside of the other leg. He knew what was coming now and he tried to struggle. His legs were too firmly held though and he couldn't wriggle free.
He could feel the scorching left behind by the hot tongue.
It reached the point on his leg again, the middle of his inside calf and stopped. The pain was unbearable and he struggles more and more and tried to let out a scream of fear and pain. The unseen thing was covering his mouth again.
The dust Monika, the Monika made up of her own ashes took his limp organ into her mouth.
The heat made it blister right away. The dust then began to scratch the blistering away as it took him in her mouth, her tongue acting like sand paper as the other had on his lips only this time on his cock.
Tears welled in his eyes. He wanted to black out, to faint, to blot this moment out completely.
It stopped using its tongue and mouth and swirled itself becoming a dust cloud. It reformed in a position that straddled him. It somehow had his limp, damaged cock inside it, moving, grinding away.
The pain suddenly stopped. All of the dust things began to swirl and become one large cloud of dust. It began to settle on him and it was hot. He could feel each point, each speck of ash that landed on him. Burning him, creating small blisters.
They kept landing on him until he was buried below the hot ashes, slowly roasting alive.
He was still conscious as he felt himself beginning to stiffen under the heat. His skin began to blister, then bubble and then charcoal.
When there was nothing left of him to burn. The ashes swirled in the air and began to settle on the new carpets around the house which began first to smoulder and then catch alight. Soon the entire house was on fire, the wooden floorboards beneath the carpet feeding the flames.
The last thing to burn was the photograph beside the bed; Monika's smile slowly warped and then disappeared as it was swallowed by the flames.