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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2177201-The-Hudsons-New-Home
by brom21
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2177201
A family of three wins a home with a horrible secret.
word count: 3,181 prompt: the house is alive

Jared Hudson squirmed in the seat to the left of his parents in the large U-Haul truck.

“Aren’t you excited?” said Jennifer, his mom.

“We’re moving all the way to Las Vegas and away from everything I liked and who I grew up with. I wish we had stayed in Austin,” said Jared.

“But the new house is a mansion compared to our old home,” replied Jennifer. “It’s worth over half a million dollars!”

“Your mother’s right son. It was a one in a thousand chance that we won it from the sweepstakes,” John said to his son.

“It’s too good to be true. I can’t find anything for the sweepstakes –no URL, website or nothing. It sounds shady to me.”

John smiled and patted Jared on the shoulder. “We got lucky is all.”

“It’s in the middle of nowhere. It is at least five miles from any sign of civilization!-that means a grocery store!”

“I think it’s worth it. You saw the pictures of the outside and the interior. It’s like the Ritz!” exclaimed John.

Jared slouched down on the bench seat and frowned silently. He spent the rest of time listening to his parents speak excitedly.

When they arrived at the location where the house stood, Jennifer and John smiled with gaping mouths.

“Look at it!” said John.

As soon as all they entered with some luggage bags in hand, Jared’s parents widened their eyes at the Victorian setting.

But as Jared’s dad admired the grandeur of the house, the teenager sensed a disturbing feeling in his stomach. There was a cold aridness that made him cringe slightly. “Mom, something is wrong with this place.”

“We’ve been over this son.”

“No I mean…” Jared shook his head and looked down. “Never mind.”

The house had a small chandelier that hung above a tiled entryway. There were two floors. A curved staircase with polished oak banisters led to the upper floor. Jared started to ascend the steps. The tension in his stomach tightened and he gripped the wooden railing. Beside this strange “vibe” he was getting, why couldn’t his parents feel it too?

Their shoes echoed as they walked on the tiled ground floor. Jennifer went to the kitchen and Jared saw her face light up with a broad smile. “This kitchen is gorgeous! Just look at that row of polished oak cabinets. And those handles look like they’re…silver!”

John came beside his wife and squeezed her body with his right hand. “Does that mean you’ll be doing more cooking?”

“You wish hon.”

John looked at his IPhone. “It’s fast six. I’m hungry. Is everyone up for a pizza delivery?”

“How close do you think the nearest Pizzeria is hon? They may not go this far,” said Jennifer.

“Let’s find out.” John spoke into his IPhone. “Where is the nearest pizza store?” He paused. [i] There’s Pizza Hut six miles from here. {/i} Hmm,” John mused at the electronic voice. “I’ll just order and pick it up. I’ll get some groceries too.” All three family members looked in the corner of the kitchen where there was a fridge no older than a few years.

“Despite the old decor, the appliances are up to date. Someone lived here not long ago,” Jenifer put forth.

Jared went to the fridge and opened it. “There’s still food in here.” He pulled out a milk jug among things like butter, orange juice, bread, coffee cream and other items. “This milk is still usable. It looks like whoever was here before us was in quite a hurry to leave.”

“That is weird,” uttered John. He blinked his eyes and took a deep breath then patted his chest. “Well, I’m off.”

As He was about to leave the kitchen, Jennifer stopped him. ”Forget it. You’re horrible with shopping. I’ll go and get the pizza too.”

“As you wish,” John said with a bow. “You’ll need me to unhitch the Civic from the back of the truck.”

“Go ahead then.”

Jared’s mom followed his mother outside. Just as they stepped out, that eerie, cold chill filled the room. He looked at a whitewashed statue of an old man in a cloak. It was cracked and chipped. Then Jared jolted with a jump and stumbled backwards. The statue’s left eye winked at him! He sprinted outside to tell his parents but he stopped short; who would believe such a – pathetically deranged occurrence.

Jared stood with a rapid trembling heartbeat and heavy breathing. He tried to utter something but he tripped over his words.

His parents looked at him. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” said John.

“I…umm…I’m just hungry.”

“I’d better get a move on then.”

John had unhitched the car. Jennifer got out her keys and was on her way.

“Come on Jared, let’s got out the TV – oh and some sleeping stuff. If we don’t any sofa furniture, we’ll have to rough it on the floor for tonight. ”


They both pulled out some blankets and pillows out of the U-Haul and carried them into the house.

“Hmm…I’m guessing there is a den or something in one of these doors,” said John.

“What about there,” said Jared as he pointed to a door under the staircase.”

“Good eye Jared.” He walked to the door and it was just as his son expected; a large room furnished with three long silk couches. Big antique paintings decorated the walls. Beside each couch were bronze lamps. And beneath their feet was a long soft carpet with a very peculiar picture of a dragon.

“Get a load of that dragon huh Jared?”

“I think it’s grotesque.” For some reason it made his head swimmy and a little nauseous.

“What? It’s cool.”

“This isn’t exactly a Chinese castle dad. Don’t you find it strange?” asked Jared.

“So the former owners had taste for unique art. Big deal. Stop sulking.”

“I don’t feel comfortable sleeping here.”

John shook his head and raised his tone. “All you’ve done since arriving here is complain! Drop the attitude!”


“Grow up some! No buts.”

Jared looked down silently.

“Now which couch do you want to sleep on?”

“The middle one.” Jared put a blanket and pillow on his couch and John did the thing with the other two.

“I think I’ll just rest until you mother gets back.” With that John laid on one of the couches and closed his eyes.

Jared was left alone with his thoughts and the subtle feeling there was something not right about the house. He rubbed his eyes. He was startled as he saw the carpet display the dragon with both his parents in the mouth of the beast’s jaws. The picture of Jennifer and John’s faces looked like they were screaming in pain. The horrid two dimensional portrayal on the carpet stayed even after Jared closed his eyes and opened them again. He awoke as his dad who bolted out of sleep with a jolt. “Wha-!!-what is it!”

“Dad, look at the carpet!” Jared scanned the carpet.

“I can’t see anything.” The carpet had returned to normal.

“It was here a minute ago. I know I saw it!”

“Jared are you purposely trying to get under my skin?”

Jared couldn’t make sense of what was happening. He wondered if he was losing his mind.

Just then Jennifer walked in the door with a pizza box topped with two grocery bags.

“Dinner’s home.” She entered the den and put the pizza on the ground and they began to eat.

Just as Jared did when he was upset, he brooded silently. He ate the pizza but didn’t taste a thing.

When it was about 8:30 fatigue took over from the long trip to their new house. All three laid on their couches and went to sleep. Two hours later, Jared was still awake. He got up and went in search of a bathroom. Fortunately, it was next to the den. He flicked on the lights. After going to the bathroom, Jared passed by a large mirror and gasped then stumbled back. In the reflection, was a rotting skeleton. Jared’s heart was thudding and his mind was racing. Most likely the reflection would go away if he tried to show it to his parents.

He felt sick and dashed out and leaned against the wall breathing heavily in a sweat. [i} Okay, calm down Jared.[/i} he told himself.

Suddenly, his mom screamed and Jared bolted back into the den.

John awoke with a start. “Honey, what it is!”

“Spiders, giant spiders were everywhere!”

“It was just a nightmare. It’s over,” asserted John.

“It was so real. I can’t go back to sleep.”

John sat with Jennifer. “I’ll stay up with you until you drift off.”

“I’d like that,” Jennifer said as she leaned against her husband.

The time came when they all eventually fell asleep.

Morning came as sunlight shone through the window above the entrance. John stood and stretched. “I feel like some fresh air.” He went out the door and took in the deep effervescent breath.

Two teenagers on bikes stopped by the house. One of them, a pudgy brown haired boy, shook his head at John. “You know that house is possessed don’t you?”

John scrunched his eyebrows. “Excuse me?”

“Your new house is alive,” said the other boy.

John chuckled. “And why is that?”

“The last family who lived here said so,” said the chubby boy. “The husband said he was almost choked to death by a chandelier that came alive.”

John folded his arms shook his head. “Sorry boys, I don’t scare so easily. Have a good day.” He went inside and chuckled again. “Get this – two kids on bikes said this place is possessed.”

Jared’s stomach turned at his dad’s words. The notion certainly would explain a lot.

Jennifer went to the kitchen to make some breakfast. She had put the groceries from the night before in the fridge and some cabinets. She was looking for the Biscuick she put in one of them. “Hmm…where did I put it?”

Just as she looked to her left, something came flying out of the cabinet and struck Jennifer’s temple. Her body toppled backwards and hit the floor. “Ack!” she cried.

Jared and John burst into the kitchen.

“Mom, what happened!” exclaimed Jared.

“I don’t know. I was looking in the cabinet, I turned and something hit the side of my head.”

Jared picked up a can of corn. “What’s this doing here?” He examined the object closer. “There’s some blood on the tip of it.”

“Jennifer, you’re bleeding.”

Jennifer touched her head and a small smear of blood on her finger.

“Perhaps the corns fell from the shelf and hit your head.”

“No dad, it would need momentum to draw blood.”

“This is a mystery,” John said quizzically. “I don’t think wondering about it will do any good. I’ll help you make breakfast Jenny.”

Soon a batch of buttery pancakes was cooked up.

“You know-“John began with food in his mouth, “- this would be a great place to host a Christmas party.”

“Perhaps, but it would be quite a chore putting up decorations,” said Jennifer.

John tried his best to tune out his parents. Twenty minutes past and Jennifer stood. “I’m going to freshen up. Put your plates in the sink. Do either of you know where the bathroom is?”

“It’s next to the den.” Just thinking of the bathroom put butterflies in Jared’s stomach. He feared for his mom.

Jennifer made her way to the bathroom and shut the door then turned on the light. She began combing her hair when she realized it was getting hotter by the minute. She turned the handle to open the door to let some air in. It was stuck. Jennifer tried again with more force but it would not budge. By now she was sweating profusely.

She banged on the door. “John, Jared!” It was getting harder to breathe. The heat was making her dizzy.

Suddenly the lights went off. Then there was a deep echoing voice-“You’re going to die here Jennifer Hudson…then Jared and John.”

Just as she was about to faint, John barged in. “It’s boiling in here! Honey, are you alright?”

“The door-wouldn’t-open. It was getting so hot. Then heard a horrid voice saying it was going to kill us all.”

“It must have been an audio hallucination from the heat no doubt. There must have been a malfunction in the heating system. But I had no Idea it could get so hot. Let’s get you outside so you can cool off and breathe.”

Jennifer was taken outside and laid on a bench next to the entrance door.

“Just relax,” said John.

Jennifer lay on the bench for a good twenty minutes. When she was revived she sat up. “What in the world happened?”

Jared’s voice trembled as he spoke in a high tone. “Isn’t it obvious! There is something wrong in the house! Maybe this house is possessed or haunted!”

“Calm down son. There is a logical explanation for all that has happened,” said John asserted.

“I don’t know. I didn’t touch the switch and it was turned off when you came in,” Jennifer replied.

“If the house is haunted or something, why hasn’t anything happened to me?”

“Not yet that is,” uttered Jared.

“Well until then, let’s try to forget all this,” said John. “There is supposed to be a garden here. Who wants to come see it with me?”

“That sounds like a good idea,” said Jennifer. “You’re coming too Jared.”

The dejected teenager nodded silently.

The garden was easy to find. In the main living room were French doors leading to the garden.

“This place is breath taking!” said John. “Look at those daffodils!”

“This is quite an immense place. I think I’ll explore on my own,” said Jared’s mom.

“Maybe we all should. Let’s meet back here in an hour.”

Jared’s parents went off by themselves but he hesitated. He feared something else occurring and decided to stay put, but what off Jennifer and John? To Jared’s left was a white bench. He sat down and eventually dosed off. Some time later, he awoke. He glanced at a watch on his wrist. His parents were over an hour-and-a half late returning. Immediately a fearful twinge turned in his stomach.

He yelled as loud as he could. “Mom! dad!” A minute went by with no answer. Concerned more with them now, he barged into the foliage and cried out with all his strength for his parents. Then he stopped at a dreadful sight; before him was a decayed body wrapped in vines that looked to be years old.

Jared pressed on until he came to a pond with a body drifting silently on the surface. It was his father!

“Dad!” Jared cried. He went to the side of the pond and dragged his body onto the ground. Jared felt for a pulse; it was there but just barely. He attempted to do CPR like he had seen others do. Jared pumped his dad’s chest in a steady rhythm. Suddenly his eyes snapped open and he spat out water. He sat up.

“Jared! Thank goodness!” he said between coughs.

“Dad what happened?”

“I was standing over the pond and then vines burst out of the water, grabbed me and pulled me under.” He coughed again. “I’m sorry, I should have believed you.”

“It’s okay. We have to find mom!”

John stood. “How will we find her? The garden is huge.”

Suddenly a sharp women’s cry rang out. “Aaaah!”

The two ran in the direction of the cry. They went through a large thicket and saw Jennifer being dangled in the air by a tentacle of an enormous, white octopus floating on a puddle of grey muck. It was cracked and covered with vines as though it was a living statue.

“John, help me!” the terrified woman cried.

Jared picked up a large stone and aimed it at its large saucer eye. He hurled it forward at his target that penetrated the eye and the beast creamed in pain. Green blood seeped out. It released Jennifer and she was tossed onto the solid ground.

John and Jared lifted her up and they fled from the monster, still writhing in pain and splashing about.

Soon they were far from where they were. They stopped to rest.

“I think I know the way out,” said Jared. “Come on!”

Jared’s parents ran after him. Suddenly the ground began to shake all at once. Crevices were ripping open the earth beneath them. The three began to stumble and teeter.

Jared felt his legs ache with fatigue. “We’re almost there!”

Several excruciating minutes later, they burst into the house.

“The ground isn’t shaking. I think we’re in the clear,” said John gasping. “Let’s get out of before something else happens.”

They ran for the front door. But they were to face one more obstacle. The statue that had winked at Jared began to move. The cloaked figure brandished a sword. “You will not escape! You will all die!” it said.

The living statue rushed at them. It raised its weapon and came done upon them.

“Jump to the side!” Jared yelled.

The three dodged the blade that struck the ground with a loud clank.

Jared spied something in the corner of the room. An antique lance was hanging against the wall. As the foe turned about to face them, Jared sprinted towards the weapon and grabbed it. The statue went after Jared’s parents with its back facing Jared. He dashed forward with the tip of the lance at the statue’s rear. It was plunged into its torso and the statue reeled to the side.

“Run for it!” John yelled.

Within seconds, they were through the door and outside.

The statue stopped pursuing and stopped at the doorway and backed away and the doors shut on their own. It was over.

“Is everyone alright?” asked John.

“It looks like it,” asserted Jennifer.

“I can’t believe what happened. Those kids were right. We were nearly killed.”

“I’d sue the sweepstakes but we’d sound crazy,” said Jennifer with a sigh.

“That and the fact it was all a ploy. Like I said, the sweepstakes were practically a setup from the start. I’ve tried searching for it via internet on many channels with not finding a thing on the contest.”

“I’m sorry for putting us through this,” John apologized.

“Don’t sweat it hon. We didn’t know it was…possessed. Accept for Jared that is,” Jennifer said patting her son on the back.

“Well, it looks like it’s back to Vegas,” Jared said with a smile.

“Yep, this will be quite a family memory,” said Jennifer with a chuckle.

John shook his head. “Let’s get out of here. I vouch for leaving our things in that nightmare house and skipping town ASAP.”

“You said it. What if someone else is coaxed into owning it?” asked Jared.

Jennifer shook her head and widened her eyes. “May heaven help their souls.”

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