How does a house become haunted? Must someone die there? Do ghosts or goblins seize it against its will? Or does the house decide? Learning to focus its energy. Relentlessly practicing until able to slam shut doors and windows, control faucets and thermostats…ignite blazes in its fireplaces…or anywhere it chooses. Unearth the answers in the short story 666 Pine Edge Place. If you dare.
Release date is October 28, 2017 from Drunken Pen Publishing
I didn’t always look like hell. Once, I stood three stories tall crowned with a cupola and a wind vane perpetually pointing north. Wrought iron curly cues, like the letter L written in ornate script, pinned my black shutters tightly to the gray clapboard. My paint gleamed, my wainscoting appeared dent-and-scratch-free, my twenty-foot ceilings embossed with glorious white federal molding. Rather than the current inhabitants of creepy crawly creatures, pesky feral animals, and ghoulish spirits, happy families lived here…for nearly two hundred years. I protected them from the elements with my sturdy roof and walls, and from the frigid temperatures with my toasty-warm fires.
I watched with a sense of immense satisfaction as fathers tickled their children to near hysteria before finally tucking them into bed at night, then reading a favorite bedtime story, and mothers prepared sumptuous family dinners, sometimes with the aid of a kitchen staff. Holidays were magnificent with grand Christmas trees and mountains of festively wrapped presents; the sweet smells of holiday treats permeating the air as they baked in my professional-grade oven. Music and song filled my hallways. Dancing feet pranced on my marble floors and people made love in my bedrooms, sweet, thrilling love. I tried not to watch, but sometimes I just couldn’t help myself.
I felt like a worthy house, solid, set on a good foundation, hugged by magnificent magnolia trees and protected by sturdy oaks. Until the Sinclairs moved in…then everything went to shit. Perhaps if I’d been more patient, or just ignored them I might have survived.
The moment they stepped across the threshold of my magnificent mahogany door with the stained glass window spelling out WELCOME, a chill spread through me. No matter how high I turned up the thermostat I still couldn’t banish the dreadful iciness that penetrated my rafters. I shuddered, and the sound unnerved me…a sound I’d never made before.
The year was 1979. Dr. Sinclair, an eminent physician from New York, had just taken over old Doc Jensen’s practice who’d recently succumbed to liver cancer attributed to years of excessive alcohol consumption. Honestly, the stories I’d overheard from the previous owners made me think the new doc was sorely needed.
Upon her arrival, Mrs. Sinclair’s tall thin frame—her posture indicative of the stick up her ass—paraded around the first floor like a solider marching to war, her sharp spikey heels digging into my polished hardwood. I winced, and the wallpaper in my foyer wrinkled. My vents hissed, all the air seemed to get sucked out of me and I threw a few windows open so I could breathe. Nobody noticed.
Two children ran up the stairs, yelling and jumping around, as children are prone to do. But they didn’t seem joyful, their screams more like shrieks, unsettling, evil. I didn’t think there was such a thing as an innately evil child, but the second I saw them I knew this would turn out bad. Really bad. A few tears formed, the tiny droplets leaking from my faucets onto the ceramic basins with a bit of a plopping noise.
I tried to shove my anxiety and apprehension into my attic, giving myself a pep talk. You’re overreacting. You’ve been spoiled with wonderful loving families and these people are, well, just a little different. A little off… but everything will be okay after they settle in. It always takes me a while to get used to new residents. Perhaps I’m still too old-fashioned. People are more sophisticated these days. They smoke pot and believe in free love. I need to relax, chill out. Give them a chance.
Well, that attitude only lasted a goddamned week. I valiantly tried to ignore the giant gashes in my woodwork made by flying objects that should never become airborne. I really did. Mrs. Sinclair had a violent temper and both her children and her husband sported enough cuts and bruises to have her taken into custody. I couldn’t comprehend why they put up with her abuse. I mean… her husband is a doctor for Christ’s sake! He should know better! But Dr. Sinclair rarely made it home, spending long nights at his practice or the hospital and turned a blind eye to the dysfunctions of his family.
I witnessed the evilness of the children as they tortured small animals and also each other. A gleeful sneer would overtake their faces as they smeared their hands in the greasy red blood of their victims—painting their faces like war paint—and popped eyeballs with their feet. At times I couldn’t decide who was more malicious, the kids or the mother. Often I felt the urge to scream and I did so. My wailing sounded like the wind mostly, and frequently resulted in comments like “This old house sucks!” or “I hate this creepy house!” I should have been angry at the insults, but instead I was…well…hurt.
The basement became my own personal hell. Dr. and Mrs. Sinclair never went down there, but the children made it into kind of a Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory. The smells alone nearly suffocated me. The rotting bodies of furry creatures littered the cement floor when they should have been out running through the dewy green grass in my yard. I have a magnificent yard hugging me, one where lovely flowers grow and people could sit and sip a cocktail on a hot summer evening.
About a month after the move-in date I decided I couldn’t put up with one more second of this depravity. This repugnant family had to go.
Caryn McGill is published in paranormal: THE WIVES OF LUCIFER and also erotic suspense: UNSUB, under the name Kendra Greenwood.
Born on New York’s Long Island, Caryn McGill resided on its bucolic East End until a recent move to Richmond, Virginia.