IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T BEEN FOLLOWING, HERE'S THE CHAPTERS:
Chapter I: viewtopic.php?f=279&t=16296
Chapter II: viewtopic.php?f=298&t=16409
Chapter I: viewtopic.php?f=279&t=16296
Chapter II: viewtopic.php?f=298&t=16409
It Lurks Beneath the Floorboards
It was deathly silent in the car. A woman, age approximately fifty, was driving the car. She was actually forty, but showed serious mileage in terms of physical appearance, and one can probably guess her mental state was equally worn out. Her blond hair was long; dangling down to her breast line, and obviously showing neglect. She was average sized, but short for her age, measuring in at about 5’2”. Her face was a statue; emotionless, with lips a single line not positioned in a frown, nor a smile. A man was seated in the passenger’s seat, his face identical to the woman beside him. He was about seven inches taller than the woman, with dark brown hair, blue eyes, and a light beard. In the backseat of the black BMW was a teenager, who looked like a thirteen year-old alcoholic. He had blond hair that reached down to his eyebrows, dark rings under his eyes, and a light tan. He had his nose buried in a book, and paused occasionally so he could shake off the motion sickness.
"Whatcha reading back there?” The father asked.
“The Keep,” the boy said, his voice emotionless.
The man nodded his head. “I’ve read that book before. Great stuff. You like it?”
The man sighed and turned on the radio. The energetic rhythms of AC/DC filled the car, and a smile slowly started to form on the boy’s lips.
The silence resumed.
Even though there were no arguments or anything of the like, even a fool could tell something had gone wrong with this family. By all means, they should have been the happiest family in the country. Jesse was getting phenomenal grades and had been put into the Honors Algebra I class at his old school, and had even achieved a high level of popularity. Kurt, the father, had a high-paying job with a major company, and Ann, the mother, had a loving family and lots of money to shop. However, there was indeed something awry with the way they interacted.
“Are we almost there?” Jesse asked.
“We’ll be there in about…thirteen minutes?” Ann replied.
Jesse sighed and continued reading.
Ten minutes later, their car pulled into the parking lot of the real estate office. It was big building on a busy street, right across from Sonic. It was a two-story affair, which was large, considering this was just your average town. The trio hopped out of the car and headed inside.
The interior housed a marble floor polished to perfection, dual staircases with a desk stuck in the middle, and a very bored looking receptionist sitting behind it.
“May I help you?” She asked.“Yes, we’re the Band family. We have an appointment with Mr. Hooper.” Kurt answered.
“Oh, yes. He’s expecting you. Go up the stairs, turn right, and he’s the fourth door on the left.”
They marched up the stairs, Jesse with his index finger firmly placed in his book, holding his page in case he had to sit for a while and get bored to death. They followed the receptionist’s instructions and found a door with a strip of bronze with the words, “J.W. Hooper.” Kurt balled up his fist and gave the door a steady knock.
“Come in!” A pleasant voice replied.
They entered the office and were greeted by a thin man with greasy, slicked back hair. He had a confident smile, which
Jesse thought was more like a sneer. Jesse didn’t trust him.
“Ah! Mr. Band! It’s an honor to meet you!” He extended his hand and firmly shook Kurt’s hand. “Mrs. Band, you look lovely today!” It was a lie, of course, but a polite one. “This must be your son! What’s your name, sport?”
“Jesse,” he murmured.
“Jesse! That’s a great name. My father’s name was Jesse. Whatcha reading there?”
“The Keep,” Jesse replied, showing him the cover.
“Ooh! Spooky! Alright, let’s get down to business. You may have a seat.”
They each sat down in one of cushioned chairs in front of the big, oak desk where Hooper now sat. He folded his hands on the desk and gave them a big, toothy grin.
“Now, you say you are interested in looking at the house where Mr. Campbell died?”
“Yes,” Ann responded. Hooper noted how her pupils dilated, and he knew they were hooked. It’s common knowledge that when a person desperately desires something, their pupils dilate. And they hadn’t even seen the house yet! This was going to be a piece of cake.
“Like I said on the phone, it’s a wonderful neighborhood, the neighbors are nice, it’s very serene and best of all, the house is marvelous. To make things better, the price it’s marked at is only $330,000! Do you want to go see it?”
“Absolutely!’ Ann said.
The four left the office and took Hooper’s minivan to go see the house. It wasn’t too far of a drive, and for once, Hooper wasn’t bullshitting. It was a lovely neighborhood. Most of the lawns were a bright shade of green that made your eyes hurt if you stared at them long enough. Finally, the minivan pulled into the driveway of a two-story house. The driveway was sloped at a thirty-five degree angle, and it literally looked like perfection. The house was made almost entirely out of brick, with a tan-colored double-garage and a door of the same color.
The minivan pulled to stop in front of the garage door, an they all hopped out.
“Here we are!” Hooper exclaimed. “Isn’t it lovely?”
The guy was really starting to get on Jesse’s nerves, but he had to admit, he was right. It was beautiful. They headed up the walk and to the front door, which had an electronic combo on the front. Hooper swiped a card he pulled from his tan sports jacket through a slot in it, and the bottom section opened, revealing a key. He held it up triumphantly, and gave the family a smile. He inserted the key and opened the door.
They stepped inside, their footsteps on the floorboards echoing throughout the empty house. Jesse peered up the carpeted staircase looming in front of the door. The place looked nice. He could tell his parents thought the same by the looks in their eyes. The four paraded ahead, with Hooper leading the way.
To the left of the staircase was an expanse of carpet with large bookshelves stacked against the wall. To the right was a hallway leading to the kitchen. Half of the kitchen floor was made of board, and the other half was made of tile. Once they entered the kitchen, they saw that further right was the living room, and the left hallway went to an empty room, which Jesse guessed would be his dad’s “office.” There was also a door that was directly to the left of the hallway leading into the kitchen, and was located at the start of the hallway going to the empty room. Jesse opened it to see what was inside.
There were cement steps leading down into a very, very dark basement. His parents were in the living room, listening to the ass real estate agent tell about the furnishings. Jesse sighed, and put his right foot on the first step. He flicked the light switch, but no light appeared. He proceeded down into the gaping blackness of the basement. His red Converse plodded down for what seemed like forever, until he reached the bottom. It was cold down there, and not just because of the temperature. There was a certain atmosphere to the place that made Jesse’s flesh crawl, and he soon began breaking out in goose bumps. Even with his fear growing inside him, churning his stomach to a pulp, Jesse continued to head deeper and deeper into the basement. He began to see tiny rays of sunlight peeking through miniscule spaces in between boards cemented over a hole in the wall that was embedded just below the ceiling. It obviously used to be a window, but the glass was missing, which is way the boards were over it.
With the very small amount of light that was given, Jesse could barely make out more boards over a larger portion of the wall. Jesse approached it, and began to make out a small hole near the bottom of the wooden wall. When Jesse got closer to it, he felt a tingling in his scalp. His hairs stood on end, and a sense of dread filled his body like ink being poured into water. The churning in his stomach increased ten-fold, and he felt bile slowly creeping it’s way up his throat, leaving a burning, acidic feeling wherever it went. He was doing his best to choke down the vomit, when Jesse felt a strong hand grip his shoulder.
“Jesse! Where were you? Why didn’t you tell us where you were going?”
“Mom, I’m thirteen. I think I can take care of myself.”
Too late, Jesse realized what he had said. A sympathetic look crossed his mother’s face, and Jesse was thoroughly embarrassed.
“Hey, kiddo! Wanna check out the upstairs?” Hooper said enthusiastically.
It took all of Jesse’s will power to refrain from socking him in the face.
“Sure,” he said. They headed up the steps and back into the kitchen. They went back to the foyer and up the steps to where the bedrooms were. To the left was another living room, and past that was a bedroom. To the right were more bedrooms.
“Say, how did the previous owner die?” Kurt asked.
“Oh, I think he had a heart attack or something like that. To be honest, I’m not one-hundred percent sure,” Hooper said.
“Wait,” Jesse had heard something about the murder at the hotel where he had been staying. “I don’t think it was a heart attack. It was something else…”
Ohshitohshitoshitohshit, Hooper thought, hoping the kid didn’t remember.
“Excuse me for asking, Mr. Hooper, but why are there boards over the window in the basement?” Ann asked.
Thank God. “Well, the owner died in the basement. A neighbor happened to be passing by, saw the body, broke the glass to see if he was alive, and called an ambulance. I’m afraid you’re going to have to replace it yourself.”
“I think we’ll take it,” Kurt said. His wife beamed, and a smile slowly formed over Jesse’s lips. He really liked the house. It had everything they needed, and it was a great start to a new life. However, the biggest smile belonged to Hooper.
“Fantastic! I’ll give you the paperwork, and I’ll personally see to it that you move in a couple of weeks! Enjoy your new house!”
Even though the statement should have made Jesse happy, he felt a strange feeling that something was going to go horribly wrong.
I'm no artist, but this is my best attempt at a cover. My scanner isn't working, so I had to take a picture with my cell phone. As you can most likely see, a portion of the right side is cut off, but if you can't tell, the tagline is "It Waits Below...TO DEVOUR YOUR SOUL!" and yes, that kid is descending into the basement with a Samurai sword. Let me know what you think of the art, the story, or anything else. I welcome any kind of criticism, as long as it helps me make a better reading experience for you!