Disclaimer: Gruesome details and profanity in this section
Part 2 of the spooky short story collaboration with the talented and lovely Megan Ireland and myself. We left off with our character Abigail looking for the origin of a strange rot smell in the house she was selling. In the bedroom, she opens the closet and…someone reaches out toward her…….
Manor Mystery Part 2
Once Abigail realized that she wasn’t hurt, she wedged her eyes open one at a time. On the ground before her was the lifeless body of a man.
How did the cleaners miss a dead body?
With the remaining strength she had left in her, she flipped the man over onto his back and bit down hard on her mauve-tinted lower lip to stop from screaming. The dead man’s face had patches of skin eaten away, leaving furry eyebrows over empty sockets without eyes. Even his lips and nose had been chewed to the bone. The only untouched body parts left on him were his hands, which grasped a thick envelope so tightly that it was difficult to remove.
Abigail pulled the envelope free with one swift motion so powerful that she landed on her backside. She got to her feet, smoothing out her clothes another time and sticking one square, acrylic nail under the flap of the envelope.
She opened the envelope with ease and removed the neatly folded piece of paper out from inside. She stumbled backwards from the body and sat down on the bed. The piece of paper trembling in her shaking hands, she looked down to read the words.
“YOU’RE NEXT ”
Her fear paralyzed her and in the second that followed she was unable to run or make any movement. It did provoke a loud, primal scream from her throat and she felt her lace panties soak with warm urine and run down her smooth, tan legs. She ignored the embarrassment as her heart raced inside her chest in full-blown terror. The fear abated long enough given her mobility back and remind her of the logical steps she needed to do next.
So, she went into the bathroom across the hall, cleaned herself up, and returned to the bedroom. Once she was in front of him again, she stared, blocking everything else out of sight, except for the body. The body that mocked her with its hollow eye sockets and rigor mortis limbs.
Get it together, Irving. Rick will be here any minute and there is a dead body between you and your success.
Flipping off her heels and removing her suit jacket, Abigail pushed her arms as far under the body as she could manage. She hefted the still beefy corpse into an upright position long enough to figure out her next move.
Back in the closet or basement?
The doorbell rang in time to answer her question. With one final shove, she launched the body to the back of the closet, slamming the doors seconds later. Her breathing came in laborious bursts as she sprinted to the Febreeze under the master bathroom sink and sprayed liberally towards the closet door before dropping it on the bed and darting for the front door. She stopped and doubled back for her shoes on the floor near the bed.
Abigail ran down the stairs sideways, desperate to keep her balance in her ridiculously high heels as she maneuvered each step with hasty expertise. She peeled off sweat-matted hair from her forehead and neatened the strands before opening the door, trying hard to mask her heavy breathing and appear collected.
When she opened the door to Devinshire Manor, Abigail’s cleaning guy was not standing there waiting for her with his bucket and his comical tool belt of supplies. She scanned both sides of the road for his van, which she finally found parked five houses down almost out of view of the manor. Relief flooded her body as someone familiar finally came to help her with the horror upstairs.
She clomped over to right side of the wrap around porch where a few wicker rocking chairs had been set up next to a matching table. There was a slight movement out of the corner of her eye and she ripped her gaze away from the cleaning van and found someone sitting in one of the chairs. Not just someone, Rick with his spiked black and a tattoo of Celtic knot work that wrapped around his bicep, was slumped in the chair. While Rick didn’t appear to move at her presence, the rocking chair was moving gently back and forth in the still air.
“Rick, thank God you’re here, but there couldn’t be a worse time for you to be relaxi-”
But Rick didn’t look at her or even blink as she spoke. In fact, he wasn’t moving at all. The rocking chair eventually slowed and his head swung to face her as if his neck had no bones and wobbled at the slightest breeze. After jumping what felt like several feet in the air, Abigail inched closer despite her heart pounding rapidly through her chest and adrenaline coursing through her veins, and found two holes in his shirt and matching blisters on his skin right where his heart would be. They were starting to ooze blood and plasma down his chest, and she yelped when her foot accidentally bumped the chair and Rick’s body leaned forward into her.
Abigail pushed him back wildly but she wasn’t strong enough and the body swung towards her again after her initial shove, she screeched and lurched backward toward the house and shutting the door. With her back pressed against the door the image of Rick’s lifeless gaze were ingrained into her mind’s eye, the images of his dead body even worse when she closed her eyes.
“Two dead bodies in one day. How does one person find two bodies in the same day?”
I should just call the police, obviously I’ve done nothing wrong.
Abigail sank to the floor, her hands shook as they fumbled for her cell phone in her blazer pocket. When she grasped it, she whipped it back to her, choking down one last sob before dialing 9-1-1.
“This is 9-1-1, what is your emergency?” a soft-spoken woman answered on the other line.
Clearing her throat, Abigail put on a smile for no one and told the woman the dead body of her cleaning man was outside on the porch. Her voice was the one she used with her clients. The fake, everything-is-all-right voice she used to calm her children. She used it to try and calm herself, but the paranoia of the first body upstairs in the closet sent a wave of panic through her so strongly that bile rose in her throat and threatened the antique wool rug.
You are a strong, confident woman. You can…
“Ma’am…Ma’am. We’re sending a patrol car to you now. They’re 30 minutes out. Please remain calm and do not leave the scene.”
“Yes, yes, I understand,” Abigail replied and pressed end on the call.
Abigail pulled herself up for what seemed like the millionth time that day, and smoothed out her blazer. The note from Rick’s hand flopped out and onto the floor stark white against the dark reds and browns of the rug. When she retrieved it, she fought back the tears stinging in her eyes as she continued to picture Rick’s rocking corpse. Her hands shook so violently that she barely opened the folded slip of paper.
Accidents happen, Abby-bear.
That’s what you told me when you f*cked my best friend.
Thank God you miscarried or you would have had his kid.
This is YOUR fault.
A knock came at the door, tearing her away from the note and sending a jolt of adrenaline through her body. She peered through the half moon window of the door and saw someone dressed in a police uniform, back turned to her. Their cop car was parked right in front of the house, but the lights weren’t on.
Wow, they got here fast. Although, I expected them to have lights on and sirens or something. Weird.
She jerked open the door as quickly as possible, stuffing the note and her phone into her blazer. The cop didn’t immediately turn around, so she tapped the slightly taller person on the shoulder.
“Thank God, you’re here. I’ve been—.”
“Don’t tell me you suddenly became religious, Abby-bear,” the cop said, his voice deep and grating, but familiar to her ears.
He turned to face her and she almost lost her balance. Her ex, Victor, was standing in front of her—tousled blonde hair tucked up under the police-issue hat, blue eyes that had so long ago been kind and sparkling, now were cold and dull.
“What the hell, Vic-“
Blinding pain interrupted Abigail before she could finish her question. Victor had punched her so hard she saw stars for a brief second before darkness and unconsciousness took over. When she came to, she was strapped to the bed and alone in the master bedroom. Abigail pulled on her wrists, but the ropes only dug in more burning her skin as she twisted around in what turned out to be solid knot work only a sailor could appreciate. She tried escaping her binds still for another 10 minutes before resigning herself to defeat. Suddenly, she jolted against the mattress when she remembered that the corpse from earlier was still hidden in the closet.
Did Victor really kill that man too? How was I even married to the nutcase?
Abigail glanced uneasily in that direction only to find the door wide open and nothing inside. She couldn’t even really smell anything off at all anymore. Her heart raced faster as she scanned the room for her captor, and quickly wet her dry lips with her tongue.
Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap….TAP, TAP.
The comically melodic tapping at the door startled her so much that tears began to spill from the corners of her eyes. Her breathing slowed so that her ears could take in every tiny sound as the fear radiated through her ears.
I just wanted to sell the house. I don’t want to die today.
“Abby…Oh Abby, I’ve missed you so much, I’ve been waiting for so long…” Vic spoke, pressed up against the other side of the closed bedroom door and breathing heavily as he pawed at the wood.
To be continued….