CW: Beware of the house on the hill, but even more of the prison beyond.

“You decide to buy a horror writer’s mansion, but what you find there is out of this world.”
– a prompt for this week’s CW piece.
[Source: @DailyPrompt]

 

Bill Webb died” – Andrew said to me from the living room.

What?” – I asked in disbelief.

“Heart attack. Come. They’re showing his house.”

Bill Webb was my favorite horror writer. His mansion stood atop a hill right outside of town, and whenever I drove by it, I thought about how perfect of a house it was for a writer.

The house will be put on the market tomorrow. It is expected to attract many potential buyers, but it will be Mr. Webb’s assistant who makes the final selection of who gets to live in this astounding mansion” – announced the reporter.

You always thought it was the coolest” – said Andrew, already changing the channel.

Go back” – I asked him, curious about the price of the house.

Mr. Webb’s assistant mentioned to me earlier that he will consider everyone who makes an offer of 5 million and above.

All the blood drained from my face and I swallowed hard.

Would you live there?” – I asked Andrew.

It gives me the creeps, but if it was conducive to your writing, I’d do it. I know you have a bestseller in you” – he replied and pulled me in towards him.

After a moment, he stood up and walked to the kitchen.

Ready for dessert?” – he asked, handing a slice of peach cobbler topped with whipped cream to me.

I want to put in an offer” – I said to him, placing the plate on the coffee table in front of me.

Sure” – he said with a smirk.

He looked at me and realized I was serious.

The testament reading was today. I got all of the liquidated assets. All … five million of it. FIVE” – I said, still not able to believe my luck.

But how?

Turns out long-lost aunt Irma led a frugal life and didn’t have kids to pass the money onto. Her estate manager said that when I reached out to her last year, she was beyond happy. It was the happiest Irma’s been in a whiiiile” – I said, thinking back fondly on all the time her and I spent together during the last year of her life.

Let’s do it” – Andrew exclaimed.

Really? You mean it?” – I asked, not sure if he wasn’t kidding.

Sure! I know you want this, and I want you to be happy” – he said and reassured me with a kiss.

***

This house is haunted” – Andrew said after a week of us living in the mansion.

I don’t care that the stairs creak at night. Or that you think you see things” – I started.

I don’t THINK I see things. I SEE things” – he replied with agitation.

I don’t think I’ve ever written this much in my whole life. Yes, some things might sound spooky, but you cannot be afraid of the house breathing. It’s over 100 years old. Of course it won’t be perfect” – I said, returning to my scribbles.

“I did this for you, but I’m not sure how much longer I can live here. I am going to Pheonix on Thursday and won’t be back until Monday. Let’s revisit this once I get back?

Of course” – I answered, kissing him goodnight.

He switched off his night lamp, rolled over to his side, and almost immediately started snoring. It was so sudden and so loud that it almost made me jump. I smiled at my husband, and then went back to writing what I knew was going to be a great book. Everything Andrew described to me about the “haunted” house, I put in the book. It was about a couple who lived there. Just like us. Only for us the scary stuff wasn’t real. It was for my characters – Welma and Eddie.

***

As I laid alone in bed on Friday night, Andrews worries started rattling my cage. All of a sudden I started hearing weird noises coming from the attic. It was as if a couple of kids were running around, giggling and screaming. Everything was muffled, but it was loud enough to peak my interest.

I got out of bed, and a cold breeze blew through my toes. All the windows were closed. I knew because I checked before going to bed. But I must have forgotten about the kitchen window, because it was wide open when I passed it now.

The trees were jerked around. A storm was coming. It was probably the wind making all that noise upstairs, I thought to myself.

As I pulled down the attic stairs, a shiver ran down my spine.

Get it together” – I admonished myself.

The attic was filled with boxes through which I didn’t get the chance to browse. They were Mr. Webb’s. The assistant said it was his wish to leave these for the new owner. I could not believe my luck when I heard that. Will Webb’s stuff! Stuff I could keep, stuff I could use as inspiration, stuff I could sell.

The noises were even more muffled now. I tried placing my ear against every box, and ruled out most of the dust-covered boxes and chests. There was one more at the far end of the attic. As I approached it, all of the noises stopped and I breathed out a sigh of relief. I thought of going back to bed, but I wanted to take a look into the chest first.

I struggled with it, but I finally managed to open the lid.

Cold air filled my lungs.

In front of me laid Bill Web and three kids.

***

Mila, your pills” – said the nurse, shoving a small cup filled with pills of different shapes, sizes, and colors.

And that, my friend, is how I ended up sharing this padded room with you in this hellhole” – I concluded and swallowed my dose, calmly rocking back and forth.

***

P.S. As always, you are more than welcome to use this prompt to inspire your post. If you decide to write something, be sure to pingback to this post, so that I can get an alert and check out your piece. (A post on how to do pingbacks can be found here.) If pingbacks are not your thing, feel free to simply leave a link to your piece in the comment section below. The more, the merrier!

Stay golden,

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***

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17 thoughts on “CW: Beware of the house on the hill, but even more of the prison beyond.

Add yours

  1. Love the story, but I found myself wanting to know what was in those other boxes in the attic. I was wondering if there was something in the house (or in the boxes) that acted as a muse for the writer… something like the spirit of Calliope but maybe a muse of horror? I guess Bill himself was acting as the muse for Mila, but who or what was the muse for Bill? Not sure about the ending… perhaps a bit too abrupt, but the writing style as usual is fantastic and it’s great that the story raises questions and makes you think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Stuart. Fair point about the other boxes. I didn’t think they were relevant (mostly just manuscripts), but I DID want to expand on the story of the house. I just didn’t want to make it too long for the readers. I still struggle with making the CW pieces the “appropriate” length for this blog. I will keep that in mind in the future and make sure they don’t seem “rushed”. The ending is kind of up for interpretation. Was the discovery in the attic that triggered something, or was the whole story just in Mila’s imagination all along? And she never lived that live outside of the insane asylum…

      Like

    1. I think Bill Webb might have existed, but I’m not sure about Andrew…

      Ah, those stories are a pain. I mean, I enjoy them a lot, but am trying to find the sweat spot between making it complete and not making it too long. Plus, there’s an idea in the back of my head to do more with these at a later time.

      Like

      1. As challanging the 99 words stories must be, at least you don’t have to worry about the length 😉
        I am not bothered by whatever length it is, I’ll like it regardless. And make sure when the book is out, there is an audio version of it!

        I clicked on the “daily prompt” link. There is a lot of interesting suggestions.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Funny you should mention that. I read (or heard) recently that one can either hire someone to read, or read it themselves to record audio. Until then, I did not think of it. Now, it’s yet another thing to add to my “to do” list. There’s A LOT of work, but I get so excited when I make the tiniest of steps forward.

          Indeed. I’ve been using those prompts on and off since I started doing those CW pieces. They are posted twice a day (for me, it’s morning and evening). That way, I can pick one out of the two.

          Like

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Rachael Ritchey

Worlds of Fiction

From famine to feast.

Recovery and growth, things that interest me, occasional deep-thoughts, and random poetry.

Skeptical Heartism

Views from a skeptical heart

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