Note: This is the last installment I will be placing on my website, which equates to the first third of the story. I will be publishing the entire story at a later date (for purchase). I hope you’ve enjoyed this preview.
Cora was sitting on her bed, willing Facebook to load faster on her phone as she let the music take her away from this dungeon. The song where a young woman wailed about her broken heart ended, another on the cusp of starting, when she heard the thud.
She stopped her iPod and removed the earbuds. “What the hell?”
She listened, but nothing came. Still, there was no mistaking the noise. It sounded like something heavy had fallen. With all the people working on the house, it was possible that someone had gotten hurt. With a sigh, she left her room and went to the top of the stairs. Over the balcony, she gazed down into the empty foyer. No voices drifted upstairs.
“Mom?” she called.
A few seconds later, Marcy stepped into view. “Did you hear it, too?” she asked.
“Yeah. What happened?”
“I thought maybe you’d fallen off the bed.”
“No, I’m fine.”
“Well, there’s no one else here except Mr. Rue.”
“Yes. He was supposed to be checking the attic for a dead rat.”
“The attic?” Cora lifted her gaze from her mother and turned to the left. “The door’s shut.”
“What’s that man up to?” Marcy took the stairs in a hurry, agitated.
Mother and daughter stood side by side and stared down the hallway, transfixed.
“It was locked,” Cora said, swallowing thick saliva.
“I know.” Marcy took her daughter’s hand, as if Cora were the scared child.
They walked to the door. The knob turned for Cora, but something kept the door from opening. Both Marcy and Cora leaned into the door with all their weight, but whatever was on the other side didn’t give.
“Come on. Open up, you fat fu–” Marcy started to say, but then they gained just enough momentum to push the door in.
Slumped back on the steps like an overlarge sack of potatoes was Mr. Rue, his eyes frozen like all the times he’d gazed upon “Funny Lips.” Between his legs, wetness.
Marcy screamed. Cora slammed the door closed.
“Mom, for the love of God, calm down. So he fell down the steps… We’ll call the police. It was an accident.”
“Right, right… Call the police. And I suppose the police will be able to get rid of that smell?”
Cora sighed shakily. “Mom, there’s no smell, but there will be if we don’t get him outta here. C’mon.”
Cora led her mom away from the attic door, wondering why she was suddenly relegated to playing the role of parent. Before reaching her room, she glanced back at the door on the end of the hall.
That door was locked.