Today is Friday the 13th and, while I don't believe it doles out bad luck, I thought I would post one of my rare short stories. This one is from a few years back and was never perfect but I hope you can take it for what it is and enjoy. (I have done as much revision on here as I can possibly do without someone to help me with it.)
One final note, I can't make paragraphs on here so it is going to look strange. Sorry about that. The story is horror and is horribly titled, "The Story of Sarah" or "To Rent a House."
“Oh John, Anne breathed, “it’s everything we’ve dreamed of.”
The couple came into the kitchen of their prospective new home with child-like glee. John’s tall, slim figure preceded Anne in the navigation as they touched and inspected the cupboards, counters, sinks, and windows. Excitedly, they decided the placement of each appliance they possessed, making sure that the proper requirements existed. Finally satisfied, they started down the small hall to the living room.
“Is the DeClario clan happy?” A cheerful voice called out from the front door.
“We’re in here!” Anne’s clear tone answered back.
John and Anne turned back toward the doorway of the living room in time to see a squat, middle-aged woman emerge. Marge Emerson made her way toward them with a wide smile, her floral housedress draping nearly to the floor. Her eyes sparkled as she looked at Anne’s face, seeing the excitement and knew she was one step closer to finally having tenants once more. The older lady made a wide gesture with her hands.
:”Quite a nice place isn’t it, Mrs. DeClario?” Marge said, dropping her hands at her sides.
“Very much so.” replied John, cutting his wife off in mid-sentence.
“Are you sure we can stay the night?” Anne asked.
“Of course, dear, Mrs. Emerson replied, “I wouldn’t rent a house without checking to see if I was comfortable first so I can’t expect anything different from those who want to do so from me.”
“Understood… and thanks.” John said, extending his hand to Mrs. Emerson who shook it grandly.
“It will do my heart good to have people around again, should you decide to stay, of course.” Marge said with a lilt in her voice. “Well, I must be off.”
After Mrs. Emerson left, Anne and John decided to look over the two bedrooms. The first bedroom was located off of the kitchen and had only an old wooden dresser to off-set the emptiness. John looked around the room carefully, examining the condition of the walls and floors. Anne, however, couldn’t pull herself away from the dresser.
Anne approached it slowly, running her hands over the smooth top. She then moved her hands over the sides before checking the three small drawers for content. Inspection of the first two yielded two marbles and a crayon, typical childhood treasure; the last one revealed a drawing.
The drawing seemed simple enough. Two stick figures were drawn in black crayon, one sitting and one standing, both with expressions of fear or anger, Anne wasn’t sure which but it was clear one was a man and the other was a woman. Finding it strange but not thinking much else, Anne was going to put it back in the drawer when it fell from her hands and landed face down. When she bent down to retrieve it, Anne noticed small, red writing on the back.
Mommy’s hurting daddy but mommy’s Sarah now.
“Honey, come look at this.” Anne said, holding the paper out to John, unnerved.
John, seeing the expression on Anne’s face, hurried to her side and took the aged paper from her. His eyes moved carefully over both sides of the paper and then to Anne’s face, searching. The seconds became an eternity to Anne as her husband stood in silence.
“It’s a child’s creation.” John shrugged and handed the paper back to her.
“John, the writing… don’t you find it strange?”
“What writing would that be? I don’t see any.”
Anne flipped the paper to the back and pointed to the spot. Carefully, John directed his attention to where Anne pointed. Two minutes went by without either of them speaking, both scanning Anne’s discovery for some hint of writing. The small print, so plain to Anne before, vanished.
“It was here, right here.” Anne said in a small voice.
“I believe that you saw something dear,” John softly replied, “but maybe it wasn’t what you thought. It has been a very exciting day for us.”
“Excitement can’t cause people to imagine things.”
“It can for some people.” John replied in the same, tranquil tone.
“For me?” Anne peered at him questioningly.
“I’m just saying that whatever it was, it isn’t there now. I mean, you don’t see it now and I don’t see it.”
“True,” Anne’s shoulders relaxed, “Maybe we should get our sleeping bags out of the car and just crash in the living room.”
“We will but let’s check out the other bedroom first, Mrs. Emerson said something about a master bedroom and I am just willing to bet that this isn’t what she was referring to.”
Anne smiled and led the way to the other bedroom, stuffing the drawing in her pocket and out of her mind. They made their way through the cream-colored living room and crossed it, into a fairly large room with a hardwood floor. The room was fully furnished, complete with a brass canopy bed and large bureau. Anne turned around, taking in all of the room’s glory. If a room could be artwork this was it.
“Wow!” Anne exclaimed.
“Like it?” John smiled broadly and put his arms around her.
“More than like it.” Anne assured him, tickling John’s chin with her curly, auburn hair.
“Should we sleep in here tonight then?”
Oh, I don’t know about that. I thought Mrs. Emerson told us that the bedrooms were pretty bare. I bet these things belong to the last occupant.”
“She did, but I also remember her clearly stating that anything left behind was ours to do with as we choose.” John mused, moving over to the bed and patting it.
Anne sat on the bed, feeling the bed contour beneath her body and sighed. The room had everything and more, just as the entire house did. She shifted her weight to rest on John and closed her eyes in sheer bliss.
“We should take it.” Anne murmured, sinking deeper into the bed.
“You’ll like it here.” a voice replied, gratingly.
“W-what?” She gasped, turning to face what she thought was her husband.
Anne found herself not next to her husband, but someone different altogether. A woman with a brown dress on sat by her, hands folded in her lap with a smug expression. Anne tried to scream but it died on her lips, making a crackling sound in her throat. Getting off the bed, Anne tried desperately to run but realized all too soon that her legs would not support her decision. Scrambling, Anne used her arms to propel her body backwards along the floor.
“Your husband isn’t a nice man Mrs. DeClario.” the woman reported, staring straight ahead.
“H-he is, I-I am t-t-too.” Anne spluttered.
“Impossible.” the woman snapped.
“You speak lies, hideous lies!” the woman screeched standing, “I can tell you lie. I used to lie for my husband, too but I grew tired. So will you.”
“He’s a good man. He l-loves me.” Anne’s voice regained strength.
“You’ll see. Every woman does. I’ve never been wrong about a single soul who came here, and I am not wrong now.” the woman came close enough to Anne to touch her, the dress she wore danced with a motion all its own, a fact that didn’t escape Anne. Anne curled herself as far into the corner as possible as the other woman extended her hand, almost touching Anne’s face.
“No!” Anne screamed and flailed her arms to keep from being touched.
“Soon you will see, as sure as my name is Sarah Cultier.” said the woman, as she faded clothes and all, from the room.
“No I won’t!” Anne shouted, drawing her knees up to her body and shaking her head furiously.
“Anne, baby?” John’s soothing voice came to her, drawing her attention.
Anne opened her eyes; she was lying on the bed. She had been covered up with the burgundy comforter with John at her side. Questioningly, she looked at her husband.
“You fell asleep Anne, so I thought I would leave you rest here while I had a talk with Mrs. Emerson.”
“What did you talk to her about? How long were you gone?” Anne’s tone was high, strained.
“I told her we like the house, this room in particular. She said that she wouldn’t dream of making us remove the furniture so… this is all ours.”
“No.” Anne moaned her head spinning.
“What’s wrong,” John asked, “I thought you loved the idea.”
“The person that lived here before, surely they will come back for their stuff.” Anne stalled the response.
“That’s the thing, the former occupant won’t come back, so no worries.”
“What do you mean?” she asked, “A person wouldn’t leave this quality of belongings behind.”
“Well, she’s kind of… in prison.”
“For what exactly?” Anne squeaked, sitting up.
“We’re safe, Mrs. Emerson promised, she is in for life.”
“What…did…she…do?” Anne rephrased, enunciating slowly.
“Killed her husband.”
“Oh my God!” Anne exclaimed, “Why did she do it?”
“The way Mrs. Emerson explained it, no one really knows. It was an open and shut case with evidence a mile wide against her. Hell, even her insanity defense didn’t work, though, most people don’t believe in possession, anyway.”
“Possession?” Anne’s eyes widened.
“Yeah,” John chuckled, “said she was possessed by a spirit named Sarah, kind of an unoriginal name if you ask me.”
If John said anything more, Anne didn’t know. Without a glance, she began finding what few things they had brought and shoved them in a black duffle bag. Her hands flew quickly while she searched for something that may end up forgotten. Clothes flew into the bag with such speed they could have folded themselves in their spare time. When she was sure she had packed everything, she turned to face John.
“Honey, I saw her when you were gone, in my dream.” she explained quickly, not bothering to look at his expression.
“Saw who Anne?” John asked, moving from the bed and getting beside her.
“Anne, Sarah doesn’t exist. You wouldn’t have known anything about her if I wouldn’t have said anything. Gee, now I am sorry I did.”
“Be sorry later, Anne whispered, shoving the duffle bag into John’s arms, “we have to leave.”
“Alright, alright, we’ll go, but I want you to know that you’re acting…strange.’ John put an odd emphasis on the last word
“You will thank me later.” Anne said, pushing John out the door ahead of her.
“Wait, I left my sunglasses on the bureau.” John said, reaching behind Anne for the doorknob.
“I’ll get them, you just start the car.” Anne told John, pleadingly.
John stormed out through the living room and out into the hall. Anne tried to take a deep breath and steadied herself, bracing against the door. Anne rationalized enduring one more moment couldn’t mess up anything the previous hours already didn’t and pushed open the door. The room stood silent, almost expectant as Anne strode across the room with shaking but solid legs.
She picked up the sunglasses from the bureau and looked at herself in the mirror and, in her opinion, knew why John thought she was going insane. Her eyes, once a sparkling green were dull and sunken while her hair stuck up and out in odd directions. Anne shook her head to clear her mind and reached to her pocket to put the sunglasses inside; she felt something wet on her fingers and recoiled, seeing red.
Anne followed the stain down to the source and found it coming from her pants pocket. Digging inside, Anne pulled out a red-stained page that she remembered at once to be the picture she showed John a couple hours before. She unfolded it hastily and studied it; a creepy shiver crawled down her spine. Red ink, the same ink that covered her pants, scrawled out words on the paper.
Mommy tried escaping too, but it didn’t work. Sad for mommy, sad for us but Sarah’s not sad.
Anne dropped the page with trembling, numb fingers and heard a small thud. Turning her face upward to the noise, Anne saw herself in the mirror and smiled, relieved. Reaching, she went to snap off the light and head across the room to the door. Maybe John was right about the stress of house-hunting getting the best of her. Anne got to the door when she heard a familiar voice.
“You can’t leave yet” Sarah crooned sweetly, her tone still bitter behind the sweetness, “I thought you liked it here.”
“Keep the house, Sarah.” Anne shook but did not look back.
“You know me now.” the poltergeist hissed, close enough to make the hair on Anne’s neck rise.
Before she could totally be sure of what she was doing, Anne yanked open the door and was greeted by the light from the living room glaring into her eyes. Shielding herself, she stepped from the bedroom into the light, glad to be out of the darkness. Making a dash for the exit, Anne barely noticed the slumped figure on the floor and kicked into it.
“What in the--!’ the exasperated inquiry was never finished as she recognized the slim figure that could only belong to one person.
“John!” Anne gasped in horror.
John DeClario was slumped against the door, blood on his clothes and face, with a nasty wound marred his head. The duffle bag he had carried was gone, stolen or already in the car, Anne could not say. Anne knelt down beside him and checked for a pulse, which was existent but faint.
Before she could tug John an inch, Anne heard footsteps approaching from the other end of the house. Frightened, Anne pulled faster, silently pleading with whatever God existed to get them both out of the house. The steps sounded like they got almost up to the couple and stopped. Scared but determined, Anne stood to face whatever had just come through the door.
“Goodness Anne!” Mrs. Emerson shrieked, “What happened?”
“Thank you, God!” Anne croaked, “Mrs. Emerson, we have to get out of here. Something or someone attacked John.”
“Who, Anne?” Mrs. Emerson asked, tears in her eyes.
“Sarah, Sarah did it.” Anne spat out quickly.
“Not possible child.”
“The story you told John about your former tenant saying that she was possessed by someone named Sarah… she was telling the truth.”
“How do you think that could be?” Mrs. Emerson’s eyes widened, tears streaming down her chubby face.
“I don’t know but she spoke to me, and then she attacked John.”
“That isn’t possible, Mrs. DeClario.”
“Please help me!” Anne begged, “We can discuss this somewhere else.”
Anne bent down over John and put her hands under his arms. Nodding toward his legs, Anne waited for the middle-aged woman to grab John’s feet. After no help arrived, Anne looked up in time to see something large and black descending quickly on the back of her neck. Without time to react, the object hit with a sickening thud.
Anne slumped down on the floor next to John, blood coming out from one of her ears, unconscious. Mrs. Emerson stood with a dark wooden table leg over both of them, her legs spread in the stance of a professional baseball player.
“It wasn’t possible, Mrs. DeClario,” Marge muttered, “I was the one that injured your husband. Shame though, you would have been good here.”
Marge Emerson shuffled back to the other end of the house, cleaning the table leg off on her clothes as she went. She would take to show her great grandmother. And her great grandmother would be pleased.
“Boy, oh boy!” Mrs. Emerson exclaimed happily as she entered the master bedroom, “We have another showing of the house tomorrow, and this couple… has children.”