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The Marcello Brothers, Richard and Phil
Text Copyright © 2014 The Marcello Brothers, Richard and Phil All Rights Reserved.
Cover Copyright © 2014 Phil Marcello
Cover Center Photo from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
Table of Contents
I Like These People
Home for Sale
A Sick House
The doorbell rang
My brother, Richard and I are collaborating on a Novel series, the first of which will be published this summer. During the writing process, when we hit a road block, we would divert our attention into writing short stories, to ferment our creative process. For some reason, I found writing a short story was, in some ways, more difficult than writing a novel.
We would like to share some of those short stories with you.
These four stories deal with unusual houses and how they interact with their owners.
So who wrote which story? We'd rather not say.
But we would like you to have your say. Visit our website webwriters.us and tell us which of these stories was your favorite. If you get a chance, drop in and let us know.
It was the oddest thing; a dark churning gurgling puffy cloud in an otherwise clear sky. The ominous cumulus nimbus seemed to be anchored over an innocent looking older but well-kept three bedroom ranch in a quiet cozy neighborhood. It has been stubbornly hanging around in that one spot since early morning. It won’t even surrender to the brilliance of the noon time sun.
Down at the ranch and standing alone atop the front stairs was Bill Keller, an ordinary looking real estate agent, with his inexpensive suit jacket and pants that don’t match and his loud polka dot tie. But it did seem peculiar, his standing there facing a solid green door and having a conversation with it.
“You’re going to like these people. I know you will. I picked them out myself. Trust me.”
Just then, a fire engine red Corolla turned into the driveway and slid to a stop. Bill does an about face and puts on a warm and welcoming smile.
A very serious young women of thirty something, climbs out of the car. She’s hiding her face with a pair of clown sized sun glasses and wearing a pair of loose fitting jeans, a sweatshirt and a tomboy haircut, none of which matches her smooth and beautiful face or her professional manicure and definitely not her sleek and expensive Italian made boots.
Noah, her son, waits until his mother comes around to his side before getting out of the car. He looked nervous and timid, as if he didn’t want anyone looking at him. He is a bit on the short side for a twelve year old with a matching slim build. He donned a clean crisp baseball cap with the letter B centered proudly above the tip.
As a green pickup truck motors by, mom grabs onto the boy and pulls him in tight. They freeze in place and watch in absolute fear, until it passes on by.
Bill may appear oblivious to their plight, but he’s not. He knows their greatest fear and he knows that this house is their solution. He’s ready with his greeting.
“Good morning Joanne. I see you made it safely.”
Joanne lets go of her son and slides her hands inside the pockets of her heavy outer shirt that seems to offer her some protective comfort. She wasn’t trying to keep her hands warm, but why would she on this clear calm summer’s day.
“Yes we did. So far so good.”
“That’s great,” Bill replied. “Why don’t we go inside?”
He opened the door and led the way into the fully furnished living room that was a bit dated, but the furniture was clean and in good repair. It had a small fireplace that probably hadn’t been used in ages and a nice sized LED TV in the far corner.
Noah took notice of the TV and felt somewhat relieved. At least this didn’t look like a prison. As he scanned the room he was drawn to an antique wooden wall plaque that was mounted above the fireplace. It was cleverly crafted with outer swirls and varnished to a near mirrored finish. But it was blank. It had no message, until he took a second look. Words appeared as if by magic. “I think I’m going to like these people.”
The boy was stunned, shook his head, rubbed his eyes and looked again, closer this time. Yes the words were indeed carved into the sign. He must have missed them on first glance.
Bill had seen what had happened and needed to distract the young lad.
“Let me take your son down to his bedroom. Noah, why don’t you come with me?”
There were no stairs to climb. It was a single story building with a long corridor with doors on both sides. On the left were the entrances to the master bedroom and bath; on the right, the doors for two smaller bedrooms. As they passed by the first door on the right, Bill stopped and looked down at the boy with a very stern look.
“This door is locked. It is never to be opened. You’re not to even try to get in there.”
Noah felt a chill run up and down his spine and barely gets out a nod.
They move onto the next door which is also closed but not locked. The room stands vacant. It has been bare for a very long time.
“Go ahead boy. You can open this door.”
Noah grabbed onto the door knob and got zapped by static electricity and pulled back sharply.
Bill is grinning. It’s not an evil grin. It was a necessary shock signaling the start of a whole new life.
“Here let me.” He turns the knob and swings the door open.
Noah’s eyes pop wide open and his jaw drops. If he could have dreamed up the perfect bedroom, this was it. It wasn’t the student desk with an open laptop on it or the wall mounted high definition TV that amazed him. After all, he had no idea that they didn’t exist a minute ago. It was the wallpaper that dazzled him. It displayed magical moments in baseball history; with pictures and headlines, bats and balls and even one full wall dedicated to a baseball diamond complete with images of base runners. Even the bedspread and pillows on his full size bed were dressed with baseball icons. Next to his mother, baseball was his life.
“This is so awesome.” It was the first words he had spoken that day. A momentary respite in an otherwise shell shocked day.
“Yes, I thought you’d like it. Why don’t you rest for a bit? I need to have a word with your mother.”
Joanne was waiting anxiously for Bill to return. “How is he?”
“Oh he’s fine. I think he’s going to love it here.”
But mother knows better.
“Until Gary finds us. It took him only a week the last time. Do you know he has two full time henchmen looking for us? He’ll find us here. He always does.”
“Maybe, but this place is different. When the underground told me about your husband and how much money he has, I knew you needed to stay here.”
Joanne was skeptical. “Why? What’s so safe about this place? Actually, I’m kind of worried about the bedrooms being on the first floor.”
“Joanne, believe me, you have nothing to worry about here, and I think the owner will let you stay as long as you need to.”
“And who is the owner?”
That’s a complicated question that has no real answer.
“Oh, I think he’d rather remain anonymous. But I can assure you, he’s around. He’s always around. Now, why don’t you try to relax and settle in? You have my phone number. If you need anything just call.”
After several days on the run, they were tired and weary. All they really wanted to do was have a nice dinner and watch some TV. Joanne ordered delivery from a local Chinese restaurant and used her credit card. Then she waited somberly for the food to arrive all curled up on the oversized pouty sofa.
Noah would have liked to hang in his room and play on the Internet, but his fears still ruled over his mind and he preferred to stay within sight of his mother. He paced around the room from the rear window overlooking their fenced in yard, to the front bay window overseeing the street. Back and forth he walked being ever so vigilant. And he wasn’t checking for the delivery man even though the hunger pangs were getting more severe. He was checking not to see what he hoped would never come. But then it did.
An intimidating black Lexus with all tinted windows crept down the street and came to a stop in front of their house.
Noah’s right forearm began to burn. It wasn’t real; just sympathy pains from when his father ‘accidentally’ broke it last year.
“Ma! Ma! It’s him. He found us. How could he find us?”
Joanne leaped off the couch and ran over to the window. She began to quiver. Yes it was him. The driver side window rolled down and the face of Satan stared back at her. Gary was a man as rugged as he was handsome; handsome enough to lure Joanne into marriage. But he allowed his thirst for control and vengeance distort his face into something ugly and obscene.
The mom was terrified and grabbed her son by the hand and yanked him away from the window. They took off and ran to the farthest corner of the house, Noah’s bedroom.
Gary was a brute; a side of himself that he never allowed his future wife to see until after they were married. Then he imposed slave like conditions on his spouse, a reign of terror that lasted for thirteen years. Now he was there to get his property back and he was prepared to inflict as much damage on them as would be necessary to get them to resubmit to his rule.
The front door was strong, but not strong enough to stop a rigid shoulder and body slam by an obsessed man.
Joanne heard the crash and knew that the maniac had entered the house. She grabbed her son tightly and cowered in the corner, now realizing that coming here was a big mistake. The thoughts of being free one day were flushed from her mind. Now she just hoped to survive the day and that wasn’t likely.
The stalker wandered about the living room admiring the bland sixties motif. He strolled through it with a sense of casual arrogance. This house, this scene of future horror was his to control. He even took the time to notice the antique plaque above the fireplace, a plaque which was now devoid of any letters or markings. “Hmm, that’s strange.”
Then his head swiveled around toward the corridor. It was as if he could smell the fear. It was a scent that excited him and made his blood fiery hot. He didn’t run down that corridor. That would be too fast. He slow danced over to the first door on the right enjoying every second of this very adult game of hide and seek.
The door was slightly ajar, and he pushed it open. This wasn’t Noah’s room, but looked like it in every detail. And in the corner, slumped down near the ground was mother and son, shell shocked by their tormentor’s arrival.
“Well, well, well, what have we here?”
He stepped into the room and stood in a wide stance like a pirate taking command of an enemy ship. The successful hunter had cornered his prey. He took just one step forward. He was basking in the moment. He took another step and then… ‘SLAM’. His head pivoted around toward the door that had been power closed.
Check back soon. We have two new releases coming