In honor of Friday 13th… and the awesome Three Things Challenge, here’s a story.
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BECKSHIRE HOUSE HAS since been destroyed, but its legend as one of the most haunted houses in America endures. One of the only people to survive a night in the house, Edward Beckshire, chronicled the events in a letter to his wife, Julia.
Although he survived, Edward remains in a catatonic state…
Friday 13, 19__
Beckshire House, Beckshire, Maine
I write to you now, questioning my eyes, my ears, my very sanity. This house is haunted. I know this to be true. Julia, I have seen things here that could convince the most intransigent skeptic of life beyond the grave. Blood from walls, books flying off the shelves, a woman in black floating above my bed… all these things, and more. So much more.
I ask myself, as I wait for the rosy rise of the morning sun, was the inheritance worth all that I have endured? Some would say yes. Ten million dollars is certainly enough to live a hale and happy life. But I say no. All that money cannot take away the memory of seeing cousin Danforth eaten by that strange orchid in the greenhouse. Or the look on Miriam’s face as the elevator doors slowly cut her in half. Or Peter’s screams as he disintegrated into the vat of acid at the bottom of the basement stairs.
I fear I am undone.
To think we all thought it was silly superstition! Granted, we knew Beckshire House’s reputation. We had heard the stories. How it had been designed by a clinically insane architect for a neo-pagan church rumored to have engaged in human sacrificed (By the way, I now have proof that they did, in fact, engage in human sacrifice. If I survive, I will show you).
Do you remember how we had laughed when the terms of Uncle Afred’s will were explained to us? Ten million dollars… the entirety of the estate… all his business holdings… everything… to the heir who can spend the night in Beckshire House. How hard could it be? We laughed and laughed. All I’d have to do is kill off my nine cousins, and we’d be rich. The house’s sordid reputation would be all the alibi I would need.
I laugh now, though not in humor, but in folly. Ah, the plans of mice and men.
Julia, everyone planned to kill everyone else. Ironic, no? When the ten of us arrived, it seemed almost a jovial event. There was Tommy, the family success story, all decked out in his Saville Row suit. Estella, the beautiful one, proudly talking about her new movie debut. Raymond, the author, quiet, subdued, but always watching and listening.
It was Tommy who was the first to say he was going to kill us all. We laughed, and next, Norman, the heavy one from Yonkers, he said he was, too. Soon, we all were all laughing and confessing.
Then fireplace exploded, decapitating Norman and one of the other Yonkers cousins. I still see their heads flying through the air.
(By the way, somebody yelled, “Gooooaaallll!” It makes me chuckle a little. I shouldn’t, but I do).
Oh, Julia, how naive we all were! Now Tommy hangs from a meat hook in the freezer. Estella wanders the halls, neither alive nor dead. Raymond hangs from the chandelier like a marionette. None of them dead by my hand.
It’s the house, I tell you. The house is a murderer.
Now, I think I am the only one who remains. I have lost count.
Julia, I have learned that no money is worth the pain I have endured. If I survive this night, I will dispose of all of it and give it all to charity. This money represents the sin of my family. It must be purged, so that our souls may be free.
Oh, Julia, how I love you! I would find peace in your embrace, but alas, all I have is a pen and paper… it is cold comfort. I think of the future we have planned, of your beautiful eyes, and how your face lights up when you see me. I live to see you smile one last time, my darling. Think of me, your Edward, not as the fool I was, but as the man I could be…
Haunted, Superstition, Pen