OPEN TO OFFERS

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: The Imaginarium


A family move into their dream house, one that ticks all the boxes, except...

Submitted: October 05, 2017

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Submitted: October 05, 2017

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A A A


OPEN TO OFFERS

The house was everything they had been searching for… detached, double fronted with an impressive central hall and staircase, flanked by two spacious living rooms, each with a leaded bay window. The tall ceilings, typical of properties built in the early nineteen twenties, appealed to them and, despite its somewhat neglected appearance, it still looked proud and stylish. It had so much more character than any of the more modern properties they had viewed, and the garden, though overgrown, was vast.

“The owners are open to offers,” the Estate Agent informed them.

Chris turned to his wife, Becky. “What do you think? It needs a lot of work, would you be up for it?”

“What do you think Izzy, would you like to live here?” Becky asked her six year old daughter.

“I don’t want to leave my friends,” she answered. A deep, disapproving frown creased her forehead.

“But you’ll soon make new ones, and you’ll be able to have your old friends over for a sleepover in your new big bedroom,” Chris encouraged.

“Will I… promise?”

“Yes sweetheart, promise.”

***************

Three months later the family moved in along with Buster, their loyal Labrador. Although Becky and Chris knew the house needed a revamp, nothing had prepared them for the true extent of the work involved. Becky glanced with dismay around the bomb-site that was their new home. “We must have been wearing rose coloured glasses when we viewed it.”

“Well it’s too late now. Look at the potential, all you need is vision… I remember you saying it was exactly what you’d always dreamed of.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right… vision, that’s what I need. It’ll be great, eventually… if we live that long.”

Chris placed his hands on her shoulders, his dark eyes smiling. “It’s a project… we’ll get there, you’ll see. Come on, work to do.”

She swept up her bouncy, blond curls into a pony tail and reached for the steamer. “We’re a team, right?”

Chris went over to the kitchen sink and poured himself a glass of water. “At least Izzy seems happy,” he said, gazing out of the window to where she was swinging back and forth, her body supported by a tyre hanging from a thick branch of an oak tree.

Becky joined him at the window. “That’s funny, she looks as if she’s talking to someone.”

He reaches for a towel. “She’s just talking to herself, all kids go through that phase. Come on, help me strip the paper off these walls.”

Later that evening, as they sat at the kitchen table eating a take-away, Becky asked Izzy… ‘Who were you talking to in the garden honey?”

Chris glared at his wife, and cut in. “It’s okay Izzy, Mommy’s forgotten what it’s like to be a kid, but I remember having imaginary friends.”

“But she wasn’t an imaginary friend, it was my new friend. Her name is Martha.”

Chris’s knife and fork dropped onto his plate with a loud clatter. “But… but…  Are you sure you haven’t imagined this err… new friend?”

“No. She was wearing really shiny black shoes with big buckles and a funny dress that had a swirly skirt… she was really nice though. She used to live here and asked me if I would be her friend.”

Becky’s blue eyes were now wide with shock, nausea rose from the pit of her stomach. She jumped up and shovelled her food into a bin bag. “Izzy, finish your food, its bed-time.”

“But I’m not tired.”

“Just do as I say, there’s a good girl.”

Chris shot a cautionary glance at his wife. “Izzy, after you’ve finished your tea, how about I read your favourite bed-time story?”

Becky could not settle, she paced the rooms convinced she could sense a hostile presence. She felt chilled to the bone, and desperately anxious. What had they bought?

“Here drink this.” Chris handed her one of two disposable cups he was holding. “Izzy’s fast asleep.”

She took a swig of the contents, the brandy burning as she gulped it down. “What are we going to do? Chris, I’m freaked out.”

Tears leaked from the corners of her eyes as she slumped down on the sofa. At her side Buster whimpered, sensing her distress. She stroked his handsome, shiny black head, taking comfort from his canine intuition.

“Look, try to calm down,” Chris urged. “We both saw how upset she was to leave her friends behind. As I’ve already said, it’s not unusual for children to have imaginary friends, and if it makes her happy then surely it can’t be bad.”

Becky rounded on him. “And are they able to describe what they were wearing, what they were saying. Chris, what have we bought?”

“Look, let’s see how we feel in the morning. Have another brandy, it’s been a long day, let’s sleep on it.”

********************

They woke with a start to the sound of Buster’s wild, incessant barking.

Becky sat up in bed, her brain still foggy and sluggish with the effects of too much alcohol. In a daze, she watched Chris sprint from the room, the incessant barking making her head pound.  She then heard her husband’s voice… “Izzy please get down from there now.” Although his voice was measured, there was an underlying panic in the tone.

With her head spinning, she leapt out of bed and sped to Izzy’s room. The sight that met her, filled her with horror and dread. Izzy was standing on the windowsill, the window open wide, her arms extended as if she was about to take flight.

“Please Izzy, do as Daddy says before you fall.”

“But Martha says I can fly, like she did. She showed me.”

A split second later, Mark grabbed his daughter, and yanked her roughly from the sill, sending them both sprawling to the floor.

The family vacated the property and, as on numerous, previous occasions, the house with its spooky secret was put on the market… ‘open-to-offers’.


© Copyright 2018 Sue Harris. All rights reserved.

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