Thursday, June 9, 2011

Something Wicked

I never would have purchased this house if I'd known that a goblin lived in it. The agent promised that the plush pad on the outskirts of Westchester was devoid of crime and vermin. In a sense he was right, but nothing could have prepared me for the creature that skulked these hollow walls.

One morning while I showered, the water turned piping hot. Hopelessly I fumbled with the knobs as the deluge scalded me. Abruptly the downpour turned ice cold, and then dwindled to a trickle. With a head full of suds I proceeded to the cellar, cursing all the way. At first I thought the broken pipe was a byproduct of the ancient plumbing, but when the second and third replacements also snapped in two, I realized I was up against something else entirely.

Shortly thereafter everything went downhill. The pantry was frequently ransacked and droppings left on its bare shelves. Half eaten carcasses littered the carpets and walls were frequently chewed open and stripped of insulation. At night while I listened to the creaking of the house, I could hear the miscreant hiss. Even my dreams were not an equitable refuge.

So I decided to introduce my guest to a friend I made at the local pound. Although I am a smallish man, I do not feel the need for a smallish dog, so I enlisted a beast of military might, an Irish wolfhound that no creature dare cross. As soon as I introduced him to the house, the beast bounded down the stairs, and uncovered the creature's lair hidden cleverly among a pair of broken shelves. After sniffing the fowl opening, my companion bared his teeth, and bravely held his ground. Hour after hour he presided over the passage, refusing to budge. I could barely contain my excitement. There would be no more volcanic showers or road kill rugs. That night I slept like a baby, but once dawn broke my new pal was nowhere to be found. Sadly I would not see him again.

Angered by the turn of events, I grabbed a shovel and crawled into the hole, following the stench until the passage opened to a large dim room. I could feel the parasite's eyes on me as I eased inside. Something snickered nearby. With my shovel I smashed everything within an arm's reach. The racket stirred considerable interest from above and a moment later the light snapped on. When a voice shouted down and a shotgun blast followed, I realized where I was--my neighbor's cellar.
"Don't shoot! It's me, Benjamin Buddle," I cried. I tried to explain everything--that I'd lost my dog and a creature was harassing our domiciles--but the geezer only saw one pest, and unloaded his shotgun once more. I dove behind a stack of boxes and remained there until the police arrived.

Even in my lonely cell, the creature's presence lingered. No doubt it would uncover my ornate Faberge eggs and African beetle collection--how they loved a tasty treat. News of my incarceration spread quickly to my employer, and when I collected my things, a message was waiting on my cell phone. I stepped out of the station, without dignity or a job.

When I finally hoofed it home, there was little to come back to. The door was ajar, dangling on one hinge. My clothes were a pile of torn rags, the furniture broken and gutted. As I turned the corner, I caught a glimpse of the withered menace fumbling with my IPod. Unsure what to make of it, he swallowed it whole. My black heart boiling over, I sprinted down the hall and jumped. Glass exploded all around as I bounced off the frame and onto the floor. Somehow I had not seen the full-length mirror in my path. Then I began to take notice of them, in every corner of every room. All this time I had been living in a house of mirrors.

Then something wicked came over me. I doused the walls with gasoline until the sweet aroma consumed the entire house. I dug a new hole for myself and cobbled together a makeshift throne. "Home sweet home," I marveled.

The creature whispered in my ear, but I paid no heed. There was still plenty of fun to be had. I lit a cigarette and dialed the agent who sold me the bill of goods. "Actually, I'm enjoying the house quite a bit," I cackled. "But it’s a little more than I bargained for. Hopefully it can be fixed. Perhaps you could swing by so that I could show you? Seven o’clock? Perfect. I’m sure you’ll provide the spark I need."


  1. Yikes! Should I go hide now or wait till he incinerates the agent? Poor guy. And what the heck happened to the dog?

  2. Thanks for taking the time to read this disturbing little tale.

    This was originally an entry for Writers Digest's Your Story competition. It didn't win, but I did enjoy writing it. This set the groundwork for a novel that am working on called Tell Tale Signs, in memory of the late Edgar Allan Poe.

    Unfortunately Benjamin Buddle incinerates the house and the agent and skips town (where the novel picks up). As for the dog (sniff), that bastard Benjamin did it. Not me. I'm just a lowly author. And I love dogs ;)