By Monica Marier
“…And then what happened?” asked Kathy.
Celia’s shoulders hunched as she stifled a full-body shudder. With tears in her eyes and a trembling voice she looked up into the bright lights.
“We… uh… we kept feeling a presence. An evil presence that we knew immediately wanted us out. We… sorry…” Celia broke down and Kathy put a comforting hand on her shoulder. Celia rocked on the snow white couch and fanned her face.
“I’m fine, I’m fine. Then things started happening. We heard footsteps downstairs at night, when we checked on them, everyone was still in bed. The radio would randomly switch on and play music— it was always music from the 30’s. We’d feel cold spots. Strange stains would appear in the wallpaper and would be gone the next morning. Then… it started attacking the kids.”
Celia looked away from Kathy as she spoke, her eyes focusing on her husband standing nearby.
“My youngest would wake up with strange bruises and scratches all over him. My husband would wake up to find me hovering over the bed. Blood dripped down the walls… Finally we tried to leave… but it wouldn’t let us.”
“But you’re here now.”
“Not for long anyway. We’re still prisoners of the house to this day.”
Kathy looked away from Celia finally and said in a cheerful clear voice.
“Celia Lintzer’s book ‘The Ghost in an American Dream’ is on the top best-seller list for the twentieth week, and Warner Brothers has greenlit the movie version. Are you excited?”
Celia bravely dried her tears and nodded, seemingly recovered. “Yes, the studio has just signed Renee Zelwiger to play my part. I think it’s slated to come out fall next year.”
“Chilling stuff,” said Kathy with a botox-numbed mug to the camera. “Well, just for the sake of argument, what’s your reaction to people who insist that this is all an elaborate hoax? That there’s no evidence of your house being built over the graves of drowned witches— that the reported events have no eyewitness other than yourself, and that the priest you said blessed the house and the detective you hired claim to never have met you?”
Celia’s smile froze a little and a mad glint sparked into her eyes, but she took a deep breath and settled into the white chintz again. “Well, that’s simply not true. I don’t blame the Catholic Church for wanting to cover up what proved to be a botched exorcism rite, and our governor has made it abundantly clear that they don’t want this event to sully the town’s reputation. We are in a housing crisis, after all. I’m sure the price of homes would drop if any potential buyers knew…” Celia dissolved into blubbering sobs again. “…what we went through. And then some might simply be lying out of fear,” she added quietly.
“You’re of course referring to the mysterious accidents that befell the psychic team that investigated the house,” said Kathy.
“Smothered in a fire,” said Celia Lugubriously. “Yes the house took its revenge on them.”
“Yes, but the psychics supposedly found no paranormal activity in the house,” said Kathy pointedly.
“They found…” said Celia, “That the only thing to have survived the fire was a copy of my book.”
“And then there was the man who wrote a book exposing the house’s activity as a hoax; he died before his book was published,” said Kathy.
“And so did the owner executive of the publishing company,” said Celia, wiping away another tear. “They were in the same car, when it burst into flames. And the only thing that wasn’t destroyed in the fire…”
“…Was a copy of your book,” finished Kathy with a showy shudder.
“I still suffer nightmares from the whole experience, and I only pray that the house doesn’t come for me next.” Celia shrank into a ball and Kathy dutifully comforted her. She leant next to Celia and whispered, “You’re running us over, shut up.”
“Well thanks for coming on our show, Celia,” said Kathy in her stage voice. “Cathy’s book is available in all major book retailers. We’ll be right back!”
The camera man made a gesture and Celia got up from the couch with a cold nod to Kathy and met her husband, Bill, near the edge of the sound stage.
“Well that went well,” said Bill in a bored voice. “Now hurry up, we have to pack for our flight for New York.”
“Stupid bitch,” said Celia. “I know exactly what she was trying to do.”
“Maybe the rumors of fire-related deaths were a bit much,” said Bill.
“You told me to say fire,” accused Celia in a low voice. “You said the fire thing tied it altogether so nicely. Besides, no one ever checks that crap.”
“Well Raimi called and said he wanted to make a few artistic changes to the movie.”
“If he turns me into a sobbing doormat, I’m going to shove that script up his ass,” said Celia stabbing at the air with her keys.
They sat in the Lexus and exchanged a tiny grin.
“Who could ever think you’re a doormat, Cece?” said Bill and they exchanged a sterile kiss.
They walked through the wide door of the blue Dutch Colonial and checked their watches. The kids would be at the nanny’s until she dropped them off again at 7.
“Do you want to have sex?” asked Celia.
“Why?” asked Bill in mild surprise. They hadn’t slept next to each other for over three years now.
“I’m bored,” said Kathy with a shrug.
“Sure,” said Bill, throwing his coat on the floor. He then thought better of it and hung the designer leather jacket up on a hanger before he joined Kathy. When he got upstairs he saw her standing in her underwear staring at the bed. She was white and shaking, her shirt still half-off. Bill looked where she was staring and froze.
The bed was bleeding.
The ground began to tremble as the crucifix on the wall (bought shortly before the psychics showed up, just for the look of things) rotated on its nail until it was head down. They stepped away from the tide of blood as it approached them.
“I don’t understand this,” said Celia in a shaking voice. “It’s not real. None of it’s real.”
“Someone is playing a prank on us,” said Bill in a husky voice.
A voice came out of the heating duct that seemed to vibrate them from inside.
“I am very dissappointed,” it said.
“It can’t be true! I don’t believe it’s true!!” shrieked Celia tearing at her hair as the blood lapped at her toes. “Who’s doing this?”
“THE HOUSE IS DOING IT!” cried Bill and they both knew it was true. “But that’s impossible! It’s not haunted! It’s never been haunted! There’s no such thing!”
The radio switched on and played Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood.”
A wave of blood washed over Bill and he was gone, there was only his white hand sinking into what seemed a bottomless sea of crimson.
“WHY?!” shouted Celia. “Why are you doing this?” she shouted at the ceiling as the radio rose to a deafening volume.
Celia felt a cold hand on her shoulder and feeling numb, she turned around. She saw closet door as it yawned open and black rotted hands, dripping with ichor dragged her into the darkness. Before she felt her mind slipping away she felt a voice in the dark space behind her eyeballs.
“You shouldn’t have lied,” it said “Houses have feelings too.”