Chapter 2: Questionable Action
Abby starts thinking about her second strange dream as she’s tidying up the kitchen. She dreamt that she was busy doing the dishes when she hears a woman screaming for help. Glancing out the window, she sees a short, stocky man dragging something across the yard. Looking a little closer Abby sees he’s dragging a thin, frail woman behind him. Her small, pale face is a bloody mess from where he’d recently beat her. Her eyes are so swollen she could barely keep them open. Her golden blond hair was caked with mud and clumps of dried blood. Her beautiful white dress was shredded to pieces, exposing her battered body. As they get closer, Abby sees the man has her hands and feet bound together by a rope. She then notices the young woman digging her bare heels in the dirt as the man continued towards the fire.
“Please don’t do this, Jack, please! I promise I’ll never try and leave you again, I swear I won’t,” the woman begs.
“I warned you what will happen if you left me, but you didn’t listen, did you?” he asks, tightening his grip on the rope
“I’ll start listening to you! I swear I will.”
“It’s too late for that now!“′
“No Jack, please don’t do this. Please let me live, please, for the girl’s sake.”
“Your precious girls are already dead!” he spat, tugging her across the yard.
“Please tell me you didn’t!” she tearfully cries.
“See for yourself.” He stops a few feet from the fire. Looking over she sees her beautiful daughters lying motionless, side by side in the dirt.
“Not the girls, not my beautiful girls,” she cries.
“It’s all your fault, you wretched whore,” he screams.
“I have to save her.” Abby thinks. She tries running for the door but her body refuses to move. She tried again, but her feet remains firmly in place.
“No, stop, don’t!” Abby yells, banging on the kitchen window. Jack continues to pull the battered woman closer to the fire. Abby tries to move again, but her feet remains glued to the floor. Looking up, she sees a small black book fall out of the lady’s pocket as he swings her into the air.
“Please don’t do this!” The woman begs as he flings her towards the fire.
“Rot in Hell you wench,” he yells watching the flames engulf her petite body. Grabbing a child’s small lifeless body, he throws it into the flames. Abby sees him reaching for another when Adam’s crying wakes her. Thank god for Adam. Shivering, she tosses the broom in the closet.”
Greg is busy working in his office when he overhears two gentlemen in the hall.
“I heard our new manager is living at the old Arnold house.”
“Yeah, I hope he has better luck with the house than the last renters did.”
“Yeah, I’d hate to see what happened to the last renters happen to him too.”
“You know what I heard?”
“I heard the town folk say that none of that would’ve happened if they hadn’t rummaged through the barn.” What are they talking about, Greg asks. Jumping out of his chair, he rushes to the door. Greg sees the hallway is completely empty. Running to the break room, he throws the door open. It was empty as well. He runs back out in the hallway and finds it’s completely deserted.
“I wonder what they’re talking about,” he thinks, walking back to his office.
“Is everything alright?” His secretary asks, seeing him step through the doorway.
“Did you hear what the two gentlemen said?”
“I can’t hear anything with my headphones on.”
“Do you know anything about the old Arnold house?”
“I overheard someone talking about something bad happening to the last renters, but by the time I got to the door they’d already left.”
“Wait, did you say the Arnold house, the one in Urbanette?”
“Yeah, why do you know something about it?”
“I heard the last renter left because they saw demons coming out of the walls.”
“They saw demons?”
“Yeah, they told everybody in town about what had happened. They even asked the priest to do an exorcism.”
“No, he said he didn’t believe their story, none of the townsfolk did either.”
“Why is that?”
“Everyone figures the drugs made them hallucinate.”
“They were on drugs?”
“Yeah, they’re always strung out on something.”
“What happened to them?”
“They moved out in the middle of the night, leaving most of their belongings behind.”
“That’s kind of strange, don’t you think?”
“Not for them it’s not.”
Abby’s tidying up the front room when she hears someone knocking on the front door.
“I wonder who that could be.” Tossing a handful of toys in the playpen, she throws the door opens. Abby sees a short, rounded woman standing nervously on the porch. She then notices the lady is holding something in her hands.
“I’m your neighbor from down the road and I wanted to welcome you to the neighborhood,” she says, handing Abby a large chocolate cake.
“That’s so nice of you. Won’t you come in?”
“I guess it’ll be alright, but I can only stay a minute.” Stepping in the door, the neighbor starts looking around. It was like she’s expecting something to jump out at her, at any given second. Abby concludes, watching the young woman fidget around.
“Are you alright?” she asks as she continues to watch the woman’s peculiar behavior.
“I’ve never been in the house before,” she stampers.
“It’s a beautiful house.”
“Yes, it is.” The neighbor agrees.
“Someone must have taken good care of it for it to be in this good of shape. Would you care for some coffee?”
“I really should be getting back,” she says, turning towards the door. Abby grabs her arm to stop her, the lady jump.
“I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“It’s alright.” Looking around the guest continues.
“I guess I could have one cup,” she says, guardedly making her way to the table.
“Have you lived in the area long?” Abby asks, grabbing the coffee from the kitchen.
“I’ve been here my whole life. I was raised in the house I live in now.”
“That’s so nice. Would you like cream or sugar?” Abby asks, handing her a cup.
“No, this is fine, thanks,” she says nervously taking the cup. Abby watches as her fine china rattles to the table.
“I heard the last renters left without taking anything with them.”
“That’s what I heard too.”
“You didn’t know them?”
“I only met them once, when they first moved in. I could tell they weren’t the kind of people I want to associate with, so I didn’t come back,” she explains.
“Why kind is that?”
“They were into drugs and all kinds of other illegal activities.”
“Oh, I see. I was told three little girls use to live here a long time ago.”
“I’m not very familiar with the history of the house. Taking a sip of coffee she continues.
“It’s best if you don’t try to find out about it either.”
“It’s just not a good idea to bring up the past, ok. Well, I better go,” she says, springing up from her chair.
“Stop by anytime,” Abby yells.
“Yeah,” she says, running out the door.
“I know there has to be something going on with this house now,” Abby thinks, watching the lady dart across the yard.
Greg sees two employees sitting at the table when he walks into the lounge. Maybe they know something about the house, he thinks, walking to the fridge.
“How do you like your new job?” The older gentleman asks?
“Everything is going good. You wouldn’t happen to know about the old Arnold house would you?”
“Us, no, we don’t know anything, right Morris?” he says, glancing over at the older man.
“No, we don’t know a thing.” You two know something but you’re too scared to share it with me. Greg concludes, watching the gentlemen fidget in their chairs. Grabbing his lunch out of the icebox, he walks towards the door. Reaching the entrance way he quickly turns back around.
“You don’t know anyone who does, do you?” he asks. The two jump in their seats.
“No, I don’t know a soul. What about you, Morris?”
“I can’t think of a soul.”
“Ok, thanks,” Greg says, stepping into the hallway.
“I hope he doesn’t go snooping around like the others, Morris.”
“Yeah, me either.” The older man agrees.
Abby’s busy picking up the toy room when she hears her daughter yelling from the top of the landing. Dropping the toys on the table, she dashes up the stairs.
“What is it, honey?”
“Somebody is crying in the attic, mommy.”
“There’s no one up there, honey.”
“See,” Lilly says as the crying continues to get louder
“Stand back,” Abby orders. Lilly steps back to her doorway as her Mama jerks on the small piece of rope dangling from the ceiling. They hear a loud creaking noise followed by a cloud of dust as the old wooden stairs starts unfolding in front of them.
“That was like a magic trick, Mommy. You had a cloud of smoke and everything.”
“I think you’ve been watching way too much TV, child,” she laughs.
“Abracadabra, show me the stairs,” Lilly says, pointing towards the steps.
“See Mommy, magic.”
“I want you to stay down here until I make sure it’s safe.”
“Lilly!” she sternly replies.
“Oh, alright!” She reluctantly agrees, crossing her arms in protest. Abby slowly climbs the squeaky stairs unsure what she’s going to find.
“Hello?” she calls out, but no one answers.
“Is anybody up here?” she asks, taking another shaky step.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” Abby says, slowly working her way up the stairs. Stepping onto the attic floor, she starts looking around. Seeing a large shadow on the far wall, she screams.