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THE CARETAKER

By Richard David Bach All Rights Reserved ©

Humor / Horror

Chapter 1

People swear that this house is haunted.  I don’t know why they’d say that — I’ve been here since 1841 and I’d never seen a ghost.  Until yesterday.  Oh, there were a few frightenings on occasion, like the time in 1863 when I chased off a company of Virginia Irregulars who wanted to set up a field headquarters in a move that was sure to get this place burned to the ground, or when I scared the bejabbers out of The Right Reverend Chester Fowles in 1912 as he tried to take advantage of his cleaning lady’s simple teenage daughter.  But all my acts were righteous and performed in a manner that, upon retrospective examination, could be attributed to natural causes.

And then yesterday she showed up - erupting out of the bloodstained body sprawled on the porch with an anguished shriek that rattled the shutters and threw open the front door.  I could actually feel the force of her anger and it startled me.  The first time I’d experienced a physical impact in 172 years.  Her essence paused for a moment, hovering over the remains, and then with another shriek even more piercing than the first, she dissipated, expanding into the entire house and penetrating all of its corners. Uh, oh, I thought.  But at least it was quiet.

Not for long.  She coalesced about an hour later in the master bedroom where I was trying to take a nap before what I expected to be a long night.  The owners were out of town and their teenage kids were planning on hosting a kegger.  It was my job to be alert to any unwanted shenanigans and be prepared to keep the dumber ones from any serious stupidity.

She was good looking and had a great body — assuming that she was materializing in the factory issued size and shape.  But the hatred in her eyes immediately squelched any thoughts of a possible connection.

“Why are you here,” she demanded.

“I don’t know.  I just am.”   I truly didn’t know.  Something bound me here, but it gave me something to do, something to protect.

“Then leave.  Get out.”  She flared and faded and flared again, before settling down into a cool glow.  “Please.  Go away and leave me alone.”

“I can’t.  No more than I suspect you can.  I died here, and so did you.  I think we’re stuck here together.”

She exploded again, this time in a burst that blew open every window in the house and knocked every picture askew.  Double uh, oh!

I didn’t see her again until about midnight, long after the coroner had collected her body and the police had removed the yellow crime-scene tape, when the beer party was in full swing and the kids were beginning to get a little rowdy.  I had just rattled a doorknob to rattle a couple of sixteen year-olds who were getting carried away, when she showed up.  With a face and body inspired by Medusa and showcased in every sci-fi horror flick ever produced with the aid of computers and mind-altering drugs, she swept through the party and very effectively shut down the festivities.

Afterwards it was assumed someone had slipped some LSD into the lager, but no one could explain the banshee wails that came from the house all night long, or the lights that kept flashing on and off at random until the sun came up.  And then, this afternoon, Ghostbusters drove up to the house in that ridiculous hearse they drive. 

Nothing has been the same since.


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Alex Rushmer: I just want to say that the writing in this is amazing! I read the first couple chapters and was absolutely drawn in by it, The way you use first person in this story is extremely engaging and does wonders with your character development. I immediately had a picture of the characters and plotline...

Tony Lee: Great ideas. Some mistakes here and there, but not too much to break the immersion :) This was my second book here, and I'm pretty satisfied! Well I can't think of anything else to write so I'm just gonna fill the space up with random words. Magazine holder sidney sheldon first bible shack tom ha...

summerstone: Seriously this is one of the best books I've ever read. The plot is intriguing, I love the narrative style. Its very descriptive and unique, with minimal cliches. It makes for a great read and the sequels are amazing. Totally worth reading. ^^ That's me trying to be professional. But in all hones...

C J Lawson: Nicely done. Good story with good characters, as well. I was very entertained by the story line, from beginning to end. I would definitely read more of this author's work.

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skippybash12: This story has engaging characters that you care about and a plot that is unpredictable and exciting. It is well written with a believable voice. Great weekend escape and if there was a sequel available I would buy it today -

drainwater411: such a great read for me. I loved how you had to figure out who everyone was and kind of got a sense of who they were throughout the book instead of just telling all about the characters in the beginning, it helped you really get to know them and grow a connection with them. the relationships bet...

Deleted User: (A review in progress). I like this. It's sparse, gritty and atmospheric - reminiscent of the classic Golden Age of American detective fiction of the Thirties. I've only read the beginning, but I'll definitely be back. This writer knows their stuff and has done their homework on detective work. T...

Jasmine Chow: As I read this story, I was reminded some what of Terry Pratchett, especially some descriptions of politics and economics. The sci-fic setting is quite intriguing. Writing style is quite lovely and grew on me slowly. I was also slightly reminded of Mark Twain, especially his book A Connecticut Ya...

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Madison O'Neal: Although the book may be good the grammar is horrid and it's hard to concentrate on the story when having to correct the mistakes of the author I suggest the author go back and correct things to improve the enjoyment of the book overall and the app should proof read things before they are publish...

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