The House at Grave’s End

As always I start my tale with the usual caveat.  I am an author;  I write to engage and entertain.  What follows could be complete fiction, or could be a true tail of my encounter with something… odd.  And, as always, my blogs are not edited.  Enjoy!

 Skye smiled at Sean and downshifted the pale blue ’66 Mustang.  She pressed down on the accelerator and looked back at the taillights of her friend’s old Datsun.  She was gaining when suddenly the lights vanished off to her left as the Datsun did a power slide to negotiate a particularly sharp corner.

 The young woman had to think quick; she was accelerating too fast to make the turn and there were woods in front of her.  But just to the right was a driveway leading off into darkness.  She hit the brakes and swerved to the right, just barely making it to the driveway in a cloud of dust and scratched chrome.

 “Jesus!”  Sean yelled as the car fishtailed.

 “Gaia,” Skye replied offhandedly as she expertly backed the old Mustang out of the driveway and back onto the battered dirt track.  She shifted into first and pressed on the gas.  She was rewarded with the road of the massive V8 and the car took off like it was launched from a cannon.  Skye winked at Sean and followed after the retreating lights of the Datsun, the Mustang grabbing air and clearing several bumps in the road like a rally car on steroids.  Within seconds she was back on the Datsun’s tail and flashing her lights to let them know that, no thanks to them, she and Sean were okay.

 Near the end of the old dirt road it widened and that is when Skye made her move.  The nimble Datsun was no match for the power of the Blue Beast and she passed the smaller car with ease, not stopping till they had reached pavement.  There she slammed on the brakes and waited for the Datsun.

 The Datsun arrived a moment later with Jim at the wheel and Dexter in the passenger seat, both grinning from ear to ear.  Pat was in the back seat somewhere, likely cowering under the clothes and old game books that were kept there.  Pat hated it when her friends took the “old road,”  it always ended in a near suicidal race through the darkness.

 Skye kissed Sean’s cheek and climbed from the car, her heels clicking on the pavement.  Sean followed and she reached for his hand out of habit.  Dex, Jim and Pat got out of the Datsun and the small group of teenagers convened in the logical place:  the middle of the road.

 “We almost had you,” Jim said, still grinning.

 “Yeah, after you tried to kill us with that fake out,” Sean replied with slight menace.  “You know Skye doesn’t know the road that well.”

 Pat smiled and shrugged.  “Yeah but even Dex has to admit Skye drives better than these two put together.  They have to take every opportunity they can to try and win.”

 Dex rolled his eyes and shook his head.  “I will admit no such thing.  You wait till I get my license and then you’ll see some driving!”

 The little group laughed and chatted for a while, only parting when the occasional angry driver came down the quiet highway.  It was well after midnight when the girls hugged and everyone got ready to head home.

 Skye slipped behind the wheel of the Mustang and ran her fingers over the old, hard plastic while she waited for Sean to get in.  When he had she pressed the gas once… twice… then she turned the pony key in the ignition, bringing the old V8 beast to life.  A few moments later the couple was heading back towards town, the headlights splashing off the markers on the side of the road.  They were almost home when Sean reached over and took Skye’s hand.

 “Skye?  I’m not ready to go home yet, that race really woke me up,” he said with a shy smile.

 “Where do you want to go?”  Skye asked.

 “I dunno, anywhere, just drive?”

 Skye shrugged and obliged.  She loved the old Mustang that her friends had nicknamed the Blue Beast and she just called Bluie.  It was one of the few places she was happy, either behind the wheel or under the hood. 

For mile after mile the Mustang rumbled along through the darkness with Skye making random turns until she and finally Sean were both completely lost.  Skye slowed the car and began making less random turns until she could make out road signs.   She didn’t recognize the names, but she did come across a sign, twisted and hanging at an odd angle.  She had to twist her head to read the words “Grave’s End Road.”

 “Whoa,” Sean muttered, reading the sign.  “Where the hell are we?”

 “You tell me, honey, I just moved here,” Skye replied.

She shifted into first and turned down the road.  Oddly, while most of the area had been dotted sporadically with one and two story houses, this road seemed to be devoid of habitation.  Only trees, twisted, gnarled and dead lined the road, broken only by the occasional edge reflector.

 The road dead ended after about three miles of twists and turns and Skye turned the car in the cul-de-sac until it was facing back the way they’d come.  Behind them, bathed in the Mustang’s tail lights was a crooked old house.  It had once been white but most of the paint had flaked off with time; the roof had begun to cave in on one side and the eave over the porch had collapsed with it, obscuring the front windows of the house.  Sean looked at the ruin with a mixture of interest and distaste.

 “I’ve never seen a house like that before,” he said.

 “It’s just an old farm house,” Skye replied.  “I’m sure the state is littered with them.”

 ‘Yeah but all we grow here are rocks and more rocks.  What’s a farm house doing in the middle of nowhere?  There aren’t even any pine forests around here,” Sean said.  “Let’s take a look.”

 Skye frowned and stared at the house.  Something about it, more than just the looks, gave her the creeps.  But she didn’t want to look scared in front of her new boyfriend so she nodded and climbed out of the car, pausing only to pull the key from the ignition and slip the chain over her neck.

 “I’ve got a lantern in the trunk, let’s grab that and then we can go,’ she said.

 Sean nodded and waited for Skye to get the large flashlight from the spacious trunk of her car.  The young woman also took the opportunity to pull her Cold Steel combat knife from beneath the toolbox.  She was taking Kenpo classes but she felt better with the ten inch blade in her hand.  The house had really set off her weird-shit meter.

She joined Sean, keeping the knife to her right and him to her left.  She handed him the lantern and motioned for him to go first.  She let him get about three paces ahead and then followed, her green eyes searching the darkness for whatever was setting her nerves on fire.  She could see nothing but the gnarled old trees and, near the edge of what had once been a garden, a well.  Nothing that should set her Wicca senses on overdrive.

The young couple stepped onto the porch, Sean’s engineer boots crunching leaves.  Skye looked down at her own four inch pumps and frowned again.  Not exactly adventuring footwear.  Sean saw where she was looking and smiled.

 “You’ll be fine.  Just stick close!”  He said with a grin.  He then turned and walked straight into a  wind chime made from old tools and beer cans.  The sound made them both jump with Skye letting out a small scream.  Both teenagers then broke into laughter and hugged each other before ducking under the chime and pushing through the front door.  The door creaked and groaned under Sean’s weight and scraped across the floor, revealing the living room beyond.  A Victorian sofa and chairs sat in the room, the red velvet now green with mold.  A coffee table had been long since crushed under some great weight and a pair of old gas lamps had fallen over and lay in a crazy jumble of glass on the floor.

 Sean surveyed the room but, seeing nothing of interest, prepared to head deeper into the old house.  Skye placed a hand on his arm and held him back.

 “Wait,” she said softly.  “Shine the light over by the coffee table.”

Sean did so and saw what Skye had seen in the shadows:  Bones.  Skye walked into the room and knelt next to the table, stirring the debris with her knife.

 “Where did you get that pig sticker?”  Sean asked in surprise.

 “The trunk of my car,”  Skye replied distractedly.   ‘You’d be surprised what a girl can fit in the trunk of a car like that.  Come look at this!

 Sean made a face but joined Skye by the table.  Revealed in the light of the Coleman was a human skull and rib cage.  Sean gasped in surprise but Skye just kept tapping the ribs with her knife.

 “Do you see this?”  She asked.

 Sean nodded, his hands shaking only slightly.

 “Yeah… it’s a dead guy,” he said.

 “Obviously”  Skye said with just a hint of sarcasm.  “But look at these ribs, here, here and here.  See where the bone is cracked and splintered?  This person didn’t die of natural causes.  Something, some kind of weapon like a hatchet or an axe was used.  And right behind here was this person’s heart.  Add it all up, it spells murder.”

 “And I just thought it was a spooky old house to make out in…”  Sean muttered.

To be continued.  

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