For the Heir :
The new house was fantastic. It was an old farmhouse, and looked the part. There were barns and fields, acres and acres of field. My wife, Carrie, and I were looking for a good place to start a family, and this house could not have been more perfect. It was a 10 minute drive to the village, with a school and supermarket and anything you could ever need. Not forgetting the price, the price was astonishing! For all the land that comes with the house, it was an absolute bargain.
Therein lay the only problem. Yes, the house did need a bit of work done on it, but apart from that, there was nothing to deter a buyer. Carrie joked that it was probably a murder house, but we laughed it off. Then I started to think about it. I looked into the property and there was nothing. No news articles about vicious slaughter, or tales of any mad men that once lived there. Not even any listings on any estate agent websites. It was as if the house, my house, had never existed. I had heard about it from a friend who had just moved to the village. He knew we were looking for a place and when he saw it, he told us and we went straight there. The seller had moved to England, so when we phoned the number on the sign, he discussed prices over the phone with me and we settled. That was when I assumed that the only reason the house was so cheap was that he had been waiting a long time for a buyer and got fed up.
The paperwork was sorted, and me and Carrie began our long journey to the countryside to move into our new home. We hired moving vans and did all of the transporting with our friends that lived in the village. We stayed with them until we were all settled in. The village was a lovely place. The people were nice, the scenery was nice, the shelves were stacked. An older couple on their mid fifties took an interest in us. Frances and George owned the local pub. We went in one night and got to talking. They seemed like a very nice couple. They had children who had since moved away. They had not asked us where we were moving to.
“So is it the house on Monteith Place?” enquired George. “Oh that is a fabulous property.” Added Frances.
“Oh no, we bought that fantastic farmhouse down the road. We want to start a family, and all the space we have there is perfect for kids. We are thinking of selling off some of the further afield land.” I said proudly.
The colour had left their faces like a cloud covers a blue sky. George tried to say something, but his words caught in his throat, and he began stuttering at us.
“Have you slept in the house?” Frances asked. Her lips were pursed in an almost angry manor.
“What?”, was all I could muster after seeing their reactions.
Frances’ face went from pink to white to red in a space of 30 seconds.
“Have you slept in the fucking house? Answer me.” There was no denying the anger now.
“No, we’ve been staying at our friends while we get settled. Why, what are you two doing?” Carrie replied, giving me a scared look.
“If you come back in here again, your welcome won’t be so warm…” George’s eyes moved to the gun above the bar. It appeared he had found his voice again.
We were utterly dumbstruck. These two people who had been on the way to being our good friends not a minute before, were actually threatening us with a gun. Even if the gun didn’t work, I think we’d heed their warning, we obviously weren’t welcome. We paid for our drinks and left, every eye in the pub watching us walk away. We headed back toward our friends house in complete silence until I spoke.
“What in the fuck was that?” I stopped to look at my wife. She looked more sad than angry. “I don’t know. Did we say something? We must have said something offensive.” she said. I could see the tears welling in her eyes. I moved in to hug her. I racked my brain to think of everything that had happened in the pub. It was the house. Something about the house. It could be something petty and silly, but I literally could not think of any reason why this would happen.
When we got back to our friend Tom’s house, we told him what happened. He looked just as shocked as us, which turned to anger.
“Those pieces of shit. Those stupid old shit heads. What the fuck are they doing?” He said as he was pacing around the room.
“I don’t know. I think you might have to do our shopping for us Tommy boy.” I said trying to make light of the situation.
“Peter this isn’t a joke. You were literally going to go and live there without a care in the world before they opened their damn mouths.” Tom was still pacing around the room, back and forth, not looking at us.
For the rest of that night, we discussed matters and decided that we would simply travel an extra 10 minutes when we needed to shop, the next village over was close enough. We drank and tried to forget the disturbing events of the night.
The next day we got up early and moved out to the house. We bid Tom our farewells and told him we would see him later or the next day. Although as we were driving off, a few people were watching us leave on the street, and more from their windows. It was early on a weekend, and I wondered why so many people were awake. We drove in near silence to the house. As we approached, it had a much more ominous, forbidding feel to it. We got out and tried to be as normal as possible. But something was putting me off. I wasn’t enjoying even just being in the house, and I could see Carrie wasn’t either. Frances and George weren’t the only things bothering me. Why did nobody in the pub speak up to us being threatened with death. Why was everybody in the damn village staring us out as we left.
We started to unpack boxes, putting away cutlery and clothes, setting up the TV, and as each piece of furniture was placed down, the house began to look and feel more of a home. Carrie and I weren’t mentioning the events of the day before, and we kept working and working, until the living room, kitchen and our bedroom looked fit for a family. The rest of the house was still a mess. The spare bedroom had wallpaper peeling off, the bathroom had mould on the roof, but these small details could be taken care of fairly easily. We had a handyman coming the next day to try and fix the place up, as well as a man to fix us up to the cable TV and internet.
After a long day of work, me and Carrie sat down and watched a movie in our new home. Something cheery to put the final seal of joy on the house. Carrie fell asleep with her head on my lap. The movie finished and the credits were beginning to roll. I thought that there was no use waking her up just to go sleep in the bedroom, so I began to drift off to sleep. As I felt the tendrils of sleep curling around me, Carrie screamed a blood curdling scream. She kept going and going. I was screaming back trying to get her to stop, but she turned on her back to look into my eyes. Her eyes had rolled into the back of her head and her mouth was wider than I thought possible. I started shaking her to wake her up, she must have been having some sort of nightmare. She suddenly stopped. She looked dead. Her eyes were still rolled back, her mouth open as if she was still screaming.
“CARRIE! CARRIE WAKE UP NOW!” I was seriously panicking. I was shaking her violently. Tears filled my eyes and I got up to phone an ambulance. That was when I remembered that we had no phone connected. I turned back around to grab my mobile.
Carrie was sitting up on the couch. Eyes still white, but replacing her gaping mouth was a terrifying smile. It spread across her whole face. I was crying freely now. I wanted to go to my wife, but I couldn’t move. All at once her eyes came back, the smile disappeared and she fell down to the floor. That was when I ran to her. I managed to shake her awake.
“My head…what are you doing?” She looked fine, but I had to be sure. I took her to the car, still in pyjamas. The nearest hospital was a half hour drive away, so there was no use calling an ambulance. I reversed out of the driveway, but just as I was about to turn on to the country road, I glanced in the rear view mirror. Standing in the living room was a man. Just a man. The lights were off so I couldn’t see his face, only his shape. I looked again to check if I was just seeing things, but there was definitely a man standing in the middle of my god damn living room.
“There’s a man.” I said to Carrie. “In the living room, there is a man standing in the living room”
“What are you talking about?” She turned around to look out of the car, and began screaming, not as before, but a genuine, human scream of fear.
I got out of the car and ran towards the house. I could hear Carrie in the car screaming at me to come back and not leave her there. I kept running to the house to get that bastard. I opened the door and grabbed a hammer that was in the hallway. As I stood outside the living room door, trying to build up my courage, thinking of something to say to this guy, I heard him in there, the floorboards creaking under his slow heavy footsteps.
“Excuse me mate what-” I cut off when I shoved open the door. There was nobody. I turned on the lights and looked around. Behind the couch, under the coffee table, behind the curtain. I looked out to the car where Carrie was, and the man was there. Standing next to her door, looking at her. She was staring at me, with a scared look on her face. She didn’t know he was there. I pounded on the window, screaming at him.
“FUCK OFF! GET AWAY FROM HER!” Carrie just looked at me and held her hand to her ear, signaling that she couldn’t hear me. The man turned and looked at me. His features were still shrouded in blackness, apart from his eyes. The shined in the light of the house as he turned, wide and black. His hand reached out to the car as he turned back to the car. I sprinted outside and over to the car.
Gone. Again, he was just gone. No evidence to suggest that he was ever there. I jumped in the drivers seat and looked at Carrie. She just stared back into my eyes, a smile on her face.
“Carrie, did you see him. He was standing next to the car, where did he go?” She made no move to respond, only gazed. “What is this, is this some weird fucking joke?” I moved my hand to touch her arm.
She moved like a cat and grabbed hold of my wrist, still smiling, still staring. her nails were digging into my hand.
“Don’t touch.” She whispered. “She’s mine.”
I was trying to pull her hand off of me when she suddenly snapped out of it. She let out a gasp as if she’d been living under water and started crying hysterically. I knew this was my wife again. I was crying as well. I had no idea what had just happened to the woman I had spent years of my life with, if it was her. We drove to the hospital, not just for her, but for my wrist. We were out by 3:00 and decided it better to check into a hotel for the night. I was physically and mentally drained. I’d phone the police in the morning.
When we woke up it was around 12:00. We both worked for the same firm and had no need to work in an office, so we just conducted our work from home. We got something to eat and headed to the house. We talked on the way back. Trying to work out what was happening. My wrist was still burning from the deep gouges torn from my flesh. Carrie explained that she remembered looking at me pounding on the living room windows. She felt as if she was being watched, but when she looked out of the window, all she saw was pitch black. The next thing she remembered was waking up with her hand around my wrist, feeling more than terrified.
I phoned the police the second we got home, they came within the hour and searched the area. I was sure they wouldn’t find anything, but I had to call them. Just to assure myself.
The next few weeks went by without a hitch. We stayed with Tommy for a few nights after it happened, although he was hardly there. When we moved back in, we still felt uneasy. Carrie was, understandably, shaken and kept to herself.
That was when we started talking about the future. Children I mean. carrie wanted it to happen straight away, to make a new start and try to put the incident behind us. I was a bit more adamant. I was even thinking of trying to find a new place to live. She convinced me that I was over reacting. Even still, I felt like we should wait a while, just until we were financially secure.
That night in bed, Carrie started to get a bit frisky. We were kissing and she said she was going to get a condom. When she came back it was good. Really good. When I finished she just held me there. We kissed as I lay on top of her, and I felt as if we were back when we started going out. I hadn’t felt passion like that in a long time. After a couple of minutes I got up to go brush my teeth. I felt something hit my foot. The condom had burst.
“Shit, do you have any pills left?” I asked.
“What? No, why?” she looked confused. I pointed down and her face turned to realization.
“Peter, what if this is a sign. I think we should keep it. I mean if I even am, which isn’t likely.” She said comforting me. I thought about it all night. I barely slept. I didn’t feel like we were ready, but she seemed so sure. When I finally did get to sleep, I had decided that it didn’t seem like such a bad idea having a little one running around here.
Carrie fell pregnant. It was a shock, and the chances were so slim, but we were happy. She started to come out of her shell a bit more and was being more of the woman I fell in love with again. We were making plans for the baby, looking for clothes and cribs and prams.
5 months into the pregnancy, we were back at the doctors getting a scan. The doctor said he could finally tell us the sex of the baby. I didn’t want to know, but Carrie did and he told her while I left the room. When I came back in Carrie had a huge smile. I knew she wouldn’t tell me. I looked to the doctor and he looked horrified. He was looking at the scanner and he pushed a button and 2 nurses came running in. The heart monitor was beeping and the 3 were moving Carrie onto her side.
“What’s happening?” I asked running over to the doctor. I caught a glimpse of the screen. It looked as if my baby had a hand, around it’s throat. For the first time i saw my babies eyes. Black and shining, looking at me. I managed to catch a glimpse of my wife’s face before I passed out. She was looking at me as well, smiling.
The month our baby was supposed to be born. I walked around the house, stopping in our would be daughter’s room. I still couldn’t bear to get rid of all of the things we had bought. Carrie was doing a bit better than me. She comforts me every night. I gazed at her stomach and just thought, imagined what she would have looked like. I was proud of her for moving on, but I wish she had shared my feelings. I wish she had understood.
One December night, we were doing the same thing we had done the first night we had gone to the house. We were cuddled on the couch, watching a movie. I was forgetting my woes for a night. The movie ended and we were heading to bed. I climbed under the covers while Carrie brushed her teeth. I lay down my head and began to drift off, then I heard a noise from the bathroom.
“Carrie?” I called. No reply. “I’m coming in are you decent?” I walked to the bathroom.
Carrie was on the floor, writhing, tears streaming down her cheeks.
“Whats wrong? Carrie tell me what’s happening, are you ok?” I knelt down next to her.
She looked up at me through her teary eyes.
“Peter, he’s here. You have to let me out. It’s him. All him.” She struggled to say.
“What?” I was crying as well, I didn’t understand. What was she saying to me? Was it the man again?
“Peter please, you have to get out, it’s not me.” She whispered before suddenly becoming still. Her eyes were closed, the tears still staining her face. Then her eyes opened. They were dark. Like the eyes of the man, the eyes I saw on the sonogram. I ran. I left my wife on the floor. I ran for the car, grabbing my jacket on the way. I sat in the car for a moment, and thought over what had just happened. Before I could get my head together, i saw her. Standing in the middle of the living room. She was watching me. I had to go.
As I drove along the road toward the village, I had to think of what my plan was. Tom had stopped talking to us. I don’t know why. I was sure Frances and George still wouldn’t welcome us. It was late and Tom was the person I kept coming back to. I drove for his house. I banged on the door constantly until he opened. His eyes went wide when he saw me standing there in a t-shirt and boxers.
“Pete, wha…what are you doing here?” he said, rubbing his eyes.
“Tom something happened to Carrie, could I come in?”
He looked at me hesitantly.
“Look man, it’s late, I’ve got to be up early, couldn-” I interrupted him as I shoved past. “No don’t come in here, not yet.”
Tom’s place was a mess. There was paper lying everywhere. As well as pictures of me. Me and Carrie together. Next to old pictures of other couples. Newspaper clippings, old files, tape recordings. I turned to look at Tom, he was standing at the door, looking down, avoiding my gaze.
“I like you two. We go back a long time. I couldn’t let it happen to you.” He still wasn’t looking at me.
“Tell me what this is.” I was angry. Why did Tom have these pictures? What was all this stuff? We sat down and Tom explained.
The farmhouse. It went back over a hundred years. He moved out here after hearing about the farm from brother of the man who lived there before. They were friends from school. Tom told me that when the farm was built, it was just a farmer and his wife who lived there. His wife was barren, and he had no other relatives to take over the farm once he was gone. He tried and tried to get his wife pregnant, but it was no use. He started to deteriorate. It started with him forgetting to feed the animals, and plough the fields. After time the animals died, the crops soon followed. The farmer started to find other women to bring home. He wanted his son, and would do anything to get one. His wife was faring no better, she had began to lose herself in jealousy and rage. Eventually the farmer got a woman pregnant. She wanted to go home and raise it with her parents, but the farmer wouldn’t let her leave. She was locked in a room for the entire pregnancy. The farmer barely left her side, and forgot about his wife. His wife became more and more enraged with each passing day. When the baby was born, the farmer killed the mother, claiming that he only cared about his own wife, but she couldn’t handle the presence of the bastard gift that she could never give him.
She killed the baby. She suffocated it, while the farmer slept next to her. When he woke to find the baby dead, he blamed his wife. His wife died at the stake. He watched her burn at the back of the farmhouse, then died himself of starvation.
Since then, every family that has stayed there had had a miscarriage, which drove the wife insane. Every single person that lived in that house had died there. The villagers didn’t want the world knowing about this ‘curse’, to avoid bad press, so it was kept strictly within the local community.
I was utterly dumbstruck. This sounded insane, it couldn’t be true.
“Tom…if you knew about all of this, why did you tell us about the house, you told us to live here.” I had to know why my friend had doomed me and my wife.
“I had to try to stop it. When James’ brother died there, he was distraught. He knew I could find out about the house, and I thought if you two lived there, I could stop it.” He went back to looking at the floor. “I was there. The night you two moved there. I saw him Pete. I was in the field, opposite. He went into Carrie, I saw him go into her, and she-…he looked at me. That was when i got the fuck out of there.” He was visibly shaken regaling that. Yet he continued. “You two turned up at my door when you came back, and I asked her. I asked if it was her or him, and her eyes. Fuck Pete, her eyes were black. She just looked at me, and I knew. I wanted to tell you, but knew I’d be dead if I tried.” His eyes were glistening. I was sure that he wasn’t lying. He saw the man. I hadn’t told him that when we came to his house.
That was when it all fit together. The condom, Carrie had burst it. She went to get it from the bathroom and made a deliberate hole in it, hoping to get pregnant. The hand on the sonogram, it was him. Carrie’s smile as our baby died. The way she had been throughout the last few months. Not quite herself. “Peter, he’s here. You have to let me out. It’s him. All him.” That was what she said. She was in there, but couldn’t do anything. It was the farmer. He had been doing it for years. Taking children to find his heir. To a fucking farm.
“Tom, tell me what to do. Please, Carrie is there, she’s back the-” I was interrupted by a knocking on the door. Slow and deliberate. I looked at Tom’s face, filled with terror, then to the front door. I knew she was there. I stood up and walked to the front door.
“Don’t. Peter, don’t. You know it’s him.” Tom said, exasperated. I ignored him and looked out the window.
She was there.
She was looking at me again. That smile with those eyes. She lifted her hand to her face, and dug her nails into the soft flesh of her cheek. Horrified I went for the door. Tom jumped on me before I could.
“You dick don’t you understand, thats my wife. She’s fucking tearing her face off!” I screamed at him. He tried to hold me down, but it was useless. I felt a sudden burst of rage. He is trying to stop me saving my wife. I punched him. His nose began gushing blood. Through his burst mouth, he was trying to say something to me. I made out “wife”, but I didn’t stop long enough to let him finish. I kept pounding and pounding, but my rage didn’t subside. He had always been in love with her, I know he had. The way he looked at her. He wanted my wife for himself, that was what he was trying to tell me, I knew it was. I kept going until his face was a bloody wreck, my hands felt like they were like to explode. There was blood all over the walls, and Tom was most definitely dead. Yet my rage burned no lower.
I stood and looked around. I was going to do something, but couldn’t remember what. Then the door was pounded again. I walked over, passing a mirror. I stared long and hard at my face. I hadn’t looked at myself in a long time. I looked horrible. Blood spattered across my face, but I smiled. The light was shining right into my eyes, but still they were black. The wife.