Chapter 2

Written by: Sarah Kaye

‘I wonder what happened after Mrs. Whitaker died,’ Gretchen pondered out loud.

 

Matt was driving to their small apartment ten miles away.

 

‘I don't really know,’ he replied.

 

He had heard there was some dispute over the inheritance between Gran Whitaker's legal heir and a relative from Kansas so the house had remained empty. Every so often stories circulated that people spotted someone living there, their shadows appearing then disappearing. There was speculation that the far away relative had broken in but no-one had the courage to investigate. Then Gran Whitaker’s half-brother moved in.

 

‘He died of a heart attack soon after,’ Matt explained then shrugged. ‘At least that’s what I heard,’ he added.

 

Gretchen gave a thoughtful ‘hmm’ then wondered out loud if it had been for sale since then. Matt accelerated to pass a car.

 

‘I gather most people think it’s too big.’ He shot her a tight smile. ‘This is our luck, right.’

 

Gretchen nodded. She wanted to talk about the incident at the house but she hesitated. Matt was driving on the fast lane and she didn’t want to distract him. Everybody thought she had fainted due to her condition and Matt was so enthusiastic about it, speaking of how he had dreamed of living in this house since Mrs. Whitaker’s death. It seemed futile to interfere with his childhood dream. Besides, Gretchen did not have much of an argument apart from the shivering that seized her in the kitchen where the big and ancient wood stove stood.

 

They had been house hunting for one year now, looking carefully for a place that was situated closer to work, a midtown drugstore in Austin for Matt and for her, a large department store slightly outside of downtown.

 

Big houses were scarce and expensive, this one for some reason was reasonable. Besides, she was not going to argue about such an insignificant event. ‘It was just a matter of getting used to a new place,’ she thought when they reached home.

 

Some days passed before they received an email from Jen saying that their offer had been accepted by the deceased half brother’s grandson.

 

When they moved in one rainy afternoon the house had a strange, musty smell that Gretchen recognised but could not quite place. The baby was kicking a lot giving Gretchen back ache and making it impossible for her to help Matt as she would have liked to.

 

They intended to hire a cleaner but in the meantime, she would do what she could. She decided to clean the large baby cradle in the garage. Restoring antiques was something she enjoyed doing. She left the house and walked down the short path to the garage. The door slammed behind her. She jumped. As she lifted the creaking garage door she laughed at herself for being so soft. Her heart thudded as she turned on the light to make sure she was seeing right. She blinked. The baby cradle was not there anymore.     

Sarah Kaye (France)

Comments

It's nearly impossible to tell that English is a second language for you, Sarah. And you've brought the "creep" factor back in nicely. Lots of ways to go with this. Great stuff.
Very nice read. Whether it creeps along or turns into a nice slice of life, you have stregnthened the platform for other writers to expand the story. We now have background to the main characters and picking up the thread on the baby cradle and giving clues on the previous owners really gives a good lead in for the next chapter. For a new writer here, jumping in at the deep end is a great example for others to follow. Look forward to reading you again.
I enjoyed the way chapter one moved from a haunting to a heart warmer. And now a hint of the haunting has returned in your chapter. The suspense is building, well done.
Believe it or not, I didn't even realize the genre was "horror story"! We can now move from house hunting towards house haunting or haunting love ... Thanks for your feedbacks ! SK
Thats the fun about the serial. As long as each writer follows a thread and makes sense.