Legacy – 6

6

He got up, dressed, and found himself walking through the night. The next thing he knew, he stood before the house at the end of Peach Tree road. He had seen it in the news, but never with his own eyes. To see it sent a shiver down his spine.

Crime scenes were nothing new, he had seen many murders and suicides. He liked to say that one never really got used to such sights, but that it was possible to acknowledge the awful truth without being motivated to blow grits.

These places, after a time, impressed a strange quality on him that was difficult to describe. It wasn’t something that could be seen, but more like something that was seen through. An invisible haze hung over these places, coloring everything sinister. Some were worse than others, as if this miasma were thicker around them. But the house blew them all away.

It should have been an nice old house. It was run down, but that alone should have made little difference. In a sense, it just didn’t “feel” like a house, but like a house that had been made into something else. Secrets stared down from the windows, warning all to mind their business. He wondered if the suffering, the pain, the fear, and the rage that happened here could have somehow seeped into the structure, poisoning the ground and air.

There were no cars around, the investigation had moved on. With Ballard in charge, however, it was impossible to be certain that everything had been taken into account. Even though his legs felt like lead as he took each step, he tore down the police tape and jimmied the door.

The feeling was even worse inside. His heartbeats felt labored, his skull rang with a headache. The rooms felt huge and vacuous, as if they were trying to pull him inside out. Making his way slowly through the first floor, there was still more of the oppressive atmosphere, it grew deeper and darker, until the blackness he felt the night of the murder returned. He thought he would collapse, that he would fall to the ground and die here as so many others had before.

But something seemed to leave him and, with it, the darkness granted mercy and was gone. Was it warning him to leave, demanding that he go? Or was it daring him to press on?

The stairs to the second floor loomed impossibly tall, but he mounted them, each groaning softly beneath his feet. Somehow he knew that the bedroom at the far end of the hall was where the old man met his demise. He expected something, anything to happen, good or bad, he no longer had a preference for either kind.

But there was nothing. He saw nothing and felt nothing. There was nothing at all.

Suddenly, he didn’t care anymore. He almost even laughed aloud. That such a beast should find an end here bothered him not in the least. He was ready to go when he heard something above him, soft steps on the attic floor.

final part

Joe Stanley

Story by Joe Stanley