I just love s’mores, don’t you? Anyway, back to the story.
Tammy was surprised to see Jonathan’s car in the drive when she returned from her library trip. Rushing in the house to share her discovery, she was stunned to see Jonathan kneeling in their bedroom, ripping up the carpet. “What are you doing?” She yelled, dropping her purse in the doorway.
“I hate this carpet. The old carpet was much better.”
“Old carpet?” Tammy asked, confused. “Honey, this is the carpet that came with the house.”
“No. It isn’t” Jonathan snapped. I hate it. Get it out of my house.”
“Okay.” Tammy was dazed. Jonathan never acted like that. She would have been surprised if he even knew what color the carpet was. But, after helping him haul the roll of carpet out to the curb, he did seem to calm down. It wasn’t until a few days later when Tammy noticed Jonathan rubbing a rust colored spot on their-now bare-floor that she remembered to tell him what she’d learned at the library.
“So, I’m not crazy. I really want to move.” She finished.
“This is my house.” Jonathan snarled. “I’m not leaving. You can’t make me.”
“Jon,” Tammy sighed. “I know you love this place. I’m just talking about moving across town. I’m really uncomfortable here.”
“NO!” Tammy stared in shock at the butcher knife sticking out of the wall, inches from her head. Jonathan had never been violent, but looking into the eyes of the man in front of her, a cold chill ran down her spine. That wasn’t Jonathan. He looked the same, except for his eyes. Jonathan’s green eyes were gone. The eyes glaring back at her were brown, and so dark they were almost black.
“Okay. Forget I brought it up.” Jonathan relaxed as soon as the words left her mouth. But Tammy was still terrified. She knew something wasn’t right. And then the dreams started. Jonathan woke up confused and disoriented almost every night. He would scream about bodies in the walls, something under the floor that was out to get him, and he would threaten to kill Tammy if she tried to take him from the house.
It wasn’t long before Jonathan lost his job. He’d simply quit going to work. He spent his days pacing up and down the halls, stopping to talk to people who weren’t there. Tammy was devastated, but she didn’t know what to do. Every time she tried to help him, he threatened her. And more than once he became violent when she suggested that they leave, even for the weekend.
Too afraid to stay home all day with her husband, Tammy started spending more and more time in the library archives. The murders at her home were constantly on her mind. The most detailed information she could find was about the brothers who’d rented the house before she and Jonathan bought it. Just out of college, they moved to town in hopes of starting a business together. By all accounts, they got along well. But then there were police reports. Apparently, the older of the brothers became violent. The reports called him “mentally unstable.” He often didn’t know where he was, and didn’t recognize his own brother. When their bodies were found, the older brother was in the living room, both of his wrists slashed. The younger brother was in one of the bedrooms, multiple stab wounds covering his torso.
Of the family that had been there before them, Tammy found less information. Only that the family had been well thought of, the son a model student. His father was even up for a promotion at work, which would let them move to the city. Both parents were found, stabbed to death in bed. The son was rocking back and forth in a corner, chanting “Don’t sell the house.” He died, Tammy discovered, a little over a year ago in a hospital for the criminally insane.
Don’t sell the house. The phrase bounced around in Tammy’s brain. What was it with that house? Jonathan seemed obsessed with it as well. Tammy knew she had to dig further. To her surprise, there wasn’t much to find. The first family to have lived in her house were the ones who had been murdered. They’d had the house built. Just when she was about to give up, a footnote caught her eye. The house had been built on the same spot where another had burned down, several yeas before.
It didn’t take long for Tammy to find the story. The house that had once stood on her land was called the McCarthy house. Apparently, it had been in the same family for generations, and was a great source of pride. But, as sometimes happens, the house fell into the possession of a McCarthy with few good traits. A gambler and the town drunk, he soon found himself in danger of losing the family home. The night before he was supposed to be evicted, the house burned to the ground, owner still inside.
The last three homeowners had met violent ends. Tammy’s mind reeled. She knew she had to get out, with or without Jonathan. After making a frantic call to her sister, she rushed home to pack her bags.
After three days and no word from Tammy, her sister called the police. When they arrived, they found Jonathan in his recliner, multiple stab wounds to his chest. On the coffee table there was a message written in blood. She wanted to leave us. We couldn’t let that happen.
After Jonathan’s funeral, the house was torn down. The land has sat empty for years. But I heard last month that someone bought the hand and is building an apartment complex. Tammy- or her body- was never found.
So, who wants a Pumpkin Latte?
By Keshia Swaim