Contemporary Horror Suspense

Bert’s fat lips wobbled as he skimmed over the embossed font scrawled across the crisp parchment. Each letter was a rusty brown in color, the ink swirling, curly. The young man mouthed every word as he deciphered it. He could not believe his luck; from what he had been able to determine thus far Bert’s Great Uncle Donaldson had mysteriously disappeared, presumed deceased. Bert had not known of this strange benefactor, knew nothing of the man’s existence. In fact Bert had always thought his mother and father both to be only children. The over told story had been that a lonely childhood happened to be the shared experience which had brought his mum and dad together. Bert could not determine from the black and white pictogram that had accompanied the parchment whether the elder staring back at him looked more like a McGee or a Bartlett. In the whole scheme of things it mattered little to the will and less to Bert. The letter sent from that big law firm in the middle of the city contained no evidence to sway Bert’s thinking one way or another to where this Great Uncle sat within the branches of the family tree. It merely stated a ridiculous sum of inheritance and the simple way in which Bert had to claim it. All he had to do was travel to Great Uncle Donaldson’s home.

“You are Robert Johnathan McGee? Born seventh of February nineteen ninety?” asked the black suit, white shirt and black tie.

The trip from Winchester to Berlin had been twenty two hours by trains and Bert could muster up little more than a slow nod.

“Sir please verbalize your response for the purpose of capture and official recording,” demanded the lawyer, frowning.

“Yes, my birth name is Robert Johnathan McGee…” sighed Bert in reply. “My mother is Sasha Anna Violet McGee hyphen Bartlett, my father is Grant Johnathan McGee…”

“Date of birth?” inquired the lawyer, dryly.

“I was getting to that,” Bert snapped.

The lawyer’s poker face remained intact.

“Date of birth?”

“February seventh, nineteen ninety, I’m an Aquarius…”

To this the lawyer merely grunted, disinterested.

“Robert Johnathan McGee, born seventh of February nineteen ninety you are the sole benefactor of the will of Dan Daniel Donaldson. You have been entrusted with his museum of oddities and a bank account holding five million euro.”

“This old place is now mine?” asked Bert, wonder tinged with a slight amount of disgust.

The painting Bert had witnessed in the parlor when he initially stepped through the oaken front door was of a figure that was half woman and half lion. The eyes on the otherwise pretty face had been disturbing, too close together to be natural. As Bert had worked his way through the front room, library and smoking room and then into the sun room where he had found the suit Bert had been confronted by more unusual works of art. There had been statues of large aquatics which had no right to be real, constellations not of this galaxy and other seemingly normal pieces until they were given a greater scrutiny. Bert had a headache after only a half hour in his Great Uncle’s home. The lawyer seemed oblivious to the abnormalities.

“There is a catch,” murmured the suit, his thin lips suddenly becoming somewhat thinner.

“There always is,” sighed Bert.

“Your Great Uncle has stipulated that you must spend a whole twenty four hours within the museum else ownership of the property and the account is to be written over to the Foundation of Stars, Bells and Darkness…”

“The Foundation of who, what and where?” snapped Bert, irritation obvious as his headache began to increase its intensity.

“It is a local secret society it seems, similar to the Masons and such… Your Great Uncle was a member, or so I assume,” explained the lawyer.

“I guess it matters little who they are and what they do if I can stay here overnight,” suggested Bert.

The lawyer shrugged.

“It specifically states that you are to arrive on the date prior to your twenty first birthday and remain here from seven in the evening until the same time on the day of your birth,” the lawyer continued to explain.

“So I cannot just stay here tonight and be done with it?” Bert asked, annoyed.


“I need to return next week?”


“Cancel my plans for my twenty first birthday and invite all of my friends here?”

“Sir, it stipulates clearly that you must spend the twenty four hours alone,” the lawyer explained, slowly.

"I'm expected to spend my twenty first birthday alone?" asked Bert, gobsmacked. "Ordered by a dead man?"


“And how did he know he would die before I had turned twenty one?” asked Bert as the specifics of the stipulation suddenly dawned on him.

The lawyer simply shrugged again.

“My firm did not write the rules, we simply uphold them.”

“Fine, I guess it is settled then,” grumbled Bert.

The seventh of February nineteen ninety was a cold day. The sky overcast and threatening showers. As Great Uncle Donaldson’s old house came into view Bert again recalled the oddities and felt already his head begin to pound. The windows were covered in a thick blanket of dust, the roof looked ready to collapse at any second and there was an odd fog that swirled about, no obvious source for it, it seemed to just be there. Bert considered just how much of the money that his Great Uncle had left him would need to be wasted on repairs and considered turning his hire car around. He wondered if it was too late to tell everyone the party was back on. Five million was a lot to turn one’s back on though. The first sound Bert heard as he killed the rumble of the Mustang was the constant squeal of the front door, a rhythmic squeak slow and harsh on the ears. "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeekkkkkkkkkkk, eeeeeerrrrrrrrrrkkkkkkkkkkk... Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeekkkkkkkkkkkk, eeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrkkkkkkkkkk..." went the door until Bert made it up the stone steps and gave the oak a harsh kick. The hinges gave way with a resounding "BOOOOOM!!!" as the door fell into the parlor. As the violin like wail from the door ceased Bert could hear what sounded like weeping.

"Heeee... lllllll...." came the sound, almost a cry seeking a strong young man's assistance before it petered out unfinished.

"Hello?" called Bert. "Do you need help?"

"Heeee... lllllllllllll...." came the faint sound again.

From the parlor Bert followed the faint cry to first the kitchen, then a string of bedrooms and finally to the sun room which was in disarray. There in the corner was a hunched over woman dressed in black. Black skirt, black shirt, black shawl, black stockings with black shoes. The style of dress was very outdated, something that even Bert noticed straight away. The lady was facing the wall, searching the blank surface for a secret treasure. Her bonnet was up, over her head making the figure so easy to miss in the light of Bert's dolphin torch.

"Um... Ma'am..?" asked Bert, cautiously. "Did you call out?"

Soundlessly the figure turned around. Bert gasped. The figure had the wispy hair, the wrinkles of age, but where there should have been watery grey eyes, a misshaped nose, thin, lifeless lips almost bloodless in color, there was nothing. Bert tried to step back out the room, to turn away from this strange scene that affronted him. The missing facial features appeared out of the blank wall where the faceless lady searched in vain. A well-formed pair of eyes, eyebrows, nose with nostrils inflamed, a thin lipped mouth turned up in a sneer, all present in the whitewash of the sun room wall. Bert noted with an odd amount of clarity that the face was similar to that of the lion lady painted in the parlor.

"You didn't listen, boy..." stated the face on the wall, the voice ancient, cracked like it were the house itself that spoke. As the words came the features of the face moved like an agitated serpent, slithering quickly to stare from below Bert, capturing his eyes somehow with an orbless stare.

"Now you get to stay with us..." the mouth stated.

"I... I don't understand..." Bert stammered.

"You can NEVER leave..." stated the face, just as fifty other features morphed onto the wall to join it.

Bert felt his face and suddenly found his lips were gone. In silent panic he felt for his nose. As he suddenly struggled to take in air the sight from one eye vanished. His world went dark as he felt the old woman grasp him in a comforting embrace. As Bert's lungs began to burn like fire, his body needing the oxygen he would never taste again, the young fool heard as a chorus of lost souls again spoke those chilling words...

"You can NEVER leave..."

December 18, 2020 02:08

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Pika Okoye
16:51 Jun 21, 2021

Woah.......awesome story, so interesting. Well I had guessed something annoying for the character regarding the inheritance by it's title............and the way you decided it, really liked it. Another thing about the mysterious character of the lawyer........seems like he knows a lot about the happenings there. All together super satisfying piece, perfect combination of mystery, thrill and the natural way of designing the storyline.👍 Would you like to read my stories? :)


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Estelle Westley
06:12 Dec 22, 2020

Your style is easy to read and your story great. I really enjoyed it.


Tim Law
04:21 Dec 23, 2020

Thanks so much Estelle. I am so glad you enjoyed my story. If you get the chance please read some of my others too.


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