CW: Gore, blood.
I stare out the window of the car, watching the calm autumn scenery pass by. My girlfriend wriggles in excitement next to me, as we get closer to the house. I look at her, obviously confused.
"I thought we were going to find and rent an apartment, not a..." Pausing to glance at the medium sized, quaint cottage. "...House."
Moxie giggles in delight, "I wanted to surprise you! I just recently got a raise and I thought that we could up our standards to something BIGGER!" she makes jazz hands at the house as the driver pulls up to it.
"Well, you succeeded. I am completely BAFFLED on how you think this is a good idea." I mutter and her smile falters. At that moment, I regret saying anything at all.
"I know you made a promise to my father that we'll have a small apartment and a sweet, simple life. But Tac, you know I can't do that. I need action! Adventure, even!" she makes her famous determined look with a grin that looks unbeatable. My face softens, "I'm willing to give it a shot. But remember, I'm doing this for your sake." Moxie squeals and hugs me tightly as I squirm in her warm embrace. The driver looks in the rearview mirror at us,
"I'd hate to interrupt the lovefest, but the tour waits for no one."
Moxie unravels her arms from my torso, and we exit the vehicle. Standing in awe, we gawk at the cozy cottage-like house that might soon be ours. The guide, formerly the driver, somehow appeared in front of us, holding the door open. I haven't known him as long as Moxie had, since he's a family-friend of hers. But she talks about him all the time! What was his name again? My thoughts are interrupted when I realize he is leaving us behind.
"Come in, and we'll start the Grand Tour." Moxie beams and practically skips merrily in while I quietly follow her from behind. "Sir?" I call out to the guide and he half spins around to face me. He taps on his name badge.
"O-oh um... Nilson? Is this house fully furnished-" Nilson cuts me off by putting his gloved hand over my lips and nodding his head.
"It's fully furnished." I whip my head around to look at Moxie and she smiles sheepishly.
"Okay so I may have been feeling bolder when I asked for the tour."
She notices my flabbergasted expression and waves her hands around vigorously. "B-but we could always swap out the furniture! Right??" Moxie looks to Nilson for help. "Of course. You don't have to pay for the furniture by swapping it out."
Continuing on, we've explored the master bedroom, the guest bedroom, the two bathrooms, the attic library, the den, the kitchen, the backyard (which Moxie wanted to turn into a garden), the porch/patio and front yard. I thought everything was looking great, until we got to the underground cellar.
The basement was, less as cozy as the library attic was. Covered with dust, and thick with cobwebs. A variety of alcohol bottles on the shelves from the last owner. I could visibly see Moxie cringe at the sight. She HATES alcohol because of what happened to her mother... I'm snapped out of my daze when Nilson continues talking.
"I apologize for the mess down here. The previous owners had left in a hurry and didn't clean up..." Nilson's voice trails off and gently pushes back up the stairs.
"I'll give you two some time to work out whether or not that you'd want to buy the house, or at least rent it." He sounded desperate, glancing nervously over his shoulder at the basement door.
"Let...me...out!" A soft voice called out from within the cellar, and I recoil.
"Is there someone in there?" I ask and Nilson shakes his head, eyes as big as saucers. "No. You just have noisy neighbors. I'll go deal with them right away." Moxie's face breaks out into an adventurous look. "I want to see. Maybe there are some paranormal secrets down there!" She exclaims, shoving past Nilson and starts going back down the stairs. Nilson's eyes narrow dangerously at her and I pull Moxie back. Nilson slams the cellar door shut, which Moxie's hand almost got taken off.
"I SAID...I'll go check it out. Alone." Nilson sneers at Moxie, and she hunches over, probably feeling ashamed of herself for making him angry. I hug her from behind and she turns around, burying her face in my chest. I could feel Moxie's salty tears plop down onto my pale indigo sweater.
We were forced into the den, and Moxie collapses onto the sofa. All of the excitement must've worn her out. She's already fast asleep. I sit next to her, wrapping my arm around Moxie's shoulder, letting her head lay on my chest.
"I can get used to this." I whisper to nobody in particular.
Little did I know that somebody was eavesdropping on me.
"Huh? Who's there?" I scan the room and Nilson reappears in the corridor.
"Talking to yourself?"
"I just startled myself."
His eyes soften, "Sorry if I caused any alarm. Have you and your lover made a decision yet?"
Looking back at Moxie, she seemed so at home here. I nod, "We'll take it."
He brightens, slamming a stack of papers on a nearby table. "Great! Sign these papers, and the house is yours to keep."
I groan but knowing that Moxie will be happy, it'll be worth it. "Catch." Nilson throws the house keys at me, and I catch them.
"Thanks for everything." I say, bowing my head a bit and he grins.
"No problem. It has been an absolute pleasure meeting you. Ciao!" He takes all the signed papers and swiftly makes an exit.
I heave out a sigh, "I guess this is the life we'll be living from now on." I turn to go wake up Moxie, but I stopped in my tracks.
There was a translucent figure standing in the doorway, staring at me.
"I am not Neil."
The figure's voice was softer and higher pitched than Nilson's low and intelligent voice. I was about to run to Moxie, but the iridescent stranger grabs my wrist and I wince.
"Who're you?!" I was able to get a good look at her.
No pigment, long silky white hair, light icy blue eyes, wearing a gothic styled dress and hat that looks like it'd be from the Victorian era. She has blood over the black ruffled dress, and her joints seemed to be floating, like they were dislocated from the body, yet it was still connected in a way.
She tilts her head to the side, showing that her head was ripped, slitted all the way around it at the neck. "Your new roommate, Gwenore."
I faint, falling backwards and hitting the hard wood floor with a loud THUMP. Everything went black and the last thing I heard was Gwenore whispering in my ear,
"I'll take good care of you."
I woke with a start, but then I relax when I see Moxie and Gwenore talking to each other and laughing like good friends.
"Mox? What's going on? Who's she?" Gwenore turns to me,
"Remember Nilson? Well, he is the reason why I'm here. He killed me. He did it because I took his spotlight away from him." She explains vaguely.
My brain stops working, and I gape at her while my mind clings onto the smallest detail. "Spotlight?" I inquire.
"I was a famous actor when I was alive. He had a petty rivalry against me because I supposedly stole the limelight from him. He was SO desperate to take my place that he started doing extreme stunts so the media would focus on him. That was going well for a little while until he hit rock bottom from not being able to pay the bank back, instantly becoming bankrupt. Nilson had an entire crisis, and eventually snapped. He basically went insane because if he wasn't famous, what was he? Nilson had attempted murdering me but got caught. He went to prison, earned an ally in jail, escaped and disguised himself as a reclusive, yet famously known writer that I was going to meet. His cronies kidnapped the original writer, and the fake (Aka Nilson) poisoned me. The media says I died of food poisoning or unknown causes. He got away with it, and the writer was sworn to secrecy." She tells her sad story of tears and woes, like a dramatic narrator at plays.
The pieces started to connect, and the cogs started to turn in my head. "But wait, how long ago did he kill you?"
"A two decades ago." She answers bluntly.
"Oh! So, it was more recent."
"Yes. I have a question for both of you."
Me and Moxie stare at Gwenore with curious intent.
"Could both of you help me take revenge on Nilson?"
"Yes of course!" Moxie exclaims.
I get up and guide Moxie away from Gwenore. "Excuse us for a moment. WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING? WE CAN'T TRUST HER! She's a GHOST, for God's sake!"
Moxie crossed her arms, puffing out her cheeks. "If you were killed and turned into a ghost, I'd take revenge for you. You'd do that for me too, right?"
"Yes, but that's different. She's a complete stranger! This could all be a trick, some sort of elaborate prank pulled by Nilson. I didn't really like that guy anyways. He was acting very suspicious."
"Tac, Gwen is literally FLOATING. Explain how that could be a hoax. Go on, I'm waiting."
I roll my eyes. "Fine. We'll help her. I won't promise that it'll be easy though."
"Who said that it would easy? It definitely won't be."
"I guess we'll just have to see, won't we?"
To be continued...