What Lies Buried Must Always be Found

Submitted into Contest #85 in response to: Write a story that takes place in the same building but in two very different time periods.... view prompt

2 comments

Suspense Thriller Mystery

1949:

The sky was completely dark due to the large and menacing clouds that had rolled in, blocking the sun and refusing to let even the slightest ray of light seep through. Every so often, a sudden and distant flash would illuminate the solemn obscurity, emitting a thrilling crackling noise, sometimes accompanied by a loud and thunderous grumble that emerged from below. Though the storm was not yet near, a strong wind swayed the trees back and forth as a fierce and heavy rain beat down from above, drenching everything within the small rural village. 

Except for the rare and unfortunate individual caught returning from work, most of the town-inhabitants remained sheltered and dry from the outdoors within their warm and pleasant homes.


In a rather small house by the outskirts of town, a tall, dark-haired man paced back and forth recklessly across the wooden floor of his home. 

Every so often, an irritating creak would emerge from the loose boards under his feet which only aggravated his already provoked temper. The man was full of anger and grief, his fists remaining clenched and stuffed deeply into his coat pockets. 

As he lifted his head, he eyed a barely visible dent in the wall that had been earlier created by his own hand and frowned, instinctively inspecting the small bruise forming on his knuckle. Though his emotions were increasingly overwhelming, he remained patient until the perpetrator returned. He felt there was no use in further harming himself, for he was not in the wrong nor was he the one who should be punished. 

With a heavy sigh, he replaced the injured hand into his pocket and continued his incessant pacing, awaiting the return of the offender.


It wasn’t long before a cloaked figure approached the house at a rapid pace. 

The man inside soon caught sight of this through the window and felt his fist immediately clench, his jaw tightening slightly. 

In any other circumstance, he might have thought it comical, the way that the figure swayed back and forth outdoors, being attacked by the strong and heavy rain, but he was in no such mood. 

When the figure entered the house, it wasted no time in removing it’s heavy coat and hat, placing them to dry on the hooks. The man who emerged from the bundle, blond and significantly shorter than the other, then removed his soaked boots, leaving them neatly in the entrance and blew into his hands, trying to warm them as he rubbed them rapidly together for a few seconds. 

He then let out a heavy cough, oblivious to the man standing behind him, and made his way to the crackling fire where he could dry off, crouching in front of the lively flames. 

The taller man then approached the younger cautiously, stopping and leaning against the door frame before clearing his throat. 

The shorter immediately spun around in surprise before letting out a breath of relief.

“Daniel,” he greeted upon recognizing his brother’s face. 

The other only nodded in acknowledgement, forcing himself to remain calm.  

“What are you doing back so early?” Asked the blond, standing up to his full height before making his way past his brother and to the kitchen. 

“I got the day off.” Lied the other in response with gritted teeth. 

“Really?” Inquired the blond, sceptical but without any further questions.

He reached the unkempt wooden stove and placed a rusting kettle on its surface.

“Want a cup of tea?” He asked over his shoulder.

Daniel refused, never having been fond of the drink nor in the mood for such a thing.

The two remained silent for a long while as the water began to heat up, both left to their separate thoughts as the storm grew nearer outside. 

Daniel eventually decided to speak up.

“How was work, Luke?” He asked though he wasn’t at all interested, rather hoping to use the topic as a lead on to another. 

The blond shrugged, leaning against the wooden kitchen table in the corner of the room. “Normal, I suppose. Jennings’ wife is now expecting their fourth.” He offered nonchalantly. 

Daniel nodded impassively, proceeding to steer the conversation towards the matter which he had originally intended to bring up.

“I spoke to Emily earlier,” he began without adding more, watching the other’s face closely, waiting for any sign of emotion whatsoever. 

The blond seemed indifferent, only shrugging. “And?”

Daniel pursed his lips. “We aren’t seeing each other anymore.”

He sensed that the other felt rather relieved, but could not be completely certain. 

“I’m sorry to hear that, brother.” Replied the shorter man.

Liar, thought Daniel to himself.

There were a few more moments of silence as the two waited rather uncomfortably for the other to speak up.

“Weather’s pretty bad,” commented the blond “heard the storm came from down South.”

Daniel scowled. He knew that his brother was trying to deter from the original topic.

“Is something wrong?” Asked Luke, noticing the other’s rather unpleasant expression. 

Daniel opened his mouth to reply but was instantly cut off by the high-pitch whistling that came from the kettle as steam emerged rapidly from its spout. 

Luke turned back to the stove and poured some water from the pot into a small white cup before making his way back to the fireplace, leaving his brother behind.

“I know you kissed her!” Called Daniel suddenly, unable to avoid the topic any longer. 

The blond stopped immediately in his steps and slowly turned to face the other who remained in the kitchen, an eyebrow raised as if confused.

“You know what I’m talking about, Luke,” he proceeded “I saw you two, you and Emily, the other evening at the pub.” He clarified, struggling to get the sentence out. 

A loud grumble suddenly shook the house as a loud crackling was heard above, the sky lighting up in a riveting manner.  

Daniel could feel his heart pounding against his chest and his fists clenched at his sides as the hairs on the back of his neck stood up, startled by the booming outside.

“You must have been mistaken,” replied Luke in a calm manner “I would never do such a thing. Especially to you, brother.” He added, continuing his way back to the fire.

“I saw you!” Cried Daniel as the fury rose within him. “I saw both of you, and Jimmy did too!” He added, recalling the strange remarks his friend had made after they had left the pub.

Luke only shrugged with a sigh, unable to fabricate any further excuses. 

“I was only being polite.” He explained without many signs of sincerity.

“You Basta-”

“She’s the one who asked me in the first place!” Defended Luke with a sneer, “Said you weren’t a good man for her,” he added as he bent down by the fire to adjust a log, “ ‘bit too soft for her liking…” He trailed off with an irritating chuckle. 

Daniel was infuriated, his head pounding aguishly as the thunderous booms from the earth increased, the laugh of his brother, the traitor, ringing incessantly in his ears.

The picture of his former-lover abandoning him reemerged vividly in his troubled mind and unable to bear such pain, he took the fire poker that was lent on the wall and brought it down on his brother with such force that it pierced through his back, blood instantly beginning to gush out copiously from the wound. 

The sound of shattering glass resonated through the house as the blond man’s teacup exploded into millions of little fragments upon hitting the floor, the limp body collapsing soon after without more than a single thud!

In a matter of seconds, Daniel fell against the wall, slowly lowering himself to the ground. He was trembling, breathing heavily, sobbing in anger, shame and guilt. 

“What have I done!” He cried out into the silent air, ripping viciously at his dishevelled hair. 

The storm then seemed to suddenly subside, the loud noises from outside vanishing into the distance, leaving nothing more than a soft rain that patterned down gently on the rooftop and against the windows, the occasional flash recurring afar. 

The cabin was now silent, save for the crackling fire and the occasional sob of anguish that would escape from the guilty man’s mouth. 

Daniel’s mind was racing incessantly, contemplating whether he should take his own life but ultimately being unable to do so.

Upon regaining a sense of tranquillity (though he was still quite shaken), the man paced rapidly to and fro across the room as he had the habit of doing when unsettled, considering his next plan of action. 

He only became more agitated at the sound of the floorboards that creaked annoyingly under his feet, and in a sudden fury, he stomped upon one of the planks with such force that it broke loose, dangling down into the darkness below by nothing more than a single nail.

“Damned floor,” Mumbled Daniel, though suddenly beginning to fabricate a plan in his subconscious mind.

When the idea finally came together, the man reached for his crowbar that was kept with his tools by the entrance and began to forcefully pull up several other planks so that there was a large hole in the floor.

Then, satisfied with the cavity’s perimeter, he returned to the corpse and heaved it carefully into the shallow abyss, making sure to dispose of the poker along with the victim’s outdoor garments before replacing the planks neatly as they were before.

Though still extremely agitated at the terrible events which had taken place, Daniel wiped his brother’s blood carelessly into a napkin before settling down in a chair and opening a book to read.  



70 years later... 

The old man lay quietly in bed as he watched his nurse walk back and forth between the tray placed on his bedside table and the kitchen where she was organising his medications. 

He always got a strange feeling in his stomach, a kind of twisting knot, whenever somebody stood over that spot on the floor. It no longer creaked, but instead made a peculiar knocking sound. He still found himself astonished by the fact that nobody had ever questioned nor seemed curious about that spot, though he presumed the overwhelming distress of exposure was only within himself, for nobody else knew of the secrets that lay beneath those wooden planks.   

Suzan was her name, a charming young nurse who had been caring and watching over the elderly man since the beginning of that year. The man had recently just reached his ninety-fifth year and could no longer walk. Though he had always been an independent man, Daniel remained grateful for Suzan’s assistance, knowing that without her, he would have no chance of survival.  

When she had finally placed the small container of pills on his plate with a friendly smile, the nurse retreated to the kitchen to wash the few dishes that had been left on the counter.

Grumbling, the man picked up the tiny capsules and stuffed them safely under his pillow with the others. Though he had lived a long and healthy life, Daniel could feel himself growing weaker by the day. Deciding that he wanted to leave the world of his own accord, the man had stopped taking his medications after a certain number of weeks and instead, kept the pills in a hidden area, preparing for “the right time”.  

The man wearily turned his head to the other side of the room where, above his dusty kitchen table, hung an old newspaper article entitled: ‘Luke Greene, 19-year-old bachelor gone missing’. A photograph of the handsome young man had been pasted in the centre of the page and beneath it was a physical description of the missing person detailed in small print.  

Though he knew his brother would not cease to haunt him in his dreams, the elderly man closed his frail eyes, wishing to be rid of his tormenting thoughts, and tried to let himself drift off into a light sleep. 

Though he could not tell if minutes or hours had passed, an abrupt knock suddenly woke the man from his rest.   

His eyes were now wide open and he watched curiously as Suzan rushed to the entrance, fixing her hair swiftly before opening the door. The man was unaccustomed to company, having neither family nor friends, and waited nervously as his nurse conversed with the stranger outside.  

Though he could not see with whom she was talking, Daniel could vaguely hear the conversation between the two individuals.  

“Mr Greene?... Yes, he is here...can’t get up…” and then “No problem, come on in!”

A rather large man entered the house, a stern and professional expression evident in his features. He immediately began scanning the area, seemingly taking in every detail, until he set eyes upon the old man. 

Daniel had rolled onto his side, hoping to make it seem as though he were sleeping, and the man soon left the room, following the nurse into the kitchen. 

The old man’s eyes shot open as soon as the visitor was out of sight, a frightened and uneasy feeling rising painfully in his chest. 

This is it, thought Daniel to himself, my time is up. 

After confirming that nobody was watching in on him, the man carefully lifted his pillow and removed a handful of pills, those that he had been collecting over the past few weeks. Then, with a feeling of numbness inside, he swallowed the medications using a glass of water from his nightstand to aid him before lying down once more. 

“Hello, Mr Greene,” Sounded a low and gravelly voice from above. 

Daniel was caught by surprise and his heart cramped painfully as he looked up at the figure standing over him.

“I’m Detective Featherstone,” began the man as he sat down on a nearby stool, pulling a notebook out of his pocket and crossing one leg over the other.

The old man recoiled at the title but remained calm nonetheless. 

“I assume that you are the brother of Luke Greene?” He continued without looking up at the man.

“Y-yes,” stuttered Daniel, taking in a deep breath of air. He could feel his head begin to ache.

“We’ve recently reopened the case regarding your missing brother,” said the detective after having spotted the article on the wall, eying it with curiosity. 

Daniel did not know what to do. He could feel his chest begin to tighten from both the medications and the guilt, his eyes welling up with tears.

“We have some new evidence that may put you in a position of-”

“Isn’t it funny, young man, how love can be so cruel?” Asked Daniel, ignoring the detective’s inquiry. He could feel his head getting lighter. “You love somebody so dearly that you, well, ruin another friendship because you think it is getting in the way, but in the end, you are left with nothing...absolutely nothing.” Though his mind was getting blurry and his words jumbling together, Daniel felt that he was getting thoughts off his chest that had been locked up inside for years. Tears were now rapidly streaming down his aged cheeks. 

“Mr Greene, I believe that we should-”

“Oh, don’t bother, good man,” began the weak elder with a feeble smile, “I suppose that what lies buried must always be found...” He trailed off slowly before raising a shaky hand and pointing to the planks on the floor under which he knew the body lay.

Then, with a sudden and agonizing pain in his heart, the man called out loudly: “Oh, forgive me, Lord!” Before feeling his eyelids grow unbearably heavy. 

Though he could hear the detective calling to him and the nurse shaking his arm violently, it all morphed into a distant and unknown blur as the old man fell into a peaceful and never-ending slumber.   

March 19, 2021 22:39

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2 comments

Megan Maclaine
21:36 Mar 25, 2021

Alea!! I really loved your story, especially how you kept the same character in the room across two different times. Some elements that stood out to me as being really effective were the tea kettle whistling at the moment of climax between the brothers - I think you could have built that moment up a bit more between them. Let us hear the water starting to bubble as the tension grows, for instance. I also liked how the creaking floorboard, which at first seems like a somewhat minor detail, comes to play a more significant role in the story....

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Elliot G
22:20 Mar 25, 2021

Thanks for the feedback, Megan:) I'm glad you enjoyed the story and am very grateful for your suggestions!

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