Wednesday, January 9, 2013


This week’s prompt was to get inside the head of a wannabe reporter who spends the night in a house on the anniversary of the horrific crime that took place there.  This is his chance to write a big story and hopefully, interest editors at the city papers.  The house is supposed to be haunted though, so when he spends the night there, will he be alone?


This is going to be the one.  Wait until I send a copy of my article to New York and L.A.  Editors on both coasts will be fighting over me.  Who knew that coming to this rinky-dink town would be the break I’ve been looking for my whole life.  Spending the night in a house where one year ago today, brutal murders and a suicide stained the walls and floors red.  Oh, now, there’s a great line.  I’ll use that.

I need to hurry and get over there before dark so I can find my way around.  The whole town believes the house and grounds are haunted by evil spirits, so I’ll play that angle up big.  Maybe I’ll hear some moans or feel a cold draft.  Hicks love that crap.  This is going to give my career the boost it needs.

This place is disgusting.  I don’t know what I was expecting.  I mean, nobody’s set foot in here in a year.  I’ll set up in the living room.  Sure glad I brought a lawn chair to sit on.  No way am I going near that couch.  I’m glad I ate in the car.  I’d probably have to fight the squirrels and raccoons for my supper.  Funny though.  There’s nothing crawling around in here at all.  The place is dusty, but I haven’t seen so much as a fly.  Funny.

I told my new editor I’d do a live feed on this one, so I’d better get started.  I know he’s just as anxious as I am to find out what’s really going on in this house of horrors.  ‘House of horrors’.  I’ll use that too.

Well, here goes.


I am reporting live from 679 Windmere Cove, the site of horrific events one year ago today.  At just before midnight, the owner, Robert Luxor, returned home from a business trip to discover his wife, Lucinda and her lover, Samuel Corder, asleep in the master bedroom.  Luxor retrieved a carving knife from the kitchen, entered the bedroom, and cut both their throats, and then proceeded to stab his wife 41 times and her lover, 39 times.  According to the coroner, they must have been killed as they slept based on the position of the bodies, and considering there were no defensive wounds.  Once he had completed his grisly mission, he retired to the den, where is slashed his own throat.  Their housekeeper discovered the horrific scene the following morning.  She had stopped in on her way home to drop off a cake she had purchased for them from a Bake Sale at her Church.  All were buried in the town’s cemetery with name markers only.  Since all had no known family, the house was sealed up and ownership remains with the State.

Local realtors, as well as those from the county, appointed by the courts, have been trying to sell the property as a fixer-upper project, but as soon as prospective buyers find out what occurred in the house, their interest evaporates.  Rumors abound that the property is haunted by dark and evil forces, and that local townspeople have vanished after having spent time in the house after dark.

Well, this reporter is not put off by rumors and intends to spend the entire night here in this house of horrors.  I am going to explore every room, including the rooms where the murders and suicide occurred and I will be reporting everything I see and hear so we can find out once and for all if the spirits of those who died here have finally found peace or if they still walk the grounds seeking some type of revenge on the living.

Man, this stuff is great.  I’ll bet my editor is wetting his pants right now.  He’s never had a story this great published in his pathetic little newsletter before.  What was his name again?  Dale?  I can‘t remember, so I won’t put anything directly to him.  I wonder if the bloodstains are still visible in the den and the master bedroom.  It would be so cool if…  What the hell was that?  Probably one of the windows is broken upstairs and a branch is brushing up against it.  That’s great.  Nice and creepy.

I’m currently in the living room, and nothing has been changed since that fateful night.  Of course, there’s no power, but I can see quite well with my lantern that the furniture, in its prime, had been quite luxurious.  Mr. Luxor had been a corporate attorney and it was said he banked millions.  No one was ever able to verify any of his clients, but the rumor mill covered that as well.  It was said the mob paid his bills, but there’s never been any documentation to support that.

Too bad.  The mob angle would have added some real juice to this story.

Heading upstairs to check out the master bedroom.  I have already heard a kind of swishing noise coming from there.  Could it be Mrs. Luxor and her lover seeking one last embrace?  It’s probably just the wind from a broken window.  Let’s head in there.

All the windows are intact, and there’s no animals in here.  I wonder what made that sound.

Well, well, well.  Talk about leaving a crime scene as is.  Friends, the blood-stained sheets are still on the bed, although what drained from the victims is now crusted and black.  The killer really took his time punishing his wife and her lover for their crime against him.  He obviously wanted to make sure they were both…

What the fuck?  I‘ve been shoved, and I’ve got a deep cut in the calf of my left leg and I’m bleeding like a stuck pig.  I’d better get back downstairs and clean this up.  I’ve got some napkins in my Burger Palace bag.  I’ll probably get tetanus.  I’ll look around in the morning and find out what I ran into.  I sure hope it wasn’t rusty.  Still, it felt like I was shoved…

A minor accident.  Heading down to the den, the site of the suicide.  It’s not often anyone cuts their own…

Who are you?  Answer me.  Look, I’m on a live feed here and I can have the authorities here in five minutes.  Say something!

Hard as it may be to believe, there is an entity standing in front of me, holding a carving knife.  No expression, standing perfectly still, although its arm with the knife is raised.  I don’t recognize the face though.  I tried communicating with it, but to no avail.  Now, it’s coming toward me on the offensive.  Should be a fascinating experience when the knife goes right through…

God.  This is real.  The bastard stabbed me in the shoulder.  Who are you?  What?  I don’t want this house.  I’ll leave.  Get away from me.

Emergency.  Luxor’s illegitimate son is in the house and armed and I have been attacked.  I am in the den closet.  He’s kicking the door and it won’t be long before he reaches me.  I have no way to defend myself.  Please send the police right away.  Please hurry.  The door is starting to give way.  Please send help.  Ple…

*              *             *               *              *               *              *

“Del, why did that nice young man decide to spend the night at the Luxor house on the anniversary of that awful business?”

“Mariposa, I offered him a job with the paper right off, but he insisted he needed to report a big story first to prove himself.  Prove himself?  The biggest news around here, other than the anniversary of the murders, is a sale at Wilbert’s Sporting Goods.  Besides, that business with the Luxors has been a blight on this community since that horrible night and he wants to bring it up and rub our faces in it all over again.”

“Dear, you know folks have gone up there to spend the night, thinking it was all a joke, and they were never seen again.  The place is full of the devil, Del, and you shouldn’t have let him go up there all by himself.”

“Honey, you can’t stop a grown man.  Anyway, he’ll be alright.  Those kids just left out the back way to create some kind of mystery.  You don’t really believe anything actually happened to them, do you?”

“I do, and so does everyone else.  When Bob Luxor killed Luci and that boy and then himself, they were all cursed to stay in that house.  When will that young man be back?”

“At 6 tomorrow morning to lay out the story for the Sunday edition.  He said he was going to send me a live feed throughout the night, and I said great, but that Fred Astaire movie is on tonight, so I locked up and came home.  He won’t know the difference.  I’ll just read it in the morning.  Now, let’s make some popcorn, and put on Channel 14.”


  1. Joyce, you stuck to the rules more closely than I did. This is good... really good. I like the immediacy you create with the 'live feed' notion - puts me/the reader right there!

    1. Tom, Thank you so much for your comments. You've made my week for sure! I wanted to create an atmosphere that pulled the reader in and hung on tight. So glad that came through. Thanks again very much.

  2. I like this. I tried to put something together for this but couldn't make it work.

  3. Great work, really enjoyed it. I tried and failed to put something together for this.

    1. Thanks so much, Tony, for your comments. I'm glad you enjoyed this. I have to admit that this finally came together pretty much at the last minute. Maybe the next prompt will come together for you. I'll look forward to reading one from you next time.