Seconds later, two women came running into the room from different directions. Ms. Hagen, who had just gotten home, and the other woman, who neither Derek nor Margot recognized, both ran towards the now bleeding and crying girl on the floor. The plump man stooped before her, now drawing his hand away as he saw that it had apparently terrified the girl.
“What is going on?” Ms. Hagen demanded in both fear and shock as she examined Margot’s hand. The teenager winced, but allowed her mother to pick a tiny fleck of glass from the red skin.
“Who are these people?” Derek demanded, still hiding behind the table. “He attacked us!”
The woman, who Margot decided was one of those women who looked a lot older than she really was, turned her attention to Derek, who instinctively crab walked away from her. A grandmotherly smile appeared on her face. “Oh, dear, I guess we haven’t been introduced properly, have we?” she asked.
Neither Margot nor Derek answered her, but stared at her disbelievingly.
“I’m Mrs. Nordstrom, the housekeeper, and this is the handyman, Mr. Hankers. We were hired by Mr. Lurie to keep the house looking nice until the movie starts being filmed later in the year. We met your mother the first time she visited the house, and well, I assumed she’d told you about us.”
Margot looked to Derek who looked to Ms. Hagen with a questioning glare on his face. “Well?” He asked.
Ms. Hagen shrugged innocently. “I guess it must have slipped my mind. I’ve been so busy looking for a house that I really must have forgotten to tell you.”
Mrs. Nordstrom opened one of the cabinets above the oven and pulled out a box of bandages that looked as if they had been there for a long time. She blew a layer of dust from atop the box and opened them, pulling one out. As she kneeled down in front of Margot, taking her cut hand in her own, she said “You might want to have a doctor look at this, but this bandage will do for now.”
Margot nodded almost suspiciously.
“Mr. Hankers, could you get me the hydrogen peroxide from the bathroom?” Mrs. Nordstrom asked as Hankers nodded and dashed off towards the bathroom. Moments later, he returned with a half-full bottle in his hand.
“You seem to really know your way around the place.” Margot pointed out as Mrs. Nordstrom wiped at the bleeding cut. Nordstrom hesitated only briefly, breaking eye contact with Margot and focusing on the bandage she was now applying. “Oh, well, Mr. Hankers and I have both worked at this house for a very long time. 99 Fear Street and I go way back.”
“So you know about all the horrible stuff that happened here?” Margot asked, not backing down. Mrs. Nordstrom stood, helping Margot back to her feet as well. Mr. Hankers cleaned up the mess around them as Mrs. Nordstrom seemingly ignored Margot’s question. “She’s as good as new. I doubt she’ll need stitches, but like I said, a doctor may want to look at the cut. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to get back to polishing the banister.”
Ms. Hagen nodded as Nordstrom scurried out of the room like a rat and disappeared around the corner. Ms. Hagen then turned to her daughter with a questioning look on her face. “What are you talking about, Margot? What horrible stuff?”
Margot paused. “Derek and I met a boy when we were walking Rupert. He told us about all kinds of weird stuff that has happened here in the past few years. People died here, Mom.”
“Margot!” Ms. Hagen said in disbelief. “Your brother is going to get scared again.”
“It’s all true! You can ask Parker yourself… since I asked him over for dinner.”
Ms. Hagen rolled her eyes, knowing full-well why her daughter had invited Parker over for dinner. She shook her head, unable to suppress a small laugh. “Derek, set an extra place at the dining table. And I guess I should get to cooking then.”
Margot smiled and turned to leave the room, stepping carefully over the pile of broken glass that Mr. Hankers swept silently.
An hour later the doorbell rang and Margot leapt in front of Mrs. Nordstrom before she could open the door. The woman stepped back, surprised by being cut off, and raised her hands in defeat as Margot pulled the front door open with a smile.
“Hi,” she said to Parker, who stood before her. His face had a nervous smile on it and he seemed hesitant to enter the house. He let out a small laugh and scratched the back of his head as Mrs. Nordstrom walked away from the couple. “I have to admit, I almost chickened out.” He said. “And I’ll honestly say I wasn’t expecting you to have a housekeeper.”
Margot turned to lead Parker towards the dining room where her mother had prepared a delicious meal with what little supplies they had in the house. This meant that they would be dining on a fine dinner of spaghetti, pasta sauce, and oven-heated dinner rolls. “There’s a handyman, too. They kind of came with the house.” She stated nonchalantly.
After Margot had introduced Parker to her mother and reintroduced him to Derek, the three four sat down at the dining table, digging into their spaghetti. At first, they made small talk, but seemed to quickly run out of trivial things to discuss after Parker asked what had happened to Margot’s bandaged hand. She quickly told the story and then changed the subject just as fast.
“So, is there anything else you haven’t told us about the house?” She was smiling widely at Parker. He thought for a moment, shaking his head. “I think I've told you the worst of it.” Derek instinctively let out a sigh and sat back in his chair, relieved. “But, I guess I didn’t tell you how it all started. I mean, none of the horrible stuff would have happened if it weren’t for the guy who had the house built.”
Ms. Hagen took a drink from her wine glass and sat it back down. “How do you know all this, Parker?”
“Well, Ms. Hagen, this house has become a legend in Shadyside. Everyone knows its history and how it’s… well, how it’s cursed. That is everyone except for new people in town like you.”
She nodded, choosing to accept this as a reasonable answer and motioned for Parker to continue his story. As much as she didn’t believe a word coming out of his mouth, she had been intrigued from the start and didn’t want him to end his campfire tales.
“This house is built on an old graveyard,” Parker began as Margot, Derek, and Ms. Hagen watched him intently. “They were such old graves that the guy who had the house built, had it built on top of them instead of moving them. Now, there are dozens of coffins just six feet under this house’s foundation and the spirits who they belong to are not too happy about it.”
“So, has bad stuff been happening here since this place was built back in the sixties?” Derek asked, twirling his fork in the plate of pasta before him.
“Oh yeah, the first family never even moved in. The man left his wife and kids for just a minute and when he came back… that was it, they were all dead. The story says that their heads had been ripped from their bodies. Mr. Lurie couldn’t handle that, so he killed himself right in that front room.” Parker finished, pointing over Ms. Hagen’s shoulder to the foyer.
Ms. Hagen choked on her wine and cleared her throat loudly. “What did you say the name was?”
“The people who had this house built? They were the Lurie family.”
“Mom, what is it?” Margot asked, examining her mother’s concerned and surprised expression. Ms. Hagen shook her head and smiled calmly. “It’s nothing, Margot, just a coincidence. The realtor who offered the house to us for the weekend was named Mr. Lurie.” As she spoke, Ms. Hagen stood from her seat and carried her empty plate into the kitchen. She called back to the dining room loud enough for everyone to hear, “I’m sure it’s just a distant relative of the man who had this house built thirty years ago.”
A look of concern washed over Parker’s face as Margot shrugged to him, silently asking what was wrong. “No one with the last name Lurie has lived in Shadyside since that happened. As far as I know, there are no other Luries.” He whispered to her across the table. Before Margot could answer, a shriek rang out from the kitchen, causing both Margot and Parker to leap from their seats and exit the room, leaving Derek frozen, terrified in his seat.
“Mom, what is it?” Margot asked as she stood behind her mother, peering over her shoulder. Ms. Hagen didn’t have to answer though, as a loud gurgling noise erupted from the faucet where what could only be described as rancid, green slime poured into the sink, covering the plate Ms. Hagen had just been eating off of.
“What is it?” Ms. Hagen cried, covering her nose and mouth with her hand.
“It smells like sour milk!” Parker called out, his face contorting as the smell invaded his nostrils.
“Turn is off! Turn it off!” Margot commanded, reaching for the faucet. She pulled her arm back quickly as the slime popped and fizzled, barely missing her arm as some seemingly leapt from the sink.
“It is off!” Ms. Hagen yelled.
The commotion went on for several more minutes as the trio tried to think of a way to make the sludge stop spraying from the faucet. The sink was backing up quickly and it wouldn’t be long before the goo was overflowing onto the counter and dripping onto the floor. It didn’t take long for them to realize that there was nothing they could do and that this might have been a job even too big for Mr. Hankers.
“Leave it! We’ll call a plumber!” Ms. Hagen bellowed, taking several steps away from the sink.
The three of them found themselves back in the dining room as Margot closed the door leading into the kitchen, hoping to block the putrid smell and noise of the groaning kitchen pipes that seemed to block out every other sound around them.
Ms. Hagen slumped into her chair and wiped a bead of sweat from her brow. “What would cause something like that?”
Parker, breathing heavily, shook his head at her. “It’s the house. The house is doing this!”
“Parker,” Ms. Hagen began. “Your stories were creepy and fun, but it’s just a house. Nothing like that can really happen. I’m sure there’s a logical explanation for everything that has happened here over the years… If any of the stories are even true.” However, Ms. Hagen seemed to question her own answer as she looked back at the kitchen door, where green slime was slowly beginning to seep out from under the closed doorway.
The group decided to move into the living room where Ms. Hagen could call a plumber, but stopped as a whole before exiting the dining room.
“Mom, where’s Derek?” Margot asked, noticing that his seat was empty, the chair lying on its side on the floor.
Before Ms. Hagen could come up with a fitting answer, a shrill, boy-like scream rang out through the house, sending chills down everyone’s spines. Ms. Hagen’s eyes went wide as she realized that the cry could only belong to one person, Derek.
The group ran into the foyer of the house, looking around for any sign of Derek and trying to place where the scream had actually come from. The house had two main floors, an attic, and a basement, meaning that Derek could be crying out from any of them. He was nowhere to be found and had yet to make another noise.
Ms. Hagen brought her hand to her mouth in fear. “Where is he?” She pleaded.
The house seemed to moan and creek around them, as if alive.
Another scream rang out, matching the one that had happened first. It sounded as if it were coming from the basement, whose door was standing ajar across the room. Out of pure instinct, Ms. Hagen, Margot, and Parker ran to the basement steps and trudged down them, ignoring the fact that they very well could have been marching to their immediate deaths for all they knew.
As they reached the bottom of the stairs, Ms. Hagen glanced around the dark room for any sign of her son. The room seemed to be empty, but it was too dark to tell. Margot reached for the light switch on the wall and flicked it on, illuminating the area in a soft orange glow.
What they saw terrified them, freezing them in a pose of shock and horror. Derek stood in the center of the room, and though he was not dead, as Ms. Hagen had half-expected him to be, he was surrounded by dozens of large, furry, hissing rats. His hand covered his mouth to keep him from crying out again and tears streamed down his cheeks.
“Derek!” Margot cried out, not daring to leave the bottom step out of fear that the rats would attack her or even her little brother for that matter. As of right now, the rodents seemed content, sniffing Derek and occasionally nibbling at his shoelaces.
Suddenly, loud bangs became to clamor through the house above them as if cannons were going off in the hallways. Ms. Hagen, Margot, and Parker all instinctively ducked as clouds of dust began to fall from the ceiling above them.
“This house is evil!” Parker cried, taking a step backwards on the stairs, back towards the main floor.
Margot turned to him and cried out, “Please, wait! We have to get Derek!”
Parker shook his head as he turned to run the rest of the way up the stairs. From the landing, he called down to Margot, “I’m not staying here! I’m not dying here like Cally, Brandt, and all the others! Forget this!”
And before Margot could beg him to stay, Parker was gone, vanishing from sight as he dashed off towards the front door of the house. Above them, as Ms. Hagen attempted to slowly walk her way towards Derek and the crowed of rats surrounding him, Margot could hear the banging grow louder and louder until another shrill scream rang through the house, this one almost definitely belonging to Parker. He cried out once more as the sound of shattering glass and breaking furniture filled their ears, and then all was silent.
As the noise ceased, even the rats seemed to calm down and back away from Derek, as if frightened of what was going on around them, as if they had been a trance the entire time.
Ms. Hagen took this lull in action as an opportunity to grab her son by the arm and lead him out of the basement and onto the stairs, where the three of them climbed to the main floor, hoping for safety.
“What happened here?” Ms. Hagen inquired as she took in the view around her. The living room had been seemingly ripped to shreds by an unseen force and blood was now splattered on the once-clean walls. Though no one would say it out loud, they all knew the blood belonged to Parker.
The entire house seemed to vibrate around them with a force more powerful than anything Margot had ever imagined. Pictures fell from the walls, the glass frames shattering amongst the already ruined furniture. The chandelier in the foyer swung to and fro as if strong winds were sweeping through the house. The green slime had now built up so much pressure against the kitchen door that it had buckled, allowing putrid green gunk to flow into the dining room.
“We have to get out of here before it’s too late for all of us!” Margot shouted as the banging noises returned with ferocity. She took her mother by the hand and began to walk towards the front door.
“What about your friend?” Ms. Hagen asked with a look of shock on her face.
Margot gestured towards the blood-stained living room and briefly considered the fact that though it seemed likely that Parker had been ripped to pieces in the room, there was no body to speak of, meaning there was a small chance he was still alive.
Before speaking, she turned to the main staircase, terrified by what she saw. Walking down the stairs towards them were several transparent people, all in various stages of gore. In the back of the crowd were Mr. Hankers and Mrs. Nordstrom, splattered with blood and smiling wildly. In front of them was Mr. Lurie, the realtor, or more accurately the original owner of 99 Fear Street, his neck bruised and a noose resting against his shoulder. Next to Mr. Lurie was a bloody, eviscerated mess that Margot could only assume had once been Parker. And in the very front of the pack was a young woman who Margot had never seen before. She had long blonde hair and wore an angry yet satisfied expression on her face. Cally Frazier.
“We leave now.” Margot commanded, reaching behind her for the doorknob and practically pushing her mother and brother onto the front lawn of the house. She then toppled onto the ground next to them as she lost her footing.
The air around them was cool and a slight breeze ran through the night as Margot pulled herself to her feet, breathing heavily. Ms. Hagen did the same, stopping to help Derek up, who seemed more in shock than any of them.
Margot expected the house to be crumbling in front of her, but was surprised to see that it looked exactly the same is it did when they had arrived earlier that day. No one could have guessed that only moments before, the house itself seemed to have come alive and chaotic destruction had ensued within its walls.
“What now?” Margot asked.
Ms. Hagen took a few steps towards the old Plymouth and fished around in her jeans pockets for her car keys. She pulled them out and dangled them in front of her two children who stumbled and limped towards the vehicle.
Once safely inside the Plymouth, Ms. Hagen started the ignition and buckled her seatbelt, smiling slightly.
“I hear there are some nice houses in Waynesbridge.” She said as they pulled out of the driveway and left 99 Fear Street behind them forever.