Story Press: The Secret, by Patty Subin & William C. Raustler
This story is from a game BTC likes to play with readers called Complete the Ending. It’s simple, someone starts the story and when they feel as if they are at a mysterious stopping point they stop to let everyone write their own endings to the story. In this particular game one of our Facebook followers, Patty Subin, began the game and I’m posting my own ending to complete it. The break in the story will be noted. Oh and, should you decide you’d like to give us your own ending, use the comment box just below the story. In fact, I’d love for you too. Several people on Facebook played along and it’s always interesting to see where each person’s mind goes when their creative juices start to flow.
Intro/setup by Patty Subin
From the moment she saw the house, she knew she’d been there before. She didn’t know how, she didn’t know when, she didn’t know where but yes, she had seen this house before. In her dreams? She didn’t know. She approached the house cautiously, her new friend by her side. She was new to the area and the first day of school had been hard. No one but Becca had introduced themselves to her so when she asked her to come home with her after school, she couldn’t say ‘no’.
Now, inside the home, visions of how it once looked flooded her brain. She grew dizzy and grabbed a hold of the dining room chair. “Are you okay?” Becca asked. As if in a trance, she responded, “What happened to the fuzzy wallpaper?”.Becca crinkled her brow, at first not knowing what she was referring to. Her eyes grew wide and she turned to face the peach-colored wall that brightened the dining room. “H-how did you know about the wallpaper?”
She saved face with her immediate response. “ALL these old houses had fuzzy wallpaper, didn’t you know that? That was the ‘thing’ back then.”
Becca told her about the ugly red fuzzy wallpaper that was all over the downstairs when she first moved there at age five. She could vividly see the jacquard pattern in blood red against a lighter red background. In her mind’s eye, she could feel the raised pattern against the palm of her hand. The way it tickled her skin. Suddenly, her attention was geared on a door near the foot of the stairs. Becca watched as she slowly approached the coat closet, opened the door, pushed all the coats to one side and stared at the wall. She pushed on the wall until she heard a click and then…
———————————————– Complete The Ending ——————————————————
Ending by William C. Raustler
She noticed a trunk of jewels tipped over in the small storage space and a mirror was behind them leaning against the wall. She could see her own reflection as well as Becca’s whom was standing behind her, eagerly rubbing her hands together. A large pearl necklace laying on the top of the pile caught Vivian’s attention. As she reached out to grab it, it slithered into the pile of jewels like a snake digging its way into the ground. She stopped, frightened of what she’d just seen, wondering where it had gone to. Becca asked, “How did you know about the room? I was just about to show it to you, but you found it on your own.” Vivian smiled, “I’ve come to know a lot about this place, a lot more than you’d want me to know.”
Becca snickered as if she still had a secret, “Well then, pick something out and it’s yours to keep.” Vivian reached into the pile as the pearl snake wrapped itself around her arm, she could feel clenching tightly as its sharp fangs bit deeply into her palm. She cried out in fear, “Help me!” She tried to pull away but she couldn’t get her arm out. As the snake of pearls sucked at her palm she could see its huge rattlesnake-like head as its jaws pulsed back and forth sucking the blood from her hand. Staring into its black and red eyes Vivian began to hear a ringing sound in her ear. She looked up at the mirror and could see Becca laughing and clapping as she yelled for her mother, “Mother, it has begun.. come quickly!” Becca jumped up and down with excitement. Vivian’s vision quickly became blurred but she could still see the reflection of Becca’s mother walk into the room, whom was a younger age than Becca. The mother shouted with a girlish glee, “I’m so excited for you Becca! I’ll call out for the others! This is your night sweety!”
Vivian began drooling from her mouth and was extremely weakened from the bite but she found enough energy to dig into the pile of jewels with her other hand, pulling out a small dagger she used it to pry away the pearl snake until it unraveled from her arm and disappeared back into the pile. Vivian was able to conceal the dagger in her pocket and she raised up dizzily, turning to look at Becca just before falling helplessly to the floor.
Vivian couldn’t move but she was able to hear Becca as if she were in a long tunnel. Becca knelt down over her, “Thank you for coming to my home, I need you. Don’t worry, we won’t torture you or anything, I’ll need your body just the way it is… you are perfect!” Becca clapped with glee and then left the room. Vivian struggled to move but couldn’t. She was paralyzed but was able to look around and could still breath. She laid there looking at the spinning ceiling wishing that she could move, or at least puke, or do anything at all. As nightfall came a group of women in grey robes and candles came for her. They lifted her up and carried her through the house to the backyard where a hole had been dug. The entire yard was lit by candlelight and the women in robes were all masked with homemade stitched faces, each with a symbol upon it representing their pact.
They formed a circle around Vivian and began to slowly chant in an ancient language as Becca came from the house dressed in white. Becca’s mom followed behind her, passing around a metal bowl that had a blade built into the edge of it. Each of the women used the edge of the bowl to cut their own palms open bleeding as much as they could into the dish. When the dish came around to Becca she drank of it and knelt down, pressing her lips against Vivian’s, spitting the blood into her mouth. As a tear came out of Vivian’s eye, Becca smiled, “I want to let you know what’s happening Vivian. This is sacred. You are sooo special to me. You see, the pearl beast sealed your fate for me. When he took of your blood he paralyzed you, preserving your flesh until I come back for you. You won’t grow old as I do, but when I am old I’ll come back to this place and dig you up. I’ll then go into your body and you into mine, and then Vivian… I’ll slit your throat and live the life you never had the chance to, in your young and beautiful body.” Becca walked over to her mother and sat in a chair, leaning her head back. Vivian began breathing harder as the chanting got louder and the women lifted her up and placed her body into the hole. Becca’s mother began pouring what was left of the blood over Becca’s head as if she were being baptized in the blood of the women. This was the last thing Vivian had seen as the dirt covered her eyes and she was closed into her personal dark hell for the next sixty years.
Sixty years later. –
Vivian feels the ground above her begin to shake and she can hear the sound of shovels digging in. Thump… thump, she hears them shuffling through the dirt. She begins to see the moon in the night sky as the dirt is cleared away. Her body is still the same as the day she was buried, young and beautiful. As she was pulled from the hole she could barely see the outlines of the women whom were gathered around once again. Becca began to read script from an ancient scroll by candlelight. Vivian could hear Becca’s voice as she spoke, but it was matured, Becca was well into her late seventies now. Vivian was pulled from the hole and forced onto her knees in front of the women. Her muscles had depleted from laying so still for so long, but she felt her fingers begin to move.
As the chanting began and Becca’s old and withered appearance became more clear, Vivian began to laugh. Becca couldn’t help herself, “What are you laughing about?” Vivian whispered in a scruff voice but Becca couldn’t hear her. “You once said that you knew more than I’d like for you to, but I guess that didn’t keep you out of the hole, did it?” Becca said. Vivian laughed again and whispered with her head down. Becca grabbed her hair and lifted Vivian’s head back, “Tell me child, I’ve done this a few times, and I’ll do it twenty more. What is it that you think you know that I don’t?” Becca leaned down to hear what Vivian had to say. Vivian spoke a little more clearly as she whispers out, “I’ve still got it.” Becca looked into her eyes confused. “You’ve still got wha..” Before Becca could finish her sentence Vivian shoved the dagger deep into Becca’s stomach taking the wind out of her. She repeatedly stabbed her until Becca fell to the ground gripping at Vivian’s arms, trying to push herself away. Becca’s mother, now an elderly woman as well, screamed out, “Help her!” Before she could help her daughter the other women grabbed her arms to hold her still. Vivian struggled to stand to her feet as Becca began to crawl away. She slowly followed her across the yard and just before Becca’s old and withered hands could grip the doorknob of the house, Vivian took a handful of her grey hair, rapidly jerking her head back she slit her throat. Blood splattered upon the steps and upon the yard as Becca’s corpse dropped to the ground bleeding out.
Covered in dirt and blood Vivian turned to look at the thirteen women, whom she now felt a bond with. They all knelt upon one knee with their heads down, with the exception of one woman, Becca’s mother. One of the women spoke out, “She is now one of us, you must accept it.” Becca’s mother began crying, yelling out at them all, “Never! Never, do you hear me?!” Vivian picked up a nearby shovel and swung it with all of her might, cracking Becca’s mother across the back of her head. As the old woman woke up she could see that she was placed in the hole and that Vivian was standing over her, petting the snake of pearls which was wrapped around her arm. Vivian smiled, “He bit you while you were out of it.” The other women rolled Becca’s corpse into the hole on top of her mother. Vivian handed the snake to another woman and picked up the shovel. “I know what you’re thinking. You are wondering how this could ever happen. You are also thinking that I’m stupid for wasting the bite of the beast on an older body such as your own.”
Vivian began shoveling the dirt into the hole, “You see, I knew the house because it was once mine, I knew that Becca would fall for my trickery because I can see into the future and I’m using the bite on you, because I’ll never grow old anyhow. Since I’ll never grow old, that means there is never a reason to dig you up. Oh and, my mother tried to tell you to accept that I’m now one of you, but you wouldn’t listen.” The woman whom had spoken before stepped forward, took the shovel out of Vivian’s hand tossing the dirt in. The last thing Becca’s mother sees is her dead daughter’s arm laying across her face and the dirt being tossed into the hole on top of them as all of the women pull their masks from their heads and stand around the hole watching. The last thing she can hear is Vivian speaking the words of the ancient scroll as if she knew it by heart. Some would say, as if she had written it herself.
You can read what the other people on Facebook had written as their ideal ending by clicking here.