Sharon’s Note: I don’t like most horror pacing. Tension is great, but a lot of horror waits too long and thing gets boring. It’s like in a movie, the camera zooms in on a character’s face. And stays there. Forever. I’m a story driven reader. Staring at a character being scared does nothing for me. Warning: Author is wondering why a lot of the flaws in romance are the same in horror. It’s not related to anything, it’s just weird.
A small light popped into being as Ernie struck a match. He lit a lantern that looked about a hundred years old, but was way brighter than I would have expected. I turned off the flashlight to save the batteries. In the flickering light, the room looked more creepy than it did with the flashlight.
It was half office, half bedroom. A desk and filing cabinets sat at one end, a small, institutional type bed, a battered old arm chair and a small bookshelf on the other. Ernie gestured at the chair, so I sat.
“What do you want to know?” Ernie grunted.
“Everything!” I pulled out my phone, almost bouncing. This was the interview of a life time. “Tell me your story? Who are you? What was your relationship with McBride? What kind of things did you see while this place was functional?”
The look he gave me almost had me apologizing but he and Kathy exchanged glances and he cleared his throat. “I’m afraid my part in the history of this place might disappoint you. Of course you’ve heard that I’m McBride’s bastard son?”
“Yes.” I was typing as fast as I could, thumbs fumbling at the screen. I would have loved to record, but I didn’t know if ghosts could be recorded.
“Not true.” When my eyes snapped up, he chuckled. “My parents were married. My father dallied with her when they were younger, and she got pregnant. If his parents had found out, they would have cut him off. Despite his many other sins, my father did have a sense of honor, so they were secretly wed. She died when I was fifteen, and I was given a job here.”
“So, why was there so much animosity between you two?”
“Other than his refusal to acknowledge me? How about the monstrosities he committed?” He shook his head and Kathy walked over to put a hand on his shoulder and he gave her a grateful smile. “Mostly it was the fact that he killed me.”
“Why? What happened?” I had to smother my excitement. I didn’t want to seem insensitive.
“I am not normal. While I am not the mutant that Kathy had told me legend paints me as, I had many physical problems when I was alive. My father decided that one of his experiments would fix me. It was a long, painful death. For days I suffered infusions and transplants. When I finally expired, he burned my body and buried me in a mass, unmarked grave with the other experiments.” He stared at the ground while he spoke, eyes unfocused, shoulders so tense they shook. There was a new scent in the air like formaldehyde.
I nodded, happy I could provide some comfort. “They found those bones in the garden. All the bones were given a proper burial and-”
“There were two graves. The humans were buried in the garden. I was buried in the other one.”
“Ernie, she doesn’t need to know about them.” Kathy held up a warning finger, a hint of panic in her eyes.
“Know about what?” I perched at the edge of my chair, looking between their faces.
“Too late now.” Ernie grinned, but it was mean and a little mad. “Are you sure you want to know? Knowing opens a whole new, dangerous world.”
“Emphasis on the dangerous,” Kathy muttered.
I shrugged. “I have to.”