October 21, 2015


         It’s the first time she’s been at Manner Heights. Standing alone in front of the window overlooking the portico in her assigned guest bedroom, she watches as lightning flashes across the sky.
         "Great,” she says. “I was hoping to be the talk of the town. To think I was invited to this weekend’s ‘party of parties’, but, with this storm, it will be a wash out."
         Hearing a knock on her door, she walks over and yanks it open. Fear fills her mind, but it’s too late. She knows she’s done the wrong thing as she sees and feels the knife plunge deep into her chest. Quickly she looks into the eyes of her killer, but dies before she can even ask why.
         Monday morning, Mike is sitting in Bob's coffee shack reading the paper.
         When Mike says, "Nothing ever happens like that around here in Woodall."
         "Like what?" Jerry asks.
         "You know. That girl killed up at Manner Heights Saturday night during the storm."
         "Now, Mike, you know I was out of town all weekend. What girl and how was she killed?" Jerry asks.
         Mike just shakes his head. "You know - the girl who got stabbed to death - the one at the Manner Height party? Hell, you have to have heard? She’s the talk of the town."
         "The talk of the town. You don't say," Jerry whispers.
         “What did you say, Jerry?” Mike asks.  “Hey, Bob, turn that television down. We can’t even hear ourselves talking over here.”
         “Look it’s my place and I’m trying to hear about that girl’s murderer,” Bob yells back.  “Besides, they’re saying on the news she isn’t the first girl to die up there. It seems some girl jumped from a third floor bedroom window twenty years ago. That’s not all. Five years later another girl was found face down in the pool with nothing on. They thought it was just bad luck till this one.”
         “What make this one different?” Mike asks.
         “I think it might have something to do with the knife in her chest,” Jerry chimes in.
         “No. That’s not it,” Bob says as he tries to hear the last of the News report. “The guy on the news just said each time a girl died, they were having a weekend party. I sure wouldn’t want my daughter going up there to a party.”
         Jerry and Mike speak at the same time: “Bob, you don’t have a daughter.”
         “Well, if I did, I wouldn’t let her go there, that’s for sure.” Bob snaps as he picks up a dish towel and throws it at them.
         “Sorry, guys, but it’s time for me to go,” Jerry says. “The boss wants me at work first thing tomorrow morning and I still have a lot to do.”
         Jerry mutters under his breath, as he leaves the coffee shack, “Work is the last thing I have to worry about right now.”
         Driving out of town, Jerry keeps looking over his shoulder, as if someone is following him. After making sure the coast is clear, he turns onto a dirt road that leads to a private lake that people forgot about years ago. On the north side of the lake he stops at a run down cabin. Getting out of his car, he looks up the hill and sees the roof of Manner Heights. Jerry looks at the base of the trees and sees they’re still overgrown with brush.
         “I wonder how many people even remember this old cabin and boat house is still here? Hell, none, I hope,” he says, as he opens the trunk of his car and takes out sacks of food. One last quick look around, then he closes the trunk, opens the door of the cabin and walks inside.
         On the table an oil lamp is lit and food wrappers are all over the floor and table. In the far corner, a pile of newspapers and rags are heaped up. Jerry checks all the windows; the old carpet is still hanging in place. Jerry reaches over with his foot and closes the door.
         “You can come out now, sis. It’s just me,” he says as he moves the table over so he can open a trap door.
         “Jerry, is that you? Are you alone? You sure no one followed you?” Jerry hears a voice as the trap door falls from his hands and crashes to the floor.
         “When did you get out?” Jerry says to someone under the floor.
         “Last week, brother dear. But what do you care? You never came to see me. For fifteen years you locked me away and never talked to me. Not even once in all that time.”
         “Ranie, you know what the doctor said. The only way you would get better was if I sent you away and locked you up. It was for your own good, sis.”
         “Well, I’m free now, brother, and you can’t send me back.”
         “I know,” says Jerry. “I know. Besides, I thought the doctor was wrong to try and lock you up, sis. It wasn’t your fault. I tried to tell him it was Franklin Manner the III’s fault. Look, sis, I have some things in the car for you to wear. I’ll try and get back tomorrow night. Till then, please keep out of sight and don’t go back up to Manner Heights. Not now. Not after what happened Saturday night.”
         Wednesday morning Jerry walks into Bob’s coffee shack and sits down at his usual spot.
         “Morning, guys,” Jerry says. “How’s it going? Anything new happen?”
         Bob shakes his head. “You guys never watch the news or read the paper do you?”
         Jerry looks over at Bob. “Don’t tell me another girl has been killed up at Manner Heights?”
         “No,” Bob says. “This time Old Man Franklin Manner the III was found dead. They found him in the wine cellar. Guess how he was killed.”
         “By a pack of wild dogs,” Jerry says with a grin. 
         Bob growls. “You guys never take anything seriously. With a knife stuck in his chest -just like the girl. It seems they brought down a doctor from Michigan to help with the murder. Some head shrink.”
         “What’s his name?” Jerry asks. 
         “A Doctor Cleveland something. I don’t remember. I did hear that he knows something about the two girl’s death, though,” Bob adds.
         Jerry jumps up. “Hell, guys, I left the water on at home. I have to go.” He tosses down a dollar and hurries out the door. 
         As he drives back toward the cabin, Jerry keeps saying over and over, “Why did I have to tell Doctor Cleveland everything? Why? Now sis is in trouble. He’ll know where she’s hiding. I have to get her out of there.”
         As Jerry pulls open the door of the cabin and steps inside there, in a chair at the table, sits Dr. Cleveland.
         “Hi, Jerry. How’s it going?” Dr. Cleveland asks. “Have you seen your sister lately?”
         Jerry looks around the room. The Doctor is sitting on top of the trap door.
         “Maybe he’s forgotten about it,” Jerry hears a soft whisper from behind him. “You know, brother. The tunnel we dug from here up to old man Franklin’s wine cellar. Then we installed that secret door only you and I should know about.”
         “Well” Jerry whispers back. “Only you, me and the doc.”
         “You always did talk too much,” he hears his sister whisper in his ear.
         Doctor Cleveland clears his throat. “Jerry, the police are outside and you have to come with me. Jerry, can you hear me? I said you have to come go with me.”
         “Ok, Doc, tell the police I’m coming out,” Jerry says.
         As Doctor Cleveland opens the door, he feels a sharp pain in the back of his head before everything goes blank.
         “Damn, sis, why did you do that? He was trying to help us,” Jerry snaps at his sister.
         “Because I’m not getting locked up again, brother. I told you that the other day,” Ranie snaps back. “Now hurry! We’ll take the tunnel to the main house and steal a car. We can be out of the country in less than a day. If we go north to Canada then to the west coast we’ll fool the lot of them.”
         As Jerry closes and locks the trap door from the inside, he hears the cops bursting into the cabin, yelling and stomping around.
         “There’s no one in here, Sergeant,” Jerry hears a policeman say.
         “Rookie, check the rafters, then the boat house. They can’t have gone far,” another policeman’s voice rings through.
         “Yes, Sergeant,” the first man says again.
         Jerry pushes his sister as fast as he can down the narrow tunnel. As they get to the end his sister pulls a small rock out of the wall to peek into the wine cellar.
         “I don’t see anyone. Help me with this wall,” she says.
         As Jerry crawls through the door, he feels hands grab him and then throw him to the floor.
         “Run, sis. Run. It’s a trap,” Jerry screams.
         As Doctor Cleveland walks up to the patrol car, parked in the portico, holding a bag of ice to his head, a policeman stops him.
         “We’re still looking for his sister. She seems to have gotten away. It was dark in the wine cellar and she must have slipped by.”
         “His sister? He only had one sister and she was his twin. She leapt to her death after using drugs at a weekend party over twenty years ago. Right from that window,” Doctor Cleveland says as he points to a window on the third floor overlooking the portico. “The bad part about it is that Jerry was standing right over there. Just a few feet from where his sister landed.”
         “If that’s so,” the officer asks.  “Then who was he talking to in the wine cellar when we grabbed him?”
         Doctor Cleveland smiles. “His twin sister, officer. His twin sister.”


Yolanda Renee said...

I loved your story, Ellis; it was well written and intriguing. The death of a twin would be very traumatic, but it still doesn't justify murder. Although, some perps don't need a reason, do they? Most all the way through I was convinced that his sister was there, excellent surprise ending.

I'm so happy that you joined us for the WEP Halloween Challenge. If you've made the rounds you've discovered the any different takes on the prompt, and that's what makes this the most fun!

Happy Halloween!

Denise Covey said...

Ellis. Thank you. What a great entry for the scarefest. Glad you posted.
I found your story full of tension and you had me all the way. I never saw that ending coming (yes, I couldn't stop reading at 1,000 words, even though thank you for your consideration), and it was just right when I thought about it. Such trauma in his life, but as Yolanda said, that's no excuse for murder. Never any excuse.

So thanks so much for posting this creepo for us. Maybe you'll try your hand at our December challenge where we go all sci-fi for the holiday season.

Denise :-)

desk49 said...

to you two
I give thanks
such kind words
I don't feel I rank
long story's I seldom
now do wright
I do have old ones
if that's all right

Deborah Drucker said...

I liked your story. You had me going about Jerry's sister being real until close to the end.

dolorah said...

That was sinister. Way cool.

Laura Clipson said...

Brilliant twist at the end, I thought she was there the whole time. Great story :)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I believed she was there all the time as well. Truly unexpected twist at the end. Riveting and absorbing all the way through. Great job.

Nilanjana Bose said...

I enjoyed the story and especially the ending, great twist. Well done. Glad to see you at the WEP!

Snaggle Tooth said...

Thanks for the fun story! Good work!

desk49 said...

Deborah: you could say she was there all along.
Dolorah: I hope you don't think sinister in me runs free
Laura: she was or he was or they was
you all honer me
Roland: poor girl they will try and lock her up again.
Nilanjana: WEP thanks for your reply I'v got to go the Dr' walked by
Snaggle: I'm glad you stopped by I'll stop by your blog and say Hi
I'm glad to see the

Samantha Redstreake Geary said...

Oh, that was wickedly unexpected! Great tension and buildup throughout!

desk49 said...

Wickedly is a nice word for me
tension and buildup works too you see
thanks for dropping by

N. R. Williams said...

Well done. I kept expecting his twin sister to murder him especially after learning he told the doctor about her. What a twisted surprise that she was already dead.

Bish Denham said...

Oooo, surprise! Murder and mayhem, storms, and spooky settings. Nicely done.

Anonymous said...

Great twist! Fleshed out, this could be a cool novella or something! Good job!

desk49 said...

N.R.:No her and I like each other too much.

Bish: Few ever know what lays in ones head.

Madilyn: One novella is all I need.
Now short stores only for me.

Thanks one and all.

Lynn said...

Wow - didn't see that coming! Good read!

desk49 said...

Thanks for dropping by
by the way sis said hi
knife she don't have
I took it away
then which of us have it
it to hard to say

Elephant's Child said...

Sometimes I wanted to be a twin, to feel that someone always was on my side and had my back.
Sometimes I didn't. A twin would know the self that others overlook.
Creepy and clever. I am not convinced that she isn't still with him either.

Sally said...

the bond of twins is very strong and creepy in your tale.

Robyn Campbell said...

You write well. Your tale is creepy and had me on the edge of my seat. The ending was a delightful twist. I love stories like this. You could make this into a novel. I've also noticed your poems on my blog and the other blogs. Love them. Thanks.

Feather Stone said...

I'm glad I've never sought to be the talk of the town, LOL. Thanks for sharing this intriguing story.

Arpan Ghosh said...

I knew his sister was all in his head the moment she whispered to him while the doctor was sitting there. That didn't make the story any less creepy, though.

I'm not sure if you were looking for critiques, but I'd like to point out one thing that stuck out to me: the doctor smiling in the end. It just seemed out of character, given everything that's happened.

Overall a great bit of flash fiction!

J Lenni Dorner said...

Great twist at the end. I enjoyed your story. Thanks for sharing it.

joyce charbonneau said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joyce charbonneau said...

I'm out of town on another computer. (desk49)

Elephant's: She is still there you have my word.
Sally: And my sis still loves me. LOL
Robyn: Sweet words from a kind lady.
Feather: Some ways we are in one way or the other.
Arpan: Good catch.
J Lenni: And thank you.