The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Underwater We Breathe
by Suzanne Madron
Somewhere in the haunted halls of the old house Ted could hear her talking. Her voice was low, and her laugh was even quieter as he approached the crack of light streaming through the partially open door.
The floorboards creaked beneath his feet and he swore to himself. Her voice stopped abruptly and he sighed. He had hoped to catch her this time.
He retreated down the hallway until he reached their nearly empty shared office. Feeling only a slight pang of guilt, he sat in a chair and pretended to read as Nancy shuffled down the hallway.
“In here!” he called out.
She entered the library and cocked her head to the side, one hand planted on her hip. “Were you just outside the bedroom?”
He forced a confused smile. “No, why?”
Nancy ran a hand through her hair. “I thought I heard you outside the door. Must be the ghost, I guess.” She smirked and shook her head at their once-beloved inside joke. It had been years since the joke had been funny, however.
When she turned to leave he stopped her. He could no longer run from his fears.
“Who were you talking to?”
“You were outside the bedroom!” she accused.
“Fine, yes. It was me.”
“I was talking to the men who came to visit. Did you know – ”
Jealousy blazed in his chest and he threw his book aside, cutting her off. “You invited them into our home? How could you?”
Nancy sighed and grappled with her hair as it haloed around her head, escaped from its bun. “Theodore. They’re listening now. They finally hear us. Come with me, we can talk to them together.”
He sighed and got to his feet. He followed her down the hallway to the door to their bedroom and stopped. Inside the room the light filtered through from above, where the wall of their house had been partially destroyed. The room was a shambles, with broken wood and glass littering the floor along with silt and seaweed from when the entire house had slid from its pilings and fallen into the ocean during a hurricane.
Over the bed hovered men in dark, tight suits with canisters strapped to their backs. Every few seconds bubbles burst forth from the masks the men wore and surged upward, toward the broken ceiling.
Ted stared at the bed, at the long-decayed corpses picked clean by time and the creatures of the tide. The skeletal hands of the couple were entwined, though he knew it was by chance and not design. Nancy came up next to him and slid her hand in his, pulling him toward the equipment the divers had set up in the bedroom.
She turned to him and with a mischievous grin, she set off the motion sensors and screamed into the underwater microphone.
Fiction © Copyright Suzanne Madron
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Suzanne Madron:
The house across the street seems to go on the market every few months, but this time nothing about the sale is normal, including the new owners. No sooner has the for sale sign come down and the neighborhood is thrown into a Lovecraftian nightmare and the only way to find out is to attend the house warming party.