Inheritance – Very Short Story

The sounds, oh the sounds that old houses make. Some of them he recognised, some he didn’t. But it wasn’t the sounds that worried him, but the how the very walls seemed to move as a particularly strong wind hit against the house, the house bending to the will of nature.

Nervously he looked out a window on the wall next to him. The night wrapped in complete darkness, the moon shaded by clouds. He tucked his blankets even tighter around himself as he heard the rain drum against the window. The bed creaking violently as he did, like the house.

Wide awake, he glanced around the sparsely lit room while trying to keep the weight of the storm out of his mind. The house was at least a century old and his grandmother had lived here all her life. Not as the owner – but as a maid!

She had been lucky, though, as the couple she’d served died with no heir, leaving everything to her. Yet, she had done nothing with the house, never leaving it, seeing nobody…

He didn’t feel one way or another about her passing. She never seemed too interested in the lives of her relatives when they visited; always having to invite themselves since she refused to leave her home. They always wondered how she got supplies to survive but she always assured them that she had everything she needed. And sure enough, she lived until the ripe age of 90, if you could call that living…

He couldn’t recall what she looked like, oddly enough. Her face was always an anonymous blur in his mind’s eye. But he did recall some of the stories she used to tell. Often about this very house. What was it again? Something about Munchkins inside the walls? No, that’s from something else… But it was definitely something about the walls, and something living inside of them…

As his mind drifted, his eyes fixated on a hole right above his head. He grunted irritably, finding more reason to just leave the house to crumble.

This is going to be expensive…

Although it was too dark to see clearly, there was a gap in between the planks of the first and second floor. The isolation gnawed away by critters for a century, and most defiantly decades of neglect. Some maid she turned out to be…

Staring into the darkness of the hole, a pair of eyes flashed before him. Taken aback by the glowing eyes, he did not react, but as the creature hissed he quickly rolled off the bed, taking most of the blankets with him. The bed collapsed with a loud crash but he was too frightened to care.

He backed into the cold and drafty wall and breathed heavily, not taking his eyes away from the hole, barely blinking. But as nothing came, his racing heart settled, and he laughed mockingly at himself. “Fucking cat,” he whispered, his body still shaking.

There truly were munchkins inside the wall.

Authors note: I was considering making the story a lot more elaborate but that would cover a lot more than a thousand words, which is my self-imposed limit to these stories; and I don’t think anyone would be interested in reading a story longer than that anyway. At least not as a blog post. I might expand this into a short story some day. Until then, thanks for reading! 

© Christopher Stamfors

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