Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Old Farmhouse

This story was an experiment in the use of a (very) active narrator.  The story itself is fairly inconsequential, but it was pretty fun to write.  I want to do something with this sort of narrator again sometime.

An old farmhouse is always the perfect place for any kind of story isn’t it? Mystery, horror, romance, fantasy, an old farmhouse can fit into any genre and any story. This old farmhouse, in my story, isn’t much different from any other old farmhouse you might read about in your literature. Still, I’ll entertain you with a vivid description.

Nobody had lived in the farmhouse for at least half a century and it was evident in the state of the building. The broken, ragged eves of the building hung down over lonely, empty windows, the glass shattered or removed long ago. Walking up the steps to the porch, it would be a miracle of the highest caliber if the entire porch didn’t break under you feet, sending you into the dirty ground below. If, somehow, you managed to get onto the porch, when you turned the doorknob it would almost certainly fall off in your hand. Maybe the door would even fall on you. The wooden tiles on the outside walls of the house looked more like the mud-caked skin of a lizard and a single brick chimney rose from the sagging roof. Sometimes it was said you could see smoke coming out of the chimney because (of course) the house was haunted and ghosts need a good fire as much as anybody else. Billy G. Willikins of Gravesbury once said that he saw a ghost farmer, accompanied by ghostly dog, walk out of the building and milk the shade of a cow. But then, Billy G. Willikins says a lot of things.

So, yes, just your typical possibly haunted old farmhouse.

Now the next natural development of the story, you’ll assume, is to introduce the main character and then have him/her take a dare, enter the farmhouse and find out that it’s actually haunted or some such… Nope! Not only am I not introducing our protagonist yet, when I do s/he won’t be taking any dares of any kind throughout the whole story.

First let’s talk a little about where our story is actually going to take place. You remember when I mentioned Gravesbury earlier? (If you don’t, you may want to see a doctor about short-term memory loss.) Gravesbury is where this story is not in fact taking place. No, Gravesbury is just to the west of the town our story is taking place in, South Gravesbury. South Gravesbury is one of several towns that are considered “Greater Gravesbury”. There’s Gravesbury (to the West), West Gravesbury (to the South), Central Gravesbury (to the North), North Gravesbury (in the middle), and of course South Gravesbury (to the East). Happyton, formerly East Gravesbury, changed names in the 18th century and people generally agree that it was for the better. A certain group, however, was unhappy with this decision. They called themselves “The Gravely Grave Of Gravesbury” and they contested that renaming East Gravesbury (which, incidentally, is the only town in Greater Gravesbury with a graveyard) was desecration of a rich and cherished tradition of being as depressing as humanly possible. The Gravely Graves lost, however, and it was ruled that they should stop listening to Morrissey songs and get out more. Anyway, all of this is completely irrelevant to the story so let’s move on.

The FBI had always been interested in South Gravesbury (didn’t expect that, did’ja?) because back in the 10th century South Gravesbury, then called Southe Graves Burie, was home to an evil cult called The Brotherhood Of General Nastiness or BOG for short. BOG decided to forego the N in their acronym because BOG sounded cooler and they didn’t want to be confused with The Brotherhood of General Niceness. (There would later be some confusion with The Brotherhood Of Good, but that’s a story for another day.) BOG was a very dangerous force, partying all night, taking candy from babies, and playing their music too loud. Their most gruesome scheme was also their most artful. It involved finding a little old lady (the littler and older the better) and pretending to lead her across the street, but instead bringing the poor woman into their lair where they would take any breath mints, spare change, or nostalgic pictures of her grandchildren and then send her on her way, none the wiser. BOG was eventually caught when it turned out that what they thought was an innocent young lady was actually hotshot cop Stan Stanman, but this was about 1,000 years later. Ever since Stan Stanman caught BOG, in 1964, the FBI has had their eyes on South Gravesbury. Stan Stanman isn’t the protagonist of this story, but let’s go take a peek on him anyway.

Stan Stanman’s considerable bulk (not a hotshot anymore) was slumped down in the chair in his sparse office. As the director of the FBI he was by nature required to have a sparse office and the only things that decorated his shelves were papers and an octop- wait, let me just go back a second. Look at how Stan’s slumped like that. It look’s like he’s… Oh dear.

The door opened and Stan’s second in command, Bob Roberts, entered the room.

“Hey Stan!” Bob said. “Stan?” Bob walked around Stan’s small desk and poked his ample cheek.

“Come on, Stan,” Bob said. “If this is another one of those 'I’m dead so please go find terrorists without me’ things then you can just stop now, alright? Come on! Get up!” Bob pulled Stan’s arm. “Come on, you’re not really dead are you?” Bob sighed. “Right, I’ll go call the coroner.”

I thought Bob took that well, all things considered. It’s a bit suspicious if you ask me. His boss and best friend suddenly dead at age 69 and he isn’t shocked at all? Hmm, quite a mystery if you ask me. What? You didn’t ask me? And you want me to keep describing the room? After all that’s happened? Stan Stanman’s dead and you want me to describe the room? What? It’s my job? Fine, but I won’t enjoy it. As I was saying, the only things that decorated his shelves were papers and an octo-.

Somebody dashed into the room. What’s his name? I was just getting to that. This is Steve Stevenson, one of the most famous gossips of the FBI. He’s also an investigator and recently solved the Cereal Killer case. He was considered the new hotshot of the bureau and was known as “Stan Stanman, Round 2”.

Bob followed Stevenson into the room.

“And you said you just found him like this?” Stevenson said.

“Yes,” Bob replied. “I already told you. Twice.”

“Just making sure,” Stevenson said as he leaned over the body. “What’s Bog?”

Bob looked up quickly from the papers on Stan’s desk. “What? Did you say BOG?”

“Yeah. What is it?”

“What do you mean? BOG is The Brotherhood of general nastiness. A horrible organization that Stan brought down after 1,000 years.”

“1,000 years, eh? I knew Stan was old, but that old?”

“He wasn’t chasing them for 1,000 years, he was just the one who brought them down. It was his big break.”

“So why would he write it on his desk?”

“What? Where? I didn’t see anything anywhere.”

“You didn’t look hard enough. Stan’s head slumped over to cover it, but if you move aside the head.” Stevenson shoved Stan’s head to the side. “It clearly says BOG.”

It does say BOG, isn’t that something. I certainly wasn’t expecting that. Well, let’s leave our investigative friends for a bit and head back to Gravesbury, shall we? Don’t worry, don’t worry, we’ll come back to this later. Right now we’ve got other plot developments to follow. So, let’s go take another look at that farmhouse I was talking about earlier. See it now? The mangy old thing. Let’s get closer. Closer… Closer… Closer… Do you think we should open the door and go inside?

Suddenly, the door to the farmhouse swung open and a figure bustled out. He was a tall and lanky man with a mop of shaggy black hair and sunken eyes. He was dressed in a simple black shirt and faded jeans.

And before you ask, no, I don’t know who he is.

The man was followed by a short red-haired woman wearing a plain black dress.

This is pretty suspicious, isn’t it? Nobody lives in the house.

The pair began to walk circled around the house, muttering quietly.

What? Why don’t we get closer so we can hear them? That would ruin the suspense wouldn’t it? All right, fine.

“We were too late,” the man said.

“I never thought they’d find out,” the woman replied nervously.

“There’s still hope. We still have time so we still have a chance. We can still win.”

“We’ll have to play aggressively,” the woman said and they walked back into the house.

Hmm, I wonder what that meant? Pretty weird if you ask me. Do you think they could be from BOG? The thought is terrifying. This is all too much for me, I need a drink. Wait a moment, I’ll be right back………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….All right, I’m back. Thank you for waiting. Would you like a drink? No? Let’s continue, then. Where was I? Ah right, the people in the house. Anyway, after the two reentered the house all was deathly silent. No birds tweeted, no dogs barked, and no giraffes made whatever it is that giraffes make. Suddenly, a cry range out. A horrible, pained cry that was quickly cut off. And, yes indeed, it came from the house.

Within 15 minutes police were surrounding the house.

Well, they certainly acted faster than usual, that’s for sure. I wonder why? Ah, ok. Look over there. See? It’s Steve Stevenson. He must’ve taken a hypersonic jet or something.

Stevenson glared at the house.

“Um, sir,” one of the police said.

“Yes?” Stevenson said.

“What’s this all about?”

“Stan Stanman was found dead a little while ago. We think it may be connected to a cult that was based in this house a while ago. Stan was the one that brought them down.”

“Mr. Stanman’s dead, sir?”


“That’s horrible.”

“We will miss him, but we also need to avenge him. Come on! Move out! Let’s go!”

Several policemen walked up the stairs to the porch.

Oh, I wouldn’t do that if I were you, guys.

The porch suddenly collapsed, sending the polices’ faces for a long and romantic date with the mud.

Hee, hee. Sorry, I know I shouldn’t laugh.

Anyway, once the policemen picked themselves off the ground, they walked a bit more carefully up to the door and pulled it open. Luckily, they were all able to jump out of the way of the door’s loving embrace as it fell outwards at them. They policemen flicked on their flashlights and entered the house, Stevenson quickly followed.

The ground floor of the farmhouse was completely empty. Broken furniture was piled against the walls and the police had to step carefully to avoid the holes in the floor. Suddenly, they heard laughter that seemed to be coming from directly below them.

“What was that, sir?” one of the policemen said.

“The basement,” Stevenson muttered. He walked to the back of the house and, sure enough, there was a steep stairwell that appeared to lead into the basement.

Oh my, this is all so intense isn’t it?

Stevenson stomped down the stairs and threw open the door at the bottom. The sight that reached him was truly astounding.

The room was completely empty except for a round table and a few oil lamps. Sitting around the table were five people.

I’ll give you a quick description of each of them. First, there’s the two we’ve already seen. Then there is a man with long red hair, a red beard, and glasses. He looks like something out of the seventies. Then there’s a blonde-haired woman wearing a long white dress. Finally, there was Stan Stanman. They were all holding cards and there were chips piled in the center of the table.

“W-wait, what?” Stevenson said. “Stan?”

Stan looked up from his card. “Oh, hello Stevenson. Could you wait a moment, I’m just finishing up this hand here.” He looked down at his hand and then placed it on the table. “Full house. Three Aces, two kings.”

“Bad luck Stan,” the red-haired man said, placing his hand on the table. “Seven Aces.”

“Ooh. My luck’s been rotten lately.”

The red-haired man greedily reached for the pot and dragged it towards him.

Stan looked up at Stevenson again. “So what was it you wanted?”

“Um. Well, we thought you were dead.”

“Dead? What do you mean? I just came over for my monthly poker game with my good friends from BOG.”

“BOG? The Brotherhood of general nastiness?”

“What? No! Of course not! The Brotherhood Of Good!”

“Oh, right, of course, ok then. What about your body?”

“That was a dummy.”

“A what?”

“A dummy. See, I don’t do much work at the offices anyway, so when I set up my dummy Bob generally doesn’t know the difference. It must’ve fallen over and you assumed it was my dead body. Now that that’s been solved, care to join us for a hand?”

“W-wha-B-b-b-buuuu…” Stevenson stuttered.

“Don’t be shy. Come on, sit down.”

After standing blankly for a while, Stevenson sat down and was dealt a hand.

And that’s my humble farmhouse story. Maybe a little bit different than the ones you’ve read, maybe not. In any case, come around again sometime and I’ll be sure to have another story ready for you. ‘Till then.

Woo, I’m tired. I need another drink. The audience can be such a pain sometimes. What? Are you still here? Go away!

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