A Fixer-Upper

by Hack Shuck

A Fixer-Upper

9th October

I bought the old farmhouse for a song at an auction. I hadn’t seen it before I bid. Everyone at the auction who’d been to view the property didn’t bid on it. That should’ve set alarm bells ringing.

There’s barely an address. It’s down a dirt road which snakes all over the place for no apparent reason. There isn’t a town or gas station for forty miles.

It’s called a farmhouse, but technically there isn’t a farm. Just fields filled with dead yellow grass. There’s no barn or silo. The land hasn’t been worked.

It’s a pretty typical three-storey wooden house, painted white, the kind you see on TV but which nobody really lives in. Picture an old geezer sat on a rocking chair on the porch sipping homemade lemonade. Except that I can’t imagine anyone ever relaxing at sunset in this particular house.

The house is in superb condition but completely empty; you’d swear nobody had ever lived there. No splinters, no chipped paint. The floorboards don’t even creak. There’s no electricity or running water.

I asked the only person I’d passed on my way to the house, a very friendly lady, whether she knew the previous owner. The woman said that a young man had built the place eighty years ago, and that she’d never met him, but occasionally he could be glimpsed through the windows at night, grimacing at nothing. She’d been scared of him when she was a child, she said. I sensed she was scared of him, still.

She said she’d never once seen him leave the house, though she’d been his closest neighbor for decades.

What is weirdest about the house is all of the bricked-up doorways inside.


10th October

I started removing a few of the bricks from one of the passages with an old crowbar, only to find more bricks behind. And more behind those, as if the entire passageway is filled.

I tried another passageway, and it was the same.

I’ve counted twenty passages, on all three floors. Some are leading from the walls, some from the basement floor. Some are leading from the second-floor ceiling. I must’ve stood outside the house for hours, shaking my head in wonder and unease.

These Passages cannot physically exist. They extend beyond the house itself.

Where on earth do they lead to?


17th October

It’s taken me a week to unblock one of the 2nd-floor Passages to a depth of seventy-five feet. My car won’t start, so there’s not much else to do.

I should be above the dirt road. The wooden floor is solid beneath my feet. Today I worked so late that I didn’t notice the sun setting. I heard something fluttering, a little further ahead. I stopped for the day.


18th October

A coffin? Why on earth…


18th October cont.

Worked too late again today. Saw one of the coffins creak open, just a crack. Desperately piled bricks back up. Praying that this holds them. They sound starving.

© The Evening Universe, 2022-2024. All Rights Reserved.