324 Abercorn

324 Abercorn

By:  Mark Allan Gunnells  Completed
Language: English
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Sound of his Bones Breaking, a novella that will leave you truly shaken. Board for free. But the cost might be your life. ©️ Crystal Lake Publishing

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26 Chapters
Prologue: Dream House
PROLOGUE:Dream HouseJune 2006The house crouched there on the corner of Abercorn and Wayne like something alive but dormant, a hibernating beast, which may soon awaken and swallow the world whole.Standing across the street in Crenshaw Square, Brad Storm thought he would describe the house in those terms in one of the horror stories he liked writing. Despite the tour guide’s eerie tales about the place’s rather macabre history, Brad only saw a gorgeous Greek Revival mansion. Sure, the house was neglected and in serious need of repairs, but the bones were sturdy. Brad could use his hyperactive imagination to see beyond the busted windows and missing shutters, the moldering brick and general air of abandonment, and envision the house as it must have been in its glory.The building stood three stories tall, with slightly curving side-steps leading up to the main entrance on the second floor. The details were somewhat obscured in the dark, but on the right side there seemed to be a
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Chapter One: The Boy in the Book Lady
PART ONE:New Boy in TownMarch 2016CHAPTER ONEThe Boy in the Book LadyBrad was browsing the Mystery section in Book Lady on Liberty Street when he noticed the boy staring at him. Well, not a boy exactly. He was probably in his early twenties, more of a young man. The older Brad got, though, the younger everyone else looked to him.Jesus, you’re only thirty-six, stop casting yourself in the role of a geriatric. Although you are closer to forty than twenty. Hell, you’re closer to forty than thirty . . . Blocking out his own inner voice, Brad glanced back toward the staircase lined with stacks of books. The young man still stood there, practically in the children’s section, still staring at him. He wore a pair of capri pants and a gray hooded sweatshirt, his black hair done up in meticulous bed-head, ample time spent to make it appear he spent no time on his appearance. Mild amusement marked his face. Instinctively, Brad reached up and brushed at his chin, wonde
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Chapter Two: The Runaway Nectarines
CHAPTER TWOThe Runaway NectarinesAs Brad made his way back across Crenshaw Square, he silently berated himself for not taking his car. He hadn’t thought he’d need it since everything in the Historic District—scratch that, downtown—was within easy walking distance, but what seemed like a few short blocks when you were unburdened suddenly felt a lot longer when you hauled six plastic bags full of household supplies.Weary as he was, he still paused across the street and surveyed his new home. He remembered standing in this exact spot ten years ago, fantasizing about owning the house. At the time, it had seemed nothing more than an impossible dream, but here he was, literally living the dream.The house was no longer the dilapidated beauty it had been before. No more mold creeping down the masonry like a rash, no more broken glass, brand new shutters and roof. The restoration hadn’t been cheap, but 324 Abercorn was once again the grand manor Brad had known all those years ago. He co
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Chapter Three: Phantom in the Basement
CHAPTER THREEPhantom in the BasementBrad was upstairs in his bedroom, unpacking clothes and putting them away, when he heard voices. Soft and indistinct. He couldn’t make out any actual words, but he definitely heard them murmuring.After placing a couple of sweaters on the top shelf of the cedar wardrobe, he walked over to the bay window looking out on the front of the house. He settled on the cushioned window seat and pulled aside the curtain, where he saw a group gathered in the square. This was the third ghost tour he’d noticed since it got dark, and it was not even nine o’clock in the evening. He supposed this was something he would have to get used to. Then again, maybe once the house was occupied for a while, its reputation as an evil place would fade and the tours would lose interest and find other venues on which to focus their attention. He could hope.An older gentleman, dressed in a white suit complete with wide-brimmed hat, hosted this tour. The man probably tho
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Chapter Four: Lunch in PJ’s
CHAPTER FOURLunch in PJ’sBrad stepped out onto the porch and was closing the door behind him, when he saw Bias crossing the street from Crenshaw Square.“Caught you in the nick of time,” the young man said with a wide grin, a backpack slung over one shoulder.Brad started down the steps to the sidewalk. “Yeah, I was just headed out to the store. What are you doing in the neighborhood?”“Well, I don’t have any classes this morning, so I thought instead of waiting on you to call, I’d just show up and finagle that tour, and then take you out to lunch.”“Oh,” Brad said, caught again in that limbo where he wasn’t sure how much he should read into Bias’s intentions. “Um, I do really need to get some stuff from the store, though.”“Where you going?”“I was thinking the CVS over off Wright Square.”“Ah, the haunted CVS.”Brad sputtered a laugh. “This city is amazing, even the drug stores have ghost stories attached to them.”Bias shrugged. “It’s built on the site of the city’
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Chapter Five: The Queen in Colonial Park
CHAPTER FIVEThe Queen in Colonial ParkWhen they left the CVS—not having encountered a single spook or goblin—Bias offered to take the bag of kitty litter and the box, and Brad carried the bag of dry cat food. As they turned off State Street, walking across Oglethorpe Square to head back down Abercorn, Brad said, “You’ve asked lots of questions about me, but I feel like I barely know anything about you.”“I’m an open book. What do you want to know?”“Well, I can tell from your accent that you’re a damn Yankee, but where are you from exactly?”“New Jersey, but don’t hold that against me. We’re not all Guidos and Guidettes, despite what MTV would have you think.”“I stopped believing anything MTV had to tell me when the ‘M’ in their acronym became obsolete.”Bias laughed, cutting a comical salute at the statue of James Edward Oglethorpe that stood at the center of the square. “It wasn’t a bad place to grow up. My mother routinely took us kids into New York to see Broadway plays.
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Chapter Six: Bias in the House
CHAPTER SIXBias in the HouseAs Brad stepped into the foyer, he reached for the keypad, but then paused, his lips twisting down in a frown.“What’s wrong?” Bias asked, stepping in behind him.“Nothing, it’s just . . . I guess I forgot to set the alarm.”Bias glanced around. “Well, doesn’t look like anyone’s ransacked the place while we’ve been out, so I think you’re okay.”“My brain’s been so scattered lately,” Brad said with a shake of his head. “Guess that comes with old age.”“That’s what I hear, Grandpa.”“Don’t be a whippersnapper. Have a seat in the den while I take care of my furry friend.”Bias handed him the bags. “Don’t get lost,” he said, before heading through the archway.Brad hurried down to the basement. Phantom was curled up by the fireplace, purring contentedly. The animal lifted its head and tensed its body, giving off suspicion like a scent, but didn’t move as Brad approached. This morning, before leaving, he’d poured more milk into the bowl
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Chapter Seven: Skeleton in the Garden
CHAPTER SEVENSkeleton in the GardenLunch was set up on the brick courtyard next to the carriage house. Brad laid out a tray of chicken salad sandwiches, strawberry walnut salad, and a ceramic pot of herbal tea on the white iron patio table. Brad wasn’t exactly a culinary genius, but he thought everything looked good.Neisha sat in one of the matching patio chairs, sipping the tea. Resplendent in white linen pants and a pink top, she closed her eyes and threw her head back to the sun. The day was cool but not cold, the full promise of spring on the breeze.“Thanks for inviting me over,” she said. “I’ve been cooped up in the museum all morning, and it’s too nice a day not to get out and enjoy it a little.”“Certainly a great day to be outside soaking up the fresh air,” Brad said, sitting across from her.“Speaking of soaking up fresh air, who’s the cute white boy you got working in the yard.”Brad glanced toward the wall that separated the courtyard from the side lawn as if
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Chapter Eight: Date Night
CHAPTER EIGHTDate NightAfter only five minutes in Club One, Brad remembered why he avoided bars and nightclubs. The place was dark and cramped; he wasn’t sure of the building’s maximum capacity but the crowd had to be pushing the limit.“Is every gay guy in Georgia here?” Brad said, having to practically shout to be heard over the blaring techno remix of “Jesus Take the Wheel” that a tiny Asian drag-queen lip-synched to on the small stage.Bias raised up on tiptoes to speak directly into Brad’s ear. “The drag show on Saturday night is always the busiest. RuPaul really revived the popularity of drag.”The two men squeezed their way through the throng, and Brad noted the average clientele was at least fifteen years his junior, all giving off a vibe of cocky self-entitlement, which seemed to be the calling card of youth. He found himself on the receiving end of many razor-sharp glares as he made his way through the club, as if being asked to move even a millimeter was a person
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Chapter Nine: The Opened Doors
CHAPTER NINEThe Opened DoorsBrad awoke to sunlight streaming through the bay window. He stretched languidly and glanced at the clock on the nightstand. 9:42 a.m. He rarely slept this late, being an early riser by nature, but then he’d been out a bit later than usual for him. Not to mention, the strenuous activities that he and Bias had engaged in upon returning to the house.Bias.With a lazy smile, Brad turned over to face the other side of the bed . . . only to find it empty. The mattress still bore the imprint of his body, but the man himself had vacated. However, a folded piece of paper was propped on the pillow like a little tent.Brad pushed himself up, back against the headboard, a sense of dread settling in his stomach as he stared at the note. A Dear John letter this early in the relationship?With a sigh, he took the paper and unfolded it, reading Bias’s neat and slanting handwriting. The dread melted away at the words, replaced with a warmth that sprea
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