Gridlocked Guesthouse (Locked House Hauntings Book 1) (8 page)

And so he was also lost. Lost in the fear that if he checked John, he'd know the answer. He killed a man.

Tiffany, though, once she finally managed to hurl herself back to humanity, she came down the stairs and held the man. He was cold as ice. His skin was frozen, frost was melting, and dripping off his eyelashes.

Did I mention how drunk he was? He was, in fact, motherfucking drunk. I'm sorry; I know I said I don't like to curse, but I might have been exaggerating a little on that point. I don't, in fact, mind cursing.

He was Mother. Fucking. Drunk. Remember Mike took that bottle of vodka away? It was practically empty. He was drunk, very drunk. And one of the side effects of sitting in a freezer, totally drunk off your ass, is that you don't feel as bad as you should when you start to thaw.

And he felt great.

I mean, he couldn't quite move yet. He was curled into a ball on the couch, but despite him being cold as fucking hell, he wasn't dying. He was just cold, very effing cold. Tiffany sobbed in front of him and wrapped herself around him. He was too cold to even tremble yet. But fifteen minutes later, he was finally enough degrees warmer that he started to shiver from head to toe. Tiffany kissed him and soon they were both asleep, his cold body and her warm one, tangled together in the loveseat. They slept in the middle of their icy make-out fest.

Zane staggered around, sleep deprived and walked towards Beth. She stood in the corner, still sobbing, and smelled a bit like pee. He didn't care and kissed her. He kissed her until she stopped crying, and eventually pulled her to the floor, kissing her until they slept.

Mike didn't seem to notice, still pressed to Mikaela; they were suddenly both dozing and standing together. He groggily realized his head was pounding. It had been a long fucking night. Mikaela jumped with a start as he moved. He kissed her forehead and pulled her to the couch. Beezer slept on the other couch. Mike lay down and pulled Mikaela, in her pretty, sparkling dress, on top of him like a blanket. It was moments until he was snoring a soft, manly noise into her ear. She found comfort in him and slept too, her body warm with his. Ricky and Rachel stood at the top of the stairs, staring at the sleeping people. Lucy in a chair, Beezer on the couch, Mikaela and Mike together. Tiffany and John together.

Only Jenny was missing, along with Cletus and Carson, the two twin goats. Ricky and Rachel went to the twins' bedroom and fucked and slept on the bed. It would be eleven in the morning before anyone woke up and realized that Jenny was truly missing.

















Mikaela was first; her sequined dress seemed scratchy and rough. Like she had suddenly become allergic. It was downright unpleasant. She lifted her head and looked around. Beezer was still asleep on the couch nearby. Beth and Zane were wrapped around each other on the floor.

Lucy was sort of asleep, but seemed to be mid-nightmare. Perhaps they all were mid-nightmare.

In fact, if you ask me, they were; they just hadn't noticed yet.

Or maybe they had? Like I said, it's not like I actually know every single thought in every person's head. I just have the basic grip of the story and I'll flesh out the rest. Let's see, we've still got Zane, Beezer, Lucy, and Ricky. I guess you already kind of get Rachel.

Hmm. Any of them that you'd particularly like to know about?

Let's go with Zane. He was Mikaela's twin brother, and he didn't get knocked up at an embarrassingly young age. He was sweet as pie, and partied like most college age boys would. He had a soft spot for his sister, mostly because he felt like she got a raw deal out of life so far. He'd be out having fun, and she'd be staying in. He was the guy who pressured her to leave her little boy with Grandma and enjoy two nights of delicious fun. He had barely drunk anything so far this evening because he wanted to be sober for her just in case. I know I already said this, but he loved having Beth sit on his lap. He could feel her delightfully embarrassed, and he was pretty sure she tried to keep most of her weight on her toes, as if she'd squish him if he wasn't careful.

It was adorable. He just wanted to snatch her up and kiss her until the world felt better.

Mikaela noticed right off the bat that Ricky and Rachel were gone; it wasn't that shocking to her that they went and got a little R and R time. But--that said, she needed to detangle herself from a grown man. It suddenly was awkwardly intimate, lying here as though they were lovers. She peeled herself away, and he immediately fluttered awake. His being awake made it worse somehow. Because he'd know. He'd know what she smelled like, how warm her skin was, and what her soft sleepy breath felt like on his chest. It was intimate.

She didn't like it and, quickly, before he could say another word, she slipped into the kitchen and started making coffee. When she realized it was almost noon, a sinking feeling delved into her belly. Where was Ben? Why hadn't he gotten help yet? Had he gotten lost?

She tried not to think of that as the coffee pot slowly filled. Mike entered the kitchen before the pot was full. He stood, staring at her from behind, and she could feel his eyes burning into her body. She refused to look, still staring out the window.

I think he was regretting not kissing her last night, while she was soft and vulnerable in his arms. That's what I think. But he decided to suddenly. In a fit of bravery, he used his big brave man feet and walked up to her. He threw his arms around her back as if he knew what he was doing. As if they were lovers and were intimate. As if they had kissed last night. And he said, "Good morning." Right in her ear! As if they did that sort of thing!

And she recoiled. Not because she didn't like him. No! She totally loved him. She wanted him. That was
she recoiled. Her nerves took over and she shuddered.

Mike let go immediately. He wasn't so much hurt as worried about her. Maybe he was screwing it all up.

She turned around and looked at him finally, and it
was intimate.
He hadn't stepped away. So when she turned, they were almost nose to nose. Except that he was practically a giant, so her nose was just mid-chest. Especially with her heels off. They stood together, and she realized she was breathless, and he leaned down to her and kissed her nose. "Did I offend you?" he said quietly, staring into her eyes.

She blushed, a beautiful rosy pink flush. She tipped her lips up towards his and before they could touch, Zane stepped into the kitchen. "Any coffee ready yet?"

And the two of them burst apart like a firework. Zane looked pretty startled, and I've gotta say, it was pretty funny. Mikaela was so red and flustered she knocked a coffee mug to the ground and it shattered everywhere. The loud crash woke most of the rest of the room, and soon everyone was milling in the kitchen, munching away on the pancakes Mike started cooking. He made Mikaela's a heart shape, but she didn't say anything.

After they had been eating for an hour or so, Tiffany finally said, "Hey, where are Cletus and Carson?"

"Who?" asked John. He was snarfing pancakes like they were air.

Tiffany said, "The goats? And Jenny?"

There was a quiet moment while everyone considered when they had last seen her. "Maybe she slept upstairs? I'll go check." Zane went up the stairs before anyone could complain.

He brought down Ricky and Rachel, who were both very disheveled looking. Rachel's hair was wild and knotted. "Pancakes?" Mike said, standing up to start another batch. Rachel just took coffee, but Ricky ate quite a fine stack. "Jenny's gotta be outside letting those goats eat weeds or something," Rachel said, barely interested. "You guys still wanna play, right? I'm sorry that your leg is broken, Beezer, but I'm sure Ben will have found someone soon."

Where exactly was Ben?

Zane did a quick run around inside the building and came back. "I can't find Jenny."

This prompted a more serious response, sort of; well, the pancakes were gone and nobody had anything better to do. So they searched for Jenny. Beezer didn't search, still sitting indefinitely on the couch.

Oh! And I just realized I totally forgot to tell you what happened with Rafael! Nobody talked about him at all, because his body wasn't there. I think they all assumed that maybe someone else had moved him, or put him away or something. And Lucy didn't eat breakfast. She was pretty much a lump on a log at this point. She sat mindlessly on her chair, staring at nothing. Mikaela brought her coffee and eventually coaxed her to sip some. But Lucy was somewhere else now. She was half the girl she used to be. She just stared at nothing.

Anyways, the rest of them, though, they ran around the house quickly searching each room. And then more thoroughly searching each room. And then just as Rachel stood in the hallway between the dining area and the safe room, at the top of the basement stairs--

At that same time Zane and Beth went outside, looking for Jenny and the goats; surely they were outside--

And at the same time as that--Mike and Mikaela found Rafael.

















I might add it's hard to explain when multiple people are screaming at once. Over different things. I guess I could go from mouth to mouth--

Rachel, peering down the dark wooden stairs, seeing a crumpled body at the bottom, began screaming her bloody head off.

Zane and Beth, outdoors, seeing Jenny in her car, screaming at the sight of her. The terrifying sight of her!

And Mike and Mikaela, up in the master bedroom; she opened a wardrobe and Rafael fell out. Just tumbled across her.

Or I could give them each a moment, a long, sweet paragraph.

Rachel stood at the top of the stairs and let out a long, terrifying scream. She stepped down gingerly. Nobody came running. They couldn't; they were too busy listening to other, louder screams. She could see the body crumpled, lying at the bottom of the stairs. Had someone fallen? Had Jenny fallen? Rachel stepped down again, "Hello?" She stepped down again, slowly whispering, "Are you okay? Jenny? Is that you?" And the crumpled body didn't move, it didn't moan. A new thought struck her. Was it Rafael? She almost said it aloud but then hesitated. He was dead; he couldn't answer her. And why would someone toss his body down a flight of steps? He was dead.

Zane stepped out onto the porch. The daylight was bright and strong, it being noon and all. Beth stepped after him. She wasn't sure what to say to him quite yet. They hadn't talked after their kissy face episode and slept all snuggled up. But in the morning, it was as though it never happened. Beth awoke alone, Zane was in the kitchen, with a mug shattered. He barely even looked at her. She was feeling insecure and timidly following him, hoping that he'd catch her hand or wink at her or something. Some sort of love code that she could follow. And she got one, for when he let out a manly shout and blocked her with his arms, she knew he wanted her safe. She stood on her toes and looked past him, and she could see in Jenny's car. There was the missing girl--and her goats. Locked in the vehicle. Jenny's face was pale and she had blood dripping from her head. Her mouth was gagged with some sort of cloth. What the hell happened to her?

Mikaela stepped into the room and she did hold Mike's hand, gently dragging him into the still cold master bedroom. It wasn't icy anymore, but it was certainly frigid. She kissed him suddenly again. She couldn't help herself; she wanted to touch him, to love him, to be loved by him. She hadn't been loved in years. Somehow, she had forgotten how bright it could be. He kissed her back, but then released her with a wink and started searching the cupboards in the bathroom. That was, after all, where they found John. She turned and opened the wardrobe and a swollen and stiff black-faced Rafael fell out on to the floor. She screamed an unnaturally loud shout into the dark.

So, I don't know which way you like better, but I swear, I can't even make this up; all this crap happened at the same moment. Beezer was shouting bloody murder. "What's going on, guys!" He could hear the screams. Lucy said nothing, sitting nearby, still staring at nothing. John and Tiffany looked up from the kitchen table nervously. Gorgeous Ricky was making another pot of coffee, and dropped it, running to Rachel's screams.

John said, "It's happening, isn't it? We woke them up and now they are going to kill us." His voice was hoarse and he was the first one to say out loud that he thought that the ghosts were to blame. He hadn't talked much about his near death experience. Tiffany wasn't sure if she should ask.

She reached over and touched his hand and he flinched with fright. "Don't let them kill me," he whispered.

But Ricky had joined in with a terrifying man shout. "What the ever living fuck!" His voice cracked with horror. "Rach, stay back." And Rachel backed out of the hallway and into the kitchen, her hands fluttering at her face, covering her eyes between tiny shrieks.

















Beth stood on the porch, her body trembling. Zane tried to squeeze his body between the cars to open the door and let Jenny out. But he couldn't fit. When he gripped the handle, he tugged, but it was locked. Her eyes were wide with fear and the two goats were scampering on top of her. She was sobbing; he couldn't hear her, but the frightened tears were obvious enough. How would they get her out of the car?

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