The Bradford House (part five)

Here it is the final installment of The Bradford House. I’ve really enjoyed writing it and I look forward to Friday more with the feast. So come back each week for more short stories.

If you missed any of the installments click on the appropriate link: part one, part two, part three, part four.

I’m contemplating taking on NaNoWriMo, so look for a post about that in a few days. I need your help making a decision. Enjoy the end of The Bradford House and have a great weekend.

Happy reading!

Wade 

The Bradford House (part five)

by Wade Finnegan

The man walked toward me with the gun pointed at my chest. “You know you can only do so much before they are ready to leave the nest. But there is always time for one last picture.”

FLASH, CLICK, The room lit up like a finale of a fireworks show. I cupped my hands over my eyes and tried to look for Rachel. Fuzzy shades of white and dark cut across my vision and I stuck out one hand out for stability. THUMP something hit me on the side of the head and face, and the room started to wobble. I spat out a tooth like a piece of Chiclets gum. A pain shot up my spine and my head hit the floor with a dull thud. The lights went out.

I awoke to the sound of the man’s voice. “You look beautiful honey. I think you make a terrific couple. Your mother would have been proud. I wish she could of seen this day. This is a perfect setting made for two.”

The sweet smell of Rachel penetrated my nostrils and I shook the cobwebs from my head. She stood about three feet across from me. A gorgeous white gown with lace and frills shaped her petite frame. Her image would have been absolutely stunning if it wasn’t for the sheer terror plastered on her face. I lurched to hold her, but I couldn’t move. My arms and legs were pinned to wooden posts by some industrial wire. My attire, a freshly pressed black tuxedo with a stark white shirt and cumber bun, made me claustrophobic. Gold cuff links finished the penguin suit. I resembled a cut out straight from GQ.

“Now big smiles,” said the man. Another flash went off but not nearly as intense as before. He was taking regular pictures. He positioned himself in different angles and grabbed different lenses. I looked up at Rachel and could see make-up being washed out from the constant tears. A crimson spot showed up on my white shirt.

“Can you stop bleeding on that fine garment? You know honey you could of done better.” The man chortled a bit and looked over at his daughter and then Rachel. The little girl sat frozen in a chair attached to an IV bottle. Her eyes glassed over and her head bobbed up and down.

“Don’t worry honey, I can take that out later. You did all right. No one is good enough for my little girl. It won’t be long now and you’ll be off on your own and I’ll be all alone. But that’s the way it is suppose to be, right?” The man clicked off three more pictures and walked out of the back of the room.

Rachel motioned with her eyes and head to look behind me. I strained against my restraints to take a look. Several large red cans were piled with paper and old rags. My heart began to palpitate and a mixture of sweat and blood ran down my cheekbones. The adrenaline rush eliminated the pain and gave me power to break one wire with my right hand. I stretched out to touch Rachel, but couldn’t quite reach her. I said in my softest voice, I love you. Rachel flashed a slight smile and I went to work on the next wire. My left hand slipped through when the man entered. He pushed in a buffet cart with a giant five-layer cake a top of it. The white frosting lay like velvet robes adorned on the most prestigious queen. Around the top layer an inscription written in fashionable cursive. Air left my body as I read the same sentence illuminated in the previous room, “Death captures us all”.

The man spotted my free arms and rushed to me. “Oh no, you can’t leave yet. We have one more photo to capture before I send the two of you to live happily ever after.” He grabbed both of my hands and pinned them behind my back. I could feel the wires tearing my legs. Quick jolts of displeasure shot up my legs and as much as I tried to free myself from his grip he held on. SNAP! my left wrist splintered in two and the man handcuffed me. I was certain death was near. The man retrieved the cake and wheeled it between Rachel and I.

“There, the perfect shot before I send you two on your honeymoon. Isn’t the cake perfect my dear? Just like in the catalog.” He glanced at Rachel and turned to his daughter. Her head slumped over her shoulder in an unnatural way. Where the IV needle entered her arm a bulbous lump formed under the skin. Her frail body looked like sugar glass that would crumple with the slightest touch.

“No, no, no, no, no!” He ran to her side and cradled her head. There was no life, only a shell of a little girl. “I was so close, only a few shots and it was all captured perfectly. You!” He turned and glared at me. His eyes blood shot and filled with rage. He pointed his gun straight at my head. “Your heroics ate into my time. It ate into our precious little time. I should end your time right now!”

He put the gun down and picked up his little girl from the chair. He laid her next to the cake. He stroked her hair and swept her cheek. With a jerk he grabbed a lighter from his back pocket and headed to the combustibles. Rachel’s eyes widened and she began to scream. I pulled my legs free from the wire and kicked over my post. Pain radiated up my arm like a red-hot poker. All I could think about was Rachel. She was hysterical. The man sprayed gasoline like a ruptured water line in giant ovals. On my back I worked my hands under the post and my feet. My senses of consciousness going in and out like ocean waves. “Please no!” Rachel screamed.

“Death captures us all! Death captures us all!” The man held the lighter high and flicked the wheel. Flash blazed my eyes and the world burst into flames.

***

“Son, you’re alright, breath slowly. Your mother is on her way.” The paramedic raised the stretcher and inserted me into the ambulance.

“Rachel, where’s Rachel?” I looked beyond my feet hoping to catch a glimpse. The paramedic placed his hand on my shoulder and took a picture from his pocket. “This floated down next to you when you started to breath again.”

It was Rachel, perfect in every way looking beautiful in the gown. I captured her, he didn’t. I captured her in my heart.

The Bradford House (part four)

Happy Friday everyone! I need to start off with a confession. Today’s post in just under 500 words. I felt that cutting off the story in any other place would fill disjointed, so I did it for artistic value. Whew, now that is justified and off my chest it is time for a feast. I hope you enjoy part four and it leaves you wanting the finale next week. Please leave some comments. I love to hear from my readers. If you missed any part in the series here are the links: Part one, Part two, Part three.

Hey, don’t forget to hook up with me on social media. The tabs are on the right.

Happy reading!

Wade

The Bradford House (part four)

 “I was about to capture her soul.” My heart froze and my muscles locked seeing the shadow up close. “I need to capture moments, moments that won’t happen, moments that could happen, moments that will be lost forever if I don’t execute. I need to capture them and I need to be captured with her. You will capture them for me, won’t you? I will make you capture us for eternity.”

“What? What are you talking about? You need to let Rachel and me go.” The man’s face became clear in the light. The power of it chilled me to the bone. It was weathered and wrinkled. Big bags sat under his eyes. I could look straight through them. He was transparent yet there at the same time. His spirit vacated the ravaged body it occupied. He raised a pistol. The black barrel pointed straight at my face. Rachel’s weeps sucked the air from my lungs and my fists clenched into compacted stones. I was ready to attack and take down the menace of this night.

“Now, before you get all heroic young man. There is something I would like to show you.” The shadow of a man slid aside a curtain revealing a little girl sitting on a chair, perfectly posed and ready for another shot. She was the one in the pictures on the wall. But she didn’t look the same. “Will you capture us?” she asked.

“This is my daughter, isn’t she precious? Unfortunately, she must leave me. I can’t let her leave me,” said the man.

I made eye contact with the little girl. Her eyes were sunken and her face was gaunt. She stared at me without expression.

“You see; a photograph doesn’t leave you. It captures you perfectly as it was meant to be. You see; this was meant to be. And if you’re a master of the craft you can make anything seem perfect. Isn’t this perfect?” He lifted up his hands and waved the gun about and turned in a semi-circle.

“My little girl all grown up, waiting for her Prince Charming to arrive.” The man pointed to Rachel. “Isn’t it amazing how quickly they grow up?” He walked toward Rachel the gun raised. “This is my little princess at seventeen. I remember this moment like it was yesterday.” Rachel turned away as the man caressed her cheek with the back of his hand.

The little girl started to rock back and forth in her chair. My eyes darted from her, to the man, to Rachel and back. I felt sea sick and disoriented. Paralyzed with fear I decided to talk to the little girl. “What is your name?” I asked.

“My name is Sarah.”

“Why are you here Sarah?” I believed the question would produce information about the man.

“I’m here because daddy won’t let me die.”

Bradford House (part three)

Last week flew by and this week dragged. But Friday is finally here and it is time for another feast.

Thank you everyone for reading The Bradford House to this point. Having readers waiting for the next installment warms my heart. I’ve included a second helping with over 1000 words. Don’t worry there are two more courses coming. Saddle up and enjoy your feast. If you missed part one click here. And if you need to read part two click here.

Happy reading!

Wade

The Bradford House (part three)

by Wade Finnegan

I had no idea what those words meant, or if they related to Rachel. I sat in the chair and leaned back. My head began to throb in waves. My stomach did cartwheels and acid surged up my throat. I needed to find Rachel and get the hell out of here. My strides stretched as I went back down the hall. Back in the open area I pulled out my phone to call 911.

“911 what’s your emergency?”

“My friend is missing and I need a paramedic to look at my head.”

“Sir, what is your location?”

“I’m at… “Come capture me!”

The voice rattled behind me in a shrill. My phone flew from my hand as I whipped around with a roundhouse kick like I was freaking Bruce Lee. Finding nothing but air I spun to the ground. The whirlwind kicked dust up like billowing smoke. FLASH, CLICK my vision blinded. Little white dots before my eyes made me squint and blink. A shadow streaked across the room, and I jumped forward for a tackle. My face planted in the dirt and the shadow darted toward the stairwell. I scrambled to my feet and sprinted for the door. I couldn’t let that person get away. The darkness made it difficult to navigate, but my memory was good enough to get me back in the house. I turned to retrieve my phone, but out of the corner of my eye a little shadow headed upstairs. Without hesitation I followed. For some reason, I knew that little person was the key to Rachel.

Three doors with a dim light coming out underneath each lay out before me in a large open hallway. They all looked benign, white, and plain; not one begged to be opened, but I had a sense something or someone was behind them. I had to make a choice that was certain. The shortest distance was the most logical plan. I crouched ready for an attack. Shaking faster than a Mongoose tail, my hand slid up the door and turned the knob. I stood upright and gazed with my mouth agape. The room had an octagon shape with zero windows. The walls were lined in dark wood paneling. Small candles at three-foot intervals mounted in pewter pedestals gave the room a warm texture. In between each candle was a framed picture of a young girl. The shots photographed in a variety of poses and had sharp lines. Her subtle smile centered the frame and her long curly blonde hair fell into her eyes. The little girl was precious and innocent. She was the type of girl you wanted to hug, because despite the smile you knew she was sad. I stood in the center of the room rotating, lost in the story of each photo.

“Come capture me.” A whisper called out behind me. The door slammed. I ran to it, but it was locked. I threw my shoulder into it, but the solid wood slab didn’t budge. I looked for a way out, but there were no other doors.

“HELP ME!” It was Rachel; she was next door.

“Rachel, I’m here. I called the cops. They’re on their way. Be strong!” I punched the door. Sharp pains radiated up my arm into my shoulder. My eye caught another picture. The girl was looking over her shoulder and smiling at me. She had a little white dress on. I had seen that dress. The shadow going up the stairs had the same silhouette. The girl in the picture was in the house with me?

“Come capture me.” The voice came from the hall.

“Oh, I will capture you. And then I’ll turn you into the cops for tormenting my friend and me. You might think this is funny, but I’m not laughing.” I knew my words rang empty, because I didn’t even believe it myself. I sank down to the floor. I slammed my fist, the pain doubled. My forehead settled into the palm of my right hand throbbing at exact intervals. Tears welled but did not fall. I had no idea what to do. All of this for a hundred bucks?

“They’re making me up… like a doll…” Rachel called out and I could hear a struggle in the next room.

I started to pound, “Let me out, let me out!” The frame started to give way. I threw all my weight on it and busted through with a shoulder roll. FLASH, CLICK the suddenness put more spots in front of my eyes. I blinked and no one was there. I scrambled to my feet. I rubbed my eyes and stood there looking around.

“Come capture me.” The voice rolled down the hall. I stumbled trying to find the voice. When I reached the next room I saw her standing there, in the doorway. She held a camera and extended it slowly.

“I capture you.” FLASH, CLICK, this time I shut my eyes tight. My mind bounced like a super ball. I wanted to do something, anything, but I couldn’t make sense of the situation. Who was this person? How did she disappear so quickly?

“HELP ME!” Rachel’s voice came from inside the room. That was what I was supposed to do. I needed to save Rachel and focus on saving her. I crept to the entrance. I opened the door a sliver. Candles, all lit and laid in patterns covered the floor. The walls white washed. A stark brightness blinded me; it was much like the flash. I stretched like a Giraffe reaching for the top branch hoping for a glimpse of someone. Rachel? She was nowhere to be seen. I made sure to keep the door open as I stepped inside. The words leaped out at me. I mouthed the short sentence spelled out in fire on the floor. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up.

“I’m in here!” It was Rachel. She screamed from the last room. I sprinted down the hall and lowered my shoulder. The old wood splintered into a million pieces like dynamite opening a cave entrance. I crashed through intent on destroying the menace. The room screamed precision. Umbrella lighting, camera mounts and perfect sitting chairs placed by skilled hands. Dim lighting adjusted from somewhere to give the ruse of a setting sun. I stood ready for a fight but nothing attacked. The backdrop of trees and grass so idyllic I was convinced I was looking at a real meadow.

“Here, I am,” Rachel’s voice was quiet and came from the corner. She was perfectly placed, doll like, with a parasol and ruffles.

“I was about to capture her.” My heart froze and my muscles locked seeing the shadow up close for the first time.