I just wanted to go to college. That’s not too far out there right?
I’m not going to give you the whole rundown of why I had to resort to what I did. All you need to know is that I didn’t want to end up in debt for the next thirty plus years and I needed to get out of my parent’s house as soon as possible.
I looked up a bunch of ways to make cash quickly. I didn’t want to hurt anyone else to do it, of course. I’m not a psycho. But it took a little less digging and a little more dumb luck. This was about three years ago. I was applying for jobs at a coffee shop when I saw a black van pull out in front of the place.
Three girls exited the van, I barely recognized one of them as a former classmate named Kayla, she was so pale and unsteady on her feet. But she was beaming. She strode inside and she ordered something up front, but I couldn’t hear exactly what she said.
I was more distracted by the row of black stitches going up her side.
Flight… delayed by another four hours… due… weather conditions…
I put my headphones back in, resolving that there wasn’t a chance in hell I was getting back to Chicago tonight. I cringed as the left earbud kept crackling and going out, only for it to finally cut out for good and leaving me getting only half the song.
Frustrated, I yanked them both out, now fully exposed to the noise of an airport terminal. The snoring of the man next to me, somehow sleeping through the chaos. The ‘I’m a platinum member’ complaining loudly to anyone who will listen about how he gave the airline too much money to be stuck in this backwater town. The mom who was talking way too loudly about personal matters on her phone while her three children screeched like banshees and got in everyone’s way. The guy refusing to cover his mouth while sneezing and coughing, and he did both a lot. The arguing couple about how this was ‘all your fault’ and ‘maybe this trip was a mistake’. And in the background of it all, the rain pounding on the roof above us, preventing anyone from taking off.
“For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part…”
I run through vows through my head every time it gets hard. I twist my wedding ring round and around on my finger as I wait in my parked car, waiting for my chance to make things better.
We only met because I didn’t want to be alone on Valentine’s Day six years ago. One of my friends said she knew a guy named Corey who was single and ready to mingle. I figured at worst it’d be a great story- my horrible blind date on Valentine’s day.
The first time I went to the meetings was when I was about eight. I’d noticed the tattered white tent go up Friday in the unused baseball field, not too far away from my school, but I didn’t really think twice about it. Next day though my mom woke me up bright and early, telling me to comb my hair and put on my good shoes, we were going to see The Miracle Son.
At first I thought she was talking about some weird movie I hadn’t heard about before. But I was quickly disappointed as my mom took me to that tent. There had to be a hundred cars parked up and down the street and in other parts of the field. The muddy ground squelched under my feet as my mom hurried us along to the tent. There wasn’t a single seat left so we stood at the back of the room. I was already grumpy as hell, I had to get up early on a weekend, my nice shoes pinched my toes, and now I had to stand in a drafty tent packed with people. I probably whined about all of that but my mom just shushed and told me to pay attention.
Oh boy, this isn’t something I usually talk about. I went through a lot of trouble to make sure no one associates me with Augustus Robert Simmons. I moved states when I turned eighteen. I changed my last name. I tell everyone that my dad was a soldier who lost his life fighting for our country and that I lived with my uncle and aunt since I was nine.
Well, my dad was a soldier, but he left the army before I was even conceived. And after my mom died in a car accident when I was two, he dedicated himself into taking care of me.
I’m not just here to talk about what he did, although I’ll get to that too. I want to talk about what kind of person he was, before he started killing.
I was put into foster care when I was about seven years old. My mom failed her drug test for the last time and losing me was the price she had to pay.
It’s not something I talk about often, mostly because until I was adopted by a really great person three years later, my life was in constant upheaval. I’d go week to week wondering when that dark blue van would pull back up into the driveway and it’d be time for me to go to someone else’s house. What would that next house be like? Would I be loved, would I go to sleep with a full stomach without a care in the world? Or would I find myself staring at the ceiling until the sun came up, fearing what the next day would bring?
The Anderson house was the latter. It was one of those houses, the kind that took in all the kids they could for the cash. Momma Anderson was a spending addict, she’d go shopping almost every day and bring home something frivolous and expensive. Daddy Anderson… well, I’d learned quickly that those requests for any of us tiny kiddos to sit on his lap weren’t from a fatherly point of view, if you get my drift.
Welcome back to the adventures of my grandma’s belongings. I hope you’re enjoying us finding dismembered arms and possessed dolls. I’m sure as hell not.
This week though… the story isn’t mine to tell. Everything you read below came out of Neptune’s mouth, word for word. I just wrote it down.
… You know, none of you were there. None of you were there when the cops knocked on the door telling mom there’d been an accident. That we needed to come to the hospital right away. And that when we got there, there was no hope. Mars was DOA. Dead on arrival.
You weren’t there after either. Sure, you were all at the funeral, but you all saw how that went. Aunt Elise and Mom getting into it, Aunt Elise blaming Mom for getting Mars a motorcycle and having the fucking nerve to call Mars an ‘idiot’ for not wearing a helmet. For fuck’s sake, there’s a time and a place for that kinda bullshit and the funeral wasn’t it. Not to mention he was twenty one. Doesn’t everyone feel a little immortal when they’re twenty one?
It’s not easy sorting through a deceased family’s members things.
Especially when there’s a good chance a lot of those things are potentially cursed and dangerous.
Even more so when the deceased family member in question didn’t sort them in any particular way.
After last week we’ve all managed to arrange to stay here while we sort through these things. Again, Grandma didn’t sort them in any meaningful manner. We found glass orbs that grow strange plants in the same box we had our old marble runner in, and underneath antique dishes was a detached arm that tried to suck the life out of the dumbass who stole its ring. I can’t say what was going through Grandma’s mind when she stashed these things up here. Maybe there’s a method to the madness. Maybe the least dangerous things are up in the attic and the worst things are out in the barn or cabin.
Honestly though, given what we most recently uncovered, I’m not even sure if we can rely on that. If Grandma had a way of sorting her things, she took it with her to the grave.
Trust me, the last thing I wanted to be doing was heading back up to Michigan to go through grandma’s things. But apparently that’s part of the will- specifically, the grandkids are the ones to go through the stuff in her house. Our parents got her money all divided between them, my dad got the most because he was there for her during nursing homes and hospice, my aunt Elise got the least because she’s a bitch.
Let’s go over who my grandma was.
Grandma Garnet was, well, a pretty good grandma as far as grandmas go. I never knew her husband, I didn’t know any of her husbands. She was married three times and had seven kids between them. She never got a divorce, she just had bad luck. I know the first one fell off a tractor and broke his neck when she was pregnant with my Uncle Oliver. I really don’t know about the other two, again, all croaked before I was born or old enough to really have memories. But Grandma was good. Made cookies better than any professional bakery, was good at listening when you had a problem, and always knew all the answers on Jeopardy. She probably could’ve won if she ever went on the show, but she never really cared for that. Not like she needed the money either, she was freaking loaded.
I had to sit in my car for a few minutes, I was just in awe for a few minutes that this house was really mine. It was one of those things that I wanted since I was kid, as stupid as it is- my very own house. And I got it for a steal, the previous owner had just gone into hospice and her son just needed to get rid of it.
Dylan was waiting for me when I got there, he was a really sweet guy who was just going through one of the roughest times a person can. He welcomed me in, offered to help me sort through the furniture to see what I was going to pitch and which I was going to keep- he wasn’t the sentimental type when it came to flower printed couches, apparently.
I had just laughed and was about to tell him yes when something large ran past my leg and raked its claws down my leg. I screeched, hopping up on a chair and pulling up my pant leg to assess the damage. That was one deep cut, and I looked over at that flower printed couch to see the furry culprit-
a gargantuan calico cat, with the most angry amber eyes and the meanest face I’d ever seen on a cat.