Another day, and another dollar, and Dr. Ryan Gidson wandered home hesitantly. He was tired and exhausted between his wife dragging him out on jogging runs through the neighborhood and the numerous complaints and discomforts of his female patients. Ambling like a dead man from his car, he swayed tiredly on his front stoop while taking out his key to unlock the front door and lock it again behind him after entering. The house was dark and spooky, but he wasn't scared. The walk up to his room was taking a lot out of him. He predicted a night of rubbing pain liniment over his legs again. A peek in on his infant son, a groan from his lungs, a creak from his back and he swayed the walk of a dead man into his lighted bedroom and his beautiful wife once more shining up to him in yet another daringly sensual little bedroom attire.
"Hey there, baby…" She posed in a long slinky black nightgown. "Guess what? I'm down five whole pounds." She shined with a crazy happy smile. "Another two weeks of jogging, and I'll weight exactly what I did in high school!"
"You will?" Ryan tried to be happy for her, but as he pulled her giddily closer to him, he felt something. His life being whisked away from him by five-mile jogs, and his lungs wheezing from air trying to keep up with her. He pushed her away from him.
"I'm sorry, Dana, but…" He looked nervously into her eyes. "But you're so…. skinny and bony. I feel as if I'm hugging… Lara Flynn Boyle."
Dana looked at him in disbelief.
"Or Paris Hilton." Ryan confessed.
"Oh, my god!!" Dana reacted with shock. Had she made herself morbidly underweight?! "Are there still doughnuts downstairs?"
"I don't know." Ryan had only had two of them.
"Oh god!!" Dana bolted for the door. "I'm going to have to finish off the rest of that pizza! I need ice cream! Lots of ice cream!" She streaked from the room in a hurry to build up her weight. Left behind in her bedroom, Ryan lightly exhaled, sat down on the bed and reached over to pick up his cell phone with a slight variation from the other night. He lightly tapped one number in his top five and made a happy face after his little charade.
"Jim, " Ryan spoke. "It worked just like you said. She is downstairs eating everything up in sight." Through the phone, Jim the self-proclaimed expert on women began chuckling.
"Oh my god, it's low fat!!" Dana screamed from downstairs after reading the ice cream box.
"Now don't get me wrong…" Ryan responded. "I love Dana exactly as she is, but I prefer a woman who's pleasingly plump than grossly overweight or hideously thin."
"Me…" Jim continued on that vein of thought. "I prefer Cheryl as she is. Hot and athletic." He felt Cheryl standing over him. She kissed his head and stood over him.
"I just want to say…" Ryan added. "Thanks for the help. What you say sometimes may sound like crap, but every once in a while, you… Wait a second…" He sniffed the air of his house. "She's cooking the steaks!" He tossed the phone aside. "Dana, honey, I was saving them for a barbecue!!" He dashed from the bedroom. Jim continued chuckling on the fact that his advice worked out as he had planned. He clicked off his phone and looked to the blonde and hot love of his life.
"Jim," She stood over him in the old sweatshirt and pants she slept in at night. "I was wondering if you were still going to let me see another look of the inside of the Sycamore street house. I mean, it's spooky, but I have just got to see the interior after you finish it. As long as you're with me, of course!" She never told him about her experience.
"Sure, I only have to go by once a week…" Jim looked at her. "You see, Lance, my foreman… he's been wanting more responsibility… so I gave him supervising control under my guidance, and best of all… he doesn't know about the stories." He looked at Cheryl with his righteous look. "If he doesn't know, he can't get scared."
"That's clever, honey…"
"Because you don't believe in ghosts."
"No, I don't…"
"You know, honey," Cheryl kissed and showed her love for her husband. "I'm glad you don't believe in ghosts, because, you know, sometimes, I hear strange noises from the basement here."
"What…" Jim tried to hide his fear. "Kind of noises?"
"Sounds like whispering…" She hoped she was spooking him. "They're always going Cheryl, Cheryl, Cheryl…." She breathily spoke her own name hauntingly through her breath. "But if you say they're not ghosts, you know, I believe you. It's not like the sounds from the attic which are so much more scarier."
"How much more scarier?"
"Don't worry about it." She kissed him again. "Good night, honey…"
"Yeah… good night…" He looked up as she ascended the staircase with a mischievous little childlike grin. Once she was gone, Jim became apprehensive to being alone and looked around his living room. The back way was a little dark, the dining room with the lights off seemed a bit foreboding and as a breeze blew outside, he heard the dry leaves rattling across his porch like fingernails scratching to get inside his home. The sports section in his hand started shaking.
"Cheryl…" He got up turning off the light to race to his wife. "Remember how you said we never snuggle anymore…"
Across the street in his house, Andy was struggling to sleep. He rolled backwards and sideways, mumbling in his sleep. In his head, he was back at the hill, standing before the old Sycamore Street house. The windows were flashing on and off with lights flickering. The walls and exterior was breathing, moaning and creaking… It was alive. The windows were cracking and shattering. Andy wanted to run, but he couldn't. In the dream, the house was coming apart for him, and he had to witness it. The roof shattered as the shingles slid off into piles on the ground. The roof split open and a massive presence started ripping her way out. He knew who it was. It was Dana, her eyes were completely black and she was twenty feet tall and growing even more gigantic. Hissing through her teeth, possessed by a massive store of occult energies, she turned her evil visage toward Andy and stepped out unrestrained by the house she had grown up out from, garbed in an Allison Hayes-like covering that barely covered her accoutrements. She was hungry for fresh meat, and only one person was near her. Andy woke up screaming once again!
"I can't get that image out of my head!!" He sat up screaming from bed in the middle of the night. "I can't that image from my head!!"