Monday, April 13, 2015

4-13-15 Monday Mischief
6:22 PM

4-13-15 Monday Mischief



Art © Andrew Mar, All Rights Reserved - http://andrewmar.deviantart.com/
Story © Corey Blankenship, All Rights Reserved
Characters © Edgar Allen Poe, All Rights Reserved
Brought to you by Four Fools Press: “Crazy Good Stories”

The chairs' cushions felt pleasantly soft to the officers after the long walk across town and through the manor. Their host sat across from them, reclining in his own seat. The exploration of the building had yielded nothing amiss. The unpleasant distress of the night seemed to have evaporated into what it really was, a simple night terror, with the rising of the sun. The lead investigator sipped from the tea, and smiled at his host.

"Well, sir, I am glad no unnatural causes brought us to your door. Where did you say the old man journeyed to?" The officer asked.

"In the country," the man answered lightly.

"A pleasant season to be about the country. The nation is never wetter than now!" chuckled a colleague.

The police laughed at the remark. Everyone knew the winter meant water and muck everywhere. The host joined in the merriment, sharing in their unguarded smiles.

"Oh, but he got himself there under a remarkable dry patch," he added to the conversation.

"Indeed, the skies stayed open for quite some time," an officer mused. "I reckon that almost made up for the tremendous gale that blew down from the North. Had it drizzled, our coats would have been stiffened sheets of ice!"

"Well, I am certainly glad you suffered only the brisk wind," said the host.

"Indeed, indeed," replied the officers. Each drank eagerly from their cups.

A series of knocks came from the floor. Tap-tap. Tap-tap. Tap-tap. The sound always arose in pairs, at first soft and then slowly grew. The officers paid the sound no mind. The host took a long swig from his china glass.

"Have you had any trouble with the neighbors? They were quick to report a disturbance when you shrieked last night," the most junior officer said casually.

"Oh no, they are the best. They look out for the old man in whatever ways they can." The host's knee rocked in rhythm with the soft thumps on the floorboard.

"It is good when neighbors look out for each other," the third officer added.

"Such good intentions keep the shire safe," their leader added. The officers nodded knowingly.

The host rose suddenly, a hand to his head and the other outstretched. "Shall I refill your cups?"

The senior spoke for his team. "Yes, I would love a good cuppa before we return to our beat."

The man gathered their cups on a silver platter and poured the cups full. Meanwhile, his foot hammered upon the floor. Tap-tap! Tap-tap! Tap-tap! He returned the saucers-and-cups to the policemen. Milk and sugar sat at hand for each to mix as he pleased. They settled further into their chairs. The host remained standing.

"A fine assortment of antiques and gold your master has!" chimed in the youngest.

"He's been an upstanding fellow since his youth," the senior officer advised. "A veteran in the War and a shrewd, but kindly, businessman."

The host nodded vigorously, his hands grasping his chair's back. "I agree. He's been most kind to me, a second father if you will."

"Speaking of will, do you think he put you in his? That would be quite a fortune to collect one day," the third officer inquired politely.

The host pulled his chair as if thinking to re-seat himself, then pushed it loudly along the boards as though he thought better of it. He did this three times, his brow furrowed with thought. "No--I don't think so...or, maybe...I don't know."

"A pity if he didn't. The sole tragedy was he never found a wife, much less a child to hold on his knee," the senior remarked.

The policemen all nodded lightly, their smiles broader as the cold wore off. Rain sprinkled the window panes in an adjacent room. Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap! None seemed eager to enter the wintry weather. The host lifted his chair slightly off the ground, pressing its front legs like the keys of a typewriter. TAP-TAP! TAP-TAP!-TAP-TAP! He quickly released the chair and paced, his arms accenting his words as he walked and talked.

"The old man is overly cautious, which is why he is so wealthy," he said tersely.

"Of course, of course," the police answered at once.

The youngest queried, "Do you have ambitions to follow in his footsteps?"

"I am not so overbold in my aspirations," the host shot back.

"Well, then, a double pity! Much could be learned from the old man," the senior said resolutely.

"Yes! Yes! Much indeed. I, however, recognize my limits! Who would fault a man for knowing his place?" gasped the host.

"None whatsoever, good sir," the second police officer replied nonchalantly. "It is ever good for a man know his status in life."

His colleagues agreed with hearty "Hear! Hear!"

The man grimaced, and glared, and growled. With a sudden fury, he lifted the chair and smashed it upon the floor. With a thundering TAP-TAP! the stool shattered and littered the otherwise immaculate boards.

"Villains!" he shrieked as he pointed to the broken chair. "Dissemble no more! I admit the deed!--Tear up the planks! Here, here!--It is the beating of his hideous heart!"

***
Today's Monday Mischief is taken from the classic The Tell-Tale Heart!

 
Heart-racing suspense your thing? Try out: The Truth is Out There!
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00UKBZDD8/