HORROR ON FOUR LEGS
A lot of things can ruin your life: Bad luck, bad decisions, bad timing, and good intentions. For Max it was a chair.
The chair was wood and looked neither comfortable nor uncomfortable. It was the only piece of furniture the previous owners of 22 Maple Road left behind. A forgotten remnant, plop in the center of the empty living room.
Max swung open the door, inhaled the new home smell, a pioneer planting his flag. He placed his iphone on the chair and blasted Supertramp's Goodbye Stranger. Thus concluded their first interaction.
The kids raced in to call dibs on bedrooms. Brawny movers lugged sofas, tables, and mattresses as Janice carefully brought in the valuables from the Subaru.
They say moving is the most stressful event one can go through next to burying a loved one... and that really depends on the loved one. Max and his family saw the day as an adventure. Their lives reassembled into something new, yet familiar. A favorite painting in a new frame. Hilltop wasn't Toronto, but the teak dining room set was the same and it looked stately, haloed in the crown molding of the oval dining room.
The movers were tipped, the fireplace lit, and terrible vegetarian burritos delivered. The boxes were flattened. The desk was in the office. The espresso maker was in the kitchen next to the crock pot. The art hung in suitable spots. Everything in its place, everything except the interloping chair.
The kids were put to bed and Max spent the rest of the night curled up with his wife on the sofa. Did Max want to start up his computer and get working?
Did Janice warn him that the first night in a new home is a forever type of memory and that if he blew it obsessing over the novel that she'd cut off his nuts?
So Max didn't. He cuddled.
They were still pretending they wanted to have sex when it came time to hit the hay. Before heading up, Max grabbed the chair and escorted it down to the unfinished basement. He hiked back up, closed the basement door, and took his wife up more stairs to the bedroom. They lay in bed, "Moving is rough, I'm wiped!"
"Let's do it tomorrow."
They kissed and nodded off.
The next morning Max was the last to wake. He accounted this rare oversleep to the country air. He ambled towards the jingle-jangle of his family eating breakfast. Had Janice already gone out and grabbed groceries? What time was it?
Max hunkered down at the head of the table as Janice joked about him being a sleepy head. This got huge laughs from the kids. They squealed 'Dad's a sleepy head' over and over. Max smiled as a plate of eggs a la Janice was served up.
It was during his third bite when his eyes found the chair. It was back in the middle of living room. His chews slowed, but didn't quite stop.
"Hun, did you bring that chair up from..."
Before she could answer the kids started cheering for ice cream. Ice cream and a trip into town had been promised the day before on the car ride up and now, at 10:15 in the morning, the kids had come to collect.
Max wanted to start the day on the novel. He needed to get a head start, but a promise was a promise, and promises are meant to be kept, especially when made to a six and an eight year old regarding ice cream. Max nodded and the house rang with joy. He finished his eggs and made double sure the chair went back to the unfinished basement before he locked the front door and left.
YOU ARE READING
WATTY 2016 WINNER of the HQ Love Award! Strange Yarns is a ball of tangled tales. Twisted, knotted, and intertwined. Like Tales of the Crypt, the Twilight Zone, and The Outer Limits. Strange Yarns is not just a collection of ghastly tales, these are...