The August Chosen Writer is Brian Wemesfelder
Please feel free to email Brian at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A huge mansion loomed on top of a hill overlooking the city of Delaware as if it were a vulture waiting for an injured meal to die.
The stone Masonic walls stood several levels high as if it were built to reminisce that of a castle of lore. The place held many windows that lay continually dark, as if hiding itself from the prying eyes of the world. At the four corners of the home lay towers, each adorned with blackened wrought iron spires which made them seem as if they were cats claws reaching to scratch out the sky. The great Sandusky River rapidly ran over rapids behind the old home, sending a fine, continual mist into the air.
Dark walls stood moistened with the dew, allowing fungus and molds to overtake its foundation. On all walls, ivy reached upward and outward in attempts to suffocate the structure from view. Weeds and unkempt brush made walls to barricade the building from outside forces. The drive leading to the front door now lay in ruins, for the trees around the property had for years allowed their roots to reach up for heat.
Inside this monstrosity, walls built by master woodworkers now lay covered at every edifice by old spider webs. The structure’s floors of polished pine now lay under eons of dust. Every room lay dark, for their windows lay covered in goo. The place’s grand stairway was the only place dust or web dared to fall, for footsteps traveled there regularly.
In an upper bedroom at the farthest reach of the front door, a woman lay who was too elderly, and too sick to move. She had been tied to her bed by cancer for close to twenty years.
Her only living relative, her son William, loved books. He also loved his mother and for years on end had catered up and down those stairs for years answering his mother’s every whim.
To the outside world, things remained calm, repeatable and sullen. On the inside, poor William was a mess.
He was run down and jealous of the outside world. Outside, people seemed to get out and enjoy life. He felt as if he was a slave in his own home. But that wasn’t the worst of it.
The house was full of cats. God, how he hated cats! His nose would drain, his eyes would leak and his whole face would swell like a big red tomato every time one was near. He could not get within twenty feet of a cat without fearing suffocation from the allergic reaction.
His mother adored cats. She often counted them to William as her only friends, her only family.
How he hated that! What did those awful, hairy beasts ever do for her? Sure, they would purr and catch the occasional mouse to bring to her. But when she screamed, he was the one that had to take the mouse out of her bed and bury it.
Damn! He loathed those cats. The way they’d get under his feet in attempts to trip him when he was running to answer his mother’s call. The way they would follow him from room to room. The way they would multiply like rabbits in the shadows. However, he knew there was nothing he could do about it.
One quiet day, William was sitting in the library reading a book, and minding his own business. The book was on medieval witchcraft and the drowning of cats. The book explained if a witch dies, a cat would, at least in lore, take its place.
He smiled in total agreement to the passage which stated, “The damnable creatures.”
He said it aloud, laughing at the thought of his mother turning into a cat upon her death. His faith turned disgusted as the thought turned from funny to sickening.
As he sat, brewing in his thoughts, one cat, a fat black one, jumped to the table beside him, spilling a glass of milk all over the table, book. and all over William.
The cat sat, lapping the milk then cleaning itself. William jumped up angrily. He pounded his fists into his leg. trying to calm himself. He cursed the blasted thing under his breath, and the cat just sat there. The thing didn’t move.
He stood, shaking the book he attempted to shake the milk off as if it were a wet dog. The cat still did not move.
He felt his anger hit a new level; he threw the book across the room and turned to face the cat. It still did not move. He could take no more and as the cat looked up at him they locked eyes. William scooped up the cat by the neck and squeezed.
The cat screamed a low growl between low blood curdling hisses. Its claws fanned out and scratched wildly at the room. It caught his arm, causing blood to trickle.
Furious, he squeezed a little harder until it stopped moving, then its head went sideways and the cat went limp. He dropped it to the floor where he stood. It hit with a thud. At once, he heard his mother’s bell ring, as her voice scratched at the air calling his name.
“William! William…I’m cold!”
He ran to his mother’s aid, but it seemed like he was moving in slow motion. His legs felt as if they were tree stumps running through mud, uphill. Before climbing the steps he looked back at the dead cat and grimaced.
The thought of him doing the same to the old witch upstairs ran track in his mind. He could feel it in his every fiber; he balled his hands into fist as he stomped up the stairs to a place just outside his mother’s room.
After several minutes, he made himself relax enough to go inside. His mother sat lying under a heavy layer of warmth, several blankets thick. On top of her lay at least a dozen cats, all snuggled next to her in tight little balls. Her grey, puffy hair stuck out beneath them all.
The room smelled of fresh urine and mold, eons thick. He held his breath, hoping it would help as he neared the bed beside her. His eyes began to water; his nose began to leak as his face swelled red. Damn those cats.
He gathered the house’s last blanket which lay in cat hair on the floor nearby. He tossed it over the bed; over the cats.
As the cats crawled from underneath the covers, it looked as if his mother had a bad case of worms. He laughed at the thought, as she peeked out from behind the covers. In a tiny creak of a voice she said, “William, be careful of my kitties; they’re the only family I have, you know.”
The cats finally resumed their position next to the old woman and locked eyes onto his. He bent close to kiss his mother’s cheek, and then stormed from the room, slamming the door behind him. For a long time he stood with his back to the door mocking his mother’s words: “Be careful of my kitties! I’m cold!” he shouted.
He ran down the stairs and grabbed a plastic bag from the kitchen. He walked into the library to scoop up the dead cat. He had to pry it from the cold, wood floor. It was sticky with blood.
William took it to the basement and threw it into the family meat freezer, firmly shutting the door. He turned to walk back upstairs in hopes of finally finishing his book.
When he reached the upper landing, another cat crossed his path. The cat tripped him, causing him to fall face-first upon the floor. His lip burst in a spring of blood which dripped before him.
The cat scampered ahead, and then turned to look back.
William stayed prone, looking in the cat’s direction. His eyes grew red with fury. He stood watching the cat, eye-to-eye. If looks could kill, the cat would have turned to dust and blow away from William’s deep, low-catching breaths.
Instead the damnable thing just stood there as William pushed himself up. The cat’s back raised a high arch as it let out an evil hiss.
That was it. He sprang to his feet. The cat ran, possibly knowing its best days were behind it.
William stood, blood now splattering on the floor in huge puddles. The lip swelled big and red; as he cursed the cats, his words were now all but audible.
The words circled in his mind. Infuriated he mumbled aloud “That bitch! Loves her cats more than me. You cats are all dead to me, all of you!”
In the distance he heard his mother’s bell ring. He ignored it, but her bell became louder, until he could stand it no more.
He had paid attention to the old spell book. In the bookcase, he has left a square box. On the box a mouse was drawn, and next to that a skull and crossbones. He grabbed it, and then reached for a can of wet cat food which he had left next to the box.
When he was finished, he went upstairs to the kitchen and rang a bell of his own. He saw with satisfaction that the house flooded with movement, as cats in a matter of minutes lie at his feet eating their fill with the mixed morsels.
Soon the cats wandered off woozily, as if drunk. Then one by one they began to fall over, curled in fetal balls. William scooped them up to where they were an armful, and carried them downstairs to his work station.
Outside the room, sounds of scissors can be heard. In an hour, the noise switched to that of an electric sewing machine. His mother’s bell rang again, and this time he ran upstairs to his mother’s aid.
Again her grey head stuck out of the blankets, swiveling back and forth.
“William, where’s my family? Have you seen my kitties?” she says gingerly. “I’m cold.”
William smiles. “You don’t need the cats, you’ve got me. By the way, I found another quilt while I was downstairs. If you give me a second, I’ll bring it up to you so you won’t be cold.”
In a moment, he brought back a quilt, and threw the new quilt over her. He watched in anticipation of her reaction.
As she felt the fur, her face turned ashen white. Her features froze as she realized what it was that was lying all over her. She reached for her heart, and started to gasp for air. “Help…” she tried to say, but then her breathing ceased.
Turning from her bedside, William ran down the stairs and out the front door. As he crossed between the unkempt hedges and through the weeds, he came to the sidewalk. There he met a man selling newspaper subscriptions.
The old man asked, “Sir? Does anyone live in that old house on the hill?”
William broke out in maniacal laughter, then answered the old man. “Only the ghosts. Lots of them, but some of them aren’t human.” He turned and walked along the sidewalk until vanishing into the sunlit sky.
The old man stood on the sidewalk, watching William leave. “It sure looks like a haunted house,” he whispered. “I believe him.”
Born in Sodus New York, Brian Wemesfelder is now living in Delaware, Ohio. He has read horror all his life, and the first he ever read was Fahrenheit 451. That book drew him into the genre and quickly led to his reading and collecting anything and everything written by the masters of horror, especially if the book is autographed.
Brian has recently started Forsaken Treasures bookstore out of necessity, due to running out of collecting space. But, he loves to meet so many great people and helping by giving his love of books back to the community. He does this through local activities: creative writing classes for after school programs and reading, book donations to local charities.
He believes that writing is more than words and storytelling: it’s an art form, like paintings and drawings-only it’s in words, of course. This is his first story written and published, with many more to come. He writes, reads, and studies the craft daily, and hopes it shows in his work.