The Hobb's PlacebyColleen Thomas©
Verdigris covered the ancient bronze doorknocker and knob, just as thickly as rust coated the wrought iron fence that surrounded the property. Spanish moss hung from the bent boughs of ancient oaks amid waist-high weeds. The flagstones that once lead to the now sagging porch were upturned and blanketed in thick red mud.
The little white paint that remained was peeling off, the boards underneath it having long ago faded to a nondescript gray. Broken windows, like hollow eyes stared balefully out, across the overgrown grounds at Harper Street.
The street had been a major thoroughfare in its day, but that day had passed with horse-drawn carriages. It now sported a few ramshackle buildings that housed a pool hall, an adult bookstore, and other less savory enterprises. Even the hookers and drug addicts averted their eyes when they passed the house, and none of the inner city's denizens could have been induced to jump the gate and enter the old house for neither love nor money.
The current population knew nothing of the house, its age, purpose, or grisly history. They only knew that it was a bad place, from whispered rumors and, perhaps, collective memory of the evil that had been done there in a grim past that laid beyond living memory.
Mary Carter, curator of the city's historical sites register and amateur historian, did know about it. At least, she knew as much as could be garnered from the surviving records and accounts of the Halloween night, back in 1803, when the house's terrible secret had been discovered. She sat in her black Camry, pouring over the back-taxes and liens on the property. There was no owner; the last member of the Hobbs family had died with no heirs back in 1923. Strangely, the taxes had been paid religiously by an unknown person up until 1993.
Although she doubted the veracity of the rumor, it was thought that the city's Point Hill Church had been making the payments. In '93, the last priest had passed away. Rather than send a replacement, the Diocese had simply sent the remaining congregation to the New Church in Goshen, and sold the old building to the City, a minor transaction in their huge cost-cutting plans for the region.
Mary put her hardhat and safety goggles on. She went back to the trunk and retrieved her tool belt, clipboard and the foot-long Maglite. The house was clearly a historic site, but as so many over the past years, the city hadn't been able to fund restoration, and had ultimately allowed decay to win. But thanks to a grant from the History Channel, the department was flush with cash, for once, and she immediately thought of this place. She would have to make a preliminary inspection and give an estimate on what it would cost to restore, and if her estimate wasn't too exorbitant, her boss, Sandra Veers, would retain a construction company for a detailed estimate.
Mary was very careful and watchful as she approached the ancient gate. This was one of the worst areas in town, and muggings were commonplace. A gang called The Lords had taken over recently, and all kinds of crime had skyrocketed. Unlike many gangs, this one was racially heterogenous; the only thing that distinguished members was the number and types of crime you could commit. According to her friend over at DSS, each of the fanciful tattoos they wore signified some act of violence or theft. In the case of the house, that criminality worked to her advantage, since no one had ever inquired about buying it for development after the payments stopped and the city had seized it.
The gate was held shut with a thick stainless steel chain and heavy-duty padlock. From her pocket, Mary retrieved the key, and with only a little fuss, the lock gave.
As she stepped onto the grounds, a chill passed through her that made her raise her shoulders. The street outside became almost hazy, as if she was looking at it through a bubble. Turning to the house after wrapping the chain back through and relocking it, she felt herself being watched. Again she looked at the broken windows and saw them as empty eye sockets staring back at her. A vague sense of danger set off alarms in the back of her head and, for a moment, she had to fight an unreasoned urge to flee.
Two hundred years ago, this very night, a masked ball had turned to mayhem. The surviving accounts were confused, incomplete and filled with more innuendo than facts. Dark hints and half-spoken fears colored the accounts in the city's archives. Mary had made a study of the events for her postdoc, but had never visited the place. Along with her inspection, she hoped to be able to solve some of the mysteries her research had uncovered.
A quick round of the grounds showed the signs of long neglect, but even the overgrown gardens were in tolerably good shape and the landscaping shouldn't run to more than two or three thousand dollars. The foundations weren't made of concrete, but were actually set on uncut and unmortared slabs of granite. Mary was surprised to find the beams in good shape, with no sign or ants or termites and almost doubted her senses when the level showed the old place was perfectly plumb, even though she found a good bit of dry rot in the old jousts and the wraparound porch sagged in places.
The door opened to her touch. A chill breeze blew. It seemed to come from inside the cavernous entryway and foyer, but she convinced herself it was just an evening breeze off the river. The wood floors were made of old oak, tongue-and-groove boards. There was a dark stain, just this side of the foyer, and Mary stooped to examine it.
Half-remembered lines from a newspaper account came to her head.
'Donald Morgan's body was found just inside the door, he had been stabbed multiple times...'
With a loud banging noise that echoed through the old rooms, the door slammed shut. The reverberation made it seem as if all the doors in the place were being slammed, especially upstairs. Mary whirled, but there was no one there. A skittering noise behind her made her whirl again, but there was nothing there, save the dark stain and cobwebs. Her heart beat wildly and her breathing was labored. Mary forced herself to breathe deeply, and even though it was still evening and the sun shown through the windows, she withdrew the Maglite and clicked it on. The powerful beam of light cut through the dimness and illuminated even the darkest corner. Mary exhaled heavily and wiped her brow with the back of her arm.
"This place is creepy," she said aloud. Her words sounded muted, as if she was speaking into a surgical mask. She started to turn back to the stain and then paused. Turning slowly, with a puzzled look on her face, she stooped and banged the butt of the Maglite onto the floor. There was a sharp smacking sound, but what started her heart racing again wasn't a sound, but the lack of one. There was no echo at all.
Theodora Hobbs sat at the vanity and daintily dabbed at her lips. The music from downstairs wafted up the grand stair and to her room. On the bed, the shriveled remains of Matt Hoskins, scion of one of the city's oldest merchant families, rested. His trousers were around his ankles and his face was twisted in an expression that was either ecstasy defined, or agony on a level beyond human comprehension. Theodora's bloomers lay on the floor and her pussy still oozed a combination of her own lubricant and her late lover's seed.
His life's blood now colored her lips an impossibly brilliant scarlet. Her blue eyes glittered, and her skin had assumed the soft, suppleness of youth. She rose with unearthly grace, and deposited the shriveled husk that had once been Matt Hoskins in the walk-in closet. Discovery was unlikely, but tonight it mattered to the doppelganger. It was Allhallows Eve, and the longer it took the people to find her grisly train of bodies, the more fun she would have.
With a musical laugh, she firmly closed the closet door, breezed past her underclothes and out the door of the master bedroom to greet her guests.
Mary glanced around the room once again and then started down the hallway. She stopped and nudged open the closet. Mary was holding her breath and set to run, although she knew that was silly. It was empty, save for a few wire hangers and some shredded newspaper on the floor. No bloodstains or anything else that would indicate murder had been done here, but she knew differently.
Two hundred years ago, the body of Miss Hobbs had been discovered in that very closet.
Tom Carter couldn't believe his luck, as he and Theodora slipped into the hall closet when no one was looking. She wasted no time, pushing him back against the uneven boards in the back of the closet and falling to her knees. Tom's hands were shaking as he helped her undo his trousers. He nearly shot his wad when her soft hands fished into his underpants and pulled out his cock. He watched in awe as her ruby red lips enveloped the head of his straining cock. In seconds, she was bobbing, taking the whole length of it into her warm mouth and swirling her tongue around the purplish head.
This couldn't be happening, he thought. Highbred society girls didn't give blowjobs. Especially not this way. She was taking his whole cock with ease now, and he was fighting back a groan each time the head pushed past her tonsils and into the hot confines of her throat.
Her free hand began to gently massage his balls and, when the music stopped, he heard the wet noises she was making, moaning softly as she sucked him. That was just too much for the young man, and he grabbed her head, his hips jerking unevenly as he began to cum.
Tom was confused, something was very wrong. He continued to jerk and twitch, his cock spurting long after his balls should have been empty. He felt lightheaded and giddy, then very tired and cold, as his now raw cock continued to spurt and Theodora sucked.
Some time later, Tom stepped out of the closet and closed it, before heading for the grand ballroom.
Mary made her way into the old ballroom. It was here that the stunned police had found several bodies, both in the room and outside. The old accounts didn't identify them all, but one of note had been Tom Carter, son of the prominent councilman. No account that she could locate listed a cause of death. The rich furnishings had long ago decayed into ruins, but the walls seemed stout, and even the French doors still opened and closed on rusty hinges, despite the fact they no longer had glass in the panes.
Mary checked the floorboards, the stones of the great hearth, and even poked a few holes in the horsehair plaster, but found no sign of decay. This room could have been completed just yesterday, minus the glass, for all the signs of age she could detect.
Suddenly, Mary froze, and then shook her head. Perhaps it had been a passing car, but she could have sworn she heard the faint sound of chamber music and laughter.
The tall redhead couldn't believe this was happening, or even comprehend her own actions, as the young Tom Carter led her out the French doors and on to the patio. The dark velvety night enfolded them both immediately. Only moments before, she had been gossiping with Clara Hampton about the pedigree of some of the guests.
She had been ready with a barbed comment when he stepped between them, but her words died on her lips. He was tall and pale, and while she had seen him before, that night he was almost unendurably handsome, even behind the black mask that covered his eyes. When he offered his hand, she had taken it and followed him out to the patio in a trance, leaving Clara staring.
She shouldn't be here, she should say something, at least try not to seem a strumpet, but her body seemed to be beyond her control. The young man lowered his lips to her neck and she felt wild excitement wrack her body. She gasped, and her hands shot to his shoulders.
Incredibly strong fingers ripped her bodice down below her breasts, and when his lips found her stiff nipples, she bit her lip until she tasted blood to keep from crying out. The pleasure was thick and heady, radiating from her breast to the rest of her body, which seemed curiously sensitized. He stood back suddenly, and looked down meaningfully. Despite herself, Karen grabbed the hem of her skirts and stood quickly, holding both skirts and petticoats up.
The pale man pulled the drawstring, and Karen felt the cool night air on her sex as her bloomers slipped down to her ankles. He then stepped back and undid his trousers. Karen's eyes went wide and her breath caught in her throat. His prick was enormous, easily as big around as her wrist with a head the size of an apple. Karen was shaking her head, trying to articulate that it would never fit, when he stepped forward and stooped, pushing an arm between her legs, and then stood, carrying her left leg up, her knee hooked in the crook of his arm.
Karen felt him rub the head up and down her slit. Electric shocks ran through her, and she felt herself lubricating, as blood rushed to her pussy. He looked into her eyes and, although she couldn't form words, she was begging him to put it in. With a single thrust, he did so.
The huge head pushed tissue out of its path, expanding her channel as nothing had before. Karen wanted to scream, but only a drawn out hiss escaped her parted lips. It was huge. She had never been so full, and as he thrust again, she felt herself being stretched like never before.
"God," she groaned as another thrust sent it deep into her, touching a place nothing had ever reached. Pain mixed with pleasure, driving conscious thought from her mind. She wanted only to feel more, to have more inside her and began to thrust back with her hips to meet him. His hands clasped her ass, pulling her bodily to him with each thrust. She felt her inner muscles clamp down on the thick shaft, and her body began to shake as her orgasm ripped through her. Thrust after thrust, the giant cock continued to assault her, but now she felt pain, serious pain, as it seemed to drive deeper into her, the pain spiking in her belly and taking her breath away. Clara was still covertly watching the balcony, when Karen stepped through the French doors. She made her way across the room, apparently intent on catching Ashley Wharton, the thin and rather sickly daughter of Reverend Wharton. They moved off together, up the grand stair. Clara made her way to the balcony door, but there was no sign of young Tom.
Mary padded into the kitchen as the light began to fade. In the old church journal, among births, deaths, marriages, and children being born, she had found the most complete account of what happened here, so long ago. Unfortunately, the writer was hopelessly mired in mystic symbolism. According to his account, it had been there that a priest had confronted the monster and subdued it to his will. Mary assumed that it was there that the deranged perpetrator had either taken his own life or made his escape.
According to the book, the monster had been forced into the crypts under the old house. Mary searched the kitchen, hoping to find some manner of access to the basement that would give at least some veracity to the account. In a small closet, where she assumed the maid had kept her supplies, Mary found a trapdoor, with a thick iron hoop.
Vandals had been there at some time in the past, or perhaps a cult. A crude pentagram was scratched into the top of the trapdoor, along with barely visible mystic symbols. Mary managed to lift the heavy door, but was disappointed to see the interior stairs had long ago collapsed. The light showed collapsed shelves, broken jars, and other detritus of the ages.
The pretty brunette pursed her lips. A cellar meant problems. If it was large, at least part of the house would be supported by beams and those would have to be checked before she could give an estimate.
Mary finished checking out the ground floor and was pleased to note that there seemed to be nothing structurally wrong with the old place. The floor was solid and didn't shift, indicating the space below the house must be small, perhaps a root cellar or something.
The major part of the cost in most of their projects involved jacking the house up, fixing the foundation, and the major costs involved in repairing structural problems that rendered them unsafe. Without those costs, it was virtually a lock that they could get it into the registry and refurbished. Mary was excited, but still cautious. She knew all of her calculations could be thrown off if the upstairs had leaked and sustained significant water damage.
It was dark by then, the sun having faded behind the hills on the other side of the river. The beam from the Maglite was strong, but Mary paused at the foot of the grand stair. She should probably come back in the morning and complete her inspection with plenty of light, she thought. Both the upstairs and the cellar would have to be checked out, and she would need more equipment to do the cellar. The idea was sound, but she felt something pulling her up those stairs.
Mary became aware that her nipples were hard, poking into the cups of her bra and she felt a tingle in her pussy that was hard to explain, given the circumstances. She wasn't used to becoming suddenly horny for no reason, and though she wracked her brain, she could never remember such a reaction to something spooky or scary. She was considering that when she realized she was already halfway up the stair.
It had been beautiful once, she thought, but the banister was missing tines and the polished wood had long ago dimmed with age. On the landing, she noticed that the dust had been disturbed recently. She then saw soft light spilling out from under a door just to her left.
Mary had felt the eerie, spooky kind of fear ever since she entered the old house, but she felt a more real and concrete fear now. This was a bad neighborhood, and it could very well be that the house was used by dealers or other criminal elements. Still, she found herself tiptoeing down the hallway and pushing the door open. The light vanished immediately and Mary held her breath, ready to run should anyone shout, but the silence was unbroken. Curiosity overcoming her innate caution, she flicked the Maglite on, and shined the powerful beam around the room. It was empty, cold and foreboding, without even a spider web or mousehole to show anything alive had been in there in years.
Mary knew she hadn't hallucinated; there had been a light in the room. She cautiously stepped into the room, and felt an overwhelming vertigo that caused her to stagger.
When she opened her eyes, the soft light was back. It was coming from the overhead chandelier. No longer a brass stalk with exposed wires, it was covered with crystals that diffused the light of multiple candles. If that wasn't enough to astound her, the large four-poster bed with canopy that sat against the far wall would have been. Comfortable rugs covered the highly polished wood floor and wood furniture sat against the walls. An expensive portrait of an elderly gentleman with his wife taking a carriage ride hung over the fireplace, where a cheery fire crackled.
"You're fucking joking," Mary declared, rubbing her eyes and expecting the hallucination to be gone.
The door, which she distinctly remembered leaving open, was closed and it opened as she watched. It was white now, pristine, with a shiny brass knob. A tall redhead, wearing a beautiful green gown, walked into the room. She led a small blonde, dressed in a very conservative gown of black brocade behind her. The blonde seemed drugged or in a trance of some kind. She shuffled behind the redhead, her motions almost wooden.
"Hello?" Mary said tentatively. Her voice sounded strange. It had no resonance, almost as if she was hearing it with her ears stuffed with cotton. Neither woman gave the slightest indication they heard her.