Solid

A short story by Colin Devonshire

Solid

“So, what do you think of the new house?”

“It’s old.”

“Yes, but look, character dribbles out of the teak.”

“Has it got Wi-Fi?”

“Not yet, but soon, the engineer will fit it, he’s booked. Relax.”

Austin couldn’t wait to leave central Bangkok. His girlfriend, Hathai, was not so sure. She had been born in the city, schooled in the city, all her friends and family lived in the city. Now she was going to a ‘hick town.’

“Petchaburi is not too far, we can drive back any time you want,” said Austin.

“It’s two hours away.”

Petchaburi city was built up and thriving. It had more temples per capita than any town in Thailand. Because of the number of murders per year?

Austin and Hathai’s home was not in the small city. It was nearer the beach, which to Austin was a huge plus. Hathai was still kicking herself for being talked into the purchase.

When Austin saw the ad on Facebook, there was no holding him. He fell in love there and then. He bought the house without even seeing the place. The agent was so convincing, her sales skills could have sold him London Bridge.

A foreigner cannot own property in Thailand, but Hathai could. It was in her name. The family were pleased for her, but not pleased when she said she was going to live there!

“Wow, look at that wood. Teak I guess?” Austin asked. He was proudly tapping each bannister, each panel, and each plank.

“Yes, of course, no other wood can survive termites.”

“Come on, show me how you arranged the kitchen.”

“There is not much to see. The cooking was done under the living area, with open walls!” she moaned.

“How about a coffee?”

“Yes, you can thank me for wiring up our kettle, to a two-point plug in the hall.”

She pointed to a small table, two mugs and the lonely kettle.

“You’ll have to go down there if you want milk,” she thumbed below, “it’s in the fridge. Outside in the open air.”

“Come on Hathai, we can soon fix it up, and to your liking,” Austin said, smiling.

“How are we going to work? We’ve only got unsafe electricity.”

“I’ll have the whole place rewired. We can work on our phones for now.”

“What about the garden, it’s huge? Who will look after it? And don’t look at me.”

“Are you happy with the bedrooms?”

“The bedrooms are lovely. It’s a pity about the bathroom.”

“Anything else you’re not happy with?”

“No, it will be lovely eventually. What is the funny square room downstairs, next to the fridge?”

“Oh, yeah, I meant to look at that.”

“You can’t it’s locked.”

“I must have the key, the agent gave me a bunch.”

He led her down the steps and tested each key.

“That’s funny, nothing fits. It looks like an old fashioned lock?”

“Like the rest of the house,” she said.

Two children were giggling at the front tree. They ducked behind a bush.

“We saw you. Come and say hello,” called Hathai.

The children smiled shyly and stood still.

They were dragged away by an elderly lady. She grabbed their wrists and hauled them off.

“Strange woman,” said Hathai. “Maybe she doesn’t like Englishmen?”

“Come on, let’s get that door open.”

The keys were all far too small. Austin shook and banged the door.

“This wood feels different from the rest of the house, and it sounds different. More solid, rigid, like it is painted steel?”

“Yeah, I see what you mean. No windows, not even a gap under the door.”

“What do you think is in there?” asked Austin.

“Full of gold, I hope.”

Austin found a loose floor tile, he chipped it free. The concrete was not loose. He worked his way around the cube. The far side edged the garden, he scraped away soil and roots until he felt a lump of broken cement. He pulled it free. Behind it was a metal bar. He ran off.

“Where are you going?” Hathai asked.

“I need a shovel and tools.”

“Do know how to use these,” she laughed.

“Even I can use a shovel. The other things, I not so sure,” he laughed.

Hathai, returned his smile, “Can I help?”

“I’m scrapping away the soil. Look you can see the bars under here, they are rusting. I will cut a few and we can climb in.”

“You are going in there?” She pointed at what looked like a giant cage.

“I want to know what that room was used for? Can you pass a torch, please?”

Enough earth had been removed, the light was shining through the bars. The bulk of the room was deep underground.

“That’s a disappointment, there’s nothing in there,” said Austin.

“What were you expecting? Wait a minute, what’s that?”

The couple peered in.

“Is that a bundle of clothes?”

“Yes, and something is glinting,” said Hathai.

“Somebody got undressed in here. But, where is she or he?”

“They are girl’s clothes and maybe jewellery?”

The soil was cleared to the edge of the room, he could now see bars of rusted iron.

He had roughed up his palms in his eagerness to cut away enough metal to slide through.

“Are you coming?” Austin asked.

“Yes, but how will we get out if we’re both in there?”

“Good point. We need our new stepladder. I’ll get it.”

Austin slid the stepladder down and jumped after it. He then angled it against the inner wall and helped Hathai’s toes reach the top rung.

He flashed the torch, crossed the room, and marched up the stairs to the door. “Maybe the door can be opened from inside?” He tried to unlock it from inside.

“There is no handle, and the keyhole has been sealed. What the f…”

“Look at this,” said Hathai, as she lifted the gold bracelet, chain and three rings.

“Who do they belong to, and where has she gone?”

A low hum caused the couple to look at each other. The buzz became louder, as a purple glow floated. A fog drifted towards them.

Long, dank locks of hair flopped out of the mist. Hathai froze, rooted to the concrete.

A white skull burst from the purple, it had flesh like melted Cheddar dripping from the jaw. It floated nearer and could be seen clearly.

There was no body just a head, dragging fetid entrails behind it. It came towards them, bobbing and dipping.

“What is that?” wailed Austin.

“Krasue. Like your vampire, but she eats rotting meat.”

Their screams were heard by nobody. As Krasue clamped her teeth on Austin’s throat, blood splatted Hathai. Her mouth hung open as her blood mixed with Austin’s.

Silently the purple haze floated up and out. The first fresh air Krasue had tasted for decades.

The END

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