As Mathew entered the storefront, he hung its key from the tooth of a snarling dog. The statue of the hound had been on that table since his childhood and time had seen fit to leave it. His hate for the place flared in each muscle the second he entered the building, but it was a strangely enticing feeling. The old room looked deliberately ramshackle, intended to add to the mystique, no doubt. ‘Shabby chic’ people called it; rundown he called it, but it was his business now.

He knew his father had been into some really terrible things, but he never stuck around long enough to take part in the ‘family business’. He’d left home at eighteen and never looked back. He’d tried to forget all of it and had managed to succeed until a letter arrived by courier last month; it was addressed to the proprietor of The Old West Wax Works. The woman who delivered it was attractive and left not only her number, but the lingering scent of her perfume on the delivery receipt along with his father’s will. They’d begun seeing each other almost every night since. She’d asked about The Old West Wax Works a few weeks into the new romance, but he never explained and she never pushed.

When he told her he needed to take care of family business down south, she hadn’t asked to be included which was a good thing; maybe she was ‘the one’ and his impending bad mood would seem unattractive. They talked about weekend plans and she mentioned heading down the shore to surprise him for a visit, but he barely listened; he’d been preoccupied with his father’s will. The tasks he needed to complete weren’t complicated, but they were going to be messy and time consuming.

Mathew spent that first day cleaning counters and getting rid of the old dust cloths and boxes, and something shifted.

He shifted.

The place didn’t need to be spotless, but it did need to be presentable when his first guest arrived. He felt the cold fingers of anxiety grab hold of him and fought them off. This place was in his blood and always had been. He saw that now and felt – proud.

He thought about the delivery woman, Claire, as he toiled about the place, and wondered if she would like it here. He genuinely liked her and hoped she would. He looked forward to seeing her again as soon as he could.

The bell over the door jangled its discordant tune.

“C’mon in, we’re open for business.” Mathew said.

Mathew caught the scent of a woman’s perfume; it was familiar to him by now. He hesitated, fought the urge to be like them, to turn into the monsters his predecessors had been. He smiled when he saw her, all doubt faded, then he stepped on the button that opened the trap door. The fight was over.

The sound of the heavy door slamming shut cut off the screams from below. He knew she had broken both legs and cracked several ribs when she fell, but that was all fixable. His father’s tools were already sharpened, ready for use after so many years of neglect in the storage boxes.

He liked the delivery woman, Claire. He hoped she liked it here, too.

~ Christopher A. Liccardi

© Copyright 2015 Christopher A. Liccardi. All Rights Reserved.

27 thoughts on “Forever

  1. You have officially announced your arrival to the Damned! You’ve spun a quick and dark blow to the gut! I loved how there was no interest in the family business until he had to step up to the plate and accept the reigns. Welcome to the Damned Family, Chris!


  2. Welcome to the Damned, Chris. You clearly belong! Excellent tale, perfectly package with tight writing and clever plotting. The twist was executed nicely. I loved every word. It’s great to have you in the family!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bang the Damned gong! Summon forth the demons of the night! We welcome our newest broken soul into our Damned family! Great debut, Christopher!! 🙂

    Clearly, Matthew’s father has left his business in good hands; clearly, ‘FOREVER’ was in good hands as it was written 😉 Welcome aboard, Chris!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Slam dunk, Chris! A great classic horror spin – delivered with just enough morbidity to not be over the top, or give the ending away. An excellent first step through the gates of hell. There is no escaping now, Maestro! With great pomp and circumstance; welcome to the rotting collective known as The Damned! Please deposit your sanity in the box on your left… 😉


  5. Loved it! Reminded me of the Edgar Allan Poe short stories I always loved, reading along thinking I knew where the story was going and then; WHAM, I fall through a trap door. Very proud of you, Chris….you’re my favorite, don’t tell the others.


  6. Welcome, Chris! Nothing like an open trapdoor to make an entrance! Great stuff, and it’s always a pleasure to have fresh blood swell our ranks. Looking forward to a long and Damned time writing together! All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

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