Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Joey O’Grady
Fandom: Public Enemies
Genres: AU, Challenge, Drama, Holiday, (With A Touch Of Horror), Mystery, Romance
Rating (this chapter): PG-13
General Summary: A decaying old house in a genteel Chicago neighborhood is the site of many strange and disturbing happenings. Special Agent Melvin Purvis is sent to investigate.
Chapter Summary: Beat cop Joey O’Grady is lured into the House at 1313 Maple Street.
Date Of Completion: September 24, 2010
Date Of Posting: October 21, 2010
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Universal does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 771
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: Written for my 2010 Guns_Fedoras Public Enemies Fic/Art Halloween Challenge. :)
All chapters can be found here.
Along the street,
And trees groaning
As gates creak.
Beware the house
On Maple Street.
"The House On Maple Street"
Officer Joey O’Grady twirled his billy club as he walked his beat on the North Side of Chicago. The townhouses and single-family homes were neat and well-kept, mostly middle-class families and singles living here. He was a third-year policeman and already had a plum assignment. He was called one of the best and brightest.
He slowed down as he approached 1313 Maple Street. The rusty iron gates were the centerpiece of the brick wall that surrounded the Victorian house. The dark-blue paint was fading, the shutters crooked and the front yard was overgrown with weeds. No one had lived here for years.
Joey shivered as he did every time he had to pass by this house. Naturally, people claimed it was haunted.
He paused at the gates, staring at the house. The Stanford family had lived here, and Regenia Stanford had snapped one night in 1914, stabbing her husband and his younger brother to death. This wealthy, respectable family had been destroyed in one night.
“But that’s not the only evil thing that ever happened in there. The whole house is evil. Regenia Stanford died mad as a hatter in an insane asylum, but the whole family was weird for generations.”
Joey recalled the words of Mrs. Angie Marinetti, the co-proprietor of Marinetti’s Market. The brown-haired woman knew the history of the neighborhood in addition to all the current goings-on. She was an invaluable source of information. She had recalled other gruesome happenings, such as suicides and strange deaths that could easily have been murders, in her opinion.
Joey took off his cap, running his hand through thick red hair. He didn’t like pomade, but he’d have to get a haircut soon, at least. He’d barely made the height requirements for the Academy and was the epitome of the ‘scrappy Irishman’.
He was still spooked.
He was about to turn away when he saw a light flicker in an upstairs window. Frowning, he watched it flicker, then heard a cry.
Despite his own fears, Joey opened the gates and rushed in, hurrying up the cracked sidewalk and sagging veranda. The wood was rotted, and he slowed down enough to keep from crashing through the boards.
He tried the doorknob, and the oak door easily opened, creaking loudly. The doorknocker was a strange face, almost a gargoyle, very artistic but a little creepy.
The foyer was large, a grand staircase winding up to the second floor. The huge chandelier was festooned with cobwebs, some of the crystals missing. A round pier table lay against the wall on its side, one leg missing, and the flocked wallpaper was peeling. Small alcoves were empty, pillars that once held busts of marble tilted and broken. A rusty suit of armor stood in one large alcove. The parquet floor was scratched and broken.
“Hello?” Joey called, his voice echoing. Nervously licking his lips, he unbuttoned the flap of his holster, keeping his hand close to his gun.
“Hello?” he called again. The silence was eerie. He decided to go upstairs, since he’d seen the light up there.
Heart pounding, Joey started up the grand staircase, shivering as a cold draft brushed by him. Moonlight and his flashlight helped him navigate, but it was still too dark for his taste.
He brushed at cobwebs as he went down the hall, old portraits of men and women in stiff-necked Victorian poses staring out disapprovingly from between gilt frames dark with grime.
Joey was going to call out again but decided against it. He gripped his flashlight tighter as his hand was sweating profusely.
Was that groaning he heard? He strained to listen, but heard nothing else. Chewing his lip, he stood uncertainly in the hallway.
A soft thump turned his head around. He opened the door into a bedroom that was as dilapidated as the rest of the house. The bed was a four-poster, the green-and-gold spread mildewed, dust coating the wood. The dresser and rocking chair were also coated in dust. Pictures on the walls of landscapes hung askew, giving the room a crazy, tilted appearance.
Nothing. Did I imagine that light? Maybe moonlight. Green eyes darted around the room. But I heard a cry. And there were noises in this house. Joey shook his head. Got ahold of yourself, O’Grady.
He turned to face the doorway, shock spreading across his face as cold seeped into his bones, his mouth opening in a soundless scream...