Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Mel/Johnny
Fandom: Public Enemies
Genres: AU, Challenge, Drama, Holiday, (With A Touch Of Horror), Mystery, Romance
Rating (this chapter): G
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: The House at 1313 Maple Street lives for the shadows.
Date Of Completion: September 26, 2010
Date Of Posting: October 26, 2010
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Universal does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 769
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Written for my 2010 Guns_Fedoras Public Enemies Fic/Art Halloween Challenge. :)
All chapters can be found here.
And rusted iron,
And rotted wood.
A sad thing.
"The House On Maple Street"
Mel yelped as he jumped.
“Just me, sugar,” an amused voice drawled into his ear.
Mel whirled, clutching his chest. “Johnny! Don’t do that! You scared me out of a year’s growth!”
Johnny smirked as he lazily chewed his gun. “Sorry, darlin’.” He kissed Mel, who calmed at his touch. “Kind of a spooky joint, huh?”
“What are you doing here?”
“I couldn’t let you go it alone, Sunshine.” He was dressed as if ready to rob a bank in his natty fedora and greatcoat.
Mel saw the concern in Johnny’s eyes and was warmed by it. “Well, I can’t say I don’t mind the company.”
Johnny smiled and squeezed Mel’s hand. He kept hold of it as Mel opened the door.
They stepped inside the foyer, seeing the faded elegance as Joey had observed before. Mel slipped a flashlight out of his coat pocket as Johnny did the same. It was growing dark fast, and this house lived in the shadows.
“I feel like Lamont Cranston,” muttered Mel as Johnny chuckled.
“’Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!’” the gangster smirked.
Mel threw him a dirty look but only got more laughter from his companion. They unclasped hands but stayed close together.
It was silent in the house, and the men took a turn to the right, ending up in the kitchen. The old-fashioned iron stove was still there, too heavy for thieves to cart away. The pump by the sink was rusty, and everything was coated in dust. A calendar from 1914 hung crookedly on the wall.
“Officer O’Grady was found in a room upstairs,” Mel said.
“Then let’s check it out.” Johnny playfully slipped his hand into Mel’s again.
They got so little opportunity to do such a simple thing, and could never do it in public, so they grabbed the chance when they could. Besides, the house was spooking them a little, even if neither one spoke it aloud.
Mel and Johnny headed up the grand staircase, their shoes creaking on the steps.
The second floor corridor was lined with ancestral portraits, Mel shivering a little. He’d seen portraits like this in homes in South Carolina, musty old reminders of family history as old mansions moldered and remained trapped in the past. He admired history and legacies, but the stern pictures of the long-dead could send a shiver down his spine, or at least this group could.
“This room,” he said quietly, opening the door to a bedroom at the end of the hall.
The room was as musty as the rest of the house, eerie shadows playing on the walls from the flashlights.
“What could have frightened O’Grady so much?” Johnny murmured.
“I don’t know,” Mel answered just as softly. For whatever reason, he was reluctant to speak in a normal voice, too.
He pulled his coat tighter around him, breaking contact with Johnny. His lover played his light over the dusty bureau.
Mel shivered again. I thought my Southern blood had grown accustomed to Northern autumn. It was two days before Halloween, something that made the house even eerier. Oh, that’s silly. It’s just a date on the calendar. He rubbed his face. If only he believed that!
Johnny’s face was shadowed as his light flashed on the bed next.
“Just musty ‘n’ dusty, Sunshine.”
Mel could hear the strain in his lover’s voice. So Johnny was feeling the spookiness, too! That made Mel feel a little better. It wasn’t just his imagination.
Mel froze as he heard noises down the hall. Was that moaning?
Johnny snapped his head around, their eyes meeting in the gloom.
Suddenly, Mel felt overwhelmed with the urge to get out…now! He turned as his breathing shortened, only turning back to grab Johnny’s hand.
“Let’s get out of here!”
Johnny didn’t object as they rushed out of the bedroom, hearts racing as they barreled down the hall and grand staircase, never stopping their headlong dash until they cleared the gates and were standing on the sidewalk, taking heaving breaths as their hands remained in a crushing grip.
“What the hell!” said Johnny.
“I don’t know.” Mel looked back at the house as if he half-expected to see it creeping up on them. “Let’s go home.”
Johnny nodded, both men hurrying down the street and only unlocking hands when they reached the streetcar stop.