This wasn’t particularly original on my part, but it was a lot of fun to write. Back when I worked at the Denton Record-Chronicle, we always had a blast mocking the realtors for whom we had to make so many ads. Now the realtor character has become one of my favorites to parody. If you like this you’ll love Kris Straub’s Ichor Falls webcomic over at Halfpixel.
The exercise was: Use these three things in your short story or scene: a young woman, a silver chain, terror.
A lot of people ask why I still work in this town. They come in, look at what I’m trying to sell, where I’m trying to sell it, and what’s usually crawling around back behind the dumpster, and they ask me how it’s all worth it. Of course it’s worth it. This is a great value. You will not find a better 3/2/2 with crown molding and open floor plan anywhere near this neighborhood. Don’t worry, every house comes with complimentary holy symbols and a silver chain. What’s the chain for? It keeps out the dread creepers. Just keep it over the front door and you’ll be fine.
The second couple today walks out. They make a run for their car, and make it just in time. I grab the shotgun near the door and shoo away the loitering zombies. Damn zombies. Every fucking time. I mentally slash another thousand off the price.
There is another appointment at ten. A glance in my PDA reveals the name Jenny Floren. I can play up the angle that she shares a name with the street. She’s destined for it, I’ll say. It’ll be funny.
Jenny is young, I’d guess barely twenty. As she walks up the broad driveway, she has a confident sway to her thin hips. She’s dressed sharply, with a hat and a small purse that doesn’t look like it would hold anything that you might actually need to carry. I wave and say not enough people wear hats nowadays.
Jenny has just transferred from Rhode Island, and needs a home fast. She’s come to the right place! There are plenty of houses on this street, and they’re selling well below market value.
As I’m showing off the kitchen (stainless steel appliances), there’s a rustle under the sink and a graven spider dashes out. A big one, about the size of my foot. It takes a swipe at my leg, but I’m quick enough to kick it onto its back. Jenny looks shocked, but then I demonstrate how easily the graven spiders melt when a splashed with a little water from the double sink, and we both have a laugh as the thing shrivels up. Hardly any mess to them, really. They even shrink down enough to fit into the built-in disposal, as I happily demonstrate. I ask if she has any pets, and she explains that she has a small terrier. What luck! Dogs love the graven, I explain. My dog chases them in the back yard all day long.
There are customers you just get a certain groove from, and you know you’ll make the sale. I’m getting that groove from Jenny.
She says the first bedroom will make a great office. I ask if she’s thinking of having a family; she blushes and says maybe in the future. She is working on her career first.
The second bedroom she loves. Apparently, she has some workout equipment that’ll fit perfectly. I suck in my gut and lead her to the master bedroom. She loves the layout and size, but the skylight wins her over. While she stands in the shaft of light beaming through the ceiling, I move to the master bath and start explaining about the garden tub.
I suddenly hear a shatter and a scream. I dart back into the bedroom and see Jenny struggling against a black mass of slimy tentacles. They lead up to the skylight, and I can imagine the gorameth crouched on the roof, thinking it’s found lunch.
Not fucking this time. I grab a long-handled paint roller and start smacking at the tentacles. But the beast ignores me, and in moments the lady is gone. I see her feet, kicking, disappear through the broken skylight. I can faintly hear crunching sounds from above.
Well, shit. I flip open my cell and call the repairman; the roof will need to be cleaned and the skylight replaced. What a hassle. I mentally slash another thousand off the price.