Extreme Writing Challenge #34: “House Hunters”

YES, it’s finally hump day!  (Was my excitement believable?  I sure hope so, because in actuality I think this might be one of the slowest weeks ever.)

Before I lure you in to read today’s story, I do have to preface it with a heads up that it’s a little. . .well, “bloodier” than what I typically write.  It’s not so grotesque that you’ll lose your appetite, but it’s a wee bit more twisted than my past stories.

Okay, now that I’ve given my disclaimer, here’s the story.  The challenge is revealed at the end!


Troy and Macie were adamant about buying a house where a murder had taken place.  It could be anywhere in the world, they said, but it needed to come with a disturbing story.

Carl, their realtor, certainly did his research.  The first house he showed to Troy and Macie had once been owned by a bipolar dance instructor named—legally—“Gagagoogoo.”

“Tell us what happened,” Macie begged, her pupils pulsing with anticipation.

“During a bitter divorce,” Carl confided, “Gagagoogoo chopped off her husband’s index finger.  She used it to pull the trigger of the gun when she shot him four times in the gut.”

Troy and Macie both sighed and exchanged defeated glances.  “It’s a good story, Carl, but I don’t think it quite has the ‘disturbing’ effect we were hoping for.”

“Think John Wayne Gacy, Joachim Kroll, Charles Manson,” Troy said, “and really give us a good case of the heebie-jeebies.”

Carl worked round the clock to find the sick and twisted history his clients wanted in a home.  A butler who stabbed a married couple to death with the broken stem of a wine glass, and then forced their children to finger paint with their blood.  A young man who dismembered his three roommates’ bodies and hid all of their limbs in various mailboxes along the street.  Each one was eerier than the next, but none satisfied Troy and Macie’s craving for gore.  There must be millions of homes for sale all over the world, Troy argued.  One of them was perfect—full of pain, tragedy, and trepidation.

Carl was quick to assure them he wouldn’t quit until he found the quintessential house of horrors.  He talked to realtors in Rome, Guatemala, Tasmania, and Uruguay.  Carl began to lose sleep, always dreaming of blood on the walls, eyeballs under the floorboards, and human bones in the vegetable garden.

On the first day of winter, a year into his search, Carl finally snapped.  He marched up to Troy and Macie’s log cabin-style house, rubbing his eyes from his 70th sleepless night in a row.  “Carl, have you finally discovered the awful, hair-raising home we’ve been waiting for?” Troy asked as he greeted Carl at the door.

“I’ve searched high and low,” Carl whispered, slurring, “and I’ve concluded that the only suitable home for you is. . .your own!”  Clumsy with exhaustion, Carl revealed a broad axe and swung it into Carl’s lower body, carving through his skin and cracking his coccyx with a nauseating clap.

Macie ran to the door, crying as she yelled out for someone, anyone, to please come help.  As Carl’s emblazed, crazy eyes met Macie’s, he couldn’t help but feel victorious in finally giving the couple the bizarre, unsettling house of murder they’d been after.


If you didn’t figure out the challenge at first, you may have picked it up in the last few sentences.  It is:  There are at least three words in each sentence that contain the next sequential letter of the alphabet, starting with A.  In the first sentence there are at least three words containing A; in the second sentence, there are at least three words containing B; and so on, all the way through Z.

For the record, the last three sentences were HELL to write!



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