From the start, Suzanne had an easy life. At least, that’s what they saw from the outside. She loved to make everyone laugh and be the start, so she hid away the pain she faced everyday when she came home. She despised the “friends” who wished for her beautiful historic Victorian home. Wanting to scream at them about the horrors she had to endure in there, she just smiled and shrugged off their doe-eyed expressions as she waved goodbye.
A sense of dread filled Suzanne’s stomach with knots as she opened the door and saw a small golden key dangling from a string wrapped around the arm of her boyfriend. He was laying on the stairs with his eyes closed and blood trickling from his mouth.
“Danny!” Her scream echoed through the hollow hallways. She heard a faint noise coming from his body and she crept closer to see he was still breathing. She ran to the stairs and felt for a pulse. He was still alive, barely. Her heart raced as she grabbed her phone from her purse and called 911.
“Hello, yes. This is Suzanne Marks. Yes. I need an ambulance at my home at 4604 Valley Lane. Danny is unconscious. My boyfriend. No, I just got home from the mall. He is laying on the stairs with blood on his mouth. I don’t see anything else wrong with him. Yes. Please, hurry!” Her voice shook as she tried to keep herself from blubbering over the phone. The tears had to wait.
Suzanne’s eyes darted between the door and Danny’s chest. Falling and rising with every breath, it meant he was alive and that the house had yet to claim another victim, yet. She hoped her parents would be back from Monte Carlo by now, but they must have found a poker game again. They were always betting this damned house as collateral and winning. It kept them trapped by the simple fact that they owned it and it owned them. This thought made her eyes fill with tears and she crumpled to the floor.
She sat there and listened for the sirens, as the tears trickled down her cheeks. The moment she heard them, Suzanne bolted for the door. It was Fred and Jane, two of her family friends, that arrived with the paramedics behind them. She was relieved. Fred, a local doctor, ran to Danny and started to check him out, while Jane looked over the teen girl.
“You are a hot mess, darling,” Jane said with her thick Texas accent. She grabbed Suzanne and wrapped her in her arms. The warmth of this embrace made her realize just how weak she felt and her knees gave out. “Whoa, there kiddo. Let’s get you sat down before I have to carry you and my back can’t take that.” Jane’s smile and found a chair.
Suzanne sat and nervously watched the paramedics carefully move Danny from the stairs to a stretcher.
“Is he…” she started to bite her thumb nail hard.
“He is breathing and his blood pressure is fine. We will know more when we get him back to the hospital. I need to call Drake,” Fred said as he pulled out his cell phone. “Damn it. What is wrong with this house?” He walked out of the front door and Suzanne could hear his voice as he talked to Danny’s dad.