Isn’t The View Delicious

End Of Days Series

“Can we see the basement now?” Frank asks their realtor.

“No, I would not recommend that,” Julie replies.

“Why not?”

“Because that is where people get murdered.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yes. Everyone gets murdered in the basement. Let’s move onto the bedrooms upstairs.”

“But if you are going to show us this house, then we’re going to want to see everything about it,” Frank volleys, waiting with his arms held out to catch her response.

“I’m not going to show you the basement, Frank. That’s it. No argument.”

Frank drops his arms in frustration, “Gina… I’ll be right back. Go with Julie.”

“Frank, I wouldn’t do that,” Julie cautions, never missing the opportunity for a pose; her arms crossed, her perfectly manicured nails strumming lightly along her forearm to the clank of bangles and bracelets on her wrist, her balletic legs one in front of the other to reveal the tautness of her Peloton shaped calves.

“Julie… I’m a big boy,” which draws a muffled laugh from his wife. “I can handle this,” he says addressing Julie’s concern as he winks at his wife.

“There’s nothing to see down there, Frank… Nothing! It’s a basement. It’s empty… sort of. The solar hot water heater and state-of-the-art hybrid furnace are in the garage. There aren’t even windows down there–for a reason!” The basement is where people get murdered,” she fires off in quick succession. Her agitation making Gina’s and Frank’s choice in a realtor, questionable.

“Julie. it’s okay. I’ll be right back. Please show Gina the bedrooms and I will join you shortly.”

Julie closes her eyes and takes in a slow breath through her nose and exhales lightly to calm herself. “Fine… you want to get murdered, Frank? That’s fine with me, but you might want to ask your wife if that is okay with her,” she offers, uncrossing her arms and gracefully inviting Gina to weigh in.

Frank sees Gina’s brows rise and her lips pinch as if holding back a laugh. Not sure what to make of this, he says nothing and heads back through the kitchen toward the basement door, with it’s industrial bolt snuggle into place.

With Frank’s exit, Julie storms out from the dining room, commanding Gina to follow her, the heels of her Louboutins stabbing at the travertine tile leaving the clatter of echos in her wake.

Gina is keeping up, thinking about Julie’s talk of people getting murdered in the basement. It’s silly, I know it, but her conviction seems so believable. And it’s weird. Weird like in… If Frank does indeed get murdered in the basement I would never forgive myself. She tries to clear the silliness from her head and follows Julie up the staircase, her hand sweeping along the curved cherry banister that feels so smooth to the touch as she admires the finely tapered rungs that hold it from beneath.

Julie parades Gina through the two finely appointed guest bedrooms and adjoining bath adorned in quartzite counters and glass vessel sinks that with a touch of the faucet the vessels light up from below. She lead Gina down the hallway and surprises her with a sliding door that opens into a laundry room fit for a queen. Before entering the master suite, Julie steps aside with a wide grin, a ta-da moment affording Gina the unobstructed and spectacular view through the floor to ceiling window to the russet green and autumn gold of the marshland beyond.

“It’s breathtaking. Frank is going to die when he sees this view,” Gina says, pulling up her shoulders in such anticipation and surprise.

Julie responds with a quiet ‘hmm’ as if to say, we’ll see about that. “Yes. Isn’t the view delicious,” she mutters. A compulsory response as she dusts off a fleck from her lapel.

“Speaking of which, where is my husband?” Gina says stepping back from the threshold past Julie to the staircase in hopes of seeing him. When she turns around, Julie is looking at her watch, leaning against the frame of the doorway with her Arms folded.

“Well. We might as well be going,” she says pushing off the door frame. “I’m afraid this home–as lovely as it is my dear–is not for you.”

Gina is confused. She hasn’t even stepped into the master suite and loves everything about this home. “But I love this home…. Oh, I know I should never tell a realtor that, but you already know I just love it. Don’t tell Frank I told you,” she says in a hushed whisper.

“You will not need to worry about what Frank will think,” Julie comments as she straightens her Channel jacket and starts down the staircase, leaving Gina shocked.

“Wait!” Gina calls after her from the top of the staircase, watching Julie take each step in disappointment, a sale gone to waste. “Shouldn’t we wait for Frank to see the Master? That Spectacular view?” With no acknowledgement, Gina having once found Julie’s peculiar personality almost charming is now ebbing to the point of anger. Who’s the client here, now finding herself following Julie down the staircase like an abandoned puppy.

Never looking back, Julie loops her finger through the lockbox that lays upon the emerald veins of the Biedermeier console in the foyer then opens the front door, ushering Gina to step out behind her so she can lock up the house.

“Stop… Just stop! ” Gina screams out facing the street with her arms locked straight down by her sides. She spins around to face her and stomps past Julie back into the house.

Julie knows it’s pointless to call her back and goes about her business of shutting the front door and securing the lockbox in place before returning to her Tesla in the driveway, cell in hand about to dial her next client.

Gina hears the door shut behind her–the last straw–It’s time to get a new realtor. She stomps through the dining room and thought the kitchen sweeping her hand along the deeply turquoise granite island to the open door leading down into the basement and stands at the top of the staircase, the dim Edison bulb illuminating the stairwell to the basement floor.

“Frank!” she calls out.

There is no answer.

“Frank!” she calls again. A slight crack in her voice this time as she apprehensively starts down the staircase, ducking her head below the transom of the ceiling, taking each step slowly until she reaches the unfinished cement floor and the souls of her feet feel the crumble of cement pellets while stupid thoughts from Julie get the best of her. She walks out a few steps and stops at the edge of the light looking into the pitch of blackness beyond.

“Frank… Come on…. I want to show you the master,” expecting Frank to jump out from the shadows at any moment. Nervously, she brushes back her hair, crouching slightly with her knees pointing inwards. “It’s not funny, Frank!” Come on. Julie’s left us…. She even locked us in! We need a new realtor, Frank!”

She feels a cold sweep of air brush by her leaving the smell of dank wetness in her nose. She can’t understand why people build basements in the first place. She will never use one let alone go down into one. But here she is.

The light switches off and she hears the door at the top of the staircase shut.

“You Fucker! That’s not funny, Frank. Turn the light back on!”

There’s no answer and fright is settling in. She is truly scared. The stupid thoughts Julie put into her head taking root with Frank taking advantage of it.

She jumps and screams out when she feels a hand on her shoulder. She reaches up to feel her husband’s hand, a hand she knows is his, the smooth top and callused sides from his craft as a sculpture. She holds it and brings it to her side but it seems too light, no resistance, then she realizes there is nothing attached to it. The next scream never left her mouth…..

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