500 Word Short Story
The Hillburg House
Scott A. Gese

500 Word Short Story

“It was just for one night. How bad could it be.”

Ashton didn't know what he was saying. He obviously hadn't done his research.

The Hillburg house had a long history and none of it was good. Built in 1879 by a sea captain named Charles Hillburg. He built it for his beautiful and charming wife, Haily. It might be fair to say that Charles financed the project, but it was Haily who actually built it. She had the plans for this three story Victorian home drawn up. She oversaw the carpenters, the bricklayers and the landscapers. Nothing got past her eye for detail.

She made more than one enemy as the list of “incompetent” contractors continued to grow. They either did it the Haily way of they moved on to their next job.

Charles Hillburg was oblivious to the process as he spent most of his time at sea. The home would be his and Haily's retirement residence once it was complete.

Charles was always faithful when he was in a foreign port. Haily was no angel at home. She had a string of affairs leaving many bleeding hearts and broken men in her wake.

Thomas was different. She actually fell in love with him. Together they devised several plans to do away with the Captain once he returned home. In the meantime they hoped a severe storm or other unforeseen mishap would take care of the problem for them.

It didn't.

Prevailing winds helped Charles arrived home well ahead of schedule. The house was complete. Charles was anxious to see it for the first time as well as spend some quality time with his wife. With a bouquet of fresh picked Spring flowers in his hand he slipped in the back door hoping to surprise her.

He did surprise her, but not until he entered the master bedroom where he found Thomas and Haily in the throws of passion. The scene shocked him. He lost all control and pulled a pistol from his jacket. They begged for mercy but he had none to give. He shot them both.

Charles was distraught. He went down to the formal dining room and found a bottle of apricot brandy. He drank it and then turned the pistol on himself. The bodies rotted where they lay for three full months before they were discovered.

With no will or next of kin, the house and everything in it was boarded up tight. For years, strange things took place at the house. Oftentimes gunshots and screams could be heard from inside. Twice, smoke could be seen coming from the master bedroom chimney. In 1930, the first rays of light in fifty years streamed in through the front door.

The house had been auctioned off by the city to pay back taxes. Ashton Crofton had been the high bidder. Ashton didn't believe in ghosts. He would spend his first night in the very bed of Haily Hillburg.

He was found dead the next morning.

© Copyright 2018 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.