Sunday, June 1, 2014

Deveroux Mansion...A Short Story


What Would You Write?

 If you had the above photo, the five words listed below and a 500-word limit, what short story would you come up with?

That is the weekly assignment that I've done almost every week for the past few years. I do it because it pushes me to be creative, and--to a lesser extent--it helps me to write a daily blog post.

If you'd like to give it a try, here are the rules:

1) Use the photo and five required words in your story.
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Tuesday night to link up your post.
4) Add your story (Blue Link) at Leanne's, Debb's, or Tena's websites.
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.

 And here are your five words:


So, let's get this part started!

Deveroux Mansion

The rental car rounded the corner on the lonely California road and the Deveroux Mansion came into view.

"That's it? Tom Hunter asked from the car's back seat. He'd only been a scouting director for three weeks when he got the call from the producer of Ghost Trackers, a paranormal reality show on TV. His assignment, take a crew to the Deveroux Mansion, twenty miles north of Solvang on the shore of Lake Charleston. 

In the car sat Julie Marx, driver and rep from PN, the Paranormal Network, and Jamal Johnson, former NFL all-pro safety turned television talent-for-hire. All three craned their necks to spot the supposedly haunted structure. 

"GPS says we've got about a mile and a half and we'll be there," Julie said.

"So, what's up with this place?" Tom said unsure if the nervousness came from his first real gig, or the fact they were approaching a haunted house.

Jamal read from his phone. "Let's see...the Deveroux Mansion was built by multi-millionaire media mogal Steve Deveroux in the 1930's. Unfortunately, he never saw it completed having died before his dream was finished. Officially, the police report listed Deveroux's death as resulting from natural causes. The legend says otherwise."

"Oooooh!" Tom said with a mocking laugh. Jamal and Julie shared a look.

"Like I was saying," Jamal said clearing his throat. "Those closest to Mr. Deveroux swear the international playboy was poisoned. Apparently he was fed a meal consisting of coriander cake and ice cream, the lethal combination was undetectable and therefore no foul play was suspected."

"Are you kidding me?" Tom interjected. "That's a load of crap!"

"No one has ever lived in the house more than a few months," Jamal continued. "It says psychiatric professionals have verified numerous family members of Mr. Deveroux have committed suicide after visiting and/or living in the house."

"That can clear up a lot of inheritance issues," quipped Julie.

"First-hand accounts of those who have spent more than one night in the opulent residence have told of strange sounds coming from the master bathroom, offensive smells throughout the mansion and a substance of unknown origin oozing from the walls and the granite statues that grace the extensive gardens."

"Oh, come on!" Tom said. "Substances of unknown origin? I mean, think of the logistics of having something--anything appear from a wall or garden statue...nope! Don't buy it!"

"Well," Julie said as the car slowed. "It's not you that has to buy it--just the audience." She stopped the car in front of the impressive structure.

As Tom turned to exit the back seat, he said, "What the...?" Julie and Jamal both looked at Tom then followed his horrified gaze to see what caused the director's outburst. All three occupants sat in silence as they stared at a car door handle that appeared to be covered in some sort of unidentifiable substance.

Word Count: 482


  1. Nice! I wish your story didn't have to end! :)

  2. Oh man! I want to go inside with them! I am scared of the dark (for real) but I love a good ghost story. This is a good one, Scott!

  3. Great story with cliffhanger ending.