“So you boys know what you have to do, right?” Micky asks his crew.
The three men he is talking to all nod their heads.
“Good, now let’s get a move on. Remember we have to be swift. We get in, we get out. Grab as much as you can. Sammy and Billy go to your posts.”
Sammy and Billy both roll down their black ski masks and grab their empty duffle bags. They hop out of the grey van marked Roger’s Cleaners on the side. At a crouched stance they approach and disappear behind a red and white double story suburban house. They will be entering the house through the back door.
“Okay Timmy let’s tango,” Micky says to the guy he is left with in the van.
They also roll down their masks and throw duffle bags on their backs. Micky and Timmy approach the front door with the same covertness Sammy and Billy had demonstrated. All the lights of the house are off. It’s the only house in the neighbourhood that has neglected decorating for the festive season.
The inside of the house is silent like a graveyard. Micky had watched the house for an entire week. For seven straight days Micky noticed that no one went in or out the house during the day and not a soul was visible at night. He suspects the owners are not home. They are probably on a fancy vacation.
Whether the house has expensive furniture that him and the boys can sell, he is yet to find out. Micky knows that any house located in the suburb of Bevy has an owner with deep pockets. So the chances of finding furniture worth millions inside the house is very high.
Christmas period always brings good fortune for people in Micky’s line of work. People are so careless and care free of themselves and their property during this time of year and that makes Micky’s job easier.
Bevy doesn’t have a neighbourhood watch. That’s another bonus for Micky and his crew. Today he had to hire a crew because the house is big and he wouldn’t be able to carry out a lot of the furniture by himself.
For as long as he can remember Micky has worked by himself. It is the surest way of not being betrayed or let down. He has been in the B&E business for almost a decade and his hands have never been trussed by police handcuffs. He accredits that type of success to his solitude in the business.
Micky and Timmy crouch next to the front door and wait for exactly five minutes. Just enough time for Sammy and Billy to disable the alarm system and enter through the back door. Sammy is a hacking expert who should do light work of any alarm system the house may have. Billy is the muscle while Timmy is extra hands.
Micky assumes Timmy is way younger than what he told him. He only hired the kid because he seems to have a cool head and he knows a thing or two about robbing houses. Timmy had narrated to Micky that he is a street kid that survives by breaking into people’s houses. That got Micky concerned, if the boy is from the streets he will talk easily when the police come around asking questions. But Micky was running out of time and he needed men fast, so he just hired Timmy, but he knows he will have to get rid of the kid when this is all over.
After exactly five minutes, Sammy opens the front door. “You had nothing to worry about, boss. The house has no alarm,” Sammy reports.
“Okay you two go upstairs, Timmy and I will work down here,” Micky instructs.
Sammy and Billy dart up the stairs.
“Take whatever seems valuable, kid,” Micky commands Timmy.
Micky goes straight down the hallway to the kitchen to hoard silverware. Timmy takes a right turn from the hallway to the lounge.
As Micky bags the spoons, forks, knives and other valuables from the kitchen, Timmy rushes in and says, “Boss we have a problem. I think you need to come and see this.”
Timmy leads Micky into the lounge where they find a blonde woman with a young girl in her arms. They had been sleeping on the couch. They both look like they have been through hell.
Gwen was fast asleep when the sound of her door being picked woke her up. At first she was happy that help may have finally arrived. But she then realised that the people trying to enter her house were not here to help her and her daughter. They had their own selfish intentions.
She kept quiet as mouse when she saw two men enter through the back and proceed to open the front door for two other men. Normally she would have been terrified in such a situation but not anymore.
It had been a long and stressful week. After what happened to her last week, mere humans don’t frighten her anymore. It all started on Monday night when she and her husband were woken up in the middle of the night by the screams of their son. When they rushed to his room, they found him fighting for his life as he was hanging by rope from the bedroom ceiling. His father ran over and cut off the rope just in time to prevent their son from choking to death.
Gwen and her husband thought their son wanted to commit suicide but he was adamant that he didn’t do it. He claimed a shadowy figure on horseback rode into his room and tried to hang him.
Gwen thought her teenage son needed therapy, so she began searching for a psychologist. But the following day when she found her nine year old daughter, Prudence, playing with rope that was embedded with razor blades and claimed to have been given by a black figure that was on horseback, Gwen was gravely perturbed.
Gwen’s husband called the police to search the house. The police found no one and promised to stay on the look out for someone who matches the descriptions they gave. That same night Gwen heard a horse neigh and smash it’s hooves on the hardwood floor in the hallway. When she made her husband go and investigate, he found nothing in the corridor.
She insisted they should get a pastor to pray over the house because she was convinced the house maybe haunted. Her husband reluctantly obliged. When pastor Kennedy came over, that was when things took a turn for the worst.
While the pastor was praying and spraying the house with holy oil, a man dressed in typical cowboy regalia showed up riding a black stallion that was breathing fire out of its nostrils. Gwen couldn’t see the man’s face because he wore his hat so low. All she could see was how dark and smoky his body was.
The man threw a rope around pastor Kennedy’s neck and dragged him all over their yard until the pastor’s body turned to dust. The shadowy man then disappeared into the night. The family was terrified.
Gwen’s husband wanted to call the police again but Gwen knew they wouldn’t help. She was convinced they need the help of an expert. So Gwen suggested consulting a local eighty year old psychic. The woman revealed something that made Gwen’s bones stiff with fear.
The psychic told them that their new house is built on the same piece of land where Sheriff Joe Marlow’s house used to be. The psychic went on to say, “A long time ago this city used to be a small mine town which had one sheriff. That sheriff was Joseph Marlow and he ruled the town with an iron fist.
“He was always eager to make people hang. He hanged people for huge and small slap on the wrist crimes. Even when the mayor warned him that his behaviour was unbecoming, the sheriff never stopped playing judge, jury and executioner. Eventually he was relieved of his duty. But he kept on hunting down and punishing people who broke the law by hanging them in his back yard.
“The town’s people got fed up of him and marched to his abode armed with pitch forks and burning torches. They burned down his house with him trapped inside.”
The psychic assumed that the ghost of the Sheriff is now tormenting the family out of spite so she gave them a potion to pour around the house to ward off the spirit. However, when Gwen’s husband was about to pour around the potion, he was killed by the horse rider. He was choked to death by the ghost’s razor engrafted rope.
Gwen and her children soon discovered that all the doors and windows of their house had been locked or sealed off. Their phones were no longer working and all the lights in their house exploded. The ebony pellucid man on horseback soon took over the top floor of the house.
Whoever journeyed upstairs never came back down. Gwen’s son made that mistake and he met the same fate as his father. That is why Gwen and her daughter have been living downstairs for the past couple of days.
That is the story she tells Micky only for him to laugh at the absurdness of her tale. His chuckling is halted by the screams that soon emanate from upstairs.
“I don’t know, man. She may be right. Did you hear that?” a tremulous Timmy asks.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Micky snaps at him.
He walks over to the feet of the stairs and yells out, “Sammy?! Billy?! Are you boys okay?!”
His own voice echoes on the walls but there is no reply. There is now nothing but silence from upstairs.
“Go and check if they are fine up there,” he orders Timmy.
“No way, man. This is becoming too creepy. I didn’t sign up for this. I am out of here,” Timmy says as he heads for the door.
He finds the door locked. His skinny body desperately bangs on the mahogany wood but the door won’t open.
“It won’t open! We are stuck in here!” he screams at Micky.
“Relax!” Micky roars. “This damn woman is playing some kind of a trick on us.”
The whinny sound of a horse that soon comes from upstairs causes the insides of Micky’s bumpy body to vibrate. They all hear hooves bashing on the hardwood floor upstairs. Micky then beholds two oval objects rolling down the white stairs. When the round objects reach his feet, he discovers they are the masked heads of Sammy and Billy.
Micky screams and jets for the exit. He joins Timmy in making frivolous attempts to knock down the door that just won’t open.