OK, this story is way longer than I wanted it to be, but…
Bella had been working as an accountant in a humdrum job for a number of years. Right when she started, her co-workers asked her to join a lottery club for $2 a week. After a dozen years of wagering and never winning more than a few dollars, Bella resigned herself that the lotto club would never hit it big.
Then it did.
There were 40 players in the club and they won $250 million. After giving the government their cut, each of them cleared $3 million. Bella was just a few years from retirement, so she decided to keep working, but she had 2 months of vacation time saved up and decided to use a month of it for her dream vacation to southern Europe. Bella and her husband, Tom, rented a villa in Ferragudo, Portugal, for a month, sight unseen except for the photos of it on the website. The villa would be the jump-off point for their excursions to Spain, France, Italy, and maybe more.
They flew in to the airport and rented an Uber which drove them out to the villa, which was to be unlocked. The first thing they noticed about it was its radish color with a green metal roof. Bella said to Tom, “That’s the biggest radish I ever saw!” They laughed and were excited as they could hear the sound of the water and seagulls coming from just over the hill.
Tom said, “Let’s haul our stuff into the house, check it out, then go see the water, honey.”
They had quite a few bags of luggage for their month-long stay. They noticed there was a side ramp on the veranda and were thankful to roll the suitcases up the ramp.
Tom did the honors of opening the front door. Both gasped at what they saw. The place was a 100% disaster zone! From the outside, it looked like a palace, but the inside looked almost like it had been melted. Bella looked at Tom, frightened, and said, “What happened here?”
“I’m not sure, Bella, but we’re not staying here,” Tom said as he reached for his phone. “What’s the rental agent’s number?”
As Tom started punching in the numbers, a loud humming sound started. It seemed to come from the top of the staircase, near the window. Tom stopped as his phone fell out of his hand with a clatter. Bella looked over at Tom and tried to speak, but no words came out. They felt a vibrating under the floorboards. Both were given a wordless compulsion to walk up the staircase, towards the light of the window – or what they thought was the window.
Like wooden soldiers, their legs clunked up the stairs. The humming increased, as did the vibration, which now felt like the whole house was in motion. Still conscious but unable to resist the steps, Bella reached out to Tom and the two clasped hands, ever closer to the top.
Their faces were now pressed up against the glass. What looked like a tree from a distance was a writhing creature as big as a car, sitting on top of a grey saucer of a space vehicle. The best description of it was what they had always believed was a myth, Cthulu. If the force compelling them against the window were to leave they both would have been hysterical puddles on the floor.
They realized the creature had hollowed out the middle of the villa with its ship. It began to slither towards them, its yellow eyes as big as basketballs, staring into theirs. The window opened and everything went black.
When Bella woke up, she was laying in a watery ditch. Her clothes were gone. Tom was nowhere in sight. Stifling a scream, Bella got up and looked around. She was sure this was where the villa was. Wasn’t she? There was only a field where she was sure the house was. Stumbling along the road she finally saw a house, thankfully with laundry hanging on the line. After slipping on pants and shirt she went to the door. As she spoke no Portuguese, she was not understood by the woman who answered the door, but after one look at her the woman began dialing the police. The officer who arrived spoke English. Bella explained what happened and gave the address of the villa. The officer got a strange look on his face and said, “But Miss, that place burned down 5 years ago.”
Tom was never found.
Fandango’s FOWC is humdrum, the Word of the Day Challenge is wager, Paula’s 3 Things Challenge words are number, radish, Lisbon, and Teresa’s Haunted Wordsmith Daily Prompts are emotional challenge of fright, sentence, “What happened here?”, and the photo.