The day after Halloween, Constance Langdon opened the front door to find several pumpkins smashed on the concrete door step. Violet Harmon approached beside her, eating out of a blue freeze pop.
“I’ve had it with those rotten twins,” snarled the immortal, dead mother of Tate Langdon. Constance bent over to retrieve the rolled up newspaper half-buried inside the pulpy orange mess. Scowling in disgust, she brushed off some of the dangling, wet pumpkin seeds before bringing her daily news inside.
“How do you know Bryan and Troy did it?” Violet questioned, sliding more chunks of blueberry ice into her immortal mouth. Like her parents, she was dead since 2010 and had her permanent stay at the Murder House. The same thing went for her boyfriend, Tate, who died in 1994.
“Who else would do something so childish?” Constance demanded. “Not those tasteless, two queers bickering in the kitchen, who worship the goddamn holiday every day and night!”
Violet grinned as she pulled the plastic freeze-pop sleeve out from her blue stained lips and squeezed more of the flavored ice.
“Where is that troublesome, young son of mine? Are you ignoring him again?”
“Tate’s with my dad,” Violet shrugged. “He still has sessions with him.”
Constance waved the idea away and carried the newspaper upstairs.
“Mama, I have to pee,” Flora Harris whined from the backseat at her alcoholic mother, who was driving the minivan on the highway behind her brother’s vehicle.
“We're almost there, baby,” Lee Harris said. Her brown eyes were focused hard through her Ray Ban sunglasses.
Flora wiggled beneath her strapped seat belt. Thinking about flowing waterfalls, running sprinklers, and drinking fountains, she kicked her pink adidas sneaker foot right underneath her mother’s seat and whimpered louder.
“Mama! Now!” shouted the light-skinned niece of Matt & Shelby Miller. Flora Harris was a special child, who could see things that weren’t there. She kicked the rear of her mother’s seat, in a typical, bratty fashion.
Lee’s hands were tightening the steering wheel as she drove, but she had soon lost the battle between her daughter and made a sharp turn into the next closest gas station.
Shelby Miller drew back her hand inside the open window of the car she rode with her husband and felt panic rising the back of her throat. “Matt, your sister just pulled over to a gas station.” She didn’t know why she was so scared all of a sudden. Maybe it had to do with the fact that most convenient stores provided cigarettes and alcohol. Lee Harris had been battling her addiction with booze and was trying to stay sober for the sake of her daughter. Unlike her loudmouth sister-in-law, Shelby knew right from wrong. She was a sensitive woman, who loved her husband and his family, equally.
“Maybe Flora needed to go use the potty,” Matt suggested. To make his wife feel better, he turned themselves around to drive back towards the Mobile.
The Millers parked right alongside Lee’s minivan at the drugstore in front of the pump stations and could see the empty car seat with Flora’s little golden books and happy meal toys scattered around. Shelby craned her neck to see out from the dashboard window inside the building. There, she found Lee reading off a label from a wine bottle.
Matt caught sight of his sister and quickly unbuckled his seatbelt. Shelby’s fingers touched her mouth as she watched her husband slip inside the store. Matt snuck up from behind and snatched the wine bottle out of Lee’s hand, who looked back at him, mixed with surprised anger.
“What do you think you’re doing, Matt?” she snapped, watching her brother put the wine bottle back inside the cedar cubby hole.
“Stopping you, that’s what,” he said, calmly. “Is Flora using the bathroom?”
“Don’t change the subject,” Lee growled. “You were checking up on me! You thought I wanted to drink again!”
“Why else would you read the label off a bottle of wine?” Matt snorted. He yelped as soon as his sister cuffed him on the side of his tight-curled head.
“I want you and your wifey bitch to quit spying on me,” Lee barked.
“We weren’t spying.” Matt tensed up and rubbed the throbbing side of his shaved skull.
Lee angrily stormed past him to reunite with Flora, who was all done peeing. The little girl was steered back outside the gas station parking lot by the strong grip of her mother’s hand.
The Harmons’ former real estate agent, Marcy, welcomed both the Miller & Harris family with wide, open arms. Talking fast and breathless, she brought the four of them inside the brick, mahogany building and gave them a tour throughout the rooms. She did not forget to mention the long history of deaths containing the mansion home. Hearing about them gave Shelby the heebie-jeebies. That didn’t prevent Matt from changing his mind, however. He was falling in love with the Murder House. His sister was less impressed.
“Sure gives you an Addams Family type of feeling in here, don’t it?” she wrapped her denim-clad arms over her chest.
Marcy was laughing too hard, not expecting how funny the new tenants could be.
Meanwhile, Flora had wandered upstairs inside a bedroom that would soon be hers. The space, however, was taken by a long-haired girl, sitting up on the bedspread with pillows propped behind her, blasting music through a iPod.
“Hi,” Flora pressed up against the door.
The girl removed the corded headphones out from her ears.
“I’m Flora. I’m going to live here.”
“Violet,” the girl answered. “Welcome to Hell, kid. Get out while you still can.”