Cecil didn’t like anybody sitting in his chair.
There was nothing very special about the looks of the old, faded brown chair but the children did enjoy the way it rocked back and forth. The owner of the apartment complex knew for years how possessive Cecil was about that chair but he neglected to tell anyone before moving in.
The current tenants, the Radleys, found out for themselves after the second time their youngest daughter Meghan spilled boiling hot soup on herself while sitting in the chair. She was only six years old the first time it happened. The bowl of soup just sat there on her lap and then all of sudden, whomp! The bowl went straight up to her face and burned her lips, chin and neck so badly she had to go the hospital. About a year later it happened again and the Radleys couldn’t simply pass it off as a freak accident.
On another occasion, the eldest daughter Candice placed her textbooks on the chair only to return from the kitchen and find them shredded to pieces.
Simon Radley, the handsome husband and father of two who would fit nicely into a 90s sitcom, made a deal with Cecil. Nobody would sit in his chair or even touch it so long as he stopped causing a ruckus throughout the house.
“No more slamming the doors at night when you know we need to wake up early,” Simon demanded. “No more leaving sharp knives scattered around the kitchen floor and no more changing the TV to the Spanish channel then hiding the remote.”
After that conversation things seemed to go back to normal for the Radleys. A certain mystique still lingered around that chair but the family didn’t let it obtrude upon their lives.
That was until a few months later when the Radleys decided to throw a small get together at their apartment for New Years Eve. They sent their kids off to stay with friends and invited another couple as well as Simon’s brother over for hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Simon made it a point at the beginning of the evening to let everybody know not to sit in Cecil’s chair. When he explained who Cecil was and why he had his own chair, they undoubtedly made fun of him. They respected Simon’s wishes at first but as the champagne flowed and the liquid courage turned into audacity, all of that changed. To the chagrin of Simon and his wife, they mocked Cecil by pretending to almost spill champagne on his chair. They sat two and three at a time in his chair. Most distasteful of all, one of the very drunk men humped one of the armrests and screamed Cecil’s name in between moans and heavy panting.
“Okay,” the drunk man said with a smile. “Okay, I’m done.” He walked over to the dining room table and when he tried to take a seat, the chair was yanked backward making the man fall flat on his back.
“Looks like you had a bit too much to drink,” he wife said.
The man giggled like a madman and struggled to get to his feet in his drunken stupor. Right as he was nearly upright a wine glass from the dining room table soared through the air and shattered over the man’s head making him topple backward on to the floor once again.
“Oh my God!” his wife yelled and ran to his aid. But she was too late. The broken pieces of glass lying around his body began jumping back and forth across his throat, tearing his skin and making him cough up blood. The woman knelt over him screaming and crying not knowing what to do. Simon rushed forward and grabbed her under each arm, pulling her away despite her best efforts to stay near her husband. As he dragged her backward, both her legs shot forward and Simon knew Cecil had his grip on her. Her body was like the rope in a game of tug-of-war until finally her legs dropped and her heels hit the floor. Simon sighed in relief thinking Cecil had given up when suddenly a bookend in the shape of an elephant tusk flew off the bookshelf and pierced the side of her head. She was unconscious immediately.
Simon remained on the floor with the woman in his arms. He looked over his shoulder at his wife and his brother.
“Run!” he yelled to the both of them.
The deadbolt on the door locked just as the man tried to open it. He fought with the door for a few seconds trying to get it unlocked when he too was knocked down by the elephant tusk. The man moaned in pain and rolled over on to his side. “Son of a bitch!” the man groaned. He barely made it to his feet when he was pushed face first on to the brown rocking chair and had his belt quickly removed from the loops of his pants. Simon knew there was nothing he could do about his brother so he took his wife’s face and buried it into his shoulder. She cried black tears into his white shirt as the man lying with his face on the chair took his final breath. The belt came away from his throat and hung in the air for a few moments before dropping to the floor. The man’s body slid to the floor and the chair rocked back and forth like a pendulum. Simon looked around his apartment at the three scattered bodies. They were all clearly dead now as a puddle of blood had accumulated around the woman’s head. His brother however, the last one to die, was the most concerning for his cheek was flattened—as if somebody’s foot was pressed down on it.
Over the next few hours the couple had said nothing to each other. Simon bagged the bodies and scrubbed the wooden floors while his wife stood in the corner transfixed, chewing on her nails. Just after midnight he dragged the corpses down three flights of stairs to the apartment building’s basement. He moved a giant rug aside to reveal a hidden metal door. Simon grabbed the latch and opened it into a small cavern about ten feet long and ten feet wide and less than five feet high. It was nearly filled with similar similar black garbage bags and Simon rolled the bodies inside along them. He closed the door and replaced the rug.
Back on the first floor Simon knocked on a door which read LANDLORD. A man in his early sixties answered.
“It happened again,” Simon said. “Three of ’em this time”
The man nodded soberly and let out a sigh. “Did you take care of it?”
“Okay,” the man said and adjusted the belt on his robe “When do you go to the crematory next?”
“Friday. My boss will be out of town so it should be no problem”
“Make sure to empty that chamber,” the landlord said and shut the door.
Simon ascended to his second floor apartment slowly. Inside, the chair rocked back and forth in the corner of the room.
Brandon Jenkins holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from San Diego State University and currently resides in Cedar Rapids, IA with his American bulldog and pit bull. His first short story is forthcoming in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine. Find him on twitter @b_m_jenkins and storiesfromneptune.blogspot.com.