A terrible secret is finally ended when a couple move into their new home.
Claire beamed as they left the house and squeezed Paul's hand.
Paul grinned, his usual sombre exterior melting under the light of Claire's smile.
"I know, isn't it?" He said, squeezing back.
The estate agent folded her clipboard under her arm.
"That sounds positive. If it's convenient, we can arrange an offer now?"
Claire and Paul looked at each other.
"I think we'd like that."
The house truly was spectacular. Even empty as it was now it still looked like a home, it just had that aura about it. Three double bedrooms, a large lounge/dinner and a separate kitchen. The bathroom, Claire thought, was the decider though. Sparkling white and black marble (or faux marble, Paul had said cynically) with a beautiful tub in the middle of the room. It was like something out of the movies and Claire had fallen in love with it straight away. The landlord was offering it up for sale after a string of failed rentals, he had claimed. For the price it was fantastic and Paul, assuming something must be wrong with it, did some research. They had discovered that the house had been the scene of a nasty child abuse case that had ended in a murder-suicide and what was now a beautifully manicured garden had once been a mass-grave for the poor children that had been the victims of the previous occupants. It had been all over the papers several years ago and since then the property had never remained occupied for long, no doubt because the tenants eventually discovered the truth about it's past. It was a horrible thought but Paul and Claire were a modern couple and pragmatic about the whole thing. It was the opportunity of a lifetime. The past was the past and if they happened to profit from other peoples superstitions then that was a nice bonus on top of an already beautiful home.
And that's what they thought of it as - home. It wasn't just a house any more. Making the offer and signing the paperwork was just formalities at this point.
* * * * *
They'd had to eat Ben, they'd had no other choice. The Hole had stopped providing, God had abandoned them. They had tried so hard to be good, to be quiet as God commanded but nothing could absolve them of their wickedness. They were born in sin, down in the dark. They were demons, monsters and though God had tried, time had proven that even God could not love them any more.
It had been weeks since the Hole last provided and even then, over the last few years it had only come infrequently in stops and starts. They'd had to make do on what was left over and when in finally stopped altogether they eventually turned on the Others, the scurrying things in the dark. Eventually even the Others stopped coming. At first they had taken it as a sign, that God had come back and banished the Others for their cruel bites and scratches against them. But a week passed, then another and hope faded. They'd been abandoned, forsaken. They deserved it of course, God had told them of their wickedness many times but they had dared to hope for forgiveness. In the dark, to their shame, they knew that it was their audacity to hope for such a thing which had driven even God away.
Ben had tasted bitter and sickly, much worse than the Others had. He had stopped moving a few days ago, his usual wheezing breath ceasing with a final, horrible rattle. God usually took the dead away and they had waited, hoping he might come but after a few days their hunger gnawed at them like an Other at their toes and they had taken Ben and shared him amongst themselves.
Ben had been one of the oldest at the ripe old age of 14 and so he was as afflicted as the rest. His lips had been curled in a permanant snarl and his top row of teeth had curved along his gumline in warped and crazy patterns. He had a severe hunch and had walked with a limp. Not many made it to Ben's age, he'd been a mentor to them all, helped the most afflicted ones to eat. God had liked that and had loved Ben most. Maybe that was why Ben had fallen first. A small mercy.
Simon was coming into his middle age at 7 and was the next oldest. Carl was 5 but he was so badly afflicted he couldn't talk, his tongue lolled out dry and cracked from his missing lower jaw. Sally was the Mother, and so her age didn't matter though Simon guessed she was perhaps Ben's age. She was with child again, though whether it was one of God's children or Ben's they didn't know. They had her laid down quietly in the corner, covered in Ben's old sheets and given her more of Ben to eat than the rest of them. She would need it and Simon wanted to hope that Ben's strength might guide her through the birth safely but he didn't dare. Hope had got them in their current situation. For demons like them it was poison. Instead, he just willed himself to feel numb and pushed such thoughts as hope to the back of his mind.
The lights suddenly came back on.