From the author: When his reclusive uncle commits suicide in a mansion full of curiosities, Jamie Lawson is left to clean up his dusty estate. As Jamie peels back the layers of his uncle’s life as a semi-famous horror author, he discovers an eerie connection between his uncle’s works and real life tragedies. Now, he must uncover the truth behind his uncle’s books while trying to rebuild his life in a new town. But, the bizarre facts he uncovers may just threaten his new life and everyone in it.
The typewriter sat on the writing desk, just as Jamie remembered it. T.J. poured two glasses of bourbon at the bar and set one next to him. T.J.’s fingers ran along the back edge of the leather wingback chair. He had spent many hours in it, causing immeasurable amounts of chaos. Now Jamie had taken the reins and would make up for the mess that he had made. If Jamie had somehow managed to erase his own life at Turner House, then he should be able to do the same for T.J.
The trick wasn't trying to rewrite what the typewriter had already cemented into place. No, it was to go back and fix things in person, to create a new path forward without the death and devastation. T.J.’s victims could still be saved, and Jamie knew exactly what he needed to type in order to do it.
Jamie sat in the chair and took a swig of bourbon with T.J. standing behind him. It burned as it went down, but the burn brought him to life. The keys tapped out a rhythm on the page as he typed.
T.J. had another chance to save those whose lives he'd affected with the typewriter.
It was a simple sentence to address several decades of misery. Jamie sat back in the chair as T.J. peered over his shoulder.
“When will we know if it worked?” he asked.
“You’ll know when you wake up tomorrow morning. I don’t know what this means for me. Maybe I won’t remember anything. I assume the same thing happened to Sarah,” he replied.
As they returned downstairs to the living room, Jamie picked up his phone from the coffee table and noticed the flashing notification light. A message from Lilly greeted him as the screen switched on.
I'm going to leave Mom's soon. I decided that I couldn't miss the party. I know that you won't understand, but I couldn't just abandon my family for no good reason. I'll be back tonight, and maybe we can talk then. And I think that we need to have a serious conversation.
He could feel the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end and looked at the time on his phone, 3:30 p.m. The crash had occurred at 3:13. His efforts to keep Lilly from attending the party had been futile. She’d gone anyway, and if things played out as they had before, she had died exactly seventeen minutes ago. He frantically tapped on her name to call. The phone rang... and rang... and rang... but nobody answered.
“You have to stay where you are. Don't go anywhere!” he shouted into the phone when her voice mail clicked in. He tapped the same message out via text too. Maybe he had time to save her. Maybe things were just different enough to prevent the accident this time.
He searched for her mom's number, hit it, and held the phone to his ear.
“Hello,” she answered.
“This is Jamie,” he said in barely intelligible words. “Is Lilly still there?”
“She left a few minutes ago. Is everything—”
He hung up before she had a chance to finish her sentence.
“She went to the party and just left,” he said, rubbing his forehead in anguish. He thought for a moment then ran toward the stairs.
“Typewriter!” he yelled as T.J. followed.
Jamie frantically pulled the carriage return and typed a new line.
Lilly’s car stalled before she pulled onto the bridge.
“Is that enough?” he shouted. As he stepped back from the typewriter, the full realization of what was happening started to sink in. I missed her. I abandoned her for this stupid story, just like Sarah, and now she’s dead.
“I killed her,” he said.
He could feel his pulse pounding between his eyes. Darkness started at the corner of his vision and slowly crept in as if he had gotten up too quickly. Before he knew it, Jamie couldn’t see anything. He tried to stabilize himself but fell against the cabinet behind the desk, knocking a ceramic figure to the floor, which shattered on impact. T.J. rushed to his side and braced him so that he could fall to the floor without injuring himself.
“Breathe! Take deep breaths,” T.J. said, but Jamie had already passed out.
This story originally appeared in The Dreadful Objects.
When his reclusive uncle commits suicide in a mansion full of curiosities, Jamie Lawson is left to clean up his dusty estate. As Jamie peels back the layers of his uncle’s life as a semi-famous horror author, he discovers an eerie connection between his uncle’s works and real life tragedies. Now, he must uncover the truth behind his uncle’s books while trying to rebuild his life in a new town. But, the bizarre facts he uncovers may just threaten his new life and everyone in it.
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