A Spring’s Sorrow – A Horror Story
By Nick Zaucha
Our story starts in the beginning days of what is supposed to be a pleasant spring break. It’s here that we see the Santy family having their first family outing since spring of last year, the time had arrived for their annual family vacation to their lake cabin. Along with the usual seven members, Bethany the grandmother, Orville the grandfather, Susan the mother, Frederick the father, Jessica the youngest, Ashley the middle child, and David the oldest child and yet, is the one that still acts the most childish. Usually, this trip would just be them, but for the first time a guest has joined them, during the break between trips Ashley got engaged to the ever so lovely Jason. A man who works hard, supplies for their needs, and can take time off whenever he wants since he owns the real estate company he works at, he has done well in life, and it shows. However, due to the success he’d found, he is a seriously self-centered, egotistical nightmare of a person, always thinking he’s above those around him besides his soon to be wife. This trip will be the first time that Jason will meet most of the members in Ashley’s family, excluding her parents who he had so kindly asked to be able to marry their daughter, so he’s a little worried that they won’t get along as well as he’s planning.
“I really hope that this year is less chaotic than the last, I just about lost my mind with my brother and his antics last year” Ashley says in a hopeful yet dejected tone. “We’ll just have to wait and see, maybe a newer face will alleviate his childish mannerisms” Jason says in a reassuring yet shallow tone. Ashley picks up on the shallowness of the comment but holds off on making a comment as it will only dampen the long drive still ahead of them. It’s about eleven in the morning with 4 hours still left on the road, it’s slightly foggy with some dew, so Jason is paying more attention to the road than the actual conversation trying to be made. Ashley understands though, and although slightly perturbed by the lack of responses after that shallow turndown, she just turns on the radio to fill the void that encapsulated the rest of the car. It’s nothing extravagant, just some classical music as anything more upsets Jason for some reason, something about “The lyrics distract you from what I’m saying” even when there’s no conversation, she just likes playing it safe and dissolving issues before they can happen. This is how it’s worked, yes, she deeply loves him, so she looks past all these little things, she has all the time in the world to listen to other things while he’s away anyways, does it really matter to her that much in the current moment? She always just looks past the negatives as they are few and far between, she likes him for him, nothing more nothing less, and will hopefully be able to keep it this way. After a quiet, yet tense drive, they arrive and have simple greetings with the family, just the usual stuff, saying hi, asking how the drive was, nothing out of pocket or odd for initial conversation. The first day goes well, they have dinner, and everyone mostly keeps to themselves while they get settled in for the week that they’ll
be out here. The estate is a log cabin, two stories with a finished basement, on a plot of land totaling 640 acres, with a nice lake in the middle of it right behind the cabin. The place is stunning, secluded, and most importantly quiet.
The following day, we see our first real instance of the tomfoolery from David that was foretold earlier. “I didn’t think that you’d be the one to find it, I’m sorry sis” David hurriedly says as he is picking up a fake spider in the corner quickly, “Why the f**k would you put a fake spider in the bathroom!?!?” Jessica says angrily towards her brother who’s in the corner stifling his laughter “I’m sorry, I wanted to get Ashley, I thought she’d be awake before you.” They both laugh it off after a bit and later on he finally gets Ashley with the same prank getting the same exact reaction out of her he did Jessica, only instead of feeling bad he’s in hysterics looking at her shock and horror. “Oh, come on, it’s obviously fake. Why would you be so scared of this flimsy looking thing?” David faintly says, it’s hard to translate since he’s laughing so much but after some time Ashley realizes what he had tried to say. “I just don’t like spiders, I though you’d know this considering you targeted me…” This is when Jason puts himself into the conversation, “David, you’re a fully grown man with a job. Maybe you should treat your family with respect and act like the adult you actually are.” All said in one quick witted, monotone voice. David is taken aback and mentally notes that this will make him just want to misbehave even more. Even Jessica was laughing at Ashley causing Jason to look in her general direction and say, “I heard you freak out earlier, don’t laugh like you weren’t equally as scared and angry at your brother.” Said in the same tone used to make fun of David, this only made the two other siblings resentful as the middle child was always the one being bullied. This free card was gone however, there is now someone who will stick up for Ashley as her own voice simply isn’t affective with anyone in her own family, she’s the runt, the forgotten child who was just used to care for the youngest while David was out partying without his parents’ knowledge of such a thing. He’d always “been asleep” when they’d come home late from date nights or work, leaving Ash to be the cleaner, cooker, mother, and so much more for her own siblings merely because she was born second of three. Even her own parents have stopped caring, the second she wasn’t their responsibility they only care about if she’s going to give them grandkids or not, other than this she’s just alone with Jason, but that’s how she likes it.
Jason taking mental notes of everything so far, decides that he’ll keep a closer watch on the other family members excluding the grandparents, both Bethany and Orville have been nice this whole time, cooking for the house, taking Jason to places around the estate such as the trails and secret spots like an old playhouse from his fiancé’s childhood. He enjoys their company, and they enjoy his. They’re just happy Ashley found someone responsible for their granddaughter. It’s these notes that have led Jason to an egotistical, maniacal thought. “If they aren’t going to treat her like
family, perhaps they shouldn’t be her family at all…” This is it, this is the plan, he thinks, “If they are just gone completely maybe she won’t feel this internal turmoil that she does so often, for once I will see her completely happy, the happiness that only I can bring her.” This mostly quiet desolate place is perfect, with no one around disposing of those he finds… unpleasant, will be easy. He decides that he wants to take a little trip with David first “Hey David, take a hike with me maybe clear out some of the overgrown foliage along the trails? The maintenance you guys have done is atrocious.” David agrees as he thinks it’ll be a good opportunity to get out and do something a little productive with his day. “What kind of things do you think we should grab out of the shed?” David asks Jason. “Gloves, hatchets, machetes, silky saws if they’re here, pretty basic things.” Seeing as this plot of land is so large, Jason decides that going to the border in David’s car is the best way to both move all the tools and make everything else he has planned.
“I think the back right corner is a good starting point, we can start there and work our way towards the house.” Jason suggests this and David agrees. This is it; this is the opportunity that Jason had wanted to make for himself, no one around, foliage around, it’s all a picturesque spot to make someone disappear without even trying, it’s almost too good. But he doesn’t care, he just wants his terrible older brother that Ashley has had to deal with her whole life, to feel what may not even be remotely close to all the pain she’s felt dealing with him.
Everything starts out calm, slight chitchat, some jokes and the two of them are clearing the overgrown path that looks straight out of a jungle. After an hour or so Jason calls David over, “hey David, you see that trench to the side? With how dense it is I barely even noticed it till I was practically falling into it.” Without hesitation David goes to peer over the side and that’s when Jason does it, he slams the hatchet in his hand directly into David’s skull, with skull fragments flying away like shards of ice from a dropped icicle to the blood pouring out like the Niagara Falls, David could hardly react, all he could let out was an exasperated gasp and he fall lifeless into the trench. Oh, but Jason wasn’t remotely done, that first swing started the spiral, and he was going to have some fun first. Firstly, using the saws, they brought to slowly grind away at his arms and legs, the sound of bones breaking, snapping, even shattering under the amount of force, it was oddly satisfying, the feeling was almost therapeutic in nature as if this release was what he’d truly needed after working ever so slaving away in his career. From the flaying of skin to the dismemberment and decimation of David’s very self, Jason was in the happiest mood he’s ever been in, although all this enjoyment made Jason have a new wardrobe completely, from looking like his normal self to looking like he just stumbled his way through a butchery. But this was all planned out in his mind, he washed up in a nearby creek, changed his clothes and walked back to the cabin as if nothing had happened. For the first couple hours of being back no one seemed to notice the person missing from the equation until Jessica called David for dinner and there was no response, finally she asked
Jason “Have you seen David, I thought you two went to clear some trails.” Jason responds, “He went out for the night, something about seeing something on social media that looked cool and heading there. I’m sure he’ll be back eventually.” This disarmed the situation for now, but who knows for how long? The next day, Jason asks Jessica if she’d like to go check out a small pond that he’d found while he was with David, this is a complete lie and he had seen this with their grandparents, but it sounded better this way in his head. She wholeheartedly agrees since she hasn’t done much this vacation but lounging around, doing something to get along with Jason seemed like a decent idea to her. The pond, covered partially in algae with that distinctive grassy smell, was quite bland, but was a decent size to enjoy the basics of swimming. The two goofed off for a bit before Jason had seen his opportunity, a large patch of algae with some frogs in it, a perfect distraction and tool to bring Jessica closer. “Hey Jess, come look at these frogs, they’re having the time of their lives here.” This was it, when she’d drawn near, he plunged her head underwater and made sure she wasn’t going to come back up no matter what, laughing the whole time in a maniacal and tenacious way enjoying the fruit of his labor and stress. He didn’t feel the same way that he did after killing David though, this time it messed with his head, and he felt sickened in a way, perhaps it was the fact that Jessica was actually trying to get to be closer to him, or that he hadn’t heard of anything she’d particularly done to wrong her sister, and this started to eat away at him as he’d journeyed back to the cabin for the second time.
The acts he’d done came out in the weirdest way possible, you see there’s something I haven’t discussed about Jason. He sleep talks, and this has gotten him into trouble with Ashley multiple times, but this time it was different. She was actually thrilled, the thought of someone being that willing just to pursue happiness for her made her realize she’d been mistreated for ages now. Even by her own Fiancé, everything that he’s done to wrong her came flooding in at once, from the music she can’t listen to, to the foods that can’t be in the house, to the fact that he works more with his clients than he does his soon to be wife. This all infuriated her, so she’d done what any reasonable person would do in this situation. Most of us would think she called the cops, but she did something way more gruesome, she hit him in the spine with a sledgehammer, paralyzing him and did the ancient act of torturing him with the blood eagle method (for those unfamiliar about this method. The victim would lie in a prone position and be kept alive as their back was sliced open, their ribs were detached from their spine, and their lungs pulled through the opening to form a pair of bloody “wings.”) Of course, the severe blood loss from having such a thing done to him basically killed him immediately, but not before he hears Ashley calling 911 to report what had happened, and what she had done herself in a fit of rage. In the end, the grandparents are grieving along with the parents, the trips were cancelled, the land sold, and the bodies of Jessica and David were never found, mysteriously the remains of both seemingly disappeared, almost as if there was another person on the property no one had known of…