The Three Dead Women of Mercer House
after Joe Bucciano's "Balconies"
Copyright ©2016 by Christopher Conlon
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The three dead women of Mercer House had considered the matter for a long while and, though what they desired was highly irregular, they nonetheless requested and received a meeting with the one in charge of the limbo in which they existed. Making their case one at a time, they argued that they had a legitimate cause of grievance with what had happened to them back in the world of the living. Their argument ultimately prevailed, and they were given a special dispensation to return to the world for certain specific purposes. They were dead, admittedly, but this slowed them only slightly—after all, there was a certain urgency to their activities, because Mercer House, where all three had been murdered, had fallen into disuse and there was talk of razing it to build a much-needed auto-repair shop on the land. Instead, the three dead women of Mercer House purchased the property. (The dead can be surprisingly affluent.) They proceeded to establish a well-regarded Bed and Breakfast Inn there, one patronized by travelers from all over the country. They were not especially gregarious hostesses, the three dead women of Mercer House—some even found them strangely lifeless and dull—but they knew how to cook and clean and the property was invariably immaculate, quickly becoming one of the most acclaimed and frequented B & B's in the entire region.
One day, after some years of running the property—and very responsibly, too—the three dead women of Mercer House at last obtained what they had desired all along. A gentleman arrived in a dark gray car and came to the door looking for a room. He was a very special man. He was older now, but all three of them recognized him immediately as the man who, some years before, had murdered each one of them. His name was Mr. Mercer, and it was his grandparents who had originally established Mercer House itself. He, however, did not recognize any of them (they were dead, remember). He was welcomed into the house most graciously and, when his back was turned, one of the surprisingly strong three dead women of Mercer House raised a cast-iron frying pan over her head and slammed it down on the man's skull, upon which event he collapsed into complete unconsciousness.
When at last he woke, he found himself tied to the posts of a bed in an upstairs room, his mouth tightly gagged. However hard he tried, he could not free himself or remove the gag. He found this unpleasant; what was far more so, however, was the fact that when they realized he was awake the three dead women of Mercer House came into the room, sat on chairs around the bed, and explained to him who and what they were (his reaction to this was not particularly ebullient) and what task they would be accomplishing in regards to him for the rest of his life: said task involving the merciless torture of Mr. Mercer's utterly helpless self. One of the three dead women of Mercer House had been in life a nurse, and she would see to it that the man was given a certain minimum of cold gruel and warm water and that nothing inflicted upon him would actually kill him or render him so senseless that he would not realize exactly what was happening to him at any given moment. They wanted him alive—alive and very much aware—for as long as humanly or inhumanly possible. This is, in fact, what happened; and the three dead women of Mercer House very much enjoyed wreaking their revenge upon their killer, day after day, night after night.
There was, however, one difficulty: it could be awkward having other guests in the house at the same time that their victim was being abused and tormented. They closed off the entire floor—the top floor—from visitors, but the situation was still not entirely satisfactory. They needed guests; even dead property owners, after all, must pay their mortgages and taxes. Considering the matter carefully over tea (the dead love tea), the three dead women of Mercer House arrived at a novel solution, one that resolved all potential problems. They began advertising in somewhat different kinds of publications for a somewhat different kind of clientele, and soon discovered that there was an enormous untapped reservoir of potential patrons available. Many of these citizens were well-heeled and would pay exorbitant fees for the privilege of staying in a beautiful house with excellent food and access to a helpless man upstairs to abuse and violate in the most unspeakable ways. The ladies themselves, of course, were perfectly safe, since they were dead.
Well, that is the way it worked out. Mercer House now
does tremendous business all year round, even during the off-season
when other Bed-and-Breakfasts struggle. People come from all over the
world to visit. Mercer House has become a can't-miss attraction for
all well-traveled, discreet psychopaths.