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Housewarming

Nicky Drayden is a Systems Analyst who dabbles in prose when she's not buried in code. She resides in Austin, Texas where being weird is highly encouraged, if not required. You can see more of her work at nickydrayden.com or by visiting dailysciencefiction.com and searching for her previous publications with us.
"You snagged this place for 250k? In the city?" Selma runs her index finger along my sleek granite countertops, then practically fondles the pullout sprayer in my farmhouse sink. "It's got everything!"
"You're gonna die when you see my walk-in closet." I swallow the smug smile I'm giving my BFF. Or at least I try to. "It's got mahogany built-ins and--"
The doorbell chimes a few bars of Beethoven's Fifth, resonating throughout the double-vaulted ceilings like we're in a frickin' cathedral.
"Bianca! OMG, it's been ages," I say, giving my old college roomie a squeeze.
"This place is lush!" She taps the hand-blown pendant light hanging above my kitchen island, then lays a spray of wilting daffodils next to Selma's melted chocolates.
"She paid 250k," Selma says with a raised brow.
"In the city? Impossible. You'd have to sell your soul to get a price like that."
I turn down the thermostat and wipe away the sweat beading on my brow. "Guess I lucked out. Seriously, you're gonna die when you see--"
Beethoven's Fifth.
It's Mandy, Paul, Ruben, and Sal. Co-officers from the office sports league. They place their gifts next to the housewarming invites I forgot to mail.
"250k."
"No way."
The hardwoods quiver at a feral growl from below. No one else notices. They're all too busy chitchatting about interest rates, and IKEA catalogues, and that awful way I wore my bangs in the 80s. Yes, I'd read the Seller's Disclosure: Minor foundation repairs needed, previous termite infestation, active hellhound infestation... but I'd also sat in that jetted tub in the ensuite, fully clothed, for an entire hour, imagining what it'd feel like to purchase my very own forever home--much to my realtor's dismay.
I double-check all six of the cellar door's deadbolts, trying to forget the stench of brimstone and the hellish stare of those eyes. "Come on, guys," I say, voice trembling. "You're gonna die--"
Beethoven.
Lucy, Gus, Sherman, Annabel. That guy from accounting with all the facial hair. My high school track team. Book club. Cramming in, bearing gifts. No one leaves. No one can.
The symphony plays on.
The End
This story was first published on Saturday, June 13th, 2015

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