The Icebox: A Short Forum Story

For the next few days, I’ll be writing a short story in probably about 5 to 10 installments. The direction of the story will be driven by polls. The stupid subtitle is because Discord requires at least 15 characters in topic titles.

Between the options of supernatural, sci-fi and rats (I’d have liked rats :wink: ), supernatural won.

I have a problem with my kitchen staff. They say my fridge is haunted. She paused there. I nodded, prompting her to continue. I’d studied hard for my private investigator’s license, but some people desperately wanted to believe that the P in PI stood for paranormal investigator. I saw no reason to disabuse them of that notion. A poltergeist always had a banal explanation like another person or a pet. Weird cold spots could be fixed through proper insulation. It was often a rather banal, but I needed the money.

They claim it consumes the food. Hah! I couldn’t help myself. A fridge eating food was one of the stupidest things I’d ever heard. I don’t believe it, of course, she said defensively, but I need it to stop no matter the cause. At first there was merely minor unrest among my servants, but it’s gotten much worse than that. Some threatened to quit if it didn’t stop. I told them I’d pay them extra to replace the food while looking into it, but they said that they were scared of the fridge.

So what do you want me to do? I was already having visions of hiring an actor to dress up as a priest to perform a fake ritual with holy water. Why, I want you to prove the fridge isn’t haunted, of course! Don’t look so surprised, did you think I was one of those superstitious idiots? I asked around and I know you’ve got a reputation for proving there are no ghosts or evil spirits lurking around.

I imagine you’re aware of my rate? I’ll charge the usual for my overnight surveillance. She said she’d pay me double if I focused exclusively on her case, and paid me a €1000 cash advance. Her name was Audra. Audra Deemenz, sole heir to the Deemenz fortune. Don’t let me down, Zachary, she said and winked just before she closed the door and headed out back into the rain. It was now time to find my ghost hunting equipment. It consisted mainly of regular cameras and audio recorders, but I had acquired some fancier stuff like a thermographic camera to figure out where cold spots came from as well.

Where does Audra live?

  • A countryside mansion
  • A townhouse
  • A private island
  • Other (specify)

0 voters


Sorry about that. I chose rats initially, but then went in and followed the other vote (I assume @tasse-tee or @PiecesOfKate, you can thank me later)

Discord? That thing again?

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Darn it, if I saw the poll earlier I would’ve voted rats. I didn’t vote in the first options.

Oh and @Frenzie : my others is : she lives in an open-door mental institution. Her “staff” are actually the warders.

A minor side note. As the story is being told from the first person perspective, I found myself sometimes confused when you don’t quote her lines (especially when she’s also speaking in the first person).

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I agree with the side-note :slight_smile:

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Aww, you don’t like the free indirect speech? :stuck_out_tongue:

Alright, I’ll look into a different solution.

“I see dead people.” :wink:


Maybe you could use italics for one person, and speech marks for the other. The normal text shows the current narration, as opposed to the speech in the past event.

Like this:

“So what do you want me to do?” I was already having visions of hiring an actor to dress up as a priest to perform a fake ritual with holy water. Why, I want you to prove the fridge isn’t haunted, of course!

Aww, now that I’m leaving and I won’t have time to decide?

Well, I’ll read the whole story in the end. I trust my fellow forumers.

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Have fun! Say “Hi” to the mouse!

If anyone feels inclined to cast a deciding vote, you still have a few hours. Otherwise I’ll decide. [Edit: for posterity, there’s currently a 3/3 split between townhouse and countryside mansion.]

PS @Sushi I’ve got a reasonably decent idea for how to work in at least a passing reference to your suggestion. :wink:

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Ok, I change my vote to my runner-up option then…
The townhouse!


Audra lived over on the east side of the city, in one of those late 19th century neo-renaissance affairs. It was a townhouse once constructed by the whims of a wine magnate, now situated in a neighborhood full of rich Indians in the diamond trade. In spite of its surroundings, a smorgasbord of equally lavish buildings in varying styles, the building seemed to loom over its environment. It looked a bit like one of those old schools, which almost have a prison-like aspect to them. No, it wasn’t just that. It looked more like a sanitorium than like a home. Zak wasn’t surprised that such a place could awaken primal fears in weaker minds.

The gable of the building still proudly proclaimed its name: Syrah House. If this were fiction, the hack writer would be sure to receive an angry phone call from his editor to come up with something more inspired, pronto. Unfortunately this was real life, so the bad cliché remained. It was probably the wine magnate himself who thought it was clever to use the name of a grape. It was easy to picture him, rotund from drinking a bottle of wine a day, a viscious look on his face as he reached for his whip on the wall. The servant girl would suffer again tonight for being too pretty—

Zak shook his head, dispersing his strange reveries induced by the sight of the building. Although there was a gloomy overcast, it couldn’t spoil the splendor of the great oak trees lining the street. Presumably they were planted in the 19th century, at the same time that all the rich oafs had planted their own roots. Dusk was starting to settle in, so he had to get started if he wanted to set up his equipment before dark. As he opened the trunk of his car, a well-dressed man approached him.

David had been seated on a bench under one of the nearby oak trees, somewhat obscured from view by the shade. He immediately knew it when he saw Mr Zachary Gffp, private investigator. The hat was unmistakable. Gffp was a name of Welsh origin, he’d been told, along with its pronunciation of Gavvop. Mr Gffp stood there staring at the Syrah for a few minutes, and David knew that Zak, as he’d come to know him, also felt there was something wrong with the building. Even if he would deny it.

— Hello, Mr Gffp? I’m David. Ms Deemenz has instructed me to work together with you to solve this case as swiftly as possible.

What kind of accent does David have?

  • English
  • German
  • Danish
  • American
  • Indian

0 voters

What is David’s sexuality?

  • Gay
  • Transgender
  • Asexual

0 voters

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Wow, you are an excellent writer, Frenzie! :smile:
(btw transgender isn’t a sexuality :wink: )

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Thanks. :slight_smile:

Yeah, but I didn’t want to write something like deviation although that is the idea of the trope. :stuck_out_tongue:

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I feel like there are at least two options missing from that sexuality poll…

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Well, you could say the same for the accents :stuck_out_tongue:

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yeah, I went for the Danish Girl there…
In my head all these characters were having a non-listed accent already.

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You can always voice suggestions, but it’s not meant to be exhaustive. :stuck_out_tongue:

Are they fellow countrymen of professor Abraham van Helsing? :wink:

Nope. As I read their lines in my head, they inherit my accent! :joy:

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PS Stupid typo. :skull_and_crossbones::skull_and_crossbones::skull_and_crossbones: