Chris Stephens and his son, Mike were watching the football world cup on TV. His wife Stella was preparing dinner for the family. The doorbell rang several times before Mike opened it. Lawrence Matthews strode in with his wife Lisa. He was their family friend. Chris and Lawrence knew each other since childhood. Lisa was looking for Stella. Chris said, " You will find her in the kitchen." Lisa smiled and thanked him. Lawrence hit him playfully on the shoulders and said, "Hey, dude! It's been a long time since we met. Hope you haven't forgotten me." Chris grinned at him and added,"I thought it was the other way round. What brings you here?"
Lawrence answered,"Have patience, my dear. I will tell you everything after dinner." Their wives were chatting away merrily. They had their dinner shortly. They enjoyed the delicious meal of sweet corn soup, roast beef and sausages with french fries and ice cream. After eating to their heart's content, they chatted for some time. Lawrence cleared his throat and addressed both Chris and Stella. He said "I have a proposal for you. I am dealing with the real estate business. A client requested me to find a suitable plot for him. He wants to build a multi-storeyed building for the residential purpose. Your property meets his requirements. I am willing to pay $400000. What do you say?"
Chris and Stella looked at each other. Chris replied, "My answer is no. I wouldn't sell this house even if you offered me a hundred billion dollars. Stella and I built it together using our hard earned money."
Lawrence exclaimed, " I have an irresistible offer for you. Why don't you move into my new luxury condo in the heart of Manhattan? "
Chris was adamant. He politely declined the offer. Lawrence turned towards Stella. He asked her, "Why don't you convince your husband to accept my generous offer?"
Stella answered "I hate to disappoint you, but I can't help you in this matter. I wholeheartedly support his decision." Lawrence added with a shrug, "If you change your mind, please call me at this number." They took leave off Chris and his family and left for their home.
Chris and Stella loved their little house. They would never dream of parting with it.
Lawrence was in a foul mood. He thought that he would easily persuade Chris and Stella to sell their house. He had already taken $5000 in advance from his client.
Lawrence wanted to usurp his friend's house at any cost. His circle of friends included corrupt politicians, criminals and contract killers. He hired a contract killer to get rid of Mike. The latter was Chris and Stella's only son. He was in eighth grade and attended Pinegrove school for boys. Lawrence filled him up with all the details. He asked him to tamper with the brakes in Mike's bicycle to make it look an accident. He gave a brief description of the cycle that he had gifted to Mike on his twelfth birthday.
It was Wednesday. The contract killer reached the school and straightaway went to the bicycle stand. He identified Mike's cycle from the photo given by Lawrence. He cut off the brake wire with the pliers. He cast a glance around the school and left the place without being noticed.
The school bell rang and the children filed out of their classes with their satchels. Mike was in an upbeat mood that day. He had secured an A grade in his math assignment. He went to the cycle stand to fetch his bike.
He proceeded towards his home. There was a traffic signal ahead of him. The light had turned red. He was unable to stop. As a result, a car coming from the opposite direction knocked him down. The traffic came to a halt. A small crowd had gathered around him. Mike had lost his consciousness and was bleeding profusely. A young man checked for his pulse and breath. Both were abnormally low. He was alarmed. He saw Mike's school ID card and called Chris immediately. He informed him about Mike's accident. He also called for an ambulance. Chris came rushing to the spot within ten minutes.
The ambulance arrived shortly. Paramedics lifted him gently and placed him on the stretcher. They drove off to The City Hospital.
Stella was in tears when she arrived at the hospital.
The doctor came out of the emergency room and said: " I am sorry to say that we couldn't save your son." Chris and Stella broke down upon hearing the news. They had lost their only son. Their dreams for Mike had shattered.
They wept inconsolably into each other's arms. Mike's body was handed over to them after the completion of all the formalities.
Lawrence and his wife offered their condolences to Chris and Stella after the funeral. A couple of days later, Lawrence called Chris and discussed the sale of his house. Chris rejected his offer and hung up on him.
Lawrence was upset. His plan had miserably failed. He thought that Mike's death would make Chris give in to his wishes. He wanted to seek his wily friend Roger's advice.
He dialled his number and said " Hi, Roger. I acted upon your advice and had Mike killed. But Chris still refuses to part with his house. What shall I do now? "
Lisa overheard his conversation. She shrieked "You scoundrel! How dare you murder an innocent boy? I never thought you would stoop so low. You are a traitor. I am going to call the police."
Lawrence held her hand in a firm iron grip and twisted it with a brutal force. She cried out in pain. He had his other arm around her neck. She bit his arm and freed herself. She was about to move towards the door. He hit her on the head with a flower vase. She fell unconscious. He strangled her to death. He called one of his cronies to dispose of her body. He instructed him to dump it in Chris' car at midnight. He went to his garage and made some minor adjustments in his car. He wanted to prove that his car was not in a working condition. His crony came at 11.30 PM and picked up Lisa's body. He successfully completed the task assigned to him by Lawrence. The latter paid him a hefty sum for his work.
He filed the police complaint against Chris for kidnapping his wife. He told the officer his reasons for suspecting Chris. Lawrence accompanied the cop to Chris'house. The investigating officer recovered Lisa's body from Chris' car after an exhaustive search.
Chris was arrested and sent to the police custody.
Lawrence was too cunning for words. He knew that the body would be sent for post-mortem. He bribed the forensic expert to alter the report. The trial was conducted. Chris was found to be guilty. The court awarded him a death sentence.
Stella was hysterical. She had lost her son. She couldn't afford to lose Chris. One day, she visited Lawrence and pleaded with him to help her. She said," Lawrence, please do something and get Chris out of this mess. I will give you whatever you want in return for this help."
Lawrence was a shrewd businessman. He said," I am not a hard-hearted person like Chris. Please sign this document if you want to see your husband alive."
Stella had no other option but to give in to his demand. She took a pen and signed along the dotted lines. Lawrence commented with an evil smirk, " You should have accepted my offer in the first instance. You wouldn't have lost your son or husband. You can leave now."
"What about Chris?" Stella questioned him," I have signed the document as a part of our deal. You promised me to get him out of this mess." Lawrence laughed and said " How could you be so naive to trust me? I had to save my own skin. So I framed Chris for my sin. I killed Lisa to stop her from going to the police. She knew that I was responsible for Mike's death." Stella was furious. She took a knife lying on the table and lunged at him. He caught hold of her wrist and snatched the knife. " Take this, you bitch," he said and stabbed her several times till she died.
He chopped her body into several pieces. He put all the severed pieces in a sack and disposed of them in various locations.
Lawrence had achieved his goal at the cost of three innocent lives.
Chris was executed with a lethal injection within a month of Stella's death. Their house was demolished.
Lawrence held a meeting with his client and took him to the site. The client was satisfied and handed a cheque for $20000. Lawrence pocketed it. He had also arranged for the construction of a new building.
Lawrence was an epitome of greed. He used substandard materials and cheap labor for construction. A young lady named Joyce Goodwill moved into the apartment on the second floor with her 8-year-old daughter Linda. Joyce was a widow.
One night, when she was sleeping with her daughter in their room, she heard someone wailing. She sat up immediately and saw the ghostly figure of a woman shedding tears. Joyce was frightened. She asked the lady, "Who are you? How did you enter my house? What do you want?"
The lady replied " Don't be scared. I am not here to hurt you. I am Stella, the real owner of this house. My entire family fell prey to an unscrupulous bloodhound who constructed this building. I came here to warn you. Please vacate this building immediately. Ask your neighbors to do the same. I cannot watch innocent people getting killed." She disappeared after warning Joyce about the impending doom.
Joyce wasn't sure whether the ghostly encounter was real or a dream. Nevertheless, she decided to follow her advice. She tried to convince her neighbors to give up their apartments. Her neighbours laughed it off, saying that her story was purely her imagination. She had done her duty. She vacated the house and handed the keys back to Lawrence.
A fortnight later, the building collapsed due to mild tremors in that area. Though the intensity of the earthquake was mild, the building gave away because of a weak foundation. Most of its occupants were killed. Their bodies lay under the debris.
Lawrence's client was arrested for negligence. Lawrence had the last laugh. He was planning to build his mansion in place of the collapsed building.
He decided to pay a visit to the site by evening.
He finished his official work and proceeded towards his dream destination. It was around 9 PM. He had planned to come earlier but got busy in his work. When he arrived at the site of the disaster, he was shocked to see the building still intact. He couldn't believe his eyes. He rubbed them to make sure he was not dreaming. Someone tapped him on his shoulders. He turned around to find his dead wife smiling at him. She had an evil grin on her face which was as white as a chalk. She said, " Lawrence darling. Where were you all these days? I missed you so much that I have come back for you." His face registered a look of pure horror. " This can't be true," he said, " Dead people don't come back alive." " Why not?" another familiar voice spoke. He saw that it was Chris. Lawrence was sweating profusely. He saw the distorted figure of Stella coming towards him. She carried her severed head in her hand and said," What are you looking for, Lawrence? Come and join us for a wonderful feast." He saw Mike coming through the gate riding on his cycle. He grinned at him and asked him to have dinner with them. The departed souls of those who died in the calamity descended from the staircase. There seemed to be a party. Lawrence was so scared that he actually wet his pants. Lisa dragged him towards the buffet table. He opened the lid of one utensil and was stunned to see a severed head. He moved towards other counters and was stunned to find the raw human meat being served. He threw up on the spot. He retraced his steps and went towards the gate. The gate closed automatically. He was trapped. He said, " I am sorry for my misdeeds. Please spare my life. I will turn myself into the hands of the law. I will confess to all my crimes." Chris responded,"It's too late to apologize. There is no atonement for your sins." He watched silently as Lawrence ran for his life. He stumbled upon a rock and fell down. Darkness engulfed the place as the building collapsed again. A concrete slab fell on Lawrence killing him on the spot. Chris and others disappeared from the spot. Their souls were appeased and liberated. Lawrence was duly punished by his victims.