I recently read a short horror story called “The Landlady,” which was left on a cliffhanger. I decided to write an alternate ending for it! I would highly recommend that you read the original short story before reading the alternate ending. You can find the story at https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/sites/teacheng/files/landlady_text.pdf
Alternate Ending for “The Landlady”
Something, just something about this whole affair bothered Billy. He couldn’t quite place his finger on what it was, a stirring of the mind, a brief flash of thought. He attributed it, of course, to the heat of the room and the time of night. “I think I should like to go to bed now,” he said.
“Of course, dear,” cried the old lady, fussing over him, “I should think so!”
Billy sighed, stepping gingerly over the dachshund to make his way to the stairs. He turned back to look at the landlady. She had her back to him, serenely gazing into the dying embers of the fire, petting the dachshund, a cold, stiff travesty of a dog. Yes, something about this whole bloody business just wasn’t quite right. Shaking his head, he stumbled slowly up the stairs and into his room. He sat down heavily on the bed, still thinking. The fourth floor? The men were still here? But how? Eyes drooping, he fell straight to sleep, questions still echoing around his head.
3 a.m. the following morning
Billy started out of sleep, thrashing wildly about his bed like a trout out of water. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he looked blearily around the room. A quick check of the nightstand clock confirmed his suspicion that it was indeed very early in the morning. Just a minute! A voice was coming from the landing above his. It was a mere mumbling, but a voice nonetheless. It was a crooning, haunting tone that rose and fell eerily; yes, it was a voice as smooth as silk, yet as sharp as glass. Billy was wide awake now, no chance of ever falling asleep in this cursed house again! Pulling on his robe, he slowly pushed open the door to investigate.
He crept up the stairs, thoroughly examining his surroundings. He was on the third floor now. Looking about, he saw a small sewing machine, overflowing boxes of cloth, and shelves overflowing with a large variety of small bottles. The room itself smelled faintly of hospital disinfectant. Intrigued, Billy slowly stepped closer. A curious smell came from the flask closest to him. Reaching out, he pulled it from its place and gave it a cautious sniff. The flask reeked of bitter almonds and garlic. Covering his nose with his sleeve, Billy replaced the cask on its shelf and continued his trek.
Something wasn’t quite right. Billy was tripping now, stumbling and coughing. His vision doubled and his eyes watered. In front of him he saw the landlady, crooning gently to- to- he collapsed, the cold, dead face of Christopher Mulholland still swimming in his memory, mouth affixed in a plastic smile, ghastly and preserved.
The face of the landlady, cruel and hard, stared down at him. In the light, she looked a hundred years old, like the old Greek demons Billy had learned about in school. His head felt like a lump of stone. The woman leered down at him, spinning a scalpel expertly between her fingers. He rasped out one word. “Why?” The landlady’s lips turned down. She looked put out to see him awake. “Why, darling, I must keep you! You’ll wither away otherwise.” Billy coughed again, then screamed as a sharp pain sliced into his flesh, below his abdomen. As he floated in and out of consciousness, he heard the landlady singing. My Bonnie lies over the ocean, my Bonnie lies over the sea, my Bonnie lies over the ocean. The landlady smiled cruelly as she pulled her final stitch. “Please bring back my Bonnie to me…”
I hope you enjoyed it!