By Mike Stevens
I’m growing up and live in a nice little town by the name of Wobbly Knob, that sits next to a tree-lined river. Sound like paradise? It is a living hell! My name is Jimmy Tilford, and The Stepford Wives (he thought that was the name of the movie he'd once seen) look like perfect mothers and wives next to the ladies of my hometown.
There’s Lucille Condor, whose house you always skipped on Halloween. In fact, you ran by as fast as you could, if you knew what was good for you! It is rumored that she’d invite little kids in, offer them candy from a bowl, and when they’d reach in to grab some of the treats in the bowl, a hand would fly up from the bowl, and latch on to the poor kids’ neck, and squeeze until they passed out, then she’d drag their unconscious body down into the cellar, and passers-by could hear screams of horror emanating from The Dungeon of Nightmare. That’s what we kids called her basement. Granted, I never knew anyone who mysteriously disappeared; maybe they were kids from somewhere else, I don’t know, but I never took any chances. One time, Mrs. Condor approached me unawares, and asked me if I would help her move something down into her basement. Scared me to death, let me tell you! I booked out of there, like I had the Hounds of Hell nipping at my heels. Ever since then, Mrs. Condor has steered me a wide birth, which is just fine by me.
Then there’s Mrs. Fury, who lives in an old house down by the river. It’s haunted, as we kids see mysterious lights flash on in the house when Mrs. Fury is gone. And we see mysterious shadowed-figures through the pulled drapes. We hear wild rumors of a son living there, probably spread by Mrs. Fury herself, but she is probably just covering for all the unexplained happenings in her haunted house, as we never see any signs of a son.
Then there’s mean old Mr. Doltmier, who’s always screaming,
“You little jerks; clear off my lawn! If I catch any of you rodents in my yard, I’ll bash in your head with a 2x4!”
If I wasn’t so scared of him, I’d rip up his precious lawn with a roto-tiller!
So, we live with the constant threat of violence, ghost-haunted houses, and murderous neighbors, hanging over our heads. My friend, Whiz Green, says we’re letting our imaginations run away from us, but one of these days, Whiz Green will simply disappear, either after a visit to Mrs. Condors’ place, or walking too close to Mrs. Fury’s house, or having his head caved in by a 2x4-wielding Mr. Doltmier. Then, he won’t discount our fears!