Granny's House

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story written for Halloween. Cover by Booksie's own Markie Bee

Submitted: October 31, 2018

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Submitted: October 31, 2018






Granny’s House

It’s not unusual for us to visit Granny. But we don’t usually arrive at night and we don’t usually go for Halloween. My father’s work commitments made us a month late, and then a problem with the car made it dark.

You might think that this is all completely irrelevant, boring even, but the fact is that Granny lives in an old house, a big house, a house that stands all alone. I’ve always looked at it and thought how creepy-looking it was. Tonight, in the dark, it is downright scary!

Look at it, looming up on the hill. It almost seems to be tilting towards us. Two upstairs lights look like glowing eyes, while the light above the door looks kind of like a partially open mouth.

Mom and Dad seem quite at ease. I can’t say, ‘Take me home. I’m scared!’ I’m eleven years old and should be over that by now. They climb out of the car, chatting together, and reluctantly I do too. I wrap myself in my coat, hiding the goosebumps. A sudden ‘Twoo’ sound makes me shiver until I get really mad and tell myself, ‘It’s just an owl, you idiot.’

They are at the door now, ringing that old-fashioned bell. Another light flickers on and the door is opened. The shadows make her look monstrous, my Granny. I can’t see that it’s her but then it has to be, for she lives in this place alone.

I’ve asked my Dad why she doesn’t move to somewhere smaller, and he said it is because she doesn’t want to leave Grandpa.

But he’s been dead for years!” I had pointed out.

Yes, but that house is where they spent their entire married life. It holds all their memories.”

Once indoors it’s not so scary, at least not in the living room where there is a fire burning brightly in the fireplace. In spite of the flames it does little to raise the temperature. I will, I decide, keep my jacket on for as long as I can get away with it. One thing you might not know if you’ve never been in a room with a real fire is that those flames flicker, burning bright then damping down. More shadows, moving ones this time; just what I do not need in my already creeped out mind.

The kitchen is warmer, brighter. Granny has been baking for our visit and the oven has heated the room up nicely. The smell of all this fresh-baked food takes my mind away from scary thoughts and focuses my attention on my now very empty feeling stomach.

The table is weighed down with pies, cookies, cakes. Perhaps we will not be the only ones to visit this time. Just as that thought enters my mind, I hear a vehicle pull up and Granny disappears. I look questioningly at my Mom and Dad.

That’ll be your Uncle Bruce,” he said, and okay, I admit it, my heart sank.

Uncle Bruce was okay, Aunt Heather, too. Louise, their daughter and my cousin, well, let’s just say that we are the same age, but that’s always been where our similarities ended. She’s actually a month older than me and never lets me forget it.

The problem is that our parents will expect us to get on and leave us to it, while they get on with talking about ‘adult stuff’. Why, I wonder, could they not have left me at home?

And it is just as I expected it to be. Except if anything, Louise is even more insufferable than ever. I hang around with her for a while, but it is clear she has nothing to say to me, and I certainly have nothing to share with her.

Gran,” I say, after an uncomfortable while, “Can I go up to my room? I’m tired.”

Of course you can, Grace. You know where it is.”

I can feel Louise smirking at me as I make my way up the stairs. The lights Granny has are very dim. I can hardly make out the stairs at all, but knowing her eyes are on me I can’t hesitate, can I. I even hold back the shudders until I know I can’t be seen.

All these rooms! Some have closed doors and some have ones that stand partially open. I don’t know which I hate most. The desire to switch all the lights on is almost overwhelming but I hold it in check; I don’t want another lecture about wasting electricity.

I’m halfway along the hallway when I hear a bang. It sounds like it comes from above me, but it can’t. No one ever goes up there, Granny says. It must have been something falling over inside one of the rooms, but whatever it really was, it makes me take to my heels and run to my room, shutting the door behind me.

Nothing much has changed in here since my last visit. I was kind of hoping it had. Granny keeps her old dolls in here. She has quite a collection; some are quite pretty but others are enough to give me nightmares. But it’s not just the dolls that I wish were gone, but that big old wardrobe that stands there in the corner. It is big, it is dark, it is very, very creepy. Someone could easily be hiding inside there; in fact it has space for several someones.

I climb in to bed and pull the covers up to my ears. “Just shut your eyes and go to sleep,” I tell myself. If only it were that easy.

There are always creaks and groans from this place. I’m sure that one of these days the whole place will just fall apart. I think about my friends back home, and the party they will now be having, all dressed up and telling each other horrible tales: how I wish that I was back with them, and how unfair it is that I’m not.

Living in a house all day itself, Granny believes that there is no need for drapes on the windows. After all, there won’t be anyone passing, no prying eyes to keep out. Other times it’s not bothered me so much but today, being the night that it is, I wish I could cover up the window.

The moon is big and round and bright, just like one that would inspire a werewolf to howl at it. Is that what I can hear in the distance? No, that’s stupid. Must just be a dog, howling at the moon. They do that sometimes, don’t they?

And there’s a movement outside my window. I’m sure there is! A vampire? No, too small but it could be a bat, or maybe it was just a branch of a tree. I turn away from the window but then I’m facing that wardrobe. Pillow over the head, that’s the only way.

I must have gone to sleep because when I am jolted awake by a large bang above me, there is not even the distant chatter of the adults. I leap out of my bed, afraid that the ceiling is about to fall on top of me. There is a tapping on my door....what if it’s something come to get me.

Grace, are you awake?” It is Louise and she sounds as scared as I feel.

I open the door and she walks inside. “Did you hear that? What was it?”

I don’t know,” I answer truthfully.

Should we go and wake someone?”

Louise is really freaked out. Maybe it was that which made me say, “We could, or we could go and investigate ourselves.”

I have a torch in my bag. I always carry a torch. That lights our way up the winding staircase that leads to the floor above. The floor, we know, is out of bounds, but that really was one loud bang!

Finally at the top of the stairs we find the doors open, all except for one. A quick flick around with the torch shows that these rooms are empty. I look at my cousin and she looks at me, then pushes me forward.

Hey!” I say.

You’ve got the torch,” she whispers, and I can’t really argue with that.

We have only taken two steps when we freeze. Someone is coming up the stairs! Quickly we dive in to the closest room, hiding ourselves behind the door. Reluctantly, I switch off the torch and plunge us both in to darkness. At least neither of us is alone.

The footsteps are getting closer, passing us now. Both of us hold our breaths and peer out as Granny, for we can see that it is her now, opens the shut door and switches on the light. Grandpa! I’m sure it is him, sitting there in the chair. But it can’t be. He has been dead for years! I look at Louise and meet her wide eyes with my own.

As soon as that door shuts we flee, as quietly as we can, down those twisting stairs and back in to my room. “Did you see him?” I ask her.

It...was...Grandpa. Wasn’t it?”

We were both shaking, too scared to be alone. We crawled in to the large bed and listened for Granny’s footsteps. If she passed by the door I did not hear her. We were so spooked by what we had seen up the stairs, or thought we had, that we did not even notice the dolls or the wardrobe.

In the morning, with the sun shining and the night-time gone, I began to have my doubts. Louise did too.

Was he really there?” she asked me, and I did not know how to reply.

At the time I was sure it was Grandpa that I saw, but it was impossible. We must have imagined it, mustn’t we? Neither of us was prepared to ask Granny.

It did bring us closer, my cousin and I, not that we would see each other much living a good distance apart. But we’d email, stay in touch. Who knows, maybe we’ll even become friends.

I almost asked when I was saying goodbye to her, almost said, ‘Granny, is Grandpa really living on the upper floor?’ I looked at her and the words just would not form. But I did make a point of asking my parents not to take me to Granny’s house again at Halloween.



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