The Old Woman Next Door

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Cover image: pixabay.com.

The Old Woman Next Door

I’ve seen her, of course I have. We’ve been neighbors for close on ten years now and would it even be possible not to have done? We’ve never exchanged a word though, and other than to go into her garden I’ve never seen her leave her house.

Logic says she must do. I can’t imagine her getting her groceries delivered online. Besides, one of us would have seen the delivery trucks. My husband and I have joked that she waits for us to be out or to have our drapes drawn and then she makes a dash for it.

You’d have to see her to understand how funny this idea is. She must be ninety at least. Small, stooped, and she always has a stick in her hands when she ventures outside.

She does have visitors. A surprising number of both men and women. We see them arriving, but I know that I, at least, have never seen even one of them leave. They must use the back entrance when we’re at the front of the house, or vice versa of course.

My husband and I are no spring chickens either. We are both in our fifties and although compared to her that makes us young, we do like to retire for the night at a decent hour.

Perhaps she’s a night owl,” I said, just the other night.

Who, dear?”

The old woman next door. I mean, we never see her. Should I go round and pay a visit?”

Frank had given me a frank look. “Don’t you think that would seem a bit odd after ten years?”

I tossed and turned that night, trying to come to a decision. I must have drifted in and out of sleep because I was sure I saw a light on in next door’s garden. I had walked to the window and peeked out, and there she had stood, shovel in hand, planting what I guessed to be a rose bush. Nonsense, of course, but the following morning I set off down our path and walked back up hers.

It was a strange thing, really, but the front of the house looked so neat and tidy. I mean ours wasn’t shabby, but we had to work to keep it that way. Images of the old woman doing a spot of midnight cleaning flittered through my mind but I dismissed them as nonsense as I knocked my hand loudly against the wood of the door.

I waited for quite a while before I knocked again. It wouldn’t do to rush her, after all. There was no sound, no sign of life, so I knocked again. After another five minutes of standing on the doorstep I turned to return home.

Mrs Jeffers, how are you?” Gladys Forbes just happened to be walking along the path when I was heading up the path.

Oh, I’m fine thank you. How are you?” I asked, forcing myself to be polite even though I was dying to get back home.

Good. You never knew her, did you?”

Who?” I asked. Gladys was well known to go off on a tangent and cause confusion.

The old woman that used to live here. She’d have been gone before you moved in, and no one has wanted to live in the house of such... notoriety.”

Notoriety? I had to hear more. “Would you like to come in for a cup of tea?” I asked.

And that was how I heard the tale. Of the woman, aged ninety-two, who had single-handedly killed ten volunteers and buried them in her garden, before she was arrested and given a life sentence that lasted all of two days.

The house had been empty since then.

Once Gladys had left, I sat and pondered. Had Frank known about the history of the house next door? I was certain that he hadn’t. No wonder our house had been such a bargain. I would have to find a way of breaking it to him; I couldn’t keep such a thing secret.

And that old woman next door, I was going to have to tell him that what we had been seeing was a ghost.

 

 


Submitted: December 05, 2020

© Copyright 2021 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:

Comments

Mark A George

Creepy. Loved it, Hulla.

Sat, December 5th, 2020 8:08pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, Mark.

Mon, December 7th, 2020 11:26am

Joe Stuart

This is the kind of spooky ghost story that I like, Hully. I suppose the genre is horror, but I think of it more as a supernatural mystery.

Sat, December 5th, 2020 8:59pm

Author
Reply

Yeah, I think Booksie could do with a few more genres. It would definitely make it easier to classify things.
Thanks so much for giving it a read.

Mon, December 7th, 2020 11:25am

Mike S.

Spook City, USA--excellent tale, Hull

Sat, December 5th, 2020 10:14pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, Mike. This one kind of meandered from where I wanted it to go.

Mon, December 7th, 2020 11:24am

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