Her House

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Sometimes books get judged by their covers no matter what's written on their pages.

 

Her house is the house that the neighborhood kids fear. It sits squarely in the middle of town, sandwiched between the local library and CITGO gas station, but its prominence doesn’t make it any less terrifying. The off-white, two-story house with black shutters appears innocent enough, but its placement behind the towering pine trees and overgrown bushes solidifies its status as “creepy.”  The few souls courageous enough to dip below the drooping branches and venture up the five crumbling steps in order to sell jesus or junk, rap hastily against the screen door as it tilts off its hinges.  Before the echoes of their knock cease, they are already descending the steps, eager to reach the safety of the open street and escape the weight of the house. They never knock twice. 

The house isn’t really what they fear. At the end of the day, it’s merely wood and plaster.  A weak tornado, misguided wrecking ball, or brave city inspector could turn it to shambles in mere moments. It’s what resides inside the house that creates the fear. The absence of knowledge spreads panic. Those who are young make stories; those who are old know stories. They discuss at the dinner table which are worse. 

The town children don’t think she’s a witch, at least not this newest generation. The world has advanced too far for witches to be scary anymore. No, nowadays she’s simply a crazy woman who will kidnap you, chop you into pieces, and bury you in her basement. As is typical with these types of tales, no one below the age of twelve stops to ask the simple questions. Why is she chopping up people? If it’s true, why haven’t the police arrested her? Instead, the hard hitting questions are asked on repeat, like how many bodies do you think there are in the basement? 

Despite being one road over from the main street in town, the house receives no trick-or-treaters come Halloween. The light stays on but no one stops. Not for treats. Not for tricks. During the winter months, the faint glow of Christmas tree lights can be seen seeping out between the drapes of one of the windows not obscured by shrubbery.  That doesn’t stop people from crossing to the other side of the street and shivering from something other than the cold. 

She used to set the wayward baseballs and frisbees on the far edge of the lawn to be retrieved.  She moved them to the library’s steps when the pile got too big. They take them from there. It’s a safe space. 

She had friends in the town, but they don’t recognize her anymore. Tainted by the facts they think they know, they’ve stopped asking her what’s real and now rely solely on the whispers. Sometimes they think about stopping in to say “hello,” but they worry about the crumbling steps and broken door and judging eyes and assure themselves they’ll make amends next week. They never do. 

They call the house atop the slight hill, hidden behind trees and memories, many things. They call the lady within it many more. Maybe one day they’ll be brave enough to ask her which adjectives she prefers.

 
 
 


Submitted: June 06, 2021

© Copyright 2021 weepingwillow. All rights reserved.

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