House of Death

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

Nobody knows that young Josh lives in an abandoned house.

It had never been much of a front yard, just a grassy clearing under the canopy of trees. With George gone, the rains of early summer started little colonies of moss and toadstools, nestled in the shelter of fallen tree limbs. Blackening leaves became rich soil on the front porch, and vines crawled past cloudy windows on their way to the roof. The earth reclaims its own.

A boy and girl had been giggling as they approached, but their voices became hushed as they climbed onto the back porch, as if the sleeping house might hear them. “Are you sure we’re not gonna get in trouble?” asked Emma. Josh got to do anything he wanted, but her mom and dad had already told her to stay away from the house.

“Emma, it’s okay. Nobody can even see us.” He’d hoped the new family would have a son his age, but all they had was this girl, so he had to make do. After all, he’d had no one to play with until the Howards moved in a month ago.

So far he’d taught her how to throw a football. If she could just figure out how to catch it instead of ducking when it came her way, she would be nearly perfect. Well, that and not worrying all the time about getting in trouble.

Sure enough, Emma started up again. “Mom says abandoned houses are dangerous. You could go through the floor or something.”

“You can’t go through the floor." He said it with a touch of exasperation. "This house is nice inside. It’s even got all the furniture.”

Emma bit her lip. “Didn’t he die here?”

“What, you think this place is haunted? It’s not. You want to know a secret?”

She leaned in closer. “What?”

“Sometimes I sleep here,” he whispered.

Her jaw dropped. “Don’t you get in trouble?”

He laughed. “Mom and Dad don’t know.”

***

Lindsey Howard tossed another fistful of bottles into the trash can. Goodness, the last people had gone through a lot of cold medicine. Her husband Jeff muttered darkly of meth labs, but it looked to her like they were just hoarders. What was piled up to the ceiling of the garden shed was just generic trash. Empty egg cartons neatly meshed, old bleach bottles duct-taped together by the handles for some purpose never realized. Newspapers from as far back as the nineties had been carefully folded and double-wrapped in trash bags. She supposed the ones with important news would be valued by collectors, but she couldn't be bothered to sort through them.

Briefly she stopped, watching her daughter vanish into the green wall of the woods. Of course they were heading for the empty house. She would put a stop to that right now. She'd already told Emma to stay away from that place. Of course, what kid with a pulse could resist? She smiled as she remembered being that age. She would have done the same. Well, that's what parents are for, she firmly told herself.

George Sorenson had died almost a year before they moved in. He lived alone with his cat Harley, and Emma told her that Josh liked to visit the old man. He did his homework at George’s kitchen table, played dominoes out on the back porch, talked about fishing and school. And George told him stories of World War II and Pearl Harbor, of the Great Depression before that.

She didn’t approve of the neighbors’ easy attitude about their son, but if Josh was the only kid around, of course Emma would want to play with him. She knew her husband didn’t like the Martins, didn’t really want Emma playing with Josh. But for whatever reason, Jeff had quietly decided to look the other way. Maybe he sensed the same loneliness she did. Funny boy, reflected Lindsey, like a little old man sometimes. She would pass him on his bike, pedaling furiously from the little convenience store down the road, the milk crate on the back of his bike loaded with groceries to get home.

Plenty of people came by the Martin house down the road, but she never saw any other children visiting or playing. And the garbage! Garbage everywhere, even thrown into the brush at the edge of the property. Maybe they'd weren't millionaires, but you don't have to be rich to keep things tidy. She wondered again about his parents. Vera would smile and wave, though always at a distance, then immediately disappear into the house.

Carl never even glanced their way. He ignored her when she waved at him. No-good trash, Jeff called him, out of earshot of Emma. Lindsey didn't hold with calling people names, but she didn't take to Carl either.

Lindsey picked her way through the overgrown path, thinking again about Josh. Emma said he'd been the one who found George on the floor, having a heart attack, and called 911. He followed the dispatcher’s instructions, dug around for George’s medication and sat with him. They talked about President Roosevelt. Emma told her that Josh said George had even laughed as he remembed working in the CCC. But he seemed to slowly fall asleep, and by the time the ambulance arrived, George was gone. Lindsey sighed. It was terrible to see anyone die, but George had become almost a grandfather to Josh. He had taken Harley home with him, but Carl refused to take in the cat. Not knowing what else to do, Josh had taken him back to George’s house. When George's cat food ran out, Josh started buying tins of cat-food from another kid at school.

When she learned that, Lindsey had told Josh that she would take Harley—it wasn’t good for an animal to be living all alone like that. Harley had chosen Jeff as his personal human, and firmly overrode her husband's objections by jumping into his lap and starting to purr. And it was a funny thing that she would never admit, but now that Harley reigned in their house, Lindsey had started to feel sort of related to George, herself.

She climbed up the hill to George's house. It sat surrounded by gray limestone rocks that seemed to glow in the green darkness of the woods. Nobody seemed to know what to do with this place, or care. George had no children, and nobody had even come for the furniture. So it stood silent, everything in the house as it had been the day George died, as if waiting for somebody to come back.

Except when two crazy kids found the key under the mat and went exploring. Lindsey stepped through the open doorway. The freshness of the air surprised her. She had been expecting the smell of dust and mildew. Perhaps a window had been left open?

Her thoughts were broken by the sound of Emma’s wail. “A spider!” and Josh’s answering, “So? Let's call him Larry.”

“It's in the sink! Josh, this place is creepy!”

“Is not! It’s just a stupid spider, Emma!”

Lindsey followed the sound of the argument, toward the bathroom.She found Emma still trying to wiggle past Josh in her mad dash to get away from the spider. For reasons known only to arachnids, "Larry" had indeed decided to spin a web in the sink.

Emma’s eyes grew wide as she saw her mother. Lindsey felt gratified by the guilty look, but she felt sorry too.

Josh followed Emma's stare, taking in Lindsey. He didn’t look embarrassed. He seemed almost frightened.

That was odd. Why would Josh be afraid of her? Was he afraid she would tell his parents? They didn’t seem to care what he did.

Finally Lindsey asked, “What in the world are you two doing?”

“Nothing,” came the reply. Automatic and in chorus.

Lindsey gestured around the bathroom. “Emma, didn’t I tell you to stay out of this house? It’s abandoned. It could be dangerous." She broke off as she glanced at the corner of the room where the toilet stood, its seat still up. She realized she was looking at something that should not be here.

Water. Water in the toilet bowl. Clean water, up to the usual line.

How could the water still be on? Impossible.

Yet water there was. Somebody was living in this house. Not tidily, but living here all the same.

“Josh, is somebody here?” She could not say why she asked him the question. But the fear in his eyes grew, and his very silence seemed an answer.

“Josh? Who lives here?”

He finally croaked out, “Nobody. This house is empty, Mrs. Howard.”

She pushed past him to the toilet. “They would have shut off the water a year ago. There shouldn’t be water in the toilet anymore.” A bucket sat on the floor beside it. When she pressed the lever, more clean water flushed into the bowl. But the tank did not refill. She turned back to Josh. “Somebody fills this bucket, drags it back here, and pours it into the tank.” She turned back to him. “Josh, do you do this?”

Finally he nodded.

“Let’s go back into the living room.” She had to get her thoughts together. Most kids would be intrigued by a fully furnished abandoned house, she thought; it felt like something out of Scooby-Doo. Only this particular kid had sat here with a dying man. But afterwards Josh had come here twice a day, trying to take care of Harley on his own. Lindsey sat down on the couch, glancing sideways at the wooden armrests.

They showed no sign of dust. The side tables had been dusted, too. Her uneasiness increased. Why would a ten-year-old boy spend his time tidying an empty house?

“Josh,” she said slowly, “do you come here often?”

“No,” he said quickly. An obvious lie.

“Josh, you keep the toilet ready to use. And this place is clean. There ought to be thick dust on the coffee table, but there’s none. Now, tell me, why do you come here so often?”

He shifted a little. “I like to read the books.” He gestured to the tattered paperbacks on a sagging bookshelf.

“I see.” She didn’t. Yellowed thrillers from the 1940's weren’t standard reading for most ten-year-olds. “Do your mom and dad know you come here?”

“Yes.” That same glib tone. Lindsey knew not to bother asking her daughter; Emma would never rat out a friend. Yet a secret seemed to hide behind his eyes; something he wanted so badly to tell, but did not dare. Lindsey stood up. She needed to pull it out of him gently. “Show me around. I’ve seen the bathroom and the living room. What else is here?”

Josh stood up too. “Well, there’s the kitchen.” He gestured.

A bowl and spoon sat in the sink, and another bucket lay on the floor. A new box of cereal stood on the counter, next to a half-empty bread bag. On a whim, she opened a cupboard. Fresh cookies with the brand of the local convenience store, candy bars, even a box of cupcakes. Truly a kid's sense of nutrition. She pointed to the cereal box. “Josh, was that your breakfast this morning?” she asked lightly.

“Yes, Mrs. Howard,” he admitted.

“Josh, call me Lindsey. I feel like a geezer when you call me Mrs. Howard.”

He didn’t smile. “Okay, Lindsey.”

She decided not to ask him why he ate breakfast here. Curiously, she opened the refrigerator. No light came on, of course, but the shelves had been removed, and inside sat a cooler. She opened it.

Freezer packs sat loaded to the brim, still cold. Pushing them aside, she found a pint of milk and a package of bologna. A few packs of mayonnaise and mustard lay wedged next to it.

She realized now: when she'd seen Josh pedaling along with his groceries, he hadn't been bringing them home. Lindsey rearranged the freezer packs and closed the cooler. If this were Josh’s food supply, she didn’t need to ruin it. “Good thinking, keeping it cold. Where do you get the freezer packs?”

“My mom’s diabetic. They ship her insulin with cold packs. We have plenty.”

In other words, nobody would notice a disappearing freezer pack. Lindsey decided not to push it, closing the refrigerator door. She looked again at the sink. A watered-down bottle of dish detergent sat beside it. Likely there was a garden hose outside for Josh’s water needs. Well, if he ate breakfast here… “Where do you sleep?” she asked suddenly.

He opened his mouth, shut it, and then opened it again. “My room. At home.”

“Do you? Show me the bedroom.”

Shoulders slumped, he shuffled toward the bedroom.

The bedroom looked reasonably tidy. Lindsey found herself thinking that the spider in the bathroom must have been an oversight on Josh’s part. Maybe he used the kitchen sink for brushing his teeth; the kitchen felt more used than the bathroom. Or maybe Larry was sort of a pet.

She turned back the covers on the bed. The pillowcase needed a wash, but it wasn’t the disaster it ought to be after a year of disuse, either. “You sleep here,” she told Josh. A glance from Emma told her she’d exposed his last lie.

“No,” Josh protested.

Lindsey pointed at the pillow. “Then tell me, Josh, what’s this little brown hair doing here?” She sat on the bed, patting the blanket next to her. “Sit down.”

He sat. Emma hunched next to him, her chin on his shoulder. Lindsey suddenly had a vision of these two, ten years down the line—well, perhaps.

“Do you sleep here often?”

Josh said, “Sometimes.”

“You slept here last night. Your bowl was in the sink. You go home to switch out the freezer packs, don’t you?”

He nodded.

“This house feels lived in. What did you do in last winter?”

He shrugged. “There’s a heater.”

“Not electric.”

“No. Kerosene.”

“Kerosene? That’s not safe. Where do you get it?”

“My dad.”

“He doesn’t notice it’s gone?”

“He has a lot.”

“Why?”

Josh didn’t answer.

“Josh, let’s go back to your mom and dad’s house.”

“No!” His vehemence surprised her. “I’ll go back alone.”

He stopped in the kitchen on the way out. Looking annoyed that Lindsey was watching him, he opened the cooler in the fridge, feeling and taking out the warmest packs. Then he locked the door as they left, putting the key in his pocket. They parted company before they left the woods. Clearly Josh did not want his parents asking questions. Lindsey walked back with Emma's little hand in hers, looking back at the Martin house. Another car had entered the driveway.

***

Josh shut the door quietly as he entered. The air felt thick with the smell of his dad's cooking. Well, he wouldn't be sleeping here. He had only come for the fresh ice packs in the freezer. Every night he put new ones in to recharge, right before he took out the ones he was taking home.

Home. It still scared him to think the word. But it meant quietness. Food in the fridge, books on the shelf. A lantern to read by. Nobody knew he was there. Nobody could get to him. They didn't even know he had the key.

"Boy, where you been?" His father's voice rumbled like thunder.

"With Emma."

"Did you let her come around here?"

"No, sir," he answered truthfully.

"Good." Carl turned away towards the fridge. He opened the door and pulled out a beer. "Don't need little Miss Priss going home babbling to that stuck-up momma of hers." Josh felt a stab of gratitude when he saw the car pull into the drive. Another "friend" for Carl. Of course, Keith really was a friend. They went fishing together every once in awhile. And they cooked in the kitchen together. He hated it when his dad decided to cook. The smell made him dizzy; it was the smell that originally made him come up with the plan.

His father went outside to see Keith, and Josh took the opportunity, opening the freezer door. He had the old ones in his book bag, ready to recharge.

And then Vera came into the room. "Hi, Josh," she said, her voice slow and sleepy.

He continued putting the old packs into the freezer. "Hi, Mom."

"What are you doing?" She looked vaguely at the freezer, empty but for the ice packs jammed in a corner.

"Nothing," he said pleasantly.

"Oh. Well, wash the dishes." She yawned, and he held his breath. He tried not to look at her when her mouth was open. She had beautiful teeth when he was little. Now the few left had become yellow stumps, and her breath reeked.

She turned, lightly leaning on the countertop, and trod heavily back towards the hall, colliding with the doorway. Fortunately she wasn't moving too fast. "Huh." She laughed a little. "Oh, wash the dishes, will you?" She disappeared into the hallway, and he could hear her stumbling back to bed.

"Yes, Mom." He could load the dishwasher before he went. He took in the overflowing sink, the dirty dishes piled on the counter. And the frying pans wouldn't go in. He would have to wash them by hand. Reluctantly he decided to finish the dishes before he left.

He gritted his teeth and set down the book bag.

***

Lindsey walked in to find Jeff collapsed on the couch as usual, with Harley relaxing comfortably on his chest. Emma laid her bag on the table and started in on her homework. Or at least she pretended to. Lindsey knew she would hear every word of what she was about to say to Jeff. But the memory of Josh, wary and guarded, forced her on. “Jeff? I need to talk to you.”

He groaned. “Lin, it’s been a day. No, it’s been a week. Will they buy a new lathe? No, no, that costs money. Well, it costs us more to have everybody sit idle while I jerry-rig that hunk of junk for the five millionth...”

She interrupted. “I know they need new equipment. I have to talk to you about something else.”

He rubbed his forehead. “I’ll fix the washing machine, hon. I swear.”

“Jeff!”

“What?”

“There’s something going on at the Martins’ house. I don’t know what it is, but it’s bad.”

“Of course it is. I wish they’d move. I don’t like those folks.”

“Did you know Josh has been sleeping in that house in the woods?”

Jeff lifted his head, eyes squinting. “What! And his parents don’t notice?”

“Josh is practically living there. He’s got milk and food in a cooler with freezer packs; he keeps water in the toilet tank so he can flush it, he even washes the sheets himself. Last winter he kept warm with a kerosene heater. Jeff, he’s only ten years old.”

Jeff sat up, ignoring Harley’s protesting Mew. “I think I need some coffee.”

Over coffee she told him the whole story. Emma sipped her hot chocolate and listened silently. Finally Jeff said, "I'm going over there."

"Jeff, do you think you should? It could be dangerous. Maybe we should call Children's Services."

Jeff looked at her with disgust. "Lin, have you ever had to deal with Children's Services?"

"No."

"I have," he said grimly. Lindsey remembered the stories he told her of his cousins, in and out of foster care. She suspected that one reason he disliked the Martins was they reminded him of his aunt and uncle. "No, I want to go over there."

"I'm coming with you," said Lindsey suddenly.

"How about me?" asked Emma.

"No." Jeff shook his head. "Whatever's going on, you don't need to be around it."

"You want to go now?"

Jeff sat silent for a moment. Then he answered, "No. Wait for dark."

"Why?" asked Lindsey.

"I'm not going over there to yak it up with the Martins. I want to take a look around."

"For what?"

"I've got a suspicion, but I'd rather not say yet."

***

Josh carefully pulled out the clean dishes, stacking them on the counter. The cupboards had no room for them anymore. Now they were full of cold medicine, paint thinner, coffee filters, and drain cleaner.

It wasn't always like this. Back when he was five, they'd been poor, but Mom kept this kitchen spotless. Then his dad decided to do something to bring in extra money. It sure worked. Suddenly they had stacks of dirty singles and tens and twenties. The kids at school could snicker at him and call him white trash, but even the rich kids didn't have an allowance like his. One hundred dollars a week! Well, it sure kept groceries in George's kitchen. The rest he saved up, waiting for his eighteenth birthday to finally roll around. He would be rich by then. He would leave this place and never come back. And he would never bring in extra money the way his dad did. His kitchen would be clean and shiny, like the ones on TV. And the only thing on the counter would be a bowl of fruit, just like on TV.

Another load waited in the sink.He slammed his hand down on a wandering cockroach. Just a little one. If he found another close to leaving time he'd save it for Larry. He wondered briefly if Larry was really a boy spider.

Keith and Dad sat in the living room, laughing like idiots at some show on TV. The dishes still overflowed the sink, but they would fit the dishwasher easily, he decided. One load left.

***

Barely a sliver of a moon lit the night, and they sat on the patio until their eyes became accustomed to the darkness. Jeff had a tiny flashlight, but he kept it in his pocket.

Lindsey guessed he wanted to walk in complete darkness. "They must have had a dozen cars come and go, but that one's staying," she murmured.

"Uh-huh." He stood. "Can you see?"

"Yes."

"All right. Let's go."

***

"Boy, why you just standing there? Clean up that floor."

"Yes, sir." By this time the smell was nearly gagging him, and Josh swallowed hard as he went towards the cleaning closet. His father went back to watching TV, lighting a cigarette as he sat down.

Josh listened at his mother's door. She was snoring loudly. He looked towards the cleaning closet, then at the open window.

***

The walk along the darkened road took them nearly ten minutes. The Martins' driveway was long and winding, the house set well back behind the trees. And Jeff stayed beneath the shadow of the heavy oaks.

The smell hit them both at the same time. "What is that?" gasped Lindsey in a whisper. She tried to hold her breath.

Jeff did not reply. He stood still, sniffing the air like a dog who has caught a scent. Then he backed behind a tree.

"Lin, stay here. I'm going to go take a look around. If anything goes wrong, get out of here and call the cops."

"The cops?"

"Stay back." As he spoke he started moving toward a shed near the house. She leaned on the oak, trying to hold her breath against the sickening odor. She had smelled something like it before, in a place so different she could not place it...

Why, of course. The salon she went to once in a blue moon, when they had some extra money. This place smelled like a nail salon, with its reek of polish and remover. Were the Martins selling beauty supplies? No. She smelled kerosene, too. She remembered what Josh had said about his father having plenty of kerosene.

Jeff had pulled out his flashlight and stepped into the back shed.

From her spot behind the tree she saw what Jeff could not. The glow of a cigarette. Carl Martin was coming out onto the front porch. All he had to do was look to his left, and he would see Jeff.

Well, she'd seen this trick in the movies. Reaching down, she ran her hand along the ground until her fingers touched a rock. As hard as she could, she threw it to her left. Sure enough, Carl's head snapped to the right. "Who's there?" he shouted.

As she watched the back shed, she heard the rumble of an engine behind her. She turn towards the headlights, now coming up the drive. Carl went inside, turned on the porch light. By the time he came out, she had moved into the thick brush, dropped flat on her belly. She prayed there were no snakes slithering here. Lindsey remembered reading how the Apache did this, how they could lie motionless for hours, until the right time to strike. Geronimo, think like Geronimo. His heart wouldn't be going like a jackhammer. She forced herself to breath slower, smell the earth, the crushed leaves tickling her face. The panic began to recede...

***

In the shed, Jeff peeked around the corner at the car, illuminated in the glare of the porch light. It took him a few seconds for his eyes to adjust to the brightness, but he watched the man get out and head towards the house.

He knew the man from work. Tim, that no-account. He was on the edge of losing his job for frequent absences. Everybody knew that when he did show up, half the time he was high.

As Tim's heavy work boots clumped onto the porch, Jeff decided to go around the back of the shed, make a long-way round circuit to Lindsey.

He forgot hiseyes were still dazzled by the porch light. Now moving blindly in the darkness of the shed, he stumbled over an empty bottle, catapulting into the aluminum of the door. It answered with a resounding clang, and the door rattled loudly against the wall. He knew the men on the porch had heard; there was no point being sneaky anymore. He pelted toward the woods.

***

Lindsey felt her skin turn stone cold as she heard the noise. Jeff, run! she silently screamed. "What's that?" said the man on the porch.

"Somebody's been sneaking around. Keith, get your gun. And bring the lantern."

Another set of footsteps on the porch. "Somebody in the shed?"

"I think so."

"Carl, your cigarette."

Carl's voice. "It'll be all right. Let's get this guy." No longer did she hear footsteps on the porch. Now she heard the shh, shh of legs walking through long grass.

She lifted her head to see a blue light coming from a small camping lantern. She shut her eyes against the glare as she began wiggling backwards, down the small hill. Get to the house. Jeff would not come back to this spot.

***

Tim lifted the lantern as Carl peered into the shed. "Nobody."

"Maybe it was an animal," Keith offered.

A bit of ash fell from Carl's cigarette, shimmering orange as it fell silently to the ground. The orange flame became blue as it touched the floor...

"Carl--" Keith began, but he never finished.

***

The earth shook beneath her, and a wave of searing heat blasted over Lindsey's head. The slight rise of the land between her and the shed kept her from being killed with the three men, but she did not yet realize the hot air actually singed her clothing. Nearly deafened, she massaged her numbed ears.

Then another boom pushed her backwards, half-rolling down the hill. The gas in the house had ignited.

Coughing from the black smoke, she started crawling away from the inferno that had once been a home. Jeff? Lindsey prayed he had gotten safely away.

Josh. Had he been in the house? Or was he safely munching cookies over one of George's tattered old books? She tied to stand but fell to her knees again, taking in clean air in great sobbing gasps.

Another noise, off in the distance. Another customer? No. A siren.

A siren, already? Even at full speed, a fire truck would take forty minutes from its station in town to here.

"Lindsey!" Jeff's arms were around her. Somehow, he had come from nowhere, and now he sat beside her.

"It's you," she rasped. "You're not dead."

"No, I'm alive. I was running back home, but then everything went sky-high. I came back to look for you."

"Why did it blow up like that?" she asked vaguely.

"Meth lab. Right down the road from you and Emma and Harley and me, Martins were running a meth lab." He looked behind him. "How'd the fire brigade get here so quick?"

The truck had already entered the Martins' driveway and started trundling towards them. A fireman in the passenger seat saw them; his eyes widened, and he leaped out of the moving truck as it passed. "You must be the Howards," he said. "You folks all right?"

"I guess so," Jeff answered. "How in the world did you guys get here so fast?"

"Your daughter Emma went to an abandoned house near here where she meets the Martin boy to play. Josh Martin came up and she told him you two had gone to his parents' house. He told her his mom and dad owned a meth lab, and they were liable to shoot you both. He came right back to your house and called the police. Police found out and told us to come out too. You don't mess with these things without a hazmat squad."

"Josh is all right?" Lindsey asked.

He shook his head, laughed a little. "He's fine." He pulled his mouth into a serious line again. "I shouldn't laugh. But you know, I go around to schools to tell kids to stay away from abandoned houses. Guess this time it was a good thing."


Submitted: June 03, 2009

© Copyright 2021 Helena Parris. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:

Comments

Dimorphius

I like your style. Precise, without too much wording, but also descriptive. I gave it an "I Like It."

Looking forward to reading more of your work.

I'm an instant fan!

Tue, June 9th, 2009 1:37am

Author
Reply

Thanks for your feedback! I really appreciate it, and I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

Tue, June 9th, 2009 7:35am

alpal17

very interesting...i like it

Thu, June 25th, 2009 8:16pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Thu, June 25th, 2009 1:18pm

justbeformlessly

Your first paragraph is really nice… it takes me to the wonderful place that you describe.. in fact, I could almost feel a Fall like breeze (I know it’s the wrong season- but that’s what happened : ) I very much love all of nature so it figures that I’d love this paragraph. The last line is, well, I don’t know of a good word to use here, so I’ll just say brilliant.

You forgot an ‘s’ in ‘knows’ in your description: “Nobody know that young Josh lives in an abandoned house.”

”As if the sleeping house might hear them” – Wow : ) “A boy and girl had been giggling as they approached, but their voices became hushed as they climbed onto the back porch, as if the sleeping house might hear them.” Very nice.

You’re really a good writer : )

Thu, July 2nd, 2009 2:58pm

Author
Reply

Oops--thanks for catching the typo. I'm glad you enjoyed the introduction.

Thu, July 2nd, 2009 8:31am

angellynn

This is so good Helena. I wasn't aware you were into this type of writing, but I'm glad I saw this. Very well written. Loved It!

Angellynn :)

Sun, July 5th, 2009 3:19pm

Author
Reply

Mystery and suspense--that's me. I don't think I know how to write anything else. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Sun, July 5th, 2009 10:12am

Brian W

A really good story I enjoyed it alot.

Mon, July 6th, 2009 4:41am

Author
Reply

Thanks for reading and commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Mon, July 6th, 2009 8:04am

maddiecullen

I really enjoyed the mystery in this. It makes you wanna read it all from the start(:

Sat, August 8th, 2009 3:13pm

Author
Reply

Thanks for your comment. This was a challenge to write, but I enjoyed the project very much.

Sat, August 8th, 2009 7:17pm

palewriter

Another good one helena, Glad I read it. Now, it's on to--Behind the locked door. I'll let you know what I think when I read it.

Sun, August 9th, 2009 3:27am

Author
Reply

Glad you liked it! Sure hope you like Locked Door; it hasn't got a whole lot of hits.

Sat, August 8th, 2009 9:11pm

Snobol4

Very nice! The story reads smoothly and is quite enjoyable. It is strangely reminiscent to me in ways as I knew someone who was a cooker at one point. Great story! Thanks for sharing!

-Dale

Sat, August 15th, 2009 5:39am

Author
Reply

I'm glad you enjoyed it--I really didn't know a whole lot about meth production until I started researching it for the story--I hoped that I portrayed it in a realistic way. Thank you for stopping by and reading!

Sat, August 15th, 2009 6:18am

JADeAngelis

Great story. Once again it was captivating and I never suspected where it was going, brilliant.

Sat, August 29th, 2009 11:06pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it. (Half the time I have no idea where it's going either.)

Sat, August 29th, 2009 8:37pm

Mirjana

Though I haven't comment on your other work that I've read I must observe you write very good.I like a good mystery and this one is.
I think you've just earned a fan.

Mon, September 7th, 2009 4:06pm

Author
Reply

Thank you for reading my work. I'm glad you enjoy the stories!

Mon, September 7th, 2009 4:07pm

John Wyres Smith

Simply, I liked this very much. I look forward to reading more of your stuff.

Fri, September 18th, 2009 10:33pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, I'm glad you liked it! I hope you find other stories on my page that you like.

Fri, September 18th, 2009 7:34pm

mommy3

I enjoyed reading your story. It is very well penned. I liked it a lot. :)

Wed, January 6th, 2010 10:42pm

Author
Reply

You liked this one? For whatever reason it doesn't get a lot of reads, but I always liked it, just figured nobody else did. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Wed, January 6th, 2010 2:47pm

Mundayk

Great Story... its been awhile since I've forgotten I'm suppose to be at work :P

Sat, January 9th, 2010 11:30am

Author
Reply

Oops! I don't want to get you in trouble. But thanks for reading. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Sat, January 9th, 2010 11:01am

Urja

What a story! But I didn't expect anything less from a writer of your calibre. I love the way you've built that characters, esp Josh. Loved the way it ended, too :)

Sat, February 6th, 2010 2:00am

Author
Reply

Glad you liked it! Glad to see you back on Booksie, too!

Fri, February 5th, 2010 7:51pm

NazireC

So captivating and brilliant. You do mystery and suspense so well. I also like your humorous and sarcastic articles as well.

The story was well written and with vivid descriptions, fluid paragraphs and such a well penned story, it was great. I love how you bring the characters alive so well in such short stories. It's always a struggle for many writers and yet it feels like you do them so effortlessly. There is always a lot of action and a lot of suspense building to it and you allow us to really get into the head of the characters. Its a little hard to predict where your stories are going usually.
I thoroughly enjoy reading your stories and you always leave me in awe.

Sun, July 11th, 2010 6:01pm

Author
Reply

Thank you so much! As Mark Twain said, I can live for a week off a good compliment! I'm glad you enjoyed this little story.

Sun, July 11th, 2010 12:25pm

storiestotell

I GAVE I LIKE IT! IT WAS VERY GOOD READING!

Mon, July 12th, 2010 5:48pm

Author
Reply

Good! I'm glad you enjoyed this story! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

Mon, July 12th, 2010 12:11pm

Thomas Mind

Ahh.
The refreshing scent of the expert to my eyes.

Hook, got it.
Character to fall in love with, got that.
Purpose, got that.
Story, and plot sepreated into a beautifully spun web of literary magic, got that.

You pro you!

Thu, April 21st, 2011 6:14pm

Author
Reply

Oh, goodness! (Blushes)Glad you liked it!

Thu, April 21st, 2011 7:48pm

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