The Story of Jenny Grace

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
The Grace house has stood there forever. The kids in the town love to tell stories about the horrible being that supposedly lives there-- the monster Jenny Grace. She has claws and is evil and murderous... or is she?

Do not judge by what you can't see.

Submitted: September 09, 2008

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Submitted: September 09, 2008

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The Story of Jenny Grace
 
The Grace house had stood there for as long as anyone could remember. It was weary from years of assault from the weather, and it was rotting away. Weeds had formed a dictatorship over the garden. They were even climbing the walls of the house, tenderly caressing it and lulling it into a feeling of safety… before they strangled it.
 
That was the whole aura of the Grace house—it was trying to trick you into a sense of false security.  It seemed harmless enough; even though it was so run down it might have been totally ancient. But it wasn’t. We all knew that.
 
 All the kids loved whispering “Look out! It’s Jenny Grace!” and scaring each other silly. Or telling stories late at night, about the horrible creature that haunts the house.
“Leathery skin and long blackened hair, like lank weeds. Walking hunched over, growling and muttering. Horrible, staring green eyes… the last thing you see before the claws take you. Yes, the claws. Long as knives, brown and sharp and curved. Do not make an enemy of Jenny Grace. She will come for you with those claws and SLIT YOUR THROAT!”
At that point, another camper usually says something like “Shh! Can you hear that?” and scrape their fingernails across the floorboards, like Jenny’s claws were really coming for us.
 
The house had belonged to the Grace family for as long as the town had been standing. It had last belonged to sisters Sarah and Jenny, 40 years ago. Before Sarah was found dead, and Jenny had gone mad.
Some say Jenny killed her, and realising the horror of what she had done, went insane.
Some say Sarah committed suicide, and Jenny couldn’t live without her.
Some say Sarah was murdered, and Jenny sought revenge and was driven to lunacy.
 
Everyone tells a different tale. Some people aren’t even sure if the thing that lumbers around the supposedly abandoned Grace house IS what became of Jenny. I think it is. She is a crazy, deformed monster with long claws. Well, I THINK she is. Nobody has actually seen her. Some people have snatched glances of a tall, skinny, hunched being with long lank hair and long claws, lumbering around the house. Apparently on dark nights she creeps into town and steals food. James Oak in my science class swears he saw her running through the streets, bread tucked under her arm. He says he even got a glimpse of those horrible green eyes, glowing and glaring up at him.
 
Jenny makes a point of keeping nosy people out of her house. Some building inspectors went in there once, and they all ran out screaming. One of their group was found lying crippled at the bottom of the stairs.
 
People have kept well away from the house after that.
 
Except stupid, bored teenagers who thought it would be fun to dare some poor fool to go up to the Grace house.
 
I’m the poor fool, by the way.
My heart was pounding. The air was cold, but I was sweating from every pore in my body. The white sun was glaring down at me, as if saying “Go on. Are you chicken?” with the rest of my so called friends.
 
I walked through the weed infested garden. The little house seemed to loom over me sinisterly. The windows were caked in dust and the door was rotting away. I thought I saw something move in the house, but I convinced myself with difficulty that it was all my imagination.
 
I looked back. My friends were all waiting by the bent fence, holding their breath. Time stood still.
I summoned the courage and willpower to move my arm. I knocked on the door, as I had been dared to.
Now run!
I had the adrenaline pumping and ready. My blood started flowing to my legs. I was about to spring them into action and get off that creepy doorstep when something stopped me.
A sound.
A hoarse voice, like sandpaper.
“What?”
My brain was screaming at my body. Run! Run! RUN! But I couldn’t. The voice had frozen my every muscle.
 
The door began to open.
 
RUN!!!
There stood a horrifying creature—human shaped, but hunched. It had coarse, leathery skin and long stained hair, hanging and half covering the face. The face. I forced myself to look, and I looked into some green eyes… angry and menacing, glinting in the light.
Jenny Grace raised a hand. There were the claws. Brown and cracked, but long and pointed as knives.
 
At last my reflexes kicked in. I screamed.
Jenny flexed her claws. My legs started working! I bolted. I ran for my life across the weeds. I heard a thump thump thump. Was it my heart? Or… no! She was chasing me!!!
I ran faster. Thump thump thump thump…
“Urgh!”
For some reason I slowed. NO! Run, fool, run! I turned.
There was Jenny, lying on the ground. She had tripped over on a rogue weed.
 
I saw her in the light. Leathery skin? No, just tanned and weatherbeaten. The lank, scary hair? 40 years without a good wash! The eyes… not menacing and glowing, but just plain green, reflecting the light.
Jenny sat up. There was blood on her shoulder. She had fallen and cut herself on a claw. No, not a claw. Just a fingernail, grown and sharpened over time.
 
I found my voice. “Are you alright?”
Jenny looked up. I looked into those eyes, but they didn’t scare me anymore.
“Yes,” she croaked. “Just a scratch.”
She was wearing brown, worn down rags. They looked and smelled like they hadn’t been washed in years.
I bent down to help her with her wound. Where had my fear gone? Was I crazy?
Jenny sighed. It sounded like someone blowing down a rusty pipe.
“What year is it?”
“2008.”
“41 years,” she announced, rasping. “41 long years.”
I dabbed at the gouge with a rag. “Since what?’
“Don’t you youths tell stories about me every chance you get?” spat Jenny. “Don’t you make fun out of scaring each other, saying that I’m coming to get them with my murderous gaze and my claws?”
“Urm… yes.”
“Well, then you should know since what. Since Sarah was killed.”
I listened in, still tending to the wound.
“The Grace fortune, they call it. It was all our inheritance. A boyfriend of hers wanted some of it, and she refused. He went for it and she got in the way, so he murdered her.”
I winced.
“I chased him off. Sarah’s dying wish as I held her in my arms was that I protect the fortune. So I did.”
Pieces of the puzzle started coming together. Why she hadn’t left the house, why she was so intent on scaring people away.
“It sent me a little bit mad,” said Jenny, laughing. It was a horrible sound. “But it was all worth it for Sarah.”
I nodded, fascinated and sympathetic.
“I hated people after that. I knew they were all murderous, selfish crooks. So I hid myself from them and scared them away when they poked their noses in.”
“You killed that inspector!”
“No I didn’t! He was skulking around upstairs and he saw me. I told him to get lost, so he started backing away, and he fell down the stairs.”
Of course.
Jenny sighed again. “People are scum. People wanting my money, kids telling stories about me as a monster…”
“They think you are a monster. Because they’ve never met you.”
“Do you think they would want to, now?”
I helped her up. I saw one of her “claws” had broken off. She gingerly touched the scratch on her arm that I had repaired.
“People are scum,” she repeated. Then she smiled. Ugh! Her teeth her rotten and yellow, like the fence posts. “But before I die, it is good to talk to someone who isn’t.”
 
We went our separate ways: me up the street, she into her house.
My friends had all run off as soon as Jenny appeared, of course. So much for moral support.
 
Days later, new stories were running wild through the town. People were saying that Jenny Grace was dead, dead in her house. A forensics team went in there to investigate.
“There is indeed a woman’s body in there,” announced one of them. “Just lying on the couch, looking…well, apart from the claws—“
Fingernails, you horrible man, fingernails!
“—peaceful.”
How nice. Jenny had met someone who was kind to her, and she had died, at peace.
“There was also this…” he held up a piece of paper. “…in her hands. It appears to be some sort of crude will.”
Well guess what? Jenny had left the Grace fortune she was so fiercely guarding to the person who had brought her inner peace. ME.
 
I came out of the bank and found my friends, hanging around in front of the supermarket. They looked shocked to see me alive, and grinning.
“Tell me something,” I said to them. “Do you think you’re afraid of the dark, or what you can’t see?”
 
That scared the hell out of them. I walked off, smiling.


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