Half a Short Story

It was well after midnight when the lights began to flicker oddly. The long deserted house, near the edge of town, held little interest, but mystery, for the towns folk. You see, no one in the small town of Gobbledon was yet old enough to remember the strange goings on at 434 Devon Avenue. The house had stood empty for so long, and yet, no one knew why. The legends all told of the mysterious disappearances of the family who once dwelled there. They told of the strange noises; the bumps in the night that alluded to evil within the walls of the quiet house. The house at 434 Devon Avenue, once held great luxury. The most grand of any of the houses in Gobbledon, now just a fading memory, like the paint in a babes nursery. The darkness of the yard grew every day. The large vines clung to the exterior walls as if failing meant the whole building would come tumbling down. Misty veils from the lake beyond the yard made the house appear ever more looming in the distance. Not one soul had dared step foot in that yard for quite some time. That is, until tonight…

My father and mother had always warned me of the house, though neither could tell me why it was forbidden. It was one of those grand things, a mystery, an enigma of sorts. A forbidden object just waiting to be touched. A candy just begging to be eaten, a doorbell imploring me to ring it. Asking around, none of the other kids could answer the question either. Why did our parents have such fear of the house? What was in the past, something way beyond five generations, that could still terrify the townspeople so?

It didn’t seem like such a bad idea at the time. Sure the cemetery is creepy and the yard is vast, but it could be done. And I would be the one to do it.

Only on a dare could I be so brazen to complete this mission. I feared nothing but being thought a coward by my friends. Sure my parents had warned me, all our parents had, but without cause, in my opinion, and I would prove to them as much.

It was at ten o’clock, on the eve of Halloween, that my friends insisted I complete this mission. A mission I thought was folly. I was wrong.

We rode our bikes to the edge of the property, just outside the cemetery gates. With my flashlight in hand, and a pack of candles, a box of matches and a sleeping bag in my pack, I set off for the house. Alone, my friends cowering behind a tree just beyond the gates that now enclosed me. Pacing myself so as not to appear frightened, I held my head as high as I could muster and walked calmly towards the large front yard just beyond the far wall. I would have to make the climb, but the wall was barely five feet high and easily managed after years of wear and tear had left gaping holes in the brick.

I arrived at the front steps after, what seemed like forever, but in actuality, it had barely taken me fifteen minutes to cross both the cemetery and yard. From the steps of the enormous castle of a house, the yard seemed smaller and the cemetery much less dreadful. I waved the flashlight at my friends to show I had made it safe and was greeted by the same flailing band of light. Little did I know what my friends saw at the time, for I was too close to the house to view the upper windows by this time.

I paused, only slightly, to take a deep breathe before pushing the cobweb encrusted door out of the way and began my pilgrimage into the void of darkness that was the houses interior. The furniture was not entirely upright. Some pieces were as though they had recently been used, others had been carelessly tossed about (though what could have done so with such large pieces is beyond my comprehension). Many pieces, both upright and not, were covered with large white sheets, as though to protect from dust.

“The attic,” I whispered to myself. My friends insisted I go all the way to the very top of the large residence. My job, now, was to wave my flashlight again, once I had arrived, and then settle in for the night.



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