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“Autumn lane”

JD Pearce

The wind whipped down the lonely street as the leaves danced in the center of the lane chasing each other much like the squirrels with their chubby little cheeks full of acorns and hickory nuts. The house that all the children in the neighborhood firmly avoided stood out like a canker sore on the block, with it’s boarded windows, aged, peeled paint and unkempt yard. The large, ancient oak tree seemed almost leprous as it’s knarled and twisted limbs looked as if they suffered a terrible unknown anguish. The house was located at 1313 Autumn lane and had stood unoccupied for many decades, the local folks seemed to just avoid the issue when it was mentioned that it should be torn down. The people here had a long history of superstition concerning the house, it was said to be a place where satanic rituals had been held back in the 70’s and some even said the souls of the murdered cult members still lived there, as many had heard their tormented, unfettered cries deep in the night.

It was nearly midnight when the small, purple car pulled up across the street from the old Jack Pierce house. The car sat there for several minutes, the windows were darkened and the only thing you could see were the glimmering flashes of light as the moonlight bounced from the glitter in the paint and the shiny glass of the mysterious car. Finally a young lady stepped out of the vehicle, she was short and blonde, a very attractive girl with a tootsie pop in her small mouth. She walked across the street and up the sidewalk as if she knew exactly where she was going.

Halloween, the time of year when kids in the neighborhood were a bit more curious than usual, this girl was picked to be the one who dared go inside the house. Her and her brutal friends had gotten together at a local tavern and had a few beers. By the end of the night they had made a bet that no one would be brave enough to do it. With the liquid courage in her gut and the chance of winning $500 bucks, this young inexperienced girl was about to enter into a world of the unknown. A world where possession and sacrifice had been the daily ritual.

She walked along the fence looking up at the old tree, whose limbs reached out for her, tried to embrace her in its tentacle like appendages. The wind picked up and moaned through the ugly, twisted branches. Blighted leaves scattered about her feet and caressed her dirty shoes. She stood in front of the walkway leading up the rickety front steps. The old house loomed before her like a giant, evil coffin. She swallowed hard and a surge of fear sprung up in her chest. She almost walked away right then but she remembered that her friends would ridicule her if she did not do this, besides that $500 would go along way towards new tootsie pops and a new stereo for her little purple car when she got done with this challenge. She was braver than most of the kids who half jokingly said, “no way” I wouldn't go near that place for a Thousand bucks!”

She walked up on the porch and made it to the door. The boards protested her slight weight as their old and cancerous bodies nearly crumbled from rot, almost broke under her misguided feet. She looked up at the door that was somewhat ornate and had words carved into it. The letters where fancy and looked ancient. She thought of a Medireview Prayer she remembered from her literature class just the day before, spoken by King Author Penndragon of Camelot, the hero of a Mythical folk Tale. She repeated it to herself thinking it a good omen. “O lord, protect me from my enemies and help me bring peace to the land, by this sword I swear, Amen” She remembered the magical sword Excalibur from the ancient tale and wished she had it with her as she opened the door.

She peered inside to see what might be lurking but saw only shadows made by the moonlight from behind her. The wind made the old tree sway and the shadows swayed with it. They danced a macabre dance of death with promises whispered in the ears of the scared young girl. She stepped inside and the door closed behind her. She was startled as it seemed to slam shut of its own accord. She lunged for the handle but found there was none. She was locked inside the old house and now that her fear was about to consume her.

She SCREAMED..............