I remember the day we moved into the old blue Victorian house. I was young at the time, and when we first walked in, I thought it was someone else’s home. It already had furniture in it, and it smelled like a musty old person.
“Go upstairs and choose a room”, Mom told us.
Turning to my brother Jack, I asked, “Choose it for what?”
He shrugged, and I followed him to the first room. His eyes widened, but I didn’t see what the big deal was. All I saw was a large room full of junky furniture, and a winding staircase in the corner.
I coughed, and backed out of the room as Mom was coming up the stairs. She looked in the room, and said to Jack, “Not this room. This is the master bedroom.”
I walked to the next bedroom, and moments later he was behind me. I could hear him muttering.
“What is a master bedroom for?”, I asked him.
“I don’t know, I guess it’s for masters”, he said, chuckling.
“Does that mean we’re servants?”
His face lit up in a big grin before he started laughing uncontrollably.
“What?”, I asked.
He stopped laughing long enough to pat me on the back. I was irritated that he wouldn’t let me in on the joke, but it was nice to see him laugh. Ever since Dad died a few months earlier, he had been somber. Seeing him happy for a few moments brought back memories.
He never did tell me what was so funny, and for a while I thought we really were servants. My opinion was reinforced by Mom’s insistence that we help out around the house. It was terrible the first few weeks we were there, because the place was so dirty.
“It’s a big house, and I can’t do everything myself!”, she would say whenever we complained.
“Why don’t we get a smaller house”, Jack asked.
“Or a CLEANER house”, I added.
“Because houses are expensive, and this was given to us”, she answered.
“Who gave us this house?”, I asked.
“Your father”, she said, and gave us a dark look before we could ask any more questions.
We finished cleaning in silence.
A month after we moved in, we went on a walk outside. I was happy to get out of the house. Whenever I was inside, I felt very spooked. I couldn’t place my finger on what the problem was, it just didn’t feel right. Walking away from the house, I looked at it. The blue color nearly matched the sky, and the details were delicate and pretty. It seemed like a friendly house from the driveway. As I looked away, I thought I saw a movement in the tower window. I stopped and looked again.
“Come on”, Mom urged, and I walked faster to catch up.
“Where are we going?”, Jack asked.
“I’m not sure. I want to go exploring”, she said, igniting my sense of adventure. We wandered through a field, and picked wild blueberries before we wound our way up a small hill and paused to look at the view below us. It looked like a quaint little New England town center, with storefronts lining the street, and a large parking lot filled with canopies and booths.
“It looks like a festival”, Mom said, as we walked down the hill.
We spent the evening browsing the little shops, eating Kettle corn, and checking out the t-shirts at a few of the booths in the parking lot. I saw quite a few kids my age, and wondered how many of them would be in my class next month.
Before long, it was time to go home.
Approaching the house, I saw a light out of the corner of my eye.
“Mom! The light is on”, I said. She started to object, but then noticed I was pointing away from the house.
“Sure enough”, she said.
When we got closer to the house, she told us to wait at the front door while she inched closer to the little garden shed in the side yard. With eyes wide open, she peered in the window before slowly opening the door.
Turning back, she said, “There’s no one in there. Maybe it’s…” and was cut off by a noise in the brush beside her. Spooked, she ran to us, and got out the key to unlock the door. I looked toward the shed, and saw the shadow of a man. Mom saw it, too, and ushered us inside. Jack came in last, looking over his shoulder one last time before the door was locked behind us.
That night cops came to our house. I didn’t hear what they were saying.
“Jack, who was that man? Are they going to arrest him?”
“I don’t think they will. I think he owns this place”, he whispered.
“But we live here”, I said, confused.
I don’t remember what else was said that night, but I remember the next day vividly. I recall the feeling of fear and puzzlement as Mom woke us up before the sun came up, and told us to pack our bags.
“We’re going on a trip”, she said.
We packed the car, and as we left I remember feeling relieved.
The trip was so long that I thought we were driving to another country. I didn’t know you couldn’t just drive to England or France from there.
At the end of the day, we arrived in a wooded wonderland surrounded by mountains and a long, winding river. We set up camp, and enjoyed a few weeks outdoors before we settled into our new cabin in the woods. It was small, but it felt like home. We lived there for the rest of my childhood, and no one ever told me what happened that last night at the spooky blue house.
Contest winner: by Bravewarrior (it's beautiful!)
- Writing Contest: Timeless Love - My Entry
Creative writing is a challenge. Creating a fictional story based on photo prompts is even more of a challenge. Thanks to Bill Holland, he has sparked my juices. This is my contribution to a very much welcomed exercise in creativity.