2nd Place Entry – Melissa Neubert

It was a late October evening I saw the moving van driving slowly through the neighborhood. The air was crisp and had that edge to it, hinting that winter would soon arrive. Leaves of orange, red and yellow blew around the yards and streets like they were dancing in the breeze. A smoky looking fog hid the imperfections of the old homes giving the street an eerie feel. A few pumpkins that had been placed outside on porches were lit and the glow added to the spooky feel. Dusk had always been my favorite time of day, the time I always found myself sitting by the window. I watched the van pull into the driveway and couldn’t help but smile in anticipation of the events about to transpire. These people wouldn’t stay long, none of them ever stay. Some realtor shows them the house, they find it beautiful and with the low asking price they think they got a wonderful bargain. They just have no idea that this home comes with me.

 

I heard them coming in and out, excitement in their voices. Unpacking the van, flitting from room to room, they discussed plans, their future and the excitement of having a new home. I sit up here in my little world just waiting. Dust floating in the air, wooden beams and insulation, exposed piping and wiring. In the corner, a few boxes sit, left from previous owners containing old toys, Christmas decoration and boxes of paperwork. Things left behind as they rushed from the home in haste. I didn’t want them here, and I didn’t want this new family here either. This is my home and I prefer to be left alone.

 

I couldn’t help but smile as I heard the creak of the door, knowing that it would happen even quicker than usual. It normally takes them a few days before they make their way up to the attic. I sat in the rocking chair, knowing they couldn’t see me. Just waiting and watching. The blonde woman used a flashlight to find the light switch. She flipped it on and a mouse scurried across the floor making her scream, causing her husband to come running. He laughed when she told him what had frightened her.

 

She placed her boxes in the corner and I saw that she had spied it. The silver box. She opened the box and looked at the contents. I knew what the box contained as I had put them there. Five crystal glass balls. They each picked one up, and as they did they felt the burning pain in their hands and dropped the balls. As they picked them back up the balls turned clear and the couple gazed into them, and as they did visions appeared. Visions swirled, of their past, of secrets they thought no one knew, visions they soon realized was their future, and finally a vision of a young blonde woman being brutally murdered in this very house.

 

As they stood there, unable to move, entranced at what they were witnessing, they heard the rocking chair I was sitting in, rocking back and forth slowly. They could now see me. They looked at me and saw my long stringy grey hair, the scars on my face and the blood oozing from the bullet hole in my head. I looked at them and smiled. The blonde woman screamed and both dropped the balls and ran for the door. I watched as they threw the few boxes they had unpacked back into the moving van.
The couple paused to look up at the attic window, as I was staring out watching them. I raised my hand and waved goodbye, watching the horror register on their faces. I then gathered the balls and put them back into the silver box- until next time. There was always a next time. But this was my house and I won’t share it.

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