Up North, in New England a red house sits on the corner of a busy intersection. The paint is faded, cracked, and neglected. Bushes and shrubs grown wild climb up the sides threatening to reach right over the shingled roof. The front porch is held in place by sprawling giant white pillars. The building itself is massive. The neighboring houses shudder in it’s shadow.
Across the street are thorny bushes and over growth of weeds. A winding river streams by happily filled with fish, frogs, and eel. A double cascading waterfall sings a noisy melody as the waves crash onto flattened rocks below.
All who dare to live inside the massive dwelling, this seeming simple red house fall under its dark spell. You will grow angry, depressed, and anxious. Within these walls you will always be watched and are never alone. The spirits of the house are mad and demand vengeance. The house should never have been built upon the fertile land.
I grew up in that house, a small child, scared. While playing in certain rooms the air would frost and chill wrapped itself around me like ice. I especially feared the grand staircase that wrapped up to the second floor. The midway landing, just the sight of it was enough to make me panic. I developed strange habits to conquer my paranoia. I hid in small spaces, the armoire, my toy chest, the hamper, wooden shelves built into the walls.
I saw things. I wasn’t the only one. Dark shadows would dart from room to room and up the stairs. I heard things. Whispering conversations right next to my ear. Foot steps thumped loudly from the empty attic over my head. The phone would ring. My answering it was returned with static and a voice pleading for help. The doorbell would shatter the silence only no one would be waiting behind the great wooden door.
We saw things, my family, all of us. The younger ones would share their experiences right away with a child’s urgency. The grownups kept it to themselves. We changed. We became angry, impatient, suicidal, murderous, and every dark thing in between.
One by one we left that house. I’ve never returned.