Nobody home

It’s like a boogeyman tale from when we were kids. I’ve been in this town for thirty years, and do quite a bit of walking. I suppose I could say I have been by her door more than five hundred times.

Reputedly, the spinster (or widow, depending on which story you believe) either inherited, or was born, in this house. Back in its day, it may have been reasonably fashionable, but from my picture you can see it has fallen into decay. There have never been any men, at least none that anyone knows of or will talk about. I personally do not even know how she survives or gets her supplies, and it’s a subject that few want to talk about.

Some of the vile things I have heard I will credit to the overactive imaginations of adolescents. Freezers in the basement, full of who knows what, or who. An overabundance of felines, whose population reputedly has dwindled with the last few years. Pungent cooking smells coming from the place. Ashes and tiny bone fragments in the back garden. All my eyes have seen, and can confirm, are the broken windows, mossy carpets on the outside of the place, weeks and weeks of newspapers which accumulate until some good Samaritan collects them, and, yes, on a handful of occasions, the specter herself (or so I suppose).

My own imagination is overactive at times, and I am something of a romantic bookworm, and so I will say that the pale, grassy-haired figure with sunken eyes vies for comparison between two literary figures of old: The ghost of Catherine Earnshaw scrabbling at the dark window in Wuthering Heights, and the cobwebbed Miss Havisham
from Great Expectations. She appears at odd times peeking through moth eaten drapes of lace, never in full view, and quickly withdrawing once she has seen what she has needed to see. Uncomfortably, it has been me on a few occasions.

I have not met a single soul who has ever spoken to her, or seen her out of doors. As for me, I am divided between a sense of dread and one of exciting mystery, and have more than once considered plucking up the courage to rap on her door.

Do wish me luck, reader, for, if this gets the best of me, I may come to know more about Miss Earnshaw-Havisham than is good for me.

Perhaps the newspapers will begin to pile up in front of MY door.

14 thoughts on “Nobody home

  1. I kind of want you to rap on the door, if for no other reason than to satisfy the curiosity you have peaked in my mind. On the other hand I do NOT want newspapers to pile up outside your door…great writing, Lee. I enjoyed it very much.

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  2. Your story reminds me of Mrs. MaCormick somewhat, Portales, New Mexico, 1949. A couple of other kids and I walked past her similarly bedraggled house and garden on our walk to school each day. There were plenty of stories about her, scary ones, but I stopped and talked to her in her garden once when I was walking alone. She said she’d pay me a nickle Saturday if I’d come and help her weed.

    That began a number of hours and nickles over a growing season, and stops during winters on the way home from school for hot lemonade.

    Her mind was gone, she thought her husband had left the previous week on a stagecoach and she expected him back anytime now….. fretted and worried about it every time I saw her.

    Inside her house someone had broken the points off all the knives and scissors.

    Across the street was a tiny store named Miller’s Cash and Carry. Sometimes we kids would stop in there for a jawbreaker or gum drop if we had a few pennies. But when Mrs. MacCormick was in there old man Miller would follow her around the store yelling, “CASH AND CARRY! CASH AND CARRY!”

    She lived there alone until around 1955, and I never heard she died, but the house went vacant and deteriorated the rest of the years I was around that town [until around 1959 or 1960].

    I never knew any other kids who befriended her, and most preferred to believe she was an evil witch. They liked the stories to scare themselves with better than they liked the possibility of earning a nickle in her garden, I’d imagine.

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  3. “I saw that the bride within the bridal dress had withered like the dress, and like the flowers, and had no brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes. I saw that the dress had been put upon the rounded figure of a young woman, and that the figure upon which it now hung loose had shrunk to skin and bone. Once, I had been taken to see some ghastly waxwork at the Fair, representing I know not what impossible personage lying in state. Once, I had been taken to one of our old marsh churches to see a skeleton in the ashes of a rich dress that had been dug out of a vault under the church pavement. Now, waxwork and skeleton seemed to have dark eyes that moved and looked at me. I should have cried out, if I could.

    Liked by 1 person

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