Hi, everyone. We’re slap-dab in the middle of September. Can you believe it? This year is sailing past us but at least it saved the best for last. Spring leaves me feeling inspired; summer reminds of happy moments and is the perfect background for making more but there is something about fall…I think it is my favorite time of year. Not just the theoretically cooler temperatures (I live in south Mississippi) or the crunching of leaves underfoot or the smell of a roaring fire and hot chocolate. This time of year is much more than football and hayrides. Yes, fall is so much more to me. It’s storytelling time!
I thought it would be kind of neat to share a story with you. I’ll add to it every few days. Here’s one for September. Let me know what you think.
The season comes with long shadows and hiking boots and you love it. It is a combination you can’t resist. You put on comfortable jeans, a warm sweater, and lace up your boots. You aren’t the only one that is excited. Your dog jumps around excited to take a walk with you. The two of you play in the leaves for a few minutes but you really want to stretch your legs so you hook up his leash and head down the road. It is quiet out here. This is no busy highway but a lonely country road. You don’t regret the decision you made to leave the city behind and live in more peaceful surroundings. The cottage is cozy and you’ve gotten a lot of writing done recently. The new book should be finished right on time. You breathe in the air and let it out. Yes, you love everything about your new life.
Except that house.
The abandoned house down the road is no longer hidden with overgrown foliage. The leaves have fallen away and revealed the skeletal remains of a once friendly farmhouse. You can see it plainly as your dog tugs you along towards it. You aren’t one for dramatics but you feel as if ghosts must wander there. And they beckon you subtly. As you turn your head away, your eyes are immediately drawn back. You can see someone moving around on the top floor, just out the corner of your eye. You stop and stare but there’s nothing to see.
You cross the red dirt road. Best to avoid the place altogether. That’s what the postman told you and you had every intention of taking his advice but you pause again. Just there! You see a hand on the window pane, white and small. A child’s hand.
But that can’t be right. There is no one living there. The mailbox is missing; the front door is hanging on one hinge. A few windows are broken. But your dog sniffs the air as if he catches a whiff of something too. Fear grips you and you tug at his leash as you fight the urge to run and then the fear vanishes almost as suddenly as it appeared.
That’s so odd, you think to yourself as you remain rooted to the spot.
The aroma of musty leaves and rotten wood fill the crisp, autumnal air. You want to leave but you’re transfixed by the house. You manage to coax your dog away from the house and the two of you travel down the road and up the hill. You have no intention of staying out late, you just wanted to take a quick walk to stretch your legs. Yes, up the hill to take a few photos with your camera and then back home again. You have friends are coming visit; they have been dying to see the new cottage.
As you walk, you can’t help but look over your shoulder. The sound of footsteps behind you frightens you but you are determined not to look back.
But your dog does and he begins to growl. You pull him close to you and steel your nerves. You don’t want to look, you really don’t but the dog’s hair is standing up on the back of his neck. He is immovable. Slowly you spin on your heel, you clutch his leash desperately.
There is no one there. Your dog remains at attention as if he can see something or someone you can’t. Feeling slightly sick you decide to go home. The beauty of the late September afternoon has quickly faded and you want nothing more than to hide in your room. In your bed, if possible.
Suddenly, your dog lurches forward, the leash slips from your grip and you watch in horror as he barrels down the road barking ferociously. And he is running full speed towards the house. Not your house but the empty, broken one.
The empty house, the one you wanted to avoid.
The sound of footsteps behind you let you know that you aren’t running alone…
What do you think? Do you want to hear more? Let me know in the COMMENTS section.