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In a neighborhood, much like the one you live in, was a house at the end of the street. It was a house much like the others, but much darker and empty. No one knew why it was empty, and many adults complained about the owners not putting it on the market, or at least moving in. But it freaked them out, and they were just trying to cover it. The children, however, knew better. They said the house was cursed, that a pack of demons lived there, that they would tear you to shreds if you so much as stepped into the threshold.

 But only one person knew the truth. She lived in the house, and every day, she stared out at the children playing, but not even daring to come onto the yard, and she waited.

            Every once in a while, a child would decide that they were the bravest in the neighborhood, and that they weren’t afraid of any ghosts. And so, the entire neighborhood would gather and watch them go in, and wait for them to come out. Some times they did, but most of the time they didn’t. And that was the way they reminded themselves it was cursed. It happened every five years, exactly two weeks before Hallows Eve. And every year, those children’s parents would trick-or-treat with them; afraid of someone kidnapping them, as they always believed happened to that unlucky child.

But she knew what happened. And no one else did. No one knew her name; her name was long forgotten, even by her. But she wanted out. And they weren’t helping her. Every five years, when one of them would come, they would explode in hysterics before they would listen to her story. But she needed them to listen. Couldn’t they see that? All she needed was for one of them to listen, and she could go. She had been stuck in the house for twenty years, doomed to the downstairs, but not one of them had the mental willpower to be able to withstand the sight of her. Every time they came she would be mad, trapped in her own personal whirl storm of memories, memories she didn’t know or understand. Someone brushing her hair, but she didn’t know who. A hand holding hers, but whose? A house, but where? This just infuriated her more, knowing, but

not understanding or accepting. Four had come. A girl and three boys. None had made an impact. She just wanted someone to listen. Someone to sympathize. Someone to set her free. For she knew that they couldn’t help her, and she awaited the day when someone could. 

            A new girl came. She moved next door, and wondered why no one would talk to her. They were too scared. Someone so close to the House? She must be cursed. She would probably be the one who would enter the house this year, as this was the fifth year. So they left her alone. The girl realized she wasn’t wanted, and stayed by herself, sometimes exploring the house next door, but not realizing that it was feared. She loved the place; it somehow made her fell like she wasn’t lonely any more, that it would be there for her. And she liked it.

And the girl waited, watching the other as the leaves began to fall. Soon it would be the time of the visiting, and she had a feeling that this girl would be the first to actually see her, and listen to her story. And so she waited.

            And the girl who moved in watched the neighborhood collect next to her house, staying and standing as the sun began to fall, waiting. And she was curious. She left her house and came along the back of the crowd, trying to see what they were waiting for. But nothing was happening. Then they began to talk among themselves. Not real talking though, but as flashing, in murmurs like the crumbling of the leaves, like the shadows of the long dead trees. And as she stood there, befuddled at this strange behavior in her very superstitious neighbors, they quietly formed a path through the crowd. And she was in the center of it. It led up to the front walk, but none of them would dare go past there, and yet they were encouraging her, in there looks, and the reflections in their eyes showed her walking to the door, and yet she wasn’t, she was still standing in the middle of the path. And so she walked, towards the door, some of the people nodding to her


response. And as she opened the door, they seemed to change again, and she heard gasps and cries, and as she looked back, she stepped through the doorway, the door shutting behind her.


She was here. She was finally here. The door slammed shut, and I stood by the stairs, watching her. She tugged at the door lightly, not to hard though, and I could feel her bewilderment. Not the usual reaction. She turned around, and I knew that she knew that I was here. I wondered if she would speak. They never did.


As the girl who moved stood in the entryway, she looked at the door; it’s shutting a surprise for her. But as quick as the breeze of cool air flew past her, she knew that the presence of the house was there.

“Clara,” she whispered, surprising even herself by saying so. Clara. Her name. Yet, it felt,.., It felt like it belonged here, like the name had always lingered in the house. “Clara.” She said again, only a bit louder. As if she was testing out the way it felt on her tongue. “Clara!” She shouted, shocking herself with her tone. But it seemed to work. A figure was forming at the end of the hall, made of wisps and wind. It walked above the ground with its toes pointing downwards as if it was trying to walk on the ground again and she, she was sure it was a she, walked towards her, and came to a stop right next to her. The ghost rose to her tiptoes, she was small, as if a child, and whispered right next to her ear, “Clara. That feels right.” She took her hand in her smoky own, and led her to a small downstairs bedroom. It was painted pale pink. And as the next-door girl watched, it faded into a little girls’ room. It was pink, as before, and dolls and toys littered the ground. A little white bed sat in the corner, a rose coverlet tucked in neatly. Above the bed was a framed name, Clara, written in roses, as seemed the theme of the room. As she watched, time

passed. People walked in and out, all in hyper speed. Soon, time slowed again and there was  the girl in bed. She sniffled and said something about feeling sick. Her mother placed a hand on her forehead, then left. Time sped up again, and the girl grew sicker and sicker. Finally, after one of her mother’s visits, the girl, Clara, delirious, climbed through her open window. It had been open for a while, and a cool breeze spread through the room. Suddenly, the girl was playing in the shade of a huge pile of dirt that was in the back yard and looked like it would topple over at any second. Only she still looked sick. Her face was red and she sat down on the ground, her hand clutching to her head as she laid on the cool dirt.

“Watch out!” The girl who lived cried to the little girl, as the pile of dirt collapsed, covering that little girl, Clara instantly. Her screams vanished as soon as they stared as she was buried under a ton of dirt. Then the vision vanished, and the girl was left alone in the house, with no sign of the ghost. As she stumbled out into the chilly night air she wondered if her parents knew what had happened to their daughter, or if they had left the house empty, for the fear of waking up and finding her body to late to save her.

Good descriptive words " the shadows of the long dead trees."

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