My Grandparents’ House Is Haunted
Pine trees buzzed past us as we drove down the road, the song “American Ghost Dance” was playing on the radio. The smell of fresh cut grass and mustard flowers seeped in through the cracked car window. The scent of the flowers made me think of hot dogs. My stomach growled hungrily.
“Do we have any more snacks?” I asked.
My mother passed me a bag of pretzels. “Share these with your sister.”
Stacey was sitting in her car seat, incorrectly singing the lyrics to the song. I scooped some pretzels into my hand and dumped some out into her hand. They did little to satisfy my hunger.
We pulled into my grandparents’ driveway. Their house was white, three-stories with a shed adjacent to it. My grandmother stood on the front porch, her face was stretched into a jovial smile. She was wearing her purple nightgown, blonde hair rolled into curlers. her nose was huge. It always reminded me of the Wicked Witch of the West.
My mother helped Stacey out of the car and walked us up to the porch. Mom and Grandma exchanged pleasantries. The smell of chocolate chip cookies filled my nostrils, I was starving and felt like I hadn’t eaten for days. After Mom left, Grandma pulled cookies out of the oven.
“I made these just for you kids. If there’s anything else you guys need or want let me know.”
We each took a cookie from the tray. gooey, melted chocolate oozed out between my fingers, making them stick together. I could hear my grandfather upstairs talking to the tenants John and Nick. Grandpa came down the stairs and walked into the kitchen, holding something behind his back. His wife beater was drenched with sweat, and his green overalls looked to be saturated with sweat too. His hair white messy and unkempt nearly covered his hazel eyes.
“I’ve got something for you kids. Look what I got you Tommy.”
He handed me a Dan Marino Jersey. A smile spread across my face; I wrapped my arms around him giving him a tight squeeze.
“What about me gandpa?” Stacey said jealousy.
“I got you something too sweetheart, I’ll get it hold on.
He came back with a bright, red, brand new tricycle. Stacey jumped up and down her bright blue eyes as wide as a clock and mouth wide open in excitement.
“A tycycle a tycycle!” Stacy shouted. He set it on the ground for her. She mounted it and clanged the bell. The sound hurt my ears, every time she wrung the bell I gritted my teeth and closed my eyes.
“Can we go outside and pawe?”
Stacey rode her trike, and I explored the woods. We got tired, so we went inside and watched television. Stacey grabbed the remote and put on cartoons. After a few minutes, she turned down the volume on the T.V. so Grandma, Grandpa, and myself would be forced to listen to.
“Did I ever tell you guys about my friends? There’s a girl named Amy who has a tycycle like mine, she’s lazy and she never picks her head up. She always has her head like this.” She rested her head on her shoulder.
“Also there’s a man whose skin is all black and has a lit stick in his mouth and he keeps asking me for freck kin. Do you know what that means?”
We all shook our heads no. Stacey looked confused for a moment then turned the volume back up. “The things kids make up these days.” My grandfather muttered to my grandmother.
The phone rang Grandpa answered, “Hey Jack. Yeah, I have the kids. Sure we’d be interested in coming over for dinner.”
“Hey, do you kids wanna go over to Mr. Williams house for dinner?”
“Yes.” We said simultaneously.
Since they were neighbors it was only a five second walk over to Mr. Williams house. He already had dinner on the table. We ate and he asked my grandparents what they were doing now that they were retired. Then he asked Stacey how she liked preschool and asked me how middle school was going. After dinner he gave Stacey and I generous amounts of ice cream. “Could I have freck kin, for my friend?”
Mr. Williams looked confused, I scowled at her and flicked her ear. Mr. Williams laughed and gave her another scoop of ice cream. We visited with Mr.Williams for a little longer then went home.
We watched “Ghostbusters” before bed. That night I was sleeping on the second floor in my dad’s old bedroom. I was woken by the infamous clang. Wide awake and extremely pissed at my sister’s inconsideration. Flabbergasted that this did not wake up my grandparents. I threw my door open and marched into the hallway.
I froze in my steps, there was a little girl about the age of three. At the top of the staircase. She sat on a tricycle, her neck lolling lazily to the side, resting on her shoulder. It looked like someone had wrung the girl’s neck. It all felt wrong; ice cold air kissed my cheeks. Bile crept up my throat, a rancid tang filled my mouth.
The bell clanged again.
The girl turned to me; she was as pale as a dead fish belly, her eyes glowed like the lit end of a cigarette. She flashed me a broad, toothy smile; the bell clanged once more. The front wheel was dangerously close to the edge.
A pair of charred arms shot out from the darkness and pushed her. Thudding filled the air; the chaos came to a crescendo with a crack and pop.
A loud shrieking filled my ears, it felt like needles were being jammed into them. I dropped to my knees. My skin was cold, and clammy like I had been in the bath too long. My pulse was racing rapidly, it felt like pins were being pushed into my chest. The pain was unbearable. Not knowing what to do I began sobbing, tears and snot cascaded down my face like a roaring waterfall. I curled up into a ball and eventually passed out.
The next morning my grandmother found me in the hallway. She asked me why I was in the hallway. I said I was sleepwalking, obviously I wasn’t going to tell her I saw a ghost. She was very concerned, she checked me for scuffs, took my temp, and gave me Advil. Once she was certain I was okay she told me to clean up before breakfast.
During breakfast, I barely touched my eggs, all I could think about was the girls shrieking and who was behind those awful charred arms.