The first day in the house was a strange one. Sure, It was a beautiful house, old and light pink, like something out of a fairy tale, almost. There was a tall oak tree so high that if you were to fall out of it you would surely die before you hit the ground. That was a good sign.There were elegant white wooden stairs leading up to the porch which was complete with a porch swing. The house could be considered a mansion, would be considered a mansion by most people in this small town. The inside was even better. Five stories high. Too many rooms to count. No flickering lights in sight. Nice pastel colors. Everything Macy Summers could want in a house. Everyone in the family could have their own room, even her parents, if they so choose. But they wouldn’t. So there would be an extra room on the the fourth floor, where the bedrooms would be. And that would be the game room. Macy had high hopes.
The day started as your average moving in day would. All four of her siblings and herself were bickering lightheartedly about who was to select their room first. But this was not unusual. And frankly, Macy herself, was really only arguing for the purpose of arguing. She loved every single room in this lovely old place. After about ten minutes they had a . Since Marisa, the nine year old baby of the family, was scared of everything, including fires, heights, and loud noises, she would make her selection first. Next, Monique, the oldest child, who had no short of seventy two requirements for her perfect room. Then Peter, only a couple months older than Macy, because he was older and had more authority. Then came Shanna, Macy’s twin sister, and finally, finally it was her turn.
They all trampled up the stairs, looking at what they had to work with. The rooms were arranged in sort of a semi circle, all centered around one coffee table looking thing which their mother absolutely loved. The carpet was soft under their socked feet. Marisa weaved from room to room, all seven of them. Opening doors, checking closets, looking out windows. Finally, she choose the smallest room at the very center of the circle. She took a piece of paper out of the stack she had brought with her from their previous home, part of her collection of random objects she considered prized possessions and wrote her name. She stuck it to her door and happily bounced down the dozens of stairs to collect her boxes. This happened four more times. Picking rooms methodically until everyone was happily roomed.
Macy ended up with the third room to the right, next to Peter and Marisa’s. And she was fine with this. She carried four boxes full of her things, at a time. It was hard work and still had to make several trips. Plus reassemble her twin bed. When she was done carrying all of her things up to her room, she looked around. The walls were white. Bare. Okay, she could deal with that. There was an old looking window on one wall, it . The ceiling was pretty low, but not unbearable. Everything was pretty plain. But it worked. Once she had her dresser, which, by the way, matched the outside of her house, and her bed, it would all work out. In fact quite pretty. This was shaping up to be a really good day. A few hours later, after the furniture was out and Macy was mostly pleased with the interior design of the place, she knocked on Shanna’s door. She had the room at the very opposite end of the circle.
As Macy looked at the door she became more and more disgusted. It looked painfully cheap, already. The door had pink sparkly rhinestones covering the sides and a sign with the words Shanna’s room: KEEP OUT, glittered, which made sense because one of Shanna’s trade marks was glitter glue. When Shanna opened the door, Macy was blinded by the pinkness of her room. Posters of various boy bands and ABC TV shows littered the wall. Not covered. littered. Shanna’s room, one that, bare, could be fit for a princess, the walls were a nice shade of white with pink trim around the end, but with someone like Shanna inhabiting it, the room was more like a place that all arts and crafts stores came to dump their leftovers. It was horrible.
“Hey,” Shanna said, a perky tone resounded through the room. “How do you like it?” She gestured behind her.
“Even less then the last one.” Macy faked a smile, it was closer to a grimace though.
“What’s wrong with it?” Shanna looked disbelieving, arching an eyebrow. “It’s pink!” She crossed her arms and made a fake pouting face. As if she didn’t already know how horrible her room looked. Macy was slightly irritated.
“Yeah, trust me, I know.” Macy said, “Do you want to go outside? I’m bored.”
“We’ve been here for a total of, what? Ten minutes and Macy’s already bored... but sure, sounds good.” She said, pulling on yet another hot pink sweatshirt. They raced down the stairs, shoving each other as they went. Almost running into Peter who was idly standing in the foyer, looking deep in thought.
“Peter!” Said Shanna. Peter, seeming to come out of his little world, snapped his neck around like this was the first he’d seen of them. He looked confused, pretty normal for him. “What are you doing?”
“Well,” He said, looking serious. “What if a cat mated with a giraffe, it’d be called catraffe, sure. But would it be a calico cat with a long neck or a spotless giraffe with a short neck?”Both Macy and Shanna stared at him. They were used to Peter’s... uniqueness, but always wondered how he came up with some of these ideas that he did.
“It’s time for you to come outside.” Said Shanna. Peter followed without question, sometimes glancing upward. He would never be completely focused on the task at hand.
Macy pulled open the door, which, like most of the others in the house, was white. More stairs to climb down. Macy was going to have strong legs after living her for a few months. The grass in the front yard was tall, but not too tall so it became unmanageable. In the spring they could plant some flowers, tulips maybe, and have a pretty little garden. It all fit in nicely into Macy’s longterm goals.
“So, what should we do now that we’ve made it to the great out doors?” Asked Peter. Macy glanced around the neighborhood. It looked fairly quiet. Not many kids. There were no bikes or basketball hoops insight. She wasn’t sure what her intentions were now that she had reached her destination. Then, she saw a car. It was small and white. It pulled up to the apartment building directly across the street from their own home. A tall man in a dark coat, who looked like a shady villain in a movie, climbed out the car, caring a large sack. Not a bag or a backpack, not even something that could have stored food. A highly suspicious sack.
“Did you see that guy?” Macy said in a loud whisper. Peter nodded his head up and down and bit his lip. That meant he was thinking. But Shanna, however, was not one who was much for surreptitiously investigated something, called out to the man before he reached the door of his rundown building.
“Hey, tall guy!” She waved her hands frantically above her head. That was too much for Peter and Macy. Both of them hit the ground ducking behind a fairly short bush for protection. She had his full attention. He looked kind of angry. Great, more ruined relationships for their parents because of Shanna. “What do you have in the sack?” No doors were open, but Shanna was yelling loud enough to hear from outer space. The guy crossed the street. He was on their sidewalk now. It just got worse and worse.
“Shhh,” He said, irritably. “Don’t you tell anyone you saw me, ya hear?” The guy was one of the scariest people on the face of the planet. He had small, beady eyes that could drill holes into your scull with one glance. He was tall. Maybe six foot seven or eight. He had muscles the size of his car and had a long scar running from one side of his face to another. And he was bald. Of course he was.
Macy got to her feet, gesturing for Peter to do the same. She grabbed Shanna’s arm and pulled her into the house. They gathered by a window of the foyer and watched as the man slunk back into the building. He checked back over his shoulder, glancing toward their house. Macy closed the curtains. What now? Outside was obviously off limits. Or was it? She glanced curiously back in the direction of the building. It was creepy.
It was a brick building with a small parking lot in front of it. There were many parts where it seemed some brick was missing, or it just didn’t seem to fit. The windows were old, as was the rest of the neighborhood, but instead of being semi charming it was more run down, like it was long past it’s due date. Macy was interested.
“Let’s find out more about this guy.” Said Macy, looking at Peter’s dismayed face and Shanna’s delighted one. Peter was always the nervous one. Never wanting to do the wrong thing or get in any kind of trouble, he mostly kept to himself. For Shanna, people made rules so they could be broken. Kind of twisted logic, but absolutely perfect for situations like these.
“What are you going to do?” Said Peter, sticking his index finger partway in his mouth and chewing the nail.
“Well,” Shanna said. “I think we should start with asking the neighbors about him, you know, do a little research. Then, we should see about getting into the apartment building, or watch him from a window. We can see where we’re at after that.” Macy bobbed her head excitedly. That sounded good to her. Plus this gave them a chance to meet the neighbors. Then again, that would be quite a bad first impression.
“I don’t know.” Said Peter slowly, he glowered several times in the direction of the window. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other. Clearly nervous. “That guy was pretty big. I don’t think it’s a good idea to make him mad, especially on our first day here. You know what it’s like having neighbors who hate you, don’t you Shanna?” He looked triumphant.
“Yeah, and I really don’t care. Plus I’m guessing that guy doesn’t have to many friends either. You’re just scared, aren’t you?” Shanna asked.
“Fine. Let’s go.”
So they walked outside. Looking for possible sources of information. They headed to the house next to their own. It looked like a cosy little cottage, especially next to their towering estate. The windows were brightly light and the house cast a happy glow on everything within a ten foot radius. It was a nice light blue, almost green color. Macy enjoyed it almost as much as her own house, almost. All three of them bounded up the sidewalk leading to the doorway with Macy leading and Peter nervously trailing behind, muttering about how stupid all of it was. Macy rapped her knuckles against the door three times then waited. Almost immediately the sound of barking echoed through the house and the sound of shuffling feet could be heard from just inside. A short and rather stout women beamed down at them as she swung the door open.
“Hey,” Began Macy. She had always been the best with people. “My name’s Macy, these are my brother and sister, Peter and Shanna. We just moved in next door.” The woman smiled, it would have been nice except for, what? There was something just not quite right with her face. It was off. And when she spoke, a horse croak of a voice chocked it’s way out of her throat. It was raspy and quite unpleasant. Not exactly what Macy was expecting.
“Hello children,” She said, almost in a whisper. “My name is Meredith Wilson. You may Mrs. Wilson. Would you like to come in?” She gestured toward her house. Her smile had completely transformed. What was once an almost warm smile had evaporated into a thin, jagged line stretching from one side of her wrinkled face to another.
Peter nudged Macy’s arm, making what he most likely thought to be a subtle gesture in the other direction. Macy ignored him, put on the happiest, most plastic smile she could manage while feeling as uncomfortable as she did then.
“We would LOVE to!” She said, with forced enthusiasm. The woman drew up the boniest finger Macy had ever seen. The nails were severely unkept and in need of a good washing. Her hand trembled like a minor earth quake. She waved them inside. Macy led the way, followed by a rather bouncy Shanna. Peter trailed a few steps behind.
Mrs. wilson led them through a long hallway with many, many pictures lining the walls. Macy was rather startled. There were hundreds of them. Rows upon rows of portraits of miserable faces stared down at them. There was a haunting quality to them. Each of their eyes were almost empty, gone. They were all different. None of which resembled another. There was a young girl, maybe six or seven years old. She was quite normal looking. She had a dark brown bob tucked neatly below her ears, chapped thin lips, and a little heart shaped necklace hanging from her neck. But what caught Macy’s attention were the eyes. Blue and watery, glinting off the light, the eyes seemed to cast out a silent plea for help.
Macy stopped to examine the girl. Now that she looked, the girl seemed paler than she should be. Skinnier too. All of them resembled the girl in this way. There was an old man, a middle aged women, a boy who looked to be around her own age. She turned to Mrs. Wilson, who by now was at the end of the hall and asked,
“Are these people family of yours?” Mrs. Wilson came to stand by Macy, putting a hand on her shoulder. It was as cold as ice.
“Ah, no,” She said, a smile crossing her face, “But I remember her. Annabelle, I think her name was, a nice young girl. Couldn’t stay for very long though.” She chuckled to herself.
“What do you mean, stay?” Macy said, scared for the answer to come. But all she said was,
“You’ll find out soon enough.” That was the understatement of the century.