Previously in this blog serial...
Now the HAUNTING continues…
I am standing at the threshold to an inner sanctum quite unlike the other rooms I passed in The Golden Dusk. Lush velvet curtains filter the morning sun into a warm blue, giving the impression of being underwater. Neatly framed photos and inspirational pictures dot the walls, almost as if they are collectively directing attention to the deep purple recliner and its decrepit owner. Ms. Floridia Minch, somehow still alive and older than the dirt she enjoys spreading, sits staring intently.
Without taking her eyes off me, she lowers the volume of either religious or country music. “Just you, James Schroder? I’m surprised the Newcastle boy isn’t with you. You and your brother could never resist the basic temptation of that family.”
I ignore the insinuation and step into the room, focusing on her burgundy wig more than her watchful eyes. “I’m here about my brother, Ms. Minch and what you saw.”
“I have seen many things over the years.” Ms. Minch fondles the pair of binoculars hanging around her dainty, wrinkled neck. She then goes through a list of alleged transgressions. From witnessing a man named Ned relieving himself in public years ago to Mrs. Decker failing to wear a bra at arts and crafts yesterday, I feel my mind wandering until Tommy comes up in her gossip. “I was naturally shocked when I saw your brother servicing the widow Waterbottom.”
“Wait. What did you see Tommy do?” I take a bold step forward.
Ms. Floridia Minch, either ignoring or not noticing my eager tone, casually answers, “Your brother was mowing the widow Waterbottom’s weed infested lawn.”
I stare directly into her condemning eyes, trying to understand the significance of her words, “I’m confused.”
“The widow Waterbottom wasn’t,” Ms. Minch scoffs. “That woman watched your bare-chested brother like a hawk, inviting him to her rickety porch for store bought lemonade. He stood there, gulping down a glass as she drank in his young, sweaty torso. Disgusting.”
I imagine Tommy standing behind the ancient woman’s recliner, a sarcastically bemused look on his face. This can’t be what my parents whispered about when they thought I wasn’t listening. Everyone who knew my brother knew he was a show-off. It wasn’t news then and it’s definitely not now.
“Well, thank you for your time, Ms. Minch. You obviously didn’t see anything strange ten years ago.” I turn to leave, feeling irritated and stupid for ever believing this gossipy old lady would have anything helpful to say.
“Oh…that,” she states slowly, forcing me to face her again. “You’ve come to hear the story of how my heathen neighbor disappeared right before my eyes.”
The HAUNTING continues in…
Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words!
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