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Horror Science Fiction Urban Fantasy

The peacefulness of a perfect Sunday morning was rippled by the sounds of the large tracks driving through the sleepy community. The revving motors passed tree-lined streets waking up the neighbors and leaving a cloud of unpleasant dust behind the heavy cars. The trucks didn’t calm down until they reached the cul-de-sac at the end of the main street and got lost behind the massive gates.

“Another sucker,” sighed a few onlookers who cared enough to drag

themselves toward the windows to see what all the commotion was about. 

Some started placing bets among each other “Eight tracks? They got

money! They’ll get bored here in six months maximum!”

Some just shook their heads before going back to bed.

Some decided to start their day early grabbing a quick cup of

coffee before coming outside to throw curious glances in the direction of newcomers while pretending that they couldn’t care less.

The noise and the subtle odor of the running tracks hung in the

air for the most part of the day. The sun already rolled behind the towering hills darkening the sky above the peaceful row of houses when the last truck finally left. After a whole day of loudness, the silence felt strange, even omniscient. Everyone settled in for the night, wondering what the next day will bring. 

On Monday morning, residents heard a strange noise that was not

common for their quiet perfectly manicured street. The sound rhythmically echoed through the empty street dying out somewhere far in the hills. People curiously leaned towards the windows looking for the source of the disturbance.

To their disbelief, the sound was coming from a pair of sneakers that hit the ground with every step their owner took as she steadily jogged past the houses on both sides of the street. Everyone here knew each other so this couldn’t have been anyone but the new resident. Disappointingly, no one was able to describe her accurately.

Some said she was dressed in a pink suit and white cap with long

black hair.

Some argued she was wearing stylish blue leggings with a white top

and large sunglasses even though the morning was on the gloomier side.

Some were certain she was dressed in all black including the

sneakers equipped with high soles which was the cause for the noisy steps that announced her arrival to the area.

In reality, none of that was true. The new neighbor was in fact on

her morning run dressed in simple gray sports pants with an old t-shirt that, in its days of glory, displayed some music group but now almost faded into an unrecognizable blob. She had light hair that was tied in a high knot but it was hard to tell the exact color as she moved past the houses like a blur. She made a circle before she came back towards her bulky gate. She glanced over her shoulder squinting her dark eyes at the curious neighbors that

were popping out of their houses. Just as she suspected, she was the talk of the town… Well, at least on this street which was fine by her. She wasn't that ambitious. Maybe this would end up being a good place to stay for a while. So far, she liked the scenery. 

Picturesque hills encircled this community on three sides giving

up the fourth to the large freshwater lake. Peaceful. Stunning. She pushed the heavy front doors which opened with surprising ease. The house was the largest on the block with a magnificent 180-degree view of the lake. The water-facing wall was mostly made out of glass which was the feature that sold her on this property. Once she saw those floor-to-ceiling windows that were framing the

most stunning sunset, she was certain this could be it. 

She walked upstairs slowly taking it all in. Everything was

already in its place giving an allusion that she lived here for many years. Every item that was brought in found its place on the multitude of shelves that the house offered her. She glanced from the top landing at the kitchen that stood grand and inviting on the side of her panoramic view. She had no use for it but it will come in handy for visitors, which will come soon enough. She

was certain of it.

The first doorbell rang just a few hours later proving her right.

She sighed preparing herself for the first interaction with the neighbors before putting on a welcoming smile and opening the door. 

“Hi!” The woman standing in front of her with some sort of a dish

of something she would never eat had a friendly round face. She was quite short which was emphasized by a very tall man standing next to her. Her voice, just like her bigger-than-life smile, reeked of pretense friendliness. “I’m Maya, this is my hubby, Allan. We wanted to welcome you to the neighborhood!”

As hungry as Maya and Allan were to see their neighbor's face,

they couldn’t quite make it out while she still stood in the shadow of her door, not inviting them to come in. They could see that she was still wearing a hat making it impossible for them to even figure out the color of her hair. 

“Hello and thank you. That is very nice of you,” they heard a low

voice that sounded pleasantly friendly but not welcoming. “I’m Amelia.” She accepted the dish quickly out of Maya’s hand, thanking them again.

“It's a casserole! I made it this morning so it should be a breeze

to warm it up again. You can just…”

“Thank you,” politely but firmly interrupted Amelia. “I’m sure I

will enjoy it. If you forgive me, I’m still unpacking and in the middle of things so …”

She was obviously letting them know to beat it. Maya stepped back,

visibly disappointed. It would have been such a win to be the first

to get inside the house that was always such a mystery. “Of Course! Well, my Allan here is quite handy, aren’t you honey?” she nudged him with an elbow getting a dry nod out of her tall man. “So, if you ever need any help, don’t hesitate. We are the yellow house right there on the corner.” She pointed at something behind her getting an acknowledging nod from Amelia before she closed her door.

Amelia tossed the dish straight in the trash on her way back up.

She watched Maya walking away glancing at the house over the shoulder wondering how long it would be before Maya runs to tell the others. Clearly, this was the busybody of the hood and she turned out to be right once again. It was amusing to see how her visitor ran from one house to another spreading the news.

“Don’t they have a block chat of sorts? Or at least use the phone,

you fool!”

However, it was obvious that Maya preferred face-to-face

interaction. Well, maybe it’s good. After all, it may play into her

hand, Amelia decided. The stream of neighbors continued with small intervals for most of the day. After the first five, Amelia stopped answering the door, watching with amusement as they came and went leaving their plates, baskets, and boxes at her

door. Everyone followed the same pattern of ringing the doorbell a few times before knocking and then looking around uncertainly. It was clear that her neighbors were dying to see what the house looked like inside but they were even more curious about who she was. Well, they would have to wait a while before she can present herself to them in all her glory. 

Amelia chuckled. Glory! Once upon a time maybe but now… well perhaps she will be able to reinstate it here. All the signs pointed to that so time will tell. After all, she had nothing but time on her hands. She ran her fingers through the intricate decorations surrounding her staircase. Yep, this place will do for a while.  

The second night since Amelia arrived was quiet but residents

couldn’t sleep for some reason.

Some woke up in the middle of the night bothered by a feeling that was foreign to them after living here for so many years in

peace and harmony.

Some kept pacing around their rooms in an unexplainable worry

about their future.

Some ended up being awake for the rest of the night feeling

unsettled and unsafe in their houses for the first time ever. 

When the day’s light broke the darkness in the lake’s water, most

of the people in the neighborhood felt exhausted and drained. Many fell asleep relieved that the horrible night was over, completely missing how their new neighbor went for her run around the neighborhood smiling to herself about the success of the last night. Everything was going according to plan. This house and this community of middle-aged to aging adults was definitely the perfect place for it. She will let them rest for the next few days.

A week later, when residents started to fall back into their

routine that was briefly interrupted by Amelia’s move, they got a new surprise in the form of a colorful individualized invitation. Turned out, it came to every mailbox on the street. 

“How did she know our names?” They were exclaiming right and left, opening the golden envelope with their names on it. The expensive-looking invitation emitted a slight but pleasant fragrance that made everyone smile. The handwriting was elaborately decorated by a few cute squiggles here and there offering them to come to Amelia’s birthday party this upcoming Saturday.

Gifts were not required but appreciated. There was also a hint that the host prepared little surprises for her new neighbors which immediately spiked the interest of most residents of the community. The dress code was stated as dressy casual which immediately triggered a haze in the female population as

they started ripping through their closets with old-as-world exclamations “I have nothing to wear.”

A slight smile touched Amelia’s lips as she watched her neighbors'

cars leave one after another with women rushing to the local mall in a perfect excuse to shop, dragging their unsuspecting significant others along for the ride with them. Now, not only did they have something to look forward to on the weekend, but they also got a perfect occasion to leave the commonness of their houses and have lunches out. It’s amazing how predictable humans are in their behaviors with a few exceptions of course. But those are the ones that most likely would skip her party anyway and would be worthy of it. She stepped away from the window, stretching. She would need to get some help to get the house in order. Yep, this is going to be fun even for her. It’s been a while since she hosted

so many of them.

On Saturday evening one could see a steady stream of people coming out of their houses, walking over to the largest house at the end of the street. All of them were dressed up buzzing with excitement about the evening ahead of them. Maya was ahead of that chain chatting with a few neighbors. 

“Have you seen any catering trucks coming over?” she suddenly

wondered. The neighbors all shook their heads suddenly realizing that they haven’t seen Amelia go on her run or drive anywhere since the invitations came.

There were no visitors to her mansion either so the question did linger – how was she pulling off hosting so many people? The added mystique of the upcoming event only increased everyone’s excitement as they gathered by the gates finding them surprisingly locked. 

A few moments later, the balcony doors on the second floor

vibrated lightly before opening widely, letting through a slender woman in a long tight dress and a large matching hat. The crowd by the gate gave an “oh” and “ah” sounds hungrily taking in the details of Amelia’s wardrobe.

Some thought her dress was made out of red leather. 

Some were convinced it was a blue silk with a large hat that was

trimmed with the same material

Some could argue Amelia’s ensemble was white and silver.

None was right and Amelia was watching them from the height of her balcony lovingly stroking the sides of her black leather dress thinking how wonderful it felt to be in her body where she could allow herself to wear anything she liked. Even now.

“Welcome my friends,” she called out to them with a wave of her

arm. The gates opened as on command and the buzzing crowd poured into the front yard and through the opened front doors into the house. She gave them a few minutes to spread around before Amelia started down the stairs toward her guests. They all looked up again impatiently anxious to finally see who she was. Amelia was coming down slowly savoring every moment still looking down

with her large hat covering her face and her head. Never before was she able to get to this point this fast – let’s have some fun.

“I’m so glad you were able to join me today at my new humble

residence. I’m already feeling like one of us and hope you all will feel

equally at home here. Please make yourself comfortable.”

With the last words, she stopped on the lower landing, now just a

few feet from her guests. She couldn’t resist her past habits and removed her hat with a theatrical pause before she lifted her head and looked straight at the people in front of her. She heard a familiar sigh of surprise that rolled through the room and died out hitting her tall ceiling. 

Amelia stood in front of them with her long gray hair falling from

her shoulders down her back in a perfect stylish wave. Her face still glowed with the signs of the former beauty but the little wrinkles here and there mercilessly gave out the reality of her age. But her eyes – everyone was drawn to her large dark youthfully sparkling eyes that looked around with a sense of royal dignity and attracted with a magnetism that was impossible to fight. 

“I am not big on parties, you know,” she continued with a slight

smile in the corner of her perfectly lined lips, “but today is a special

occasion. When one’s turning ninety, you should be grateful for such a long and fruitful life. I’m blessed to be in good health and spirit so I hope to share my joy with all of you tonight!”

The room remained silent with many looking at her with their

mouths wide open. Such a reaction was typical and expected so Amelia walked down the remainder of the stairs pleased that she still had this effect on people and her “touch” didn’t fade over the eyes. When was the last time she did something like this? Twenty? Thirty years? Too long! She really should reward herself more frequently. She deserves it. 

As guests spread out, they started noticing beautifully dressed

trays with rare delicatessens here and there. The bar by the large kitchen island was also covered in pre-opened bottles with a variety that could satisfy even the most demanding tastes. Before long, the noise of excitement filled the house along with the clinking of the glasses and silverware. Most still wondered how Amelia managed to pull this off without any visible deliveries but after all, she did just move in. Perhaps, the supplies were brought in at that time. 

The toasts toward the host were coming up from time to time. Amelia raised her glass smiling politely at everyone but not saying much. 

Some felt like she remained withdrawn from the crowd still

standing close to the stairs.

Some could swear that she mingled and talked to everyone in the

room making them all feel welcome.

Some argued that Amelia disappeared altogether and showed up at

the bottom of the stairs only when the sun started to set over the lake.

One thing everyone agreed on was that when the sky started to

change color, the blinds on the large windows started to slowly slide up unveiling the spectacular view of the golden and red colored clouds that were reflecting in the perfectly still lake. As if on command, the large door opened up to the sides inviting everyone to the back deck. 

“I hope you all would join me outside for a special surprise,”

announced Amelia suddenly appearing next to the doors. She waved her visitors over walking out and inviting them to follow her. 

As it got darker and the first stars started to come through,

suddenly there was a loud bang that made everyone flinch but it immediately changed into an exhilarating roar when thousands of fireworks lit up the sky in a multitude of colors and shapes.

“Amelia, this is beyond anything I have ever seen before!” exclaimed Maya unconsciously grabbing at Amelia's arm while still gawking at the sight above her. When she didn’t hear a response Maya turned to look at Amelia and her smile instantly faded. She opened her mouth wide in horror but no sound came out. Amelia was pleased that this annoying busybody was the first one to come to her. She slowly opened all of her eight arms giving Maya a big hug bringing her closer and closer until they became one. Phew, it felt good to

finally stretch all her extremities and have a good meal. She looked around while others one by one fell down in a stupor-like state. This will do. Yep, she will be able to stay here for a while, maybe much longer than her previous place. It’s nice to be able to celebrate her ninetieth birthday among friends. Once Again!

August 12, 2023 22:35

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5 comments

Vid Weeks
20:42 Aug 19, 2023

Loved Amelia, thanks for sharing

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Delbert Griffith
11:44 Aug 15, 2023

That was a fun, dark, chilling tale, Ela. Amelia the alien played her part quite well, and the ending, with horror and revelation, felt so natural. You did a fine job with this one, my friend. Very engaging. Cheers!

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Ela Mikh
15:52 Aug 15, 2023

Thank you! I always look forward to your comments. Amelia was a fun character to imagine but most of all - I just LOVED her house :)

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Mary Bendickson
16:10 Aug 13, 2023

Party flavors.

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Ela Mikh
21:50 Aug 13, 2023

Tam-Tam-Tam :)

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