Submitted into Contest #102 in response to: Write about a mysterious figure in one’s neighborhood.... view prompt


Drama Fiction Funny

When Mum first told me we were moving, it did not sound as pleasing as she thought it. I was so mad about the whole lot of changes that were bound to take place – changing schools, making new friends, meeting new neighbors, you name it. And who ever moves to Hoodsville? I mean, the name sounds to creepy to be real. To set it straight, I had my qualms about it but Mum was way too frustrated to hear me out; she had barely been herself since Dad’s passing. I understood -or maybe not.  All she has now is me, and I know she only wants what is best for me, so moving it was.

It took more than a week to finish putting all our possessions into boxes – including Dad’s old stuff (I’m still wondering what we would be using that for).  And in three days’ time, the moving truck was in to pick the boxes – to Hoodsvile! A drive into the neighborhood seemed to confirm my suspicion – eerie animal sounds from what looked like a forest, deserted, dilapidated houses with spooky exterior furnishings, trees with no leaves that look like Medusa’s head in the dark, and the old church bell that ding-dongs at very odd hours especially at night – it always puts me at the edge of my seat and gives me goosebumps. I could stay awake all night because I suspected somebody or something is up to something whenever it rung.

The first fortnight was a living hell for me, but Mum appeared to be enjoying the place, mentioning something about serenity and tranquility that did not exist in our old neighborhood.  I would sit up in bed with the least crackling of dried leaves I heard from outside my room – I chose the attic, a very convenient spot in the house to watch out. At this point, I was so certain the usual six to eight hours recommended sleep was out of my league. My transition from my former school to this new one was not complete either so that meant staying at home twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

I used to take long, erratic walks around the neighborhood, combing around for anything I thought was outlandish. Once, I stumbled on a skull that was partly buried beneath the earth – I froze in my tracks until the squeals and screams of some kids playing awoke me. I later found out that, that used to be a cemetery until urbanization took a turn at Hoodsville, and for days, I was overcome by the frenzy of this knowledge. Mum, on the other hand, thought I was putting up an act to evade going to the school she had successfully managed to get me into. That week, I was still without friends at school. Although very scary, and somewhat traumatizing, the subsequent oddity that caught my attention reinvigorated the hope I had built up, that sooner than later Mum and I would have been out of this place.

I had made my bed and was about hopping into it, but more of a ritual now, I had to first stay awake for a while at my window to keep watch a last time. Then. I saw something. I saw eyes, so white and so clear, neither blinking nor twitching, sharply fixed on me through my attic room window, from the house separated from ours by the street. From the third floor – or so I thought (I probably missed my counting that day). Instantaneously, I felt chills run down my spine, and a strong urge to suddenly pee on myself. Instead, I run downstairs to fetch Mum, shouting my way down, missing some steps, and sounding like a siren with a case of emergency for the hospital. When I found her, I spoke so fast, with heavy pants for breath and beads of perspiration trickling down my chest in my pajamas, that she barely made any sense out of it.  My ranting might have convinced her because she reluctantly followed me to my room to corroborate my story. In my room we were, but there was nothing to say. The house across the street had no lights, and nothing of the sort I had mentioned seemed to be real – all the evidences I had gathered were gone, and the house stood lifeless. I felt dumb, and Mum gave me a look that made me feel even worse, as she was vacating my room.

 It happened the day after, and the same events unfolded themselves, and I so badly wanted to give up. But for the third time that week, I saw those eyes again, intently looking at me. This time I just could not let it pass so I shouted “Mum” from upstairs – for so many times I eventually lost count on the number of times I had to call her before she came running to my room (I had learnt my lesson). I assumed she assumed I was up to my antics again, like the boy who cried wolf. Lucky me! Mum did come in, stood by me close to the window, and there they were – those eyes, looking bigger than usual. And guess what?! Mum suddenly passed out. A mouth-to-mouth resuscitation would have been a great idea had she been Audrey (my crush from school) but no! She wasn’t and I just could not see myself bringing my lips close to my mum’s. So I let her lay there for some seconds – or maybe minutes – while I rushed downstairs to grab a glass of water to sprinkle on her face until she woke up.

After close to fifteen minutes of fainting and unsuccessful attempts to bring her back, Mum was awake. That night, I had to stop her from going to knock on our neighbor from across the street’s door to make enquiries. The next morning’s, however, was a futile protest. School was out because it was a Saturday so I had to assist her to our mystery grounds. A friendly nanny opened the door after Mum had knocked and welcomed us to the living room – it was a huge one.  We were offered tea; Mum gulped hers down her throat, impatient to start talking about our reason for calling, while I nobly sipped mine with the ticking of the clock. Much to Mum’s delight, – and perhaps, to mine as well- the nanny asked our motive for visiting now, since she had noticed, we had moved in a couple of weeks ago and had somehow anticipated a visit then. Breaking the codes of formality, Mum specifically laid the details of our last night misery before the nanny, and to our surprise, she burst out laughing. Her response left us gaping at her in utter disbelief.

She revealed, to our satisfaction, that indeed those eyes were there, and they belonged to her master, a veteran soldier. Mr. Wheeler was a fun-loving person, who loved to read and tend to his flowers especially after the death of his sweet Amy – his wife of forty-five years. He had children who visited when they could because they had their own families too. He had everything you could think of- except his vision, the effect of aging. Now, he prefers to sit close to his window for a minimum of half an hour before going to bed each night, to reminisce his good old days, which explained the opened eyes we saw those three previous days. Open eyes that could not see.

 I was looking forward to anything but a serendipitous discovery like that – I genuinely did not see that coming. Mum stepped out of Mr. Wheeler’s house, feeling thankful that this was nothing to send us packing, and I, feeling like a crazy fellow. Mum could not help laughing at me – something I have not heard her do in a very long time. I was so glad I gave my mum a good laugh.

July 16, 2021 18:46

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Eric D.
02:41 Jul 22, 2021

Ending was very cute. Great storytelling just some minor spelling errors in there, to when you meant "too" and the extra l in woodville, otherwise well done.


18:45 Jul 22, 2021

Thank you


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