The Lady Next Door

May 5, 2010
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“What’s going to happen to that house next door?” I thought to myself in the car as it pulled up the driveway.
“Amber, get out of the car, you silly little girl.” I heard my mom’s voice echo from inside the house.
As soon as the sun was plunging behind the clouds, I looked at my endearing little brown house, an ordinary house for the suburbs of New Jersey. Every single house on the lane looked like a clone of the other, except for one.
After I took the groceries out of the car, I made my way toward the house. I stepped onto the pavement and glanced at the big, old, empty house next door. Stopping dead in my tracks, I remembered the time when there was a happy family living there. A beautiful mother, a successful father and 2 angelic kids once called that house home. Yet, I never knew the reason why they moved out. Looking at the house, I started to miss hearing their kids playing in the garden and the smell of their Sunday barbeques. The sunset convinced the sky to turn orangy red and the citrus light shone through the glass of the abandoned home. With the groceries, I snapped out of it and continued walking into the door and didn’t give it any more thought. I dumped the brown paper bags on the counter in the kitchen and began to pace up the stairs when I heard my mom yell, “Amber, did you put the milk in the fridge?”
“Yeah!” I lied, “I did.”
“Alright Amber,” my mom said, trying to stop me from making excuses. “I don’t have time for this!” she cried nervously as she looked at her watch. “I’m meeting Mr. White at the Café, I’ll be back in a few hours.”
Before I could say anything, my mom picked up her keys, grabbed her coat and was swiftly out the door.
Mr. White is one of the nicest people I know. I think he is too young to be called “Mr.” He is only in his early thirties. Mr. White or Mr. “Just-call-me-Rick” is one of my mom’s best friends and a close friend of mine, too. Rick takes me out to the park a lot and we go fishing and play football on the grass. There is something about Rick, he has that force that makes everybody gravitate towards him. Every time he takes me out, I admire how his blonde hair shines as if it replicates the rays of the sun. Without knowing, I look at his hair so much that I don’t hear what he is saying. It’s so captivating that even women come up to him and ask how he got hair like that.
Subconsciously, I poured myself a glass of milk and went back into my bedroom. I set the milk on my desk and looked into the mirror. I was fixing my red hair and stared into my dark green eyes when I saw the reflection of something out of the ordinary behind me in the window. On the right, something caught my eye. Though I quickly twirled backwards, I couldn’t see anything. Then I slowly tiptoed to the window, not knowing what to expect. And to my relief and to my surprise, I saw someone moving in next door! I sat at my window a little longer to see who it could be. Unfortunately, all I saw was a big moving truck and the workers unloading the furniture. So I slid my cell phone out of my pocket and texted my best friend Savannah.
“What’s the 411 on the house next door?” I texted and pressed send. She lives right next to the empty house as well; it is positioned right between her house and mine. I continued staring out the window, wanting to know what all the commotion was about. Yet, I still could not see much. Until I felt my phone buzzing on my lap, I did not know what was going on. It was a text from Savannah.
“Creepy, old lady moving in. Alone.”

This news got me so excited! I wanted to see it for myself but the sun already made its way under the mountains and most people were already enjoying the comfort of their beds. My curiosity kept me up at night so I got out of bed and I parked myself by the big glass window. During this time, I noticed that the night was deathly still; the only light I could see was the reflection of the moonlight melting on the floor board like a pool of silvery light. The creaky, weathered house was shadowy and looked sinister. When there wasn’t a single fleck of light in view, I decided to go to sleep. I would see what happens tomorrow.

The next morning, I woke up really early and ran down to Savannah’s house. Her blonde hair was put in a high pony tail as usual and her cheeks were rosy red. And I saw that Dixon was there too. Dixon is Savannah’s brother. His Light brown hair was swept to the side and skimmed his eyes. Behind me, he stood in the corner, leaning against the wall, hands in pockets.

“That old lady is creepy. I heard her name was Mrs. Van Der Woodsen.” He said in his croaky, guyish voice.
“Last night, all the lights were on in that house while everyone was sleeping. What was she doing that required all the lights on?” interrupted Savannah anxiously.
But wait, all the lights were off when I was looking out the window. Everything was pitch black outside. I suddenly felt weird in my stomach. I had a hunch that something was fishy when she first moved it. But maybe I’m just being weird about it.
Then Savannah, Dixon and I walked to the park. As we walked by her house, we spotted Mrs. Van Der Woodsen. She was at the window, starring at us. All of us started to get the creeps so we walked faster. We were quiet; none of us said a word. We actually started to get scared so we all decided to just go home. We parted ways and I ran in the house as the door slammed behind me.
“Goodness, Amber,” yelled my mom. “What got into you?”

I explained what happened, and about our new neighbor. My mom just listened, nodded her head and smiled.

“Mom, what’s so funny?” I asked suspiciously.

“Nothing, dear. But where is your bracelet?” She inquired curiously.

She was talking about my favorite green bracelet with the charms. It was a gift for my 14th birthday last year. I never go a day without it. I woke up this morning and it wasn’t there. I wonder if I may have misplaced it. No. Every night I put it in the same little glitzy, pink box as I always had. I called Savannah, asking if she knew where it was or is she saw me lose it. She said she didn’t see it. Then, she informed me that she was missing her diamond earrings and Dixon lost his lucky chain. I didn’t think this was a coincidence. There is no way all this could just happen. Behind the door, I looked out the window to see the house, and there she stood, looking at me with her big blue eyes piercing through me. I tried to look away, but I couldn’t. It was like she had an energy that forced me to stand right where I was. She started to smile wickedly. Then she closed her curtains and disappeared.

That’s it! Because all of our stuff went missing when she moved in, I knew for sure that she has something to do with it because all our stuff disappeared when she moved in. I talked to my mom about it and she started to get suspicious as well. She said she would discuss it with the other parents and see if they could come up with something.
A Few days later, she did. After lunch, she told me that she had already called a meeting with the other parents in the community and many of them had lost their belongings since Mrs. Van Der Woodsen had moved in. So all of us decided to go to Mrs. Van Der Woodsen’s house and search it for our belongings.

The next day, we waited outside the house until the most of the community arrived. When all of us were there, we barged in her house, opened every closet, searched every cupboard, analyzed every shelf, entered every room and excavated all places as she stood in the corner, watching us and trembling in fear. The iciness in her eyes turned into a fearful gray, and her face looked like it had a million weights on it.
After two hours of rummaging, we found nothing. There was nowhere else to look. Even though there was no evidence, I still had a feeling that she robbed our things. Some of the parents apologized to Mrs. Van Der Woodsen as we disappointedly walked out the door. Behind Mr. White, I was walking when I noticed that he had dropped something. It was an emerald ring. I was about to return it to him when I came to the realization that it was a woman’s ring. Rick doesn’t have a wife or a girlfriend and his mother lives in Wyoming. So, feeling curious, I asked him who it belonged to. He snatched it out of my fingers and looked around anxiously.

“Uuhhmm, uuhh that belongs to uuhh, uhh to me!” he stuttered nervously.

As he turned around, something in his pocket caught my eye. He continued walking and I followed him like a little puppy, trying to make sense of what was in his pocket. Then finally I got it! It was green, dangly and sparkly.

“No way!” I screamed. It was my favorite bracelet! My mom heard me and asked what all the commotion was about. I told her that I saw my bracelet in his pocket. Before I knew it, lots of people overheard what was going on and started circling Rick.
I asked him to empty his pockets, and so he did. And there they were. As he unloaded his pockets, we saw every single object that had gone missing. Almost everyone in the town stood around him, eyes staring in awe and jaws dropped in shock. Nobody expected fun-loving Rick to be behind all of this. Everybody was stunned at what they were seeing. It was hard to process the fact that someone who everybody loved was a criminal.

Fortunately, everybody retrieved their possessions and apologized to Mrs. Van der Woodsen for their inappropriate behavior. Rick left the town and Mrs. Van der Woodsen has become accepted in the community. We have learned that she makes the best cherry pies ever! While Rick in now gone, we know that the lady next door is a wonderful woman.

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