The house stood dour and unyielding. In a neighborhood that screamed of color and modernity, it stood alone and segregated, reeking of black and white; bleeding darkness and memories of chaos and horror onto the leaf-strewn streets like blood.
The house's facade was like an angry, brooding face. Deep cracks ran along its walls, resembling frozen veins. And broken windows glared in the sun, posing like broken teeth. There was a small parched yard in front of the house that grimly mirrored how dreary the house and everything around it was.
A couple of dead Sycamore trees waved their bony fingers in the breeze, beckoning me to come closer like an alluring enchantress. I obeyed, almost scared of what might happen if I didn't. I approached the heavily rusted, ironwork-laced gates that guarded the old house like exhausted bull dogs. Their rasping creaks screeched at me to stay away, to leave them untouched. But I wasn't threatened.
I stepped into the front yard of the house, past the bawling gates that now sang in a hellish chorus: You want to play with fire? Then get ready to burn.
My shoes crunching the coarse sand of the yard (which really sounded like dry bones being crushed to me), I looked up at the house and it seemed suddenly as though I had somehow wronged nature itself. A scene that would've served well in a lowbrow horror movie unfurled itself forebodingly around me: the sun dimmed itself, fallen twigs that lay scattered around the dead trees rolled as dry winds grazed them and whorling ravens cawed menacingly as if to warn me something bad was about to happen immediately. The house looked down at me with a moue of extreme distaste. I thought to myself, How many sleeping pills did I take last night?
I started feeling very weird suddenly. My head rang as if I'd been standing too close to a resonating gong and my palms grew cold and sweaty. My heart's thumping became deafening and my mouth went paper dry. I should've gone back into my car and driven away but instead, I went forward.
My mother had always taught me to ask four questions to myself every time something scared me: Why am I scared? What is scaring me? Do I really have to be scared of it? If yes, what can I do about it?
A pang of remorse severed my heart as I remembered my mother. I wished she was here with me, holding my hand and warmly rubbing it in hers to help me calm down. I wished to see her smile again, her bright freckles and her endearing hazel eyes. Those eyes could make the heaviest heart feel as light as a feather. I missed her very much.
Forcing my mother out of my thoughts before I let tears slip, I studied the house in front of me. Its ancient, decrepit appearance and how it still had an ambiance of old money and forgotten stateliness about it. They said it was heavily haunted, the people of the neighborhood but I didn't believe them. All sorts of stories had evolved about what had happened here. Distorted canards and dark rumors all far from the truth, but they all had one thing in common: Years ago, a man had murdered his wife in this house on a Wednesday night, and their eight-year-old daughter had been there, witnessing it.
I started walking towards the front door thinking the answers to the four questions my mother had taught me: Why am I scared? I'm scared because of the house.
What is scaring me? That I have to walk into it.
Do I really have to be scared of it? I don't know, do I?
What can I do about it? Reassure myself that that there's nothing to be scared about. There's nothing to be scared about. It's just an old house.
I climbed up the front porch steps, ready to kick open the front door while I forced myself to not think--I'm scared I'm scared I'm scared. To not think about how I'd never seen this house for fifteen years since that awful Wednesday night my father had murdered my mother in their bedroom. It had been their ninth wedding anniversary.