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The King House
He lit a Pall Mall and watched as Jasper closed the door. He inhaled a drag, staring down the street of the town he grew up in. He walked over to the pitchforked, stained with blood rocking chair and remembered the stories that were told to him by John King. He didn’t believe the stories John told him as a child, or else he wouldn’t have bought the house, but he couldn’t deny the creepy nature. He shook his head, returned to the half cigarette left, and forgot the folklore that haunted his mind as a child.
Jasper ran down the many stairs to find his father aimless in the hall.
“Father, I saw her again!”
He stared at the son that he is paid to care for, “It’s just your imagination. Go back to your studying.”
Jasper sighed and turned.
He stared at the large house he owned, feeling an unknown sense of nostalgia. Not sure what he was missing, he could not ignore the sensation trickling down from his heart. He spun on heels and walked to his bedroom. He tried to erase the emotions and memories by sinking himself deeper into the responsibilities he spends most of his days snubbing.
This was the fifth time since moving in last week that Jasper saw a woman. He told himself that it wasn’t real, but he himself couldn’t continue watching as unexplained things happened. Were these the stories that John told him about as a child, or is just a figment of his mind trying to create things he once assumed? John told him of a woman that died in a car crash down the street on her wedding day, saying that the woman now lives in his home.
“Father, may I go outside?” Jasper whispered.
A minute of silence passed between them—Jasper still waited.
That was the end of it. Jasper could not say more before he walked out of the house, leaving Jasper in his fear.
He soon came home after picking up another pack of Pall Malls at Gate. As he sat on his seven-year-old bed, it squeaked. It annoyed him, but he laid back and his eyes began to scroll along the pages as his fingers presented his mind with news thoughts. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman—he read its pages every day. There was something, about the book, that made him understand himself better—really, he just wanted something to allow himself to make excuses to justify his decisions.
He finally got to his favorite part of the book.
“The psychologist, Paul Rozin, an expert on disgust,” his eyes translated the letters into words for his imagination. He continued on, “observed that a single c***roach will completely wreck the appeal of a bowl of cherries, but a cherry will do nothing at all for a bowl of c***roaches.”
He stopped and debated what these words could truly mean. Sometimes he felt as if Kahneman wrote the book directly for him. He got lost in his own thoughts. Then there were two knocks at his door. It startled him. He said nothing as he kept his gaze fixed on the wooden door. Two more knocks, this time more rushed. Then three, four, five, and it kept on, gaining speed. He stood, turned the handle, and stared into the eyes of a scared child.
“What is it, Jasper?”
“Father,” he looked behind him, “may I please sleep in your room, I’m scared.”
“I have told you before,” annoyance grew in his tone, “you’re a man. You cannot be scared. Go to your room and study.” He shut the door.
As he turned, he could hear the trembling tears as Jasper walked away. He felt bad for him, but it wasn’t his job to be sympathetic. He continued reading, and eventually all he could see was darkness.
There was shuffling. His eyes squinted, adjusting to the surrounding light. He could remember no particular dream; it unsettled him. Ever since the first night he slept in the house, he’s had some time of dream.
There was a knock at the front door. Male, maybe mid-70s? The man reminded him of the old guy from the Disney movie, Up, except he was taller—an easy 6-feet.
“Mr. Alton?” He knew his name.
There was a short pause before he replied, but he figured that it might just be a neighbor.
“Yes, and you are,” he left room for him to fill in the blank, but he did not.
“You’re the new owner. Well, you see, I used to live here, a while ago,” the unknown man pushed his way past him, as if he still lived there. “I left a few things behind. It’ll only take me a moment to gather them and I’ll be on my way, no worries.”
“I’m sorry, but you don’t live here anymore. I’m going to need you to step back outside and out of my house.” The man stopped in the hallway, chuckled, and continued onward. He was already annoyed knowing he did not have a dream last night, and now there was a guy who could die at any moment walking about his house unwelcomed.