Just the start of a short story I’m having a fun time writing. I’m trying out a new writing style, something reminiscent of Neil Gaiman (perhaps). But I figure, if something is making me laugh as I write it, then there must be something right about it. Enjoy!
Something about the house on the left of her Grandmother’s second husband’s daughter-in-law’s home was off. It didn’t have anything to do with the fact that said daughter-in-law didn’t like her, and she didn’t like the daughter-in-law either. No. Not at all. And it definitely didn’t have a thing to do with the strange odor that emanated from the bandy-legged cat.
If it was a cat.
But she had her doubts about that. The creature was most likely over 70 years old, and that was using “normal-years”, ignoring all that cat, dog-year nonsense. It stood on all four feet and walked with an intimidating gait, forcing you to look at it’s strange half-blind eyes. It was a yowler too. As if that made it any more concerning.
The girl in question, a Ms. Susan Baccelade, had quite a lot to say on the subject. But she was eight, a most unfortunate age for such observations. And she had found, as most eight-year-old’s do, that adults rarely tend to listen to the mumblings of children. But it didn’t stop her from trying.
It wasn’t her fault that the food had been raided from the refrigerator, if anything, it was the cat. The excuse had, sadly, not gone down well. And even though Susan admitted to herself (in private of course) that it was a fairly poor excuse – it didn’t mask the point.
She hadn’t eaten over 3 days worth of food.
And she wasn’t crazy.
It was just that no one would listen to her. The way a house moves is only noticed by certain people, the way a window creaks shut or how things seem to move in the corners of shadows. Poor Susan didn’t know that. She just believed that something was terribly wrong.
And there was.
The doors slammed shut without warning, and the carpets seemed to always recoil with mold. That was not, under any circumstances, real or otherwise, normal. And she would know. As an explorer of many worlds under the cabinet and through the dust-filled attic, Susan really knew her way around the world.
The only person, in fact, that would give the poor child the time of day was the old neighbor that lived next door, Mr. Sailsbrai. She thought he was a farmer, or maybe a knight in disguise. But he would often come for tea and to entertain the young girl.
So naturally one day, feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders, Susan confided in Mr. Sailsbrai. But although she prepared herself for the mocking laugh and the pat on the head, he nodded his head severely.
“Known it all my life” he said slowly, a tinge of the old country in his voice, “There’s always been something unnatural about the place.”
“What should we do?” young Susan asked eagerly, “Should we storm the place?”
“No, you’ll have to do some reconnaissance first” the old man answered, thinking hard,
He nodded his head, but cautioned her on safety and always going to an adult before doing anything dangerous.
Psh. What nonsense.
If adults didn’t listen to her, why on earth should she listen to them?
So it was no surprise to find Susan come Friday night on the stairs to attic, as a thunderstorm raged above in the night sky. Her parents had already called, saying it was too dangerous to drive on the old roads they had to take to return home, and that she would have to brave out the night.
Fine by her.
Silly adults didn’t need to know she was going on a real true adventure tonight.