The house stood only a little way away from our home. Its garden was always neat and tidy, the crocuses and lilacs planted so carefully, the lawn so even and lush and yet, it seemed to stand empty. Loch and I used to play a game when we were younger. We would see who could get closest to the house. Loch touched the front door once and had nightmares for days. Our imagination fuelled our fears and ideas of the seemingly empty house that stood not so far from our home. It was only a small cottage, really compared to the other large grand houses that we’ve seen, a bit like ours but tidier.
Father always told us not to invade others’ privacy and that the owner would not like us playing on his property. I asked him why I had never seen anyone fix up the yard yet it was so clean. Father said it was none of our business. Loch told me the owner came out in the middle of the night and tended to the garden and that was why we had never seen him. I toyed with this idea for a while before quickly discarding it and running to join Loch in his game of Stones. I did not think about it again.
One time, when I was eight, Loch had suggested that we go inside. We had made many plans, packed our bags and even walked up to the house before running back to our own home because we were hungry and afraid of the dark. We never followed this plan up until now.
The other day Loch said he was going into the house and now that I was ten I could accompany him. At first I had been adamant about not going but Loch painstakingly convinced me to join him. This time we left at about noon, reaching the house in less then half an hour.
‘Now then, Annah, I won’ stand for you being a girl and runnin’ away when we get there, you hear?’ Loch had warned me, acting superior because he was a boy and older by two years, as we walked.
I pouted and told him I was not afraid of any house.
I forced myself to walk up to the house with him. We reached the front door which was shut and stopped.
‘Meh’be we should just go?’ Loch asked, looking doubtful.
‘Who’s being the girl now?’ I mocked.
Loch scowled and, to prove he wasn’t afraid, reached for the knob and turned it slowly, opening the door a crack. I peeped in, half expecting a monster to leap out at us.
to be continued......