Saturday, March 22, 2014

Prompt: A woman receives an anonymous package...

Prompt: A woman receives an anonymous package that contains only a shiny stone and a note with the address of a nearby infamous landmark.

Diane walked up the front walkway from her parked car. She was about halfway up the walk when she noticed a package on her front stoop. She slowed down a bit as she approached and saw that her name was hand-written on it in large, black letters. She was intrigued.

After unlocking her front door, she walked into her house, holding the parcel under her arm. She placed it on a table by the front door and momentarily forgot about it as she walked into her kitchen to get a glass of water.  As she walked past the door to the kitchen, she saw the package again, sitting on the little table innocently enough. She placed her empty glass on the counter and went back out to the foyer. She stood by the small table for a moment, just looking at the package. Then she proceeded to open it.

Contained within the cardboard container were only two items: a stone and a folded piece of paper. The stone was a beautiful piece of polished granite weighing about a pound as she held it in her hand. It was almost perfectly spherical. As she held onto it, she reached into the box with her other hand and retrieved the piece of paper, opening it…

Neatly hand-printed on the stationary was just an address. She didn’t recognize the number as being anything significant but the street it was on was just around the block from her home so she decided to take a walk.

It was a short jaunt to the street. Diane held the granite stone in her hand as she walked down the nearby road and she approached an old, dilapidated house. The roof needed new shingles, several of the windows framed broken glass, the yard needed to be seriously groomed, the trees pruned and the structure itself painted… or just torn down so someone else could start over. She was sure a desperate real-estate agent would try and market it as “a quaint, rustic fixer-upper.” She saw some rusted metal numbers held to the front of the house with a variety of mismatched screws and nails. The numbers matched the address on the stationary. She had arrived at the right address… but she was still a little confused about where she was. Minutes passed as she stood on the sidewalk, staring at the old house then a memory surfaced from her subconscience.

Diane had grown up in this town and she remembered hearing a story when she was a little girl about “The Murder House.” There was probably one in every town. An old place that kept urban legends alive. The story about this house probably changed with every generation. As far as she could recall, a crazy old woman had lived in the house with three young children that she didn’t allow to attend school or social activities. She was strict, a religious zealot and paranoid about everything. Then, one day, one of her daughters was late coming home from the grocery store and the mother just snapped and decided to punish all of her children by locking them in the attic. She kept them there for weeks, feeding them only stale bread and water… when she remembered to feed them at all. Until one day, she just forgot to feed them and simply went about her life as if she never had any children to begin with. No one ever heard from the children again and one day, the woman just died of old age.

Diane always hated that story because it genuinely scared her. The thought of being abandoned in one’s own home and left alone to starve was just too much for her to take. The memory of that story brought up a great deal of negative emotions and she clenched her fists… then she remembered the stone in her hand. She looked around her and saw that the street and sidewalk was empty. She looked again to the windows of broken glass in the “Murder House” and thought, “What the hell?”

She raised her arm, holding the stone in her hand and drew back. She then threw the stone as hard as she could and watched it fly through the air. It’s shiny surface and spherical shape made it very aerodynamic and it’s flight was true as it traveled the distance between Diane and the last unbroken window in the house. With a loud crash, the stone shattered the glass which startled Diane. She quickly looked around her to see if anyone had seen what she had done. The street and sidewalk were still empty. But she started to quickly jog back home.

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