tin were missing from the top of the barn, but the house seemed
to be in slightly better condition. As they grew closer, Betsy
could see that most of the glass remained in the back windows
upstairs, but the first floor windows had been boarded over. The
back porch had a chair, a shelf, and what appeared to be a wash
pan still sitting on the shelf.
softly around to the side of the house, Betsy noticed that the
upstairs windows still had curtains, but again the bottom windows
were all boarded over. Out across a badly overgrown front yard,
Betsy could see an old mailbox still standing, though the post
was severely leaning, at the very edge of the road, the mailbox's
open door making it look as though it was sticking its tongue
out at anyone coming down the road.
carefully, the only sound Betsy could hear was from the creek
cruising along on its timeless journey, just across the road.
At Nicky's insistence, they moved on around to the front of the
house. Surprisingly enough, the front door to the house was slightly
open, which seemed strange next to all of the boarded windows.
Betsy thought she heard a noise from within the house. Whether
from a noise, or from Betsy jumping, Nicky's ears suddenly perked
up, also. Betsy quickly stepped on out to the road, trying to
be silent, yet ready to break into a run at one more sound.
the road, Betsy turned back to the house. Strange, from the road
the front door appeared to be shut. She could certainly understand
the name Spooky Hollow, as she became aware of goose bumps all
over her arms.
…. On past the flamingo was a small clearing. As she approached
it, Betsy was surprised to discover a small grave. The tombstone
looked very old and was broken. One of the pieces was propped
up, and on it Betsy read the inscription, "Jefferson Delk
Harbison...taken by the angels at 2 years."
very surprised at the name, as she had seen the name, Delk, only
once previously that she could remember. It was her grandmother's
maiden name. But what really shocked her was the fact that the
grave was the only spot in the yard cleared of weeds, and it had
reasonably fresh flowers on it.
Betsy felt a quick shiver go through her body. She felt as though
someone, or something, was watching them.
…. The tables and the arms of an old sofa had crocheted
doilies on them, yellowed by age. There did not seem to be as
many cobwebs here as she had seen in the other house, but it had
the same musty smell.
side door, she looked into the other front room. It was even darker,
but as her eyes were able to adjust, she was surprised to see
shelf after shelf of books and papers.
was a regular library," she said to herself, noticing that
Nicky was not at her feet like he usually was.
As she slowly
stepped backward, eyes still riveted to the rows and rows of books,
Betsy suddenly felt a hand clamp down firmly on her shoulder.