Harper Valley #5

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Hide and seek 

Brett and I returned to the house the following night. He wasn’t too excited about though. ” calm down,moron. I told you, I left the ouija board at home.” I said. 

I could feel him jump 

“Shhh!! It’s not that.God. I’m fine, I just don’t understand why we have to come over here at night. I don’t know if ghosts or spirits have a schedule but if they do I’m pretty sure it’s at night….” He said. Looking at the stairs.

I started up them with my light. The house was darker.and much much colder. It was like the hallway was alive–as soon as you reached the top…. You could feel something watching you. I froze. My skin crawling.  I tried to lighten the weight. Brett was still mumbling to himself coming up behind me.

” oh come on. You’ve never been in an empty house before? I just wanted to get it on — you know. ”

“I will make you….”

He stopped mid sentence at the top of the stairs… 

“The house is alive.”

” no…it’s in the room at the end of the hall. She’s here”

I started toward the doorway.

” what!…” Brett said. “unfinished life-unfinished life.that’s what this is. I can see the headline now…This is madness. If this has anything to do with the seventh grade field trip…I’m sorry. I’m really sorry about the tarantula.I didn’t know you throw  up when you get scared.”

I stopped.slowly turned around. 

” I do not  throw up when I get scared.That was a one time thing! I can’t believe you’ve thought that for five years.” 

“Oh look a piano!” Brett said. Attempting to change the subject. 

I continued down the hall. To the door. When I took hold of the handle- the piano started playing behind us. I could hear Brett whispering ‘no no no’


Inside it was colder. But it appeared to be in order. A bed. Everything in a bedroom. A rocker by the window.  And a closet. I could hear a woman singing in the closet. The piano-playing in the hallway. I walked over to the door. Picture frames flew across the room. The rocker,rocking at the window.

  I opened the door. Everything in the house stopped.Even the air went still. Brett walked up beside me. ” What the heck is that? Why did she want us to open this door?”

It was a blue cage. Paint peeling. Maybe half the size of the closet.

And then it hit me. Right in the gut… In the corner of the cage there was a pillow made from fragments of blue cloth. 

“Because this was her room. Behind this door. This is where she died.Oh mister Harper….” 

I had to investigated further. Walking out of the room I ran my hand along the wall…. And stopped when I felt an echo…or draft…

It was in the middle of the house…I looked around in a circle….

“Brett,Harper House has always had a chimney hasn’t it?”

He looked at me over his glasses…”yeah…”

“Then where is it?”

“Oh well that’s easy just look for he ….hmmm.” There wasn’t s fireplace. 

“Brett,go get me an axe. The fireplace is here somewhere.” 


I hacked open the wall and there they were. Two bodies of bones. ” I guess mister Harper had secrets.” I said.

I lit the fireplace  And left the house.

“We have to graduate tomorrow,Brett. Let’s go home.” 

“Sounds good to me.” 

No one knows what exactly Mister Harper did to his wife and daughter.

It would just be legend added to legend…inside a creepy old house. In a community that all has their own closets and fireplaces. 

I’m just glad they were able to rest. 

We all deserve that much. 

Something’s under row 5

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The theater is dark. The day is Halloween. The screen lights up….a thriller flick. Blood and clowns,you know the kind. Young adults and teenagers scream at all the appropriate moments.

Nancy Alderidge is here with her boyfriend….

 40 minutes in.

She feels something gril her ankles. 

“Stop that,babe.”

“Shhh.I’m watching.”

“Babe.for real.”

Anthony lifts the popcorn showing her both his hands.

She looks down around her feet…,

The grip tightens.Cutting into her skin.she looks to her left and sees a smiling face with bright orange hair. Jacked up teeth. And yellow eyes. 

“Anthony!” She screams

“Shhh!! Babe just watch the movie”

She tries to get up but the hands won’t let her.

She looks back to her left but the figure isn’t there

She looks at the rows of people in front of her.Then sees its face looking at her just three rows down.

She can’t breathe…she can’t breathe. She can feel the hands on her neck. She can’t move. She can’t….

The movie stops. A chink in the reel. Lights start illuminating the room in a dim light. Anthony leans towards Nancy. “Hey what’s with this…”

But she’s dead. 

Twenty Five – what?

I’m here,in the laundry room that is. It’s where I have always read books and written best.So get ready,ready for some things you didn’t know about growing up. Or at least turning halfway fifty. 


I was 18 and spread out like Braveheart across an emergency room  surgery table. Counting down from ten …nine…eight…everything was going blurry when the ER Doctor walked in and touched my arm.Prepping for an exploratory surgery.

“It’s all going to be fine,buddy.” He said. (Six…five …I’m falling asleep.) And the last thing I hear the Doctor say,looking to his assistant:

“It’s such a fucking shame.He’s so young.”

I don’t care how free healthcare is. It doesn’t pay for that heart attack. 


I hate sports.No,really I do. I played baseball and golf. But was terrible at both. Growing up I always liked motor cross and the X Games. I remember buying a skateboard after playing about 180 hours of Tony Hawk on the Nintendo 64. Believing I truly had developed some rad skills…I took off with it. And immediately broke it – in half. 

Baseball was just as bad. I don’t know why or how…but  I’m pretty sure,when you throw the ball…it’s supposed to go forward…not backwards. And well. My throws never did that…they always buried themselves in the sand behind me and I couldn’t quite find them. 

Golf was just a bad investment one summer. That was so bad. You really lay down your satchel for that one. But I understand why there is so much drinking involved. 

When you get older. It’s funny what you get excited about. Things like  New bed sheets.IRA’s.Vacations…where you do absolutely nothing. I would love to tell you great advice on being married or living together or whatever it is you would be doing…but I’m not going to tell you that. I’m going to tell you this.

There will be moments when you open the fridge and there is a glass of milk there. It’s not yours, Because you are lactose intolerant. And it’s not hers,Because she drinks from the jug. This will remain a mystery between the two of you. 

You will start taking vitamins for good health. Which will make you wake up at 4am feeling energized and optimistic about life. You will hate this. Hahaha. But you will work out. And you will love coffee. You will order coffee for your coffee. 

Sometimes,She will be fascinated by your Eyelids…or blow in your mouth while kissing you…you know ,like a blow fish.This would be fine…if you were awake. But you are asleep. And as it turns out.it was the earthquake (her shaking you) that woke you. None of the rest.So I guess you’re a pretty deep sleeper after all.

There’s a competition,see who can go the longest without coming on to the other. This is stupid.What’s the prize for that anyway?. Food!?. Get the banquet table ready babe. I will own this.Bacon.Bacon and pasta. 

I lost. But It was a different kind of banquet table.and it was good. 


You will start saving recipes.Trading recipes. Cooking. Which has never been a talent. But what do you know. It was there all along. 


I’m not good at moving things.once there was a piano I tried to move.I felt like one single tie down would be good enough. It was not. It fell on its side in the back of the truck. And after getting it to the building,I wasn’t quite sure how to get it out of the truck . So,we just tried to catch it. This was a mistake.I don’t know if you have ever tried to catch a piano….but boy…let me tell you…we went through a drywall.Crushed someone’s arm…I was shocked.amazed. 

I made the same mistake years later. Moving again. This time with a favorite antique chair. This chair was not as heavy as I first believed.Mostly because,well, I didn’t actually pick it up. So we didn’t tie it down.it quickly fell out of the truck. 

So.if you’re ever moving things.Tie them down.and don’t ever-ever try and catch a piano off a truck. ‘Cause shit’s heavy. 


Last but not least. I can say this. I met my Nurse. 7 years ago. We hung out a bit…we were in the same strange group of friends. And then I fired her. Because I was young. And I was her boss. And then we stopped hanging out.She was always her own woman who took no shit from anyone-not even me. A couple of years later. We started hanging out again. And she blew me away. You can not replace someone who loves you. And supports you.Someone who feeds your soul.Someone who believes in you.in that closeness,where you fight for each other.

So you will want to be together. You will want all of your tomorrows to be together. This is it. You can’t put a price tag on it. 

Embrace it.Don’t run. Life moves forward.