I watched a small family move into the house across the street a few months back. We learnt they were called the Stones. They did not relate with the neighbors and seemed to love the dark, and the solitude of their house. We thought that to be weird and tried to engage them in conversations, but they looked at us like we were the walking dead. With time, we all learnt to live without disturbing them. They had the right to live their lives the way they wanted, as long as they did not break any laws.
Some days I felt them stare at me from their windows as I went to school. I became scared and stole a look their way once in a while but they never batted an eyelid or took their gaze off me. They just stared. I told Father about the stares one night over dinner and he was angry. He stood from the dinner table, intending to walk over to their house but Mother stopped him. She would not allow that or allow Father to carry out his threats. She promised to talk with Mrs. Stone.
“She would understand,” Mother said. “She should understand.”
Mother went to speak with Mrs. Stone the next day. She didn’t say how their discussion went, when she returned. She just told me I had nothing to worry about anymore. They would not disturb me again.
A few days later, Mother and Father travelled to Florida to visit granny, who we heard had been hospitalized. I heard a knock on the door the next day and opened the door to see Mrs. Stone standing at our doorstep; her back to the door and her face to the street. She seemed to gaze at a black cat which sat on their porch. She turned toward me, giving me a cold stare, and then smiled calmly; her lips parting, to reveal a set of brown teeth. I swallowed hard in fear, and her smile was gone. She asked for Mother and said they had some issues to discuss. I told her Mother could not come to the door. She was still asleep.
“I see,” Mrs. Stone replied.
She stared past me into the house, and I moved to block her line of sight. A smirk appeared on her face and then it was gone too.
“I’ll be back when they return,” I heard her say as she walked away.
I returned from school late that day. I had earlier stopped over at Evelyn’s house. Mother and Father were due to return home that night, so I felt there was no need to rush home. I looked around me as I got close to home. I had a feeling I could not quite understand. The night had already settled in around me. I opened the door and stepped into the house. There seemed to be an electrical fault within it. There was no supply of electricity. I tapped my phone and walked towards the kitchen using the light the screen provided. There was a flashlight in the kitchen cupboard. I pulled it out and turned it on.
Upstairs, I heard some footsteps, then mother’s voice as she giggled.
“Mum!” I called.
There was silence within the house.
“Up here darling,” I heard my mother’s voice call.
I walked toward the stairs, wondering why mother had not called when they got home. I gently climbed up, and walked to their room. I knocked on the door but heard her voice call from the attic.
“Up here darling,”
I walked towards the attic stairs, wondering what mother was doing up there that night. The door downstairs opened and I stopped.
“We are back,” I heard Mother call from downstairs.
I turned around and ran as a creature came charging at me through the open attic door. I ran down the stairs as fast as I could. I heard a muffled squeal behind me, then the sound of the attic door creaking, as it slid shut.
Power was restored within the house as I made contact with Mother in the living room.
“What is the matter?” Mother asked, as I panted in her embrace.
Father had been bringing in the luggage and left the door open. In the street outside, I saw Mrs. Stone stare at me coldly. She stood a few feet from the street light, with folded arms. I tapped Mother lightly. Mother turned towards my stare but Mrs. Stone was gone.
I still feel them stare at me as I go to school every morning. I try not to show how scared I am, but I know they see it.
Yesterday, Father returned home with some good news. He has been transferred to New York and we are to move with him. I seem to be the happiest, which surprises both Mother and Father. They think I would have fought the move because of the friends I am to leave behind.
I would miss my friends, but I need my peace back. A tap on my shoulder always wakes me up at 5 am every morning to the sight of Mrs. Stone sitting by my bedside, apparitions walking through my bedroom walls, a crow perching outside my window, or my name written in blood all over my room. Mother and Father don’t see it. They don’t know of it. They don’t hear my screams when I wake up and they don’t see the writings either. Maybe I’m going crazy. I do not know. Only the move to New York would tell.
I don’t wish to tell anyone about it. I once told Margaret and she too began to experience it every morning. Yesterday, I heard she was detained in a psychiatric facility and kept under watch for being suicidal. I wish I never told her.
I sincerely hope no one reads this. I am only writing this to ease the burden that I feel. I hope I find peace in New York. Maybe distance would lift whatever has been done to me.
I live in Lagos, Nigeria, and I prefer writing stories in genres such as horror, fantasy and comedy