Author: Grant Goehrig
Everyone knows not to step foot on Ms. Hellebore’s property. Everyone knows those high peaked gables where the crows go to scream, that rotting balustrade with the termites inside, the black shingles that curl at the ends, the conical witch’s hat turret. Everyone knows that acrid smell that comes from inside and spreads out all over town like a miasmic blanket. Everyone knows about the Hendersons, who used to live next door. However, nobody knows what happened to them after they reported Ms. Hellebore’s overgrown willow to the zoning committee. Everyone knows what Ms. Hellebore looks like, but if you put everyone with a claim to this knowledge in a room with a sketch artist, you’d have as many renditions of her as people in the room. Everyone knows about her dog because we can hear it gnashing and shrieking and squirming and writhing and bleating and crying and laughing every night. Everyone knew the Carter twins, who, graduating from throwing stones and peering into windows, decided to simply go inside one day. But I’m the only one who knows what their faces looked like as they paced the cracked walkway up to that awning shrouded in cold shadow. I’m the only one who saw their pupils dilate past the whites of their eyes, the only one who knows that imploring words have no sway over those who make themselves objects of interest to Ms. Hellebore. Now everyone knows me at the police station and greets me with fake laughs and a reassuring hand on the shoulder. Everyone knows what I told them was the truth, but Ms. Hellebore has a way of twisting the truth, ripping it apart and reassembling it into the walls of her awful house.