Imagine being a kid and living next door to your landlord. Now imagine your landlady is a weird old lady no one sees or hears unless it's time to pay rent.
The audio version available is available here.
My family moved next door to the landlord. It wasn’t a move my parents were happy about making, but with the baby coming, we needed someplace bigger. The house beside the landlord was the only one available.
Mama spent months telling us to quiet down and to be careful we didn’t toss a toy over the fence. Daddy didn’t worry so much about us talking a little loud, but we didn’t get to play outside at all when he was home.
Eddie and I thought our landlady must be some kind of witch like you heard about in fairy tales or something with the way Mama and Daddy acted. The fact the landlady’s house stood still and quiet all the time with no one ever coming or leaving just made the whole thing spookier. Miss Rose was like a ghost. We only ever saw her when Daddy went to pay our rent.
One night, the sound of a band tuning up woke me from a sound sleep. I rolled over to look at my alarm clock and yawned. The glowing, red numbers read thirteen minutes after midnight.
“Just a dream,” I groaned and flopped my head back down on the pillow.
I was just starting to drift back off when the band I’d heard tuning up launched into a song. Confused, I opened one eye and checked the time again. The clock said a quarter after midnight. I rolled onto my back and pinched my arm, wincing when it hurt.
“Turn the radio off, Sam,” Eddie mumbled.
I sighed. If Eddie was hearing the same thing and a pinch hurt, this couldn’t be a dream. Climbing out of bed, I stepped into my slippers and walked over to the window and peeked outside.
The music sounded like it was coming from our landlady’s house. Her back garden was decked out for a party with torches and twinkle lights and tables covered in food, but I couldn’t see any people.
Giving up on the idea of sleeping with the racket, I shuffled to the door, grabbing my housecoat along the way. I felt my way to the back door without turning on any lights. I snuck outside as quietly as I could.
The music was louder, and I could hear voices. I moved as fast and quiet as I could all hunched over. There was a big knothole in the side of one of the boards, and I used it to peer into Miss Rose’s garden.
I gasped and slapped a hand over my mouth. What I’d thought were twinkle lights were little flying people playing music and eating. The back door opened, and I shook to see Miss Rose walk out looking cross. She started glowing so bright I had to squeeze my eyes shut.
The light dimmed, and I opened my eyes again to see Miss Rose dissolve, leaving behind another one of those funny flying people. She stretched her neck, smiled, and flew off to join her friends.
Each story in this series is 500 words or less and is prompted by a first line taken either from a random first line generator like this one or reader suggestions like "Don't Forget Me." I much prefer working from reader suggestions over generators, but to do that, I need to hear from you.
If you have a prompt you'd like to see done, comment below, send it to my Tumblr asks, Tweet it at me, or leave a comment on any of the audio stories from this series. I'll screen shot it, write it, and post it for you.
A. B. England is a small business owner, mom of two, novelist, all around geek, and avid crafter. She loves mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
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