Loaded for Blog day!!
Today’s topic was a little vague…“Down on the Farm”. Include a mah-jongg tile and an ABBA record.
Let me know what you think, I went out on a limb with this one.
“What?” Dave’s voice was, if possible, even more exasperated than Bonnie’s.
“Just ask for directions. Please?”
“No way, hon, it’s just up here, seriously, the turn is right up here.” Dave wasn’t even taking his eyes off the road as he said this, the long dusty road stretching off into infinity, bordered by neat pastures and fields, granted, but nevertheless straight as an arrow, off into nowhere, with no exit in sight. Bonnie sighed. Then leaned her head against the window.
Dave drove on for some minutes, certain that just over this next rise, just past this dip in the road, was the exit he was looking for. He drove. And drove. And drove.
Finally Bonnie stirred. “Dave, seriously, at the next house you are pulling over. I’m not joking. The next house.”
Dave sighed, but nodded. They were now deep into pastureland. No vaunted exit in sight. “Okay, hon, okay. Next house, for sure.” They drove on, as the ABBA CD in the player played its last song and moved on to the next.
Five songs later, they crested a small rise to see a rickety, ramshackle old house emerging from amidst a grove of what Dave would almost call brambles, really, surrounded by overgrown fields thick with weeds and goldenrod. Eyeing it askance, he glanced at Bonnie. Judging by the apprehensive yet determined look on her face, she was just as un-thrilled as he was, yet determined to stop.
Sighing inwardly, Dave turned into the potholed country drive heading to this house. They bumped their way in silence down the road, pulling up to a dusty stop in front of the wreckage.
“I don’t know, hon, maybe no one even lives here,” Dave began, uneasy.
“No way. We’re at least checking. I am tired of driving around, and this whole situation could have been avoided had you just agreed to ask for directions in that last town we passed!” Bonnie was already unbuckled and out of the car. Dave sighed inwardly and followed suit, protesting his navigational skills. The couple approached the rickety building, voices raised in acrimonious accusation, until they arrived in front of the silently looming shack.
They fell silent, staring at this ancient edifice. It looked like it would topple any minute.
“Okay, so.” Bonnie’s voice held a note of uncertainty.
“So?” Dave looked at her.
“So, go on!” Bonnie threw Dave an irritable, it’s-your-job,-you’re-the-man look. You know the one.
Dave sighed again, loudly this time, and headed towards the house, up the steps, and up to the door. Throwing a last exasperated glance over his shoulder at Bonnie, he grasped the knocker and rapped on the door three times, then stood back and waited.
He looked at Bonnie over his shoulder. She shrugged, and gestured for him to knock again.
He reached out, hesitantly, and knocked again, harder this time.
Just as he was turning back toward Bonnie, the door to the shack burst open, bouncing against the jamb, narrowly missing Dave as he jumped about a foot in the air, turning to face the woman standing in the doorway.
She was rancid. Her gray hair stood out from her head in a frizzy halo; her faded sack of a dress hung on her skinny frame like drapery on a scarecrow. Her gnarled fingers reached out, snaking around his wrist and yanking him towards her.
“Thank God you’re here! Not beforetime, either!” She shrilled at him, her voice grating on him like nails on a chalkboard.
Caught by surprise, he lurched forward, into the relative darkness of the foyer from out of the sunny summer day, and the door slammed shut, leaving Bonnie standing bewildered and alone in the drive.
A cricket whirred. Then another. Bonnie felt surrounded and smothered by the complete and utter silence surrounding her.
She glanced around, taking in the shack, passing over their normal looking Jeep, lit by the entirely normal looking sun, barely seeing the acres and acres of pastureland surrounding this sorry excuse for a farmhouse, settling on the door, weathered and gaunt, that had just swallowed her boyfriend whole, with barely a sound.
Hesitantly, she mounted the steps to the porch. It looked like the whole building was about to fall over any second. Ignoring the growing knot in the pit of her belly, she raised the knocker and let it fall. Knock, knock….knock.
She knocked again, the sound echoing behind the door like a death knell. Shivering with apprehension, she turned the knob, half-expecting it to pull off in her hand. It didn’t.
Rather, the door swung towards her in a silent arc, swinging wide to reveal a long, dusty hallway stretching off into the gloom. A side table that looked propped against the wall, missing a leg, held a spray of dried out carnations in a tiny vase, with an old, faded mah-jongg tile propped against it’s base; old and yellowed photographs dotted the walls in skewed frames that hadn’t seen a dust mop in years.
“Hello?” Her voice held a quavering note of fear, but she ruthlessly surpressed it, suddenly wishing they’d never stopped here, that she’d let Dave drive off into the sunset had he wanted to, that they’d never raised that knocker in the first place.
Bonnie ventured down the hallway, trailing her fingers along the wall to keep her bearings, dragging her fingertips through layers of dust and grime.
It seemed that her voice echoed emptily all around her. “Dave?”
She ventured further, ending up in what she supposed was a kitchen, faded yellow paint turning to dingy white wallpaper with tiny pink roses on it, climbing from the grimy linoleum up to the ceiling, draped here and there with cobwebs.
Something was really wrong here. Really wrong.
“Well, hello, dear.”
The creaky voice was less shrill than before, but just as chilling, as Bonnie froze midstep, then slowly turned, knowing what she’d see.
The old woman stood there, framed in the doorway, dark stains making a mess of her shapeless dress, one hand on the jamb and the other hidden in her skirts, hiding. Hiding something.
“So glad you could make it.”
Bonnie screamed, it seemed, for a very, very long time.