They say that every abandoned building has a story to tell. As I looked at the old farmstead-style house from the cracked sidewalk, I wondered what sort of tale it would weave.
Why had it been abandoned? Had an elderly couple just given up on it and moved to a warmer climate? Had the city purchased it in order to construct a mega highway that never materialized?
I chewed at my bottom lip; contemplating. Soon, my thoughts got the better of me. I had to inspect the crumbling home for clues. Nancy Drew would be proud.
As I drew closer, neglect became more evident. The windows were covered in smudges of dust. Yellowing newspapers were piled in a corner on the front porch. Dark weeds grew thick and threatened to strangle my kneecaps.
My knock on the door produced no one to welcome me. I knew it wouldn’t.
The hinges on that door as I opened it let out an ear piercing screech. If anyone was inside they could probably already smell the stench of my fear.
The lime green carpet was stained with God-only-knows-what and dust covered every available surface.
A rat the size of a small dog ran across the toe of my sneaker and I muffled a scream. I had to keep my wits about me. I was here for answers, not to spook myself.
The house seemed tired and somehow sad in its shades of black and grey. Oh how I wish it could speak.
Cobwebs clung to sheet-covered furniture and the distinctive smell of mildew permeated the air. But, I could tell immediately that the place had once been a beauty to behold.
Weak sun rays from the dusty window glass caused an overhead chandelier to twinkle. Rose-patterned wallpaper in the kitchen somehow seemed cheery and bright.
And then I noticed the small porcelain doll adorned in an old-fashioned dress and bonnet. She was propped on a sideboard, a sepia-toned photograph in her rigid fingers.
I peered at the image within the four corners. What was it? I squinted. A young girl? Aged ten or eleven maybe?
I flipped the picture over in my hands. Written on the back was “Angela – 1898.”
How strange, I thought. There was no dust on the doll or the photo.
Turning toward the next room, a cold shiver ran down my spine and a silent scream caught in my throat.
How had she emerged from the photograph? How had she gotten into the house? Why was she coming at me with a knife?