Page 53 - WCM 2022 Winter
P. 53

 Crash Mountain
The Scariest Story: Part 2 story by Dennis Creaser, illustrations by Anastasia Creaser
Tom regarded the two of them: his fiance Whitney, and the old man. He cleared his throat nervously. “Uh, so I’m next?” They both nodded.
Whitney shoved him playfully, and he overbalanced onto the arm of the dusty couch they were sitting on. Outside the storm raged.
“Come on!” She exclaimed. “You know the one you need to tell - about your neighbors when you lived in that house in South Paris!”
“I’m not really a good storyteller,” he began, and she laughed.
The old man in his easy chair regarded them silently from the shadows, an expectant smile on his age-worn face.
“Honey, it’s a scary story. Just tell it. Its perfect,” Whitney said encouragingly.
“Ok,” he finally agreed. “Just don’t judge.” Tom took a deep breath and began.
I moved to South Paris in 2010, just after
college. I had a job working for New England Metal Fabricators. My first real job. I liked it. Sometimes we made stuff for the military. Once in awhile we got to go see it tested.
I found a place to rent on Bickford Street, up above McDonald’s, on the hill. It was a nice house, the rent was reasonable, and there was an awesome view of Streaked Mountain from the deck. The neighborhood was good, mostly families. My immediate neighbors were a single mother and her eight year old son: Samantha Barnes and little Kyle. They were nice but ... off. She was fairly reclusive, distant ... not much for conversation. Kyle was a cute kid, energetic and smart. He liked to play in the dirt with toy cars. I would always see him in the yard.
One of my other neighbors told me of a rumor that they had been in a terrible automobile accident some years before. Samantha and her son had survived, but her husband had died. Drunk driver, a typical story. The settlement was large. Life-altering even. Not that losing your husband to a drunk driver wasn’t life-altering. The point is that she never needed to work again. So she gardened.
I moved into my house in late April. As I carried in my few pieces of furniture and boxes of stuff, I saw that Samantha was watching me from her side of the
street. Her yard was beautiful, flowers and shrubs
that she had planted strategically. Every week, some new beautiful plant would burst into bloom. And the layout of the plants was amazing, like a living painting that changed almost daily. I can’t even imagine how much time and planning it must have taken, almost as if as soon as the snow melted, she began to work on it.
She came over when she saw that I had noticed her, introduced herself, and then called for her son.
“Kyle! Come and meet our new neighbor!” There was no response. “Well you’ll meet him soon, I’m sure,” she finally said, and I did.
One of them was always outside. Either Samantha was tending to her gardens, or Kyle was driving his toy cars around the labyrinth of roads he had built
on the small mound of dirt in front of their porch. Sometimes, I would watch him. There was one car, a red sedan, that he would push around the roads, and then another, a blue truck, that he would use to crash into it. Over and over. I’m no psychologist, but I knew that he was replaying the fatal accident that my other neighbor had told me about ... where his dad had died. And his mom seemed utterly oblivious to it. No doubt she had demons of her own to contend with. No, they were the sad remains of a broken family. I felt really bad for them both.
Kyle would talk to me sometimes, usually asking me if I had seen his mom. I remember one day in particular.
“Thomas?” He always called me Thomas. I didn’t mind. It was endearing. “Thomas, have you seen my mom? I thought I heard her in the garden, but she’s not here.”
“Well, she was here a little while ago,” I answered. This was a warm spring Saturday in mid-May. The leaves on the trees were almost full, and the black flies were just beginning to swell beyond unpleasant.
“She’s supposed to cook me some hot dogs,” the boy said glumly, kicking at the dirt with his scruffy sneakers. He wore blue jeans and a Skrillex t-shirt, clothes he was wearing every time I saw him. I only knew the Skrillex thing because my niece was into him ... base drops and sound samples and stuff.
“Well, she must be around somewhere,” I replied. “Look around back? Or maybe she went back inside?”
“Yeah, maybe,” Kyle grumbled, and wandered off to the house. A few minutes later, Samantha came around the corner of the house. 53

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