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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> Creativity Forum --> Personal Creations --> Cherrywood
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    Messages in Cherrywood
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RDI Staff
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3127 Posts


I've been working on this story, or a varient of it, for longer than I would really like to admit. I came up with the concept of the house when I was about thirteen myself. I have a very distinct memory of that moment actually. Perhaps that is why I keep coming back to it. At any rate I'm trying to work some more on it and thought I would share.

As always this is Merideth writing so there might be some adult themes and this is no likely to be a happy story (okay it definatly is NOT a happy story).



Posted on 2010-02-27 at 03:47:49.

RDI Staff
Karma: 177/13
3127 Posts


A dusty red 1989 Camero in need of some body work turned onto the abandoned driveway at a dangerous speed, kicking up a cloud of white dust behind it. Missouri was experiencing yet another dry summer; in fact this part of the Great American Bible Belt had not seen rain in almost a month. The blazing sun caught the rearview mirror in a blinding glimmer as the car pulled to a screeching halt in the circle drive, its bumper which brandished license plates from New York State, coming in dangerous proximity to the step leading up to the once impressive front porch. The car sat there, idling for a moment, waves of heat pouring out of the exhaust pipe. The house itself seemed to stare back at the car, not in fear, but instead with the determined expectations of a cowboy facing off his enemy for duel in the middle of a dusty western mining town. The old plantation style home did not even sway in the hot wind that came from the northwest as it glared down at the little car. Finally the driver’s door opened slowly, a feminine hand held onto the handle. One could almost swear that the sagging porch sighed and every window that was not boarded up twinkled in the light as if blinking at the woman about to step out of the car.

A hawk circled lazily in the cloudless sky, casting its v-shaped shadow over the provincial lawn full of knee high yellow grass and liter form the nearby road. The dried grass bent over in pure submission when the woman stepped out of her car and into the edge of the yard. She was not tall by any standards, and she was just as tall as she was fat. Her salt and pepper hair was pulled into a braid reaching the small of her back; wisps of shorter curls spun a halo around her head. With her delicate hand she tried to tame the halo, with little luck. She wore a blue summer dress, white sandals and a short white sweater around her shoulders. After establishing her position directly in front of the house she gave up trying to tame the halo and raised her hand to shield the suns light from her view and looked up at the corpse before her with dark squinted eyes. The two knew each other, and the hate was mutual. Memories from a time long gone wavered between them, intangible, and yet undeniable, evoking emotions neither of them wanted.

The woman cleared her throat and whispered to the wind as she nodded oh so slightly, “You know, I would do it all over again…”

As if carrying the message the wind picked up for a moment and caught the screen door in its hand, opening it and then slamming it shut with a loud bang. The woman held her breath for a moment as the sound hit her ears, the swallowed hard and took a few steps closer to the house. She kept her eyes on it though, never trusting it. She could not remember one day when she lived here that she did watch her back constantly, and even after being gone for so many years the habit did not die. For a moment her eyes flickered to her feet, and to the porch she was about to step on. The boards were splintered, sunken in and cracked, she hoped it would support her weight. Without closing her eyes she could easily imagine that porch opening up to swallow her up with the rats and lye and the dead bodies, then closing above her in its final act of revenge. She could scream, but no one would ever hear her out here, for no one ever came here anymore. The land would never sell, the house was cursed, everyone knew it, and they were so afraid they would not set foot in her or that matter even think of bulldozing her to the ground. No if she fell victim to the house she was gone, and she knew it. She wavered a moment, just as she did one hot August night when she was thirteen. Her body shivering with anticipation and fear, her palms sweating, her breath much too hot for her own comfort, and every muscle in her body tense and ready for anything. But as when she was thirteen she swallowed her fear and took a step, determined to face her fears, room by room.

The boards of the porch creaked loudly in protest as she stepped on them, threatening to break beneath her just as she had imagined, but they did not. She made it all the way to the door, putting her hand on the tarnished handle when she noticed the plank of wood just over the door. It did not shine like it used to and one end had splintered off so now it read ‘CHERRYW’ but she could remember when it used to proudly proclaim its full name to all who dared enter.

“Cherrywood… you bitch…” she hissed under her breath and ended the sentence with a period of spit cast to the dilapidated porch.

Once someone had put a few boards over the door to try and keep vagrants out, they had long ago rotted out themselves, however not even a vagrant would like the vibes this place emitted and try to stay here for a night. Then again, even if they dared risk it, who would care?

Thus the woman easily pried the door open and took her first step inside. The light took a moment to get used to. With some of the windows boarded up, others covered halfway with broken wooden blinds and some broken and wide open the light came in strange lines and patches. Where there was not a blotch of light there was almost pure darkness. After a moment though her eyes became more accustomed to the strange environment. Just as she remembered the door opened to small foyer, with a staircase leading up the right wall, a door at the foot of the stairs went to the old dining room and opposite that was a door that leads to the sitting room. Running next to the staircase, going to the back of the house, was a hallway that ended in yet another door. All the doors were closed, also just as she remembered it. The doors in Cherrywood were almost always closed, and they had many secrets lurking behind them, if only one cared to open them up and look. The house was naked though, which was not as she remembered it. The walls were bare, the furniture gone, the floors stripped to the barest of hardwood. She supposed that the police had taken some things out for evidence and the rest had either been taken by relatives or sold. It was strange to see it thus. Yet as she took a second glance at the foyer a slight smile played with corner of her lips. The Mrs. Had always tried to keep her house ready for even the most intensive Good Housekeeping inspections. Seeing her precious Cherrywood in this state would send her to the sanitarium, if she was not already dead. The woman could easily see where animals had broken in and nested or defecated on the floor, she could see the mildew crawling up the walls, and piles of dust bunnies and debris cowering in every corner. The thought of the Mrs. Screaming at the sight almost pleased her.

Those dark eyes glanced at the two doors on either side of her, she was tempted to go in, but she was tracing her steps from the night in August 1950, and she did not go in those rooms then. Instead she started to walk down the hall, careful of the piles of scat. When she reached the door she put her hand on it and gave it a gentle push, it swung open easily. The ease at which it still managed to move sent a shiver down her spine, some things were too familiar. The door revealed the old kitchen. Cherrywood was one of a handful of housed to get electricity before the Depression, so the kitchen was not something from the stone ages. There was an old fridge and a gas range sitting in one corner, both rusted beyond repair now. Her eyes focused on the sink, though, which was embedded in a sea of white Formica countertop. Memories of doing dishes there flooded her senses, the smell of the soap, the sound of her mother humming softly as she finished cleaning up dinner the sound of a radio distantly playing a ball game for her father. In an instant her eyes darkened and the smile dropped from the corner of her mouth. It was a life she hated to remember. In fact she had hated to live it, even when it was happening. So much that she had once taken a plate from the table that sat in the middle of the kitchen and thrown it against the wall in a spectacular crash. If she looked carefully enough she could probably still see the mark it left on the floor even under the fuzz of brown mildew that now called that spot home.

Her lips drew into a pale slit, she remembered why she came, and spun on her heel to leave the kitchen. Marching back down the hall toward the front door. She came to the foot of the stairs and looked up them. The porch had supported her weight; dare she try her luck again with the stairs? And in the end, did it matter? The house might still swallow her up, but perhaps it was justice finally being done. Without another thought she grabbed the railing and with a deep breath she started to mount the stairs. Each one moaned as she put her weight on it, and yet, just like the porch they held true. One by one she made it to the top and faced the upstairs hallway. It ran perpendicular to the staircase, with rooms coming off it from both sides. Instinctively she turned right, not even noticed the disrepair of the house anymore. Her right hand trailed along the wall, and even though she was a woman now in her 60’s in her mind she was thirteen again and making that fateful trip down this hallway to the last door on the left side. Face to face with the door she paused once more. She listened, almost expecting to hear crickets and the soft snores of two people sleeping. Instead all she heard was a rat scurry off into a hole in the wall with a pissed screech. The noise made her heart miss a beat and her body jump. Taking a deep breath she tried to get control of herself, to slow her heart back down and stop the perspiration that ran down her back. Until this moment she had not even noticed that she was sweating profusely, and now the hot stickiness of it bothered her immensely.

“Let’s just get it over with…” she whispered and the ghost of herself at thirteen whispered it with her.

Unlike the kitchen door this door did not swing open so easily. It stuck a little, swollen probably from the heat, and when she finally managed to give it enough of a shove it popped open and almost threw her into the death room. A smell like none she had ever encountered before, even after living in New York for the last twenty years, hit her immediately and she had to struggle to keep the hamburger she ate on the way there in her stomach. It was a rotten smell, the smell of blood and death. There were two windows in the room. This made it hard not to notice the stains on the floor. Her eyes widened as she took the full picture in, the reddish stains covered almost the entire floor, even in the square of the floor where she knew the bed had once sat. She did not remember there being so much blood, but perhaps that was a trick the moonlight had played. Here in broad daylight there was no mistaking the amount of bloodshed here. The hamburger could no longer be kept down. Leaning over with her hand against the wall she wretched it up and the smell of stomach acid and bile mixed with the smell of death. Sweating, dizzy, nauseous and deathly pale she weakly turned and fell to her knees looking out over the blood stained room she began to cry. For the first time since pulling her car up the drive she closed her eyes and let forth a wail that came straight from the depths of her damned soul. Tears streamed down her face and fell to her bosom. Her hands tore at her own hair as she bewailed her fate with mournful cries. Downstairs the front door slammed again and again. The house felt no pity, it sat sternly listening to her cries and felt nothing, it had finally won this small battle, she had broken down. Was it justice? No, but it was at least a good pacification for the time being…

Posted on 2010-02-27 at 03:49:07.

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