For The Sunday Muse which is hosted by Carrie.
As kids, we always wondered about the elderly gentleman that lived in the old house. It wasn’t covered in creepers, or circled by bats. It was just a run-down house with an overgrown garden on the road where I lived, but the curtains were always closed and it looked a little creepy. Sometimes they twitched and if it was dark outside you could just make out a faint light. When you are a youngster your imagination takes you to all kinds of dark places!
I remember my mother telling me not to be silly. She said that the old gentleman hadn’t left the house since his wife ran off a couple of years ago and never came back. She said he probably just liked to sit in the dark and remember when she was there with him. We of course decided he’d bumped her off and hidden her in the cellar.
Boys being boys, we loved scaring the girls with tales we made up about what went on behind those closed curtains. One day they dared us to knock on the door then run and hide behind a bush over the road. They said he was bound to come to the door, then we could all have a good look at him. If the truth be known we were actually more scared of the mystery man than they were. I guess we made the stories so realistic that, began to believe them ourselves!
Anyway, in order to save face, we took up the challenge one day. My friend and I crept up the path from the road and banged the knocker as hard as we could then scampered back out to the street again and concealed ourselves as planned. We watched, almost afraid to breathe. One of the girls began to giggle. She wasn’t finding it funny of course. It was a nervous giggle my friend and I said.
But nothing happened. The door didn’t open, and the curtain didn’t twitch. We decided to do it again later when it was dark, but this time bang even louder. The girls took up their positions, and my friend and I rushed up the path again and banged so loudly that a couple of the neighbours began looking out of their windows. Fortunately, they didn’t spot us!
Again nothing happened. No open door, no twitch of the curtains. And then we noticed there was no light on. It was never much of a light but now there wasn’t the slightest glimmer. The following night we stood outside his house again just to see if his light was on again, but it wasn’t. I thought I’d better tell Mum. Not about the door-knocking thing of course, but about the house being in darkness. She called the police.
The cops came, and then an ambulance. They had to break down the door just like they did on TV. They were inside for ages and ages. Eventually, the ambulance people brought out a stretcher with a body on it. It was covered up, even its face. At first, we wondered if it was his body or his wife’s. A little while later two guys with hammers and sheets of wood boarded up the smashed doorway.
We still thought that the house concealed a dark secret, but if so, we were never to know. It remained boarded up for years. I don’t think I ever saw it opened again. One day I’ll take a trip back. I’ll knock on the door and ask if the new people know anything about the mysterious old gentleman that lived there before them.
- Sailor.Source unknown
2. Photography by Dawn Gaye