Daisy’s House (Part 1)
By Steve Stred
She lived in that house.
The house at the end of the lane that everyone avoided.
It hadn’t always been like that. No, not at all.
Daisy’s house had once been the house people fawned over, the house that real estate agents used to set the bar against.
The lawn had been immaculate; now it was overgrown, brown and garbage was strewn about. Whether it had been tossed there purposefully or blown in by the wind, it was there all the same.
The shrubs that marked the square property line had once been prize-winning and the garden out back could always be counted on to produce Fall Fair Blue Ribbon veggies.
Now, the dead husks of shrubs created a fence line that resembled skeletal hands reaching outwards and the garden out back had long been reclaimed by weeds and untended bean fences.
Back when Daisy’s husband and son had been alive, the house smelled of baking pies and the yard was filled with the sounds of a little boy’s laughter as his parents chased him in play.
The present-day situation was one of closed blinds, the wafting stench of month’s old garbage. Most neighbors couldn’t tell you the last time they’d seen a light on in the house, let alone spotted Daisy.
In the houses that surrounded Daisy’s the conversation was always the same when her name was brought up. About how hard it must be for her to be in that big house, all alone. How sad she must be, having lost her family.
But the reality, when you walked through those doors and discovered what Daisy was doing, was far worse than what even the most depraved individuals could imagine.
“You really going to ring the doorbell?”
Carter looked at Nick, sure his friend wouldn’t have the balls to walk up the steps, cross the deck and push the mould-covered button.
“Have I ever turned down a dare?”
Nick jogged up the steps, made his way to the door and stopped.
He put his ear up to the door and listened. His eyebrows shot up and he turned to look at Carter, his friend ready to bolt away.
“What is it? What do you hear?”
Nick’s face broke out into a goofy grin as he hit play on his phone and electronic music started to play. He tried his hand at dancing like a robot, then did a poor moon-walk, before popping and locking.
Carter burst into laughter.
Something slammed into the door behind Nick, causing the boy to jump and rush down the steps to Carter.
“What the hell was that?”
Carter didn’t answer, staring at the darkened house.
The noise came again, the house appearing to shudder on its foundation.
“Dude, let’s go,” Nick yelled, hurrying away down the street.
The shadow that was standing in the large bay window had caught Carter’s attention. He was frozen.
It was Daisy.
He knew it. He’d never seen her before, but he was certain.
Then the door slowly creaked open, a small child standing there. Something was off about the infant, but Carter couldn’t see, the darkness had a firm grasp on the child’s shape.
He looked to see where Nick was but found his friend was long gone.
“Come in, won’t you visit?”
The woman’s voice startled Carter. He turned back to the house and seeing the lady standing only feet away from him made him start to whimper.
“Don’t be afraid. Come, please. My boy would be forever grateful if you came to play with him. He has so few friends.”
He felt her icy hand take his, pulling him towards the gaping entrance of the house.
The infant was jumping up and down, clapping his hands excitedly. Carter felt something resembling joy forming in his stomach. Sure, he thought, every kid needs a friend to play with.
As Carter stepped over the threshold, entering into Daisy’s house he caught movement to his left.
The pain he felt was worse than anything he’d ever experienced before. Thankfully it didn’t last long.
Every time Nick saw another missing poster for Carter, he felt his insides tumble and squeeze.
The town had always had more missing posters than most; people and pets. But, like most citizens, Nick had grown immune to feeling any emotion towards them. It was different this time. He knew Carter.
He blamed himself for running. He’d told the authorities everything that had happened and watched from down the block when they’d knocked on Daisy’s door. The door had opened, but from where he was, Nick couldn’t see in or see who answered.
When the cops left, they drove down the street and when they spotted him, the cruiser pulled over. The driver’s window lowered and the officer filled him in.
“She says you boys were harassing her. Saw two of you run away when she opened the door.”
“That’s bullshit,” Nick began, but the officer held up a gnarled hand, shutting him up.
“Don’t wanna hear it. Ms. Daisy’s been through a lot. Leave her alone. We’ll keep looking for your friend, but I see you around here again, I’ll be hauling your ass in, you hear?”
Nick was dumbfounded as the car drove away.
“Out comes the tooth,
Out comes the tooth,
My little baby boy,
Suckle, suckle… sooth”
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of the novels Invisible & The Stranger, the novellas The Girl Who Hid in the Trees, Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, and the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun.
On September 1st, 2019 his second collection of dark poetry and drabbles called The Night Crawls In will arrive. This release was specifically created to help fund the 1st Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official website here