Another unearthed story from my archive. Three years ago…or was it four?

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Weird things are happening on Chrisp street.

Things I do not understand.
I came back three years ago, leaving the horrid bustle of the city. The quiet village was the cradle of my humble beginning; my birthplace.

Maybe in a way, I’ve come back home to die.
The village held all I desired: Peace; Away from violent youths and stressed workers.
Bliss.
It came to be all I expected. For two years that is, until she came.

The village is quite a close knit community. Everyone knows everyone’s business. That was how we knew when Miss Jay arrived. An old bent lady with a shock of white over her thick black bushy brows. I guessed her age between 75 and 90. She became a topic of speculation immediately she arrived.

Why had she come? Where had she come from? Why was she alone? Mind you, we are not mean people. We welcome strangers, though with curiosity. Our village is like a huge ‘Old People’s Home’ with the middle-aged helpers of course. Why anyone would come into our ‘settlement’ should be a thing of curiosity. Mary, the seamstress at the market told me she tried paying her a visit but the woman shunned her.

Weird

It was after she came that it began to happen. First, the cats. Then, the birds. Even my parrot Brown was affected.
They all died.
The weather changed. Perpetual gloom permeated the village. People were scared to go out at night.
The unthinkable was heard for the first time last week. I remember waking up in discomfort. Something wasn’t right. I’m no seer mind you, but I do get these ‘feelings’ when horrid things are happening. I think it was that ‘feelings’ that woke me up. My arthritic bones complained as I climbed down the stairs to get myself a warm glass of milk. I was startled by the crystal clear howling of what sounded like a wolf.

Almost as if it was at my front porch. Petrified, I was! I tell you!
Milk ended up on the floor dripping from shards of a broken glass.
I remember hobbling back up to bed, hugging my duvet to my chest and praying for the morning to come.

The women’s meeting the next day was in chaos of course. Everyone trying to make an opinion on the strange sound they heard. Everyone trying to figure out the cause of the mists that had refused to give way, even in the morning. All came to naught for we didn’t know what was happening.

“I think that Jay lady has something to do with this” Miss Peppers quipped. I scoffed at her suggestion. She has always been one to come up with strange tales.

‘Witches haunting the Moors riverbank at night’. She never steps out of her house after 9pm so how on earth does she know that!

The wolf incident didn’t repeat itself so we put it out of our minds.

The first human victim was taken.
Mr Wilbert was addled; we all knew. Yet, he never went out of the village. We hadn’t seen him in days. We went visiting; Mrs Croquet, Miss Patty and I. He wasn’t at home.
House was clean.
Clothes neatly piled.
Beddings nicely laid but no Mr Wilbert!
“Maybe he’s gone on a trip.” Miss Patty said.
Maybe
I knew something sinister was happening. You can call me an old biddy but I know my ‘feelings’ and they’ve never failed me before.

A week after what we tagged as The Disappearance, Miss Jay was seen at the market.
Oh my!
Did the ladies have enough to talk about! The strange mismatched eyes, the strange way her bun was knotted, her indecent display of sagging cleavage. They didn’t notice what I did.
She looked younger. Or was it me seeing things?
I haven’t really “seen” her properly enough to know for sure but I remember her pale face that matched her hair. Now the face was aglow with life and…nourishment?

I kept my ideas to myself. One Miss Peppers is enough for our group!

Two weeks later, another lady disappeared.
And it continued.
Every week one person goes missing. What are we to do? We live in a village filled with the old, wanting a quiet place to live out the rest of their lives.
What can we do but keep our door locked and pokers near our beds?
Still our numbers have decimated.
We are but a few and I fear for my life.

Every night, I imagine I hear a scratch at my door.
Weird things are happening, I tell you, and there is nothing we can do.
I shall consider going back to the city if this continues. I need to see the grandkids anyway.
Let’s hope I’m not up next on the ‘To-die’ list. My body puckers with gooseflesh even as I think it.
Weird place, Chrisp street; weird place it is now.

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Miss Patty would go for a visit and would be greeted by the sight of an empty house.
She would see the neatly packed travelling box.
She would see a purchased ticket.
Where is the owner?
Why is her rocking chair moving, like someone just got up from it a moment ago?

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One should never rock an empty rocking chair. It is considered bad luck you know…

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