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Living Next Door To Alice (standard:mystery, 2178 words)
Author: HulseyAdded: Jul 03 2002Views/Reads: 1988/839Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Is the mysterious woman next door really a witch?
 



Who is Alice? I ask myself that same question everyday and still cannot
come to accept her far-fetched explanation. Alice, I have known since I 
was a child. Our introduction was not by choice, as this strange 
reclusive woman seldom was seen in the company of others. 

Alice was a short woman with long, waist-length hair as white as snow,
her childlike features belying her age. She was one of those women you 
could not put an age to, but she had lived in Millbrook Street since 
the houses were built, some thirty years ago. Taking that into account, 
she must have unsurprisingly been at least fifty years of age. My 
parents recalled the day that she bought the house, and say, she has 
not changed a bit in those thirty years. 

Alice was a figure of ridicule in Stokesley, and some even claim she is
a witch. As a child, we used to go out of our way to avoid her, and she 
seemed happy with this arrangement. That all changed on that day sixty 
years ago, when I was a ten-year old child with not a care in the 
world. My parents warned me not to talk to this enigma of a woman, but 
they might as well have handed me an invitation, as I was a curious 
rebellious child. 

I recall that day as if it was yesterday. It was the hottest day of the
summer and my older sister, Kate and my mother were sunbathing in the 
back garden. While mother was on her knees tending to her beloved 
roses, Kate and I frolicked in the paddling pool. I remember the 
laughter, when a large bee swarmed around Kate, which alarmed her, as 
she made her way indoors, screaming at the top of her voice. Mother 
swiftly hurried after her. My amusement was enhanced, when I saw the 
colourful insect home in on the arm of my distraught sister, like a 
Kamikaze pilot swooping on a battleship. 

The panic indoors offered me the opportunity I had been waiting for. I
picked up my football and flung it over the high fence, before exiting 
the garden. I knocked loudly on the paint-starved, red door and saw the 
curtains move. Again, I knocked, and was soon looking up at this 
ominous figure of a woman. 

Close up, I could see even as a child how pretty she must have been,
then realised that she looked no older than my mother. It was just that 
pristine, white hair that added years on her appearance. Her narrow 
eyes were green, like emeralds, and her so white teeth were perfect and 
unblemished, but the clay pipe that was clamped between her lips held 
my attention. I had never seen a woman smoking a pipe before. I still 
recall to this day, her mustard coloured cardigan and long black skirt, 
which trailed down to her bare feet. 

My bravado was deserting me, as I took a step back, wondering why I was
here. 

“Yes little boy. What can I do for you?” 

“M...My b...ball. It's in your back garden.” 

Fear-provoking thoughts entered my head, and the stories of Alice the
witch would not go away. I envisaged images of the inside of a pie, and 
Alice licking her lips, as she placed me inside her hot oven.  I took 
another step back. 

“Well come on then. Let's go and look for your ball,” she insisted. 

“I have to go. My tea's ready.” 

“Why not have tea at my house? I have jam tarts, hot cross buns and rice
pudding. You like rice pudding don't you?” 

I nodded enthusiastically, as the lure of the goodies negated my fear.
She beckoned me inside with her index finger, and it was at that 
moment, when I noticed the length of her fingernails. This added to my 
imagery of her being a witch, but the aroma of the hot cross buns 
proved too much of a temptation. 

It was a strange house. All of the rooms I passed had a strange green
glow emitting from them, and there was very little furniture. Several 
portraits adorned the black painted walls, all depicting a woman, which 
I took to be her. The kitchen was no exception, with the green glow 


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