I selected the image of the house on King Street in Boone, NC for my image prompt piece this week. I did a twenty-minute sprint and then a brief edit for typos, spelling, and grammar. I hope you enjoy it.
Kayla stood on the sidewalk looking up at the old house. The stone steps that lead up from the sidewalk, that dated back to the 18th century, were worn but perfectly intact. The concrete steps the family had added over the years were cracked and crumbling. The walk up looked intimidating.
It was late fall, which didn’t help the place look any less like the haunted house the locals supposed it to be. The large bushes beside the stairs were just a tangle of sticks and twigs, and only a few stubborn orange leaves clung to the trees higher up the hill.
Kalya began to climb.
She’d gotten a call from her mother’s priestess. She hadn’t been coming to coven meetings or rituals. No one had seen her for three weeks. There were still lights turning on and off in the house, but no one answered the door when the priestess went by to check on Kayla’s mother.
Kayla stepped carefully on the concrete steps, keeping to the right edge, where they were more solid. The path at the top of the stairs was mostly dirt now, with a few bits of grass trying to encroach. When Kayla and her sisters were still at home, they’d laid out new gravel every couple years to keep the path safe and clean and free of weeds.
There were more concrete steps closer to the house. These were in better repair, but from that close, Kayla could see that the house wasn’t in the best shape. The once blue paint was gray and peeling. The green shingles looked a little worse for wear. It all looked clean enough though. That was a good sign. Her mother wasn’t the type to redo things until they needed it, but she did like keeping things tidy.
Kayla walked another mostly dirt path to the house itself, taking the two steps onto the porch quickly. It was a habit from her teen years when going up them quickly and at just the right angle meant that they didn’t creek and give her away when she was sneaking in late.
Glancing to the left, Kayla spotted her mother’s old blue pickup truck. This didn’t mean her mother was home. Generally, she preferred to walk as much as possible.
Kayla reached up and knocked on the front door three times. She waited and then range the bell once.
There was no response from within, no stirring or sound, so Kayla did it again.
Only after knocking and ringing the bell a third time did Kayla pull out her keys. When she and her sisters moved out, they’d agreed that they weren’t allowed to just barge in. They had to knock and ring three times before they could. Her key still slid into the lock and turned like normal.
The front door swung inward, revealing the dimly lit entry hall.
Everything still looked as tidy as her mother preferred to keep things.
“Mom?” Kayla called out. “You home?” Kayla checked the living room, dining room, and kitchen first. “Mom?” she called again as she headed to the stairs. “You didn’t answer so I let myself in.”
Upstairs was similar to downstairs. Everything appeared in place except for Kayla as she moved down the hall. When she reached her mother’s room the door was closed. That wasn’t typical unless her mother was asleep.
Kayla knocked gently on the door. “Mom? You in there?” Still no response. “Mom, if you’re in there, let me know. Otherwise I’m coming in to check,” Kayla announced through the door. Her mother was starting to worry her.
“I’m coming in,” Kayla called far louder than strictly necessary.
Opening the door to her mother’s room, Kayla didn’t immediately step inside. There was a lamp on at the bedside table, and she could hear water running.
“Mom?” Kayla called again. “It’s Kayla.” She slowly moved toward the bathroom, terrified that she would find her mother laid out on the floor with a head injury.
What she found, was an empty bathroom with the faucet running.
Kayla reached out and turned off the water, plunging the house to an eerie silence.