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Old Lady Eldridge

BY BRANDON HOOKS

What is it about curiosity that the human mind finds so exciting and exhilarating? What makes the human race attracted to taunting the unknown, and what makes the species refuse to heed the warning, “Leave well enough alone?” Are we so damned in our own need for pointless discovery that we will do anything, and stop at nothing to achieve our heart’s desire of a quick fix; even if it involves impending danger?
 
This is a warning for anybody who will hear it. If you are one of these individuals who take this terrible curiosity to the level of prying into the affairs of a seemingly quiet, and normal old lady, who has been the subject of intense rumors for years, then make your choice. Do you have the nerve to hear the story I am about to tell you?

Think long and hard before trying this out on the elderly lady next door, because there is always something strange, and a little bit frightening about quiet, old ladies, who rarely venture out of their house.

Ms. Eldridge was one of those ladies. She was quiet and rarely seen outside by neighbors. Her body consisted of a short, hunched over frame, and her head was covered in gray-brown, stringy hair, that looked as if she had been dead for decades, but came back to life in the process of her hair dying from decomposition. The skin hung off her face and neck like icicles dangling from ice storm stricken trees. Her eyes were green, beady, and watery, as if she existed for the primary purpose of staying drugged up on cocaine. She lived alone in a moderate sized, dull, yellow bricked one-story house, with large bushes stretching out their limbs to keep portions of the front inconspicuous. In her backyard was a large, three man storage unit.  It was not clear whether or not she enjoyed the companionship of a husband, or if she ever just dated for simple reasons. In fact, it wasn’t even known how she maintained a refrigerator. She would have to get in a car, and drive down to the supermarket in order to buy her food; but evidence showed that a car wasn’t parked in her driveway!

One day she made quite a scene among the community on Dubuque Street. Her thin, frail, body frame wasn’t built by the creator to haul in the large object that she carried into her house in close secret that day. Whatever the object was; there was something covering it, resembling a human size bag. So strong and energetic was the thin, wan, old lady, that kids kept a  great distance between themselves and her house; for they knew, at her age, she must have possessed a cane. The incident with the bag went up into oblivion, and soon, old lady Eldridge was forgotten by the majority.

On the night of June 4, 1994; Joel Tucker, and Bo Heiserman, two youths, decided to play a trick on the lady. Their mission involved going into her backyard, banging on her back door, stepping into the storage shed and staying there for a minute, and then leaving. The plan seemed simple, and would go off without a hitch. The woman was after all, hunchback, and very old. How fast could she move if she wanted to get them off her property?

The two boys snuck out of their houses at eleven pm, and met up with each other at the edge of the old lady’s driveway. Joel flicked the lighter he always kept with him, and pointed the streaming flame at his chin. “This is old lady Eldridggggg. I have come for you Bo! Muhahahahaha!”

“Very funny wise ass!” Bo snickered with a hard fist to Joel’s left shoulder.

The full moon shone in its brilliance, while the earth remained in restful darkness on Dubuque Street. Eldridge moved about one of the back rooms of her house, unaware of the plan set in motion by the two boys; or… was she!

“What is the old bat doing?” Bo pointed towards the window.

Joel responded, “Maybe she is waiting on us! Waiting to drive her cane into our brains and pick them out for pleasure!”

Bo shook his head and followed Joel to the side gate leading into the back yard of the old lady. Bo agreed to the task of knocking on the door. They stood at the frame of the back door, with their ears pinned to the wood, like kids keeping quiet while listening in on their parents in their bedroom at night. There were small footsteps a good distance away from the door. Bo stepped back and tip toed to his left. Joel whispered, “You knock first, and then run to the shed. I will stand here and keep knocking until she comes. You just get ready to run. I am going to see if I can hear her come to the door before I meet up with you.”

Bo stepped back into the position he was in before he heard the old lady’s footsteps, and with force, pounded at the door three times. He ran as fast as his legs would allow him, towards the unit, when his right foot caught the edge where the monkey grass mingled with the patio. He rolled into the grass as if he were in the process of smothering the flames from spontaneous combustion. When he found his feet again, he swung open the storage door. He pulled it far enough shut to where he could still see his friend, but not to the point where he could see the face of the old lady. Joel looked back at him, holding up his right thumb in assurance. Bo shut the door, and waited for Joel’s seal of approval to get the hell out of
dodge.      
                          
As time went by, something felt wrong within Bo’s realm of logic and common sense. He was still in there, and Joel never sounded the alarm for them to leave the old lady’s premises. Bo didn’t hear him knock at the back door, and he never heard the sound of the door open after his first attempt to conjure up old lady Eldridge. Maybe Joel was standing with his back against the house, waiting, while the old lady, with the pace of an autistic tortoise, slowly made her way to see who was at her door.

Like a thief in the night, a rogue breeze arrived, jabbing at the sides of the storage shed, causing him to jolt. The air inside was stiff, and the odor was anything but pleasant. Man, I should have taken a shower before I came. Bo thought. He then replayed the events that night before he snuck out of the house and met up with Joel. He did recall taking a shower. His mother reminded him to wash good under his arms, because she knew how boys could get while playing football in the heat.

The odor increased, and the air stiffened further. Another rogue breeze hit the walls. Trailing at the heels of the breeze were soft, gentle, footsteps approaching the door. Bo smiled. Good, we can finally get out of here! His mind screamed. There were two more steps closer; then… a pause, and all was quiet for about five long minutes. Bo stepped back, and then again. He wasn’t alone! His back brushed against a soft, cold object at the back wall. A chilly, slimy goo tickled his back!

“Hm hm hm hm!” The deep chuckle outside pinned Bo in silence, without his lungs creating a single breath. Another footstep. The air stiffened, and the object leaned against Bo’s back. He swung open the door; the world was not where he left it before he entered into the unit. It was filled with all the horrors of the worst nightmares the human mind will allow the victim to experience.

Old Lady Eldridge stood there holding up the corpse of Joel with her right hand, like a fishermen hoisting an enormous bass. His face had been pulled apart, elongated downward in a horrific look of eternal shock. His eyes were two times their original size and his nose curled towards the direction of his long, pulled apart jaw. My God, her grin! It wasn’t of human race origin. She stretched all of her facial muscles outward; molding together a smile, with the curves crossing the boundaries of her temples. One should never wish for this grin to befall their worst enemies; for that would not be of the nature of a merciful God, and He is kind to those who are unjust as well.

The skin hanging off her face, raced downward until it contacted the ground. Her face contorted, and shook until her entire body trembled. Something was trying to release itself from her. Bo watched as the old lady threw Joel’s corpse to the side with brute force. She grabbed her head with her hands, and pulled it apart like a child tearing open a Christmas present. A gray entity stood in substitution for the insane, elderly lady. The creature was shiny, thin, and stricken with such a bony
frame, it must have been deprived of food from whatever dimension or planet it came from. Blond hair poked out from both its temples, and from the back of its head to its rear, streamed a black, flowing mane. There were no eyes for the black sockets to support, and its laugh was that of a thousand shrieks of thunder. It rolled on the ground laughing hysterically. A laugh of that nature should have awakened the entire world. Instead, the world slept, as the alien-entity awoke the
corpse of her husband.

Bo screamed, like a planet of angry birds, at the sight of the face on the dead husband whom was stashed away in the storage shed. His face was pulled apart, elongated downward in a terrible look of eternal shock.


 

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