Saturday, November 27, 2010

Body Parts

In the woods, behind our complex, there is the remains of a house. The kids call it the "Burned House" and it is infused with mysterious presence. The beasties have many stories about the Burned House, and how it came to be burnt. But none of their stories are very gory. Some of them are cautiously scary. Perhaps there are ghosts....

When I was little, I imagined gory, horrific things that haunted the creepy buildings surrounding my childhood. At one time my aunt lived in a red farm house a bit out of town. It was a wonderful old house, huge and sprawling with an upstairs apartment (in which we lived at one point). The house attached to an abandoned barn that was falling apart, complete with a basement area with a jutted out pig sty. We were not allowed in the barn so it was a favorite play area for us all. We spent hours crawling up to the loft with was a "dangerous adventure" as the floor had huge gaping holes that plunged at least 20 feet to the first floor. We roamed through the empty dusty stalls, turning the least nasty ones into clubhouses (NO BOYS ALLOWED!). We found treasures that adults no longer saw the beauty in--old tractor parts, pieces of plows, tarnished buckles to animal halters.

But up in the hay loft was a scary find. A simple brown bag, lumpy with its unknown secrets. I decided it was filled with body parts. I explained to my younger cousins that it was filled with the parts of the farmer's wife. The farmer had gotten mad at her and chopped her into bits. He stuffed her in the bag and left it up here on the window sill. My cousins were terrified and frankly so was I. I laid awake at night, hearing the farmer's wife calling to me from that paper bag. I stopped going into the barn for awhile but eventually the delicious terror of seeing that brown bag won out, and I would sneak into to shiver at the sight of it, tucked up against the dirty pane.

Finally one day I was no longer able to contain my curiosity. From below, the watchful eyes of my cousins and my brother followed my careful process across the hole ridden second floor. Shaking and breathing hard, I came closer to the brown bag. I felt ill with the terror of being so near. I grabbed the bag after a few deep breaths.

"Come on, open it!" my brother called up.
One of my cousins started to cry.

The bag was heavy. I shook it, and it made a jangly sound. Like bones.

"You're chicken." Another cousin taunted.
"Yeah well I don't see you up here." I shouted. But I was chicken. I was so scared of what might be in that bag. I could almost hear the farmer's wife's shrieks. With a stifled sob, I open the bag so fast I ripped the top. Broken glass tumbled out. I dumbed the bag and a pile of dirty broken glass fell out. The disappointment hammered at me.

"Nothing but glass."

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