The house at No. 18 always gave me a weird feeling whenever I walked past.
It was a dark and foreboding place. A high fence sheltered it from the outside world, and the house itself appeared to be sunk into the hill.
If I happened to pause as I went by I could feel a familiarity.
I had never been inside the front gate as far as I knew. My mother had told me to keep away, to not venture inside the gate as bad things had happened there.
When pressed, she would say it was best not spoken about.
The inhabitants of No.18 were a collection of aged sisters. They dressed in black, they shuffled in old age, one was a gardener and was often seen weeding or pruning, another could be seen each Wednesday, on pension day, pulling her shopping cart to the supermarket, head down, ignoring all that surrounded her.
On a bright Sunday morning, I found one of the sisters, Miss Florence, out in the street. She looked troubled, disorientated, she signalled for me to help, I ran to tell my mother, it turned out one of the sisters was ill.
I met my mother as she came out, the ambulance had been called, and the ill sister taken away. Mum looked at me and said: “I’m glad you didn’t go in there, it’s not a pleasant place. I’m glad you don’t remember what happened.”
My mother years later told me what had happened. How I had been caught in the house, the sister’s brother was an unpleasant man, he frightened me, wouldn’t let me go home, I must have been terrified as when I was let go, mum called the doctor and dad went and spoke to the brother who protested he was only being friendly.
It explained the feelings I had walking past.