20 thoughts on “Silent Sunday

  1. ….as the lights on the Hendricks House continued to flicker we heard a voice say over and over as if recorded “come in for some cookies. I baked them for you. Just as you like them.” The abandoned recliner slammed shut, scaring us so that instinctively we turned and ran away as fast as we could. We ran and ran until we could run no more. When we finally stopped it was daylight and the Night Tree was far behind us. But we were literally at a crossroads and did not know which way to turn. Yogi Berra said when you come to a fork in the road take it but that was no help here. One way appeared to be the road to nowhere. We were afraid any other choices would just bring us back to the Night tree where we would be forced to eat the Hendricks House cookies.

  2. So . . . we took the road to the right. Right is always right, isn’t it? Besides, we could see a mass of clouds and some darkness in the distance and we were ready for a storm . . .

  3. ….telling ourselves we were cowardly to have run off. The farther away from the Hendricks House we got the more brave we became, or at least that is what we told ourselves. Heading directly into the pending storm was facing our fears head on, or so we told ourselves again. We boldly marched toward the mass of clouds but as we got closer and seemed to be surrounded by them we noticed something strange. The darkness that the clouds presented had a scent. Not the same scent as when would feel rain coming but this was the unmistakeable scent of burned cookies! There was a slight wind in our faces moving the clouds toward us setting up a cosmic collision. The storm we told ourselves we were ready for seemed to be more ready for us. A slight rain began to fall but we quickly realized it was not rain but rather very small pieces of a fruitcake, stinging our faces. Maybe right wasn’t right after all. Maybe right was bringing us right back to Hendricks House.dc

  4. And then we heard that voice again, that unmistakable voice saying, “ Come in for some cookies. I baked them for you, just as you like them . . . “

  5. Then the voice stopped and all we could hear was what sounded like a knife being sharpened against a sharpening steel. The constant nashing of steel against steel, relentless, forbidding and scary as hell. We were frozen in place, unable to move, unable to even think clearly. We were going to be killed and chopped up into little pieces and turned into a fruitcake. It became clear to us, that’s what goes in those things, human body parts. Is it any wonder that the damn things are left untouched year after year? The voice spoke again and startled us out of our terrorized state. It was not a threat or a promise of doom just a sweet little old lady saying, “I’ve run out of yarn, I’ll have to finish knitting the socks later.” Could it be the little old lady from the Hendricks House? Or was it a trick? dc

  6. A trick. It was definitely a trick. The Night Tree. The abandoned, empty recliner. The sound of the sharpening knives. The aroma of the burnt cookies. All these things added up to Trouble with a capital T. Big trouble. Big, big trouble. But we were in the mood for trouble as we marched forward toward the house . . .

  7. …and possibly toward something even more terrifying than clowns. Maybe clowns on steroids. It was hard to believe that we were in fact retracing our steps from this morning bringing us back to The Night Tree. Right was definitely NOT right but we were not making decisions now. Our fate was in the hands of the voice, she was in control of our motor skills and she was marching us back one step at a time, and enjoying every minute of it. The fruitcake rain had stopped but periodically we would spot discarded furniture along the way as if directing us, guiding us back to Hendricks House. They were obviously put there by the voice as there were no houses from which they could have come, just discarded desks, chairs and even some rocking horses. Eventually we did see one house and there was a dog in the window. It tried to warn us to turn back but the voice would not let us. We knew that no matter how fast or slow we walked, when we arrived back at Hendricks House it would be dark and The Night Tree would be there….dc

  8. And we were doomed. Automatically, mechanically, we marched onward toward the Hendricks House. We could smell the burnt cookies. We could hear the beckoning voice, but we couldn’t break the spell that compelled us to march on. And, suddenly, there it was, right in front of us: The Night Tree. What could we do now?

  9. Once again Yogi Berra comes to mind, it’s deja vu all over again. The Night Tree standing sentry to the Hendricks House and of course, as predicted, it was dark. Not only that but the outside lights were again on and the mist created sparkling reflections. The abandoned recliner still sat at the curb with the untouched fruitcake (it would forever be untouched), the Brussels sprouts and white strawberries resting on the seat. But now there was a tv table in front of the chair. A plate with two cookies and a note read, “Vincie and David, one of my special cookies for each of you.” One of the cookies looked uncooked, the other like it had been hit by a flamethrower and then put in a toaster just to be sure it was done. We had come all this way under some kind of spell but finally seemed able to make a conscious decision of our own. Our desire to overcome our fear was greater than the fear itself so we moved toward The Night Tree. It swayed its usual dance but we ignored it and walked past, getting closer to the Hendricks House than ever before. Leaves swirled around us as the wind increased and chilled us to the bone. It seemed like the temperature had dropped 60 degrees in just a few moments. We hesitated. What was that sound? Steel on steel? Should we go to the window and risk a look inside? What if someone was in there? What if……dc

  10. We heard more noises coming from inside the house. Pounding. Scraping. Squealing. Suddenly, we were paralyzed by fear. Frozen in place. We could hear a cackling laugh coming from deep inside the house, but we couldn’t move. We couldn’t walk forward. We couldn’t run away. The Night Tree was behind us. The Hendricks house was ahead. We were stuck in between. All we could do was wait. And so we stood there, shivering and shaking with fear, waiting to see what would happen next . . .

  11. and then without a word we held on to one another, in part to try and gather some warmth and in part to give us the strength to move toward whatever it was that awaited us. We took several steps toward the house and then in unison stepped on to the wraparound porch. We figured that with the howling wind outside and the myriad noises inside, our steps would not alert anyone inside should the porch start to creak under our combined weight. Edging closer to a window we stopped just short and looked into each others eyes. Vincie nodded at me, I nodded back with understanding. Cautiously I leaned toward the window until only one eye had a view. It appeared to be what is called a great room. Open kitchen into a family room. A fire was burning in the fireplace, wood stacked to the left. A television was on and turned up very loud. I could not believe what I saw. On the screen was the Wicked Witch, her high pitched cackling directed at sweet little Dorothy. The Wizard of Oz, are you kidding me? The witches monkeys were flying around making a squealing sound. A little old lady wearing a hand knitted cap sat in a recliner matching the one at the curb, stomping her feet in excitement. As she watched and stomped her feet she worked furiously with her hands holding two knitting needles, producing the sound heard earlier which we thought was a knife being sharpened. Steel on steel. Next to her chair was a plate of horrendous looking cookies and some asparagus. I leaned an inch more for a better view and the floorboard made a minor sound but the little old lady suddenly stopped watching the tv, quickly turning her head in my direction. I flattened myself against the wall, hoping she did not see me but I couldn’t be sure. The sound on the television fell silent, the stomping stopped as did the knitting needles clashing against one another. Did she see me? Did she suspect someone was outside? Fight or flight? Vincie and I looked at each other, each wishing we could buy a vowel or call a friend or poll an audience. After what seemed an eternity, the front door opened about an inch and the barrel of a shotgun became visible. We heard the little old lady say, “I knew you couldn’t resist trying my cookies. Would you care to join me?”


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