The “Grate” House
By Electra Blake
It was moving day. Shelly was heartbroken to leave her friends and house that she had known her whole life. She was sad and angry to leave everything she had known and loved…. Kansas. “Who wants to move there?” she thought bitterly. “What was wrong with dad’s OLD job?” she muttered to herself as she scuffed the toe of her sneaker against the other. Her dad kept promising they were moving to “the Great house” that he grew up in....well, she’d be the judge of that.
There it was. The new house. What dad called, “the Great House”. It was nothing special, not like the house in Santa Monica, California that they just left. Sure, it was bigger, but it had no charm or the warmth that makes it a home instead of a house. That was the problem, Shelly realized: this was just a bunch of bricks. Just then, she saw her father’s beaming face as he carried in a box from the moving van, “Great house, right kiddo?”. She felt guilty, “Who am I to ruin this for him? He’s proud of this promotion.” She promised herself to do her best to make it work.
The first night was awful. Shelly swore she kept hearing soft noises all night. She complained, but her mom impatiently told her it was the sounds of a new house. The next night was the same. And the next. And the next. After a week, Shelly could barely keep her eyes open at her new school. By the second week, she was sent to the principal’s office for sleeping in class. Her father picked her up from school and didn’t say a word the entire ride home.
“I really thought you were going to try to make this work”, he said, “I thought you would love it here, the house is GREAT.”
“Is it dad?! Not for me. I have no friends here, no more beach, no sun, no fun, and I keep hearing sounds all night! I haven’t slept since we moved here. I hate this ‘great’ house!”
“You are grounded!” Her dad said, hurt.
Shelly’s heart sank. Being stuck in her room all weekend would be a nightmare. It meant no sleep, yet again. What was that sound that she kept hearing in there? Why was it only in her room? She hated the house. Great house? Not at all.
Friday night was miserable and Shelly passed out from being so tired at 3 am. Saturday was worse, because all day she kept hearing the noises. It was a soft, whispering sound, like a slithery tongue. She felt like she was going mad. The sound sent chills down her spine. She couldn’t bear the thought of being stuck in her room Sunday and Monday, because of the school holiday. She begged her dad to let her be free from the torture.
No luck. Instead he grounded her for two MORE weeks. Unbearable. By Monday, she was weak and feeble from fatigue, she hadn’t slept in days. She had to find the source of the sound. Shelly couldn’t take one more night like this. She hid a flashlight in her pillow. After her parents slept, she explored every cabinet, every drawer, every sound. At midnight, suddenly the whispering was clearer. Her ears became razor sharp. Where was it coming from...and what was it saying?
Shelly walked across the floor... the sound was coming from the grate. Shelly peered inside only to see two green shimmering eyes. And from the grate, the faceless eyes kept whispering, “Isn’t this house GREAT?”