by John Andreini
A shadow receded in a second-story window. Little girls giggled.
Sweat stained and covered in grass clippings, Frank Compton blew into the kitchen and headed straight to the refrigerator for a beer. His wife Janet looked up from her computer.
“That bad?” she asked.
“It’s like mowing a national park,” said Frank, taking a long drink. “I love our new old house, but man it’s a lot of work. Where’s Kendra?”
“Upstairs playing in her room. She’s already got a new imaginary friend.”
Frank sat at the table. “As soon as school starts she’ll make some real friends. Talked to the neighbor…Al, I think. Nice guy, but a little woohoo. Said our house has bad karma. According to him, the people who lived here before us had a daughter who died in a fall from a second-story window. So I’m putting away the mower in the shed, and there in the cement to one side are handprints, a little girl’s name, Lisa, and a date…2009.
“You think that’s the child who died?” Janet asked in a concerned tone.
“Not sure, but it’s freaky.”
Kendra clopped down the stairs and stopped midway. “Mom, we’re thirsty. Can we have some lemonade?”
“Sure. I’ll be right up.”
Several weeks passed, and Janet was in the basement looking for a box among the many that were still unpacked. While moving around a tight corner, her shoulder knocked a cobweb covered “For Sale” sign off the wall and it fell to the floor with a clatter. She picked it up and was about the put it back when she noticed a cubbyhole in the wall. Just inside the recess was a dust-coved shoebox that she pulled out and inspected.
Janet sat at the kitchen table with the open box in front of her. Inside was a jumbled pile of black & white and color photographs, some old with yellow edges. Pulling them out one by one, Janet saw they were all of the same subject, the small patch of cement next to the shed. A chill crawled up Janet’s back when she saw that the name and date in each picture was different. “Amber, 1977.” “Kelly, 1963.” “Susan, 1951.” There was even a photo of the latest imprint, “Lisa, 2009.”
Frank came in and stopped at the table. “What’s all this?”
A confused Janet looked up. “I…I’m not sure. Look.”
Shuffling through the photos, Frank suddenly stopped. “What the hell…?”
Kendra yelled down the stairs. “Mom, Lisa’s not being nice.”
“Okay, honey,” replied Janet, her attention focused on the photos. “What’s the matter?” she asked her husband.
Frank handed her a photo. Pressed into the cement were two small hands under the words, “Kendra, 2018.”
A child’s scream ripped through the old house like a siren, and Janet and Frank bolted toward the stairs. Halfway up there was a heart-splitting crack followed by the rain of shattered glass on the patio below.
About The Author
John Andreini is the author of numerous flash fiction horror stories (under the name “minnboy”), with many of them made into popular Creepypasta YouTube videos. Two of these stories have been made into short films (one was selected for screening at six film festivals in 2017, including Shriekfest film festival in LA) and two other stories have been optioned for films in 2018.
A traditional length short horror story of his “Warning Signs,” was recently featured on season 2, episode 8 of the Simply Scary Podcast produced by Chilling Tales for Dark Nights. He’s written stage plays that have been produced both nationally and internationally. If you’re interested, you can read many of his short stories on Facebook at Two-Minute Tales of Terror.