Story of the Week : The House

By Anjana Ashok


The House

– Anjana Ashok


“Isn’t it scary?” a girl asks, as we sit around the playground during our break time, “To walk home in that direction?”

I am ten years old. Our town is small. I live close by, just a ten minute walk away.

“No.” I frown, confused, “Why would it be?”

“There’s a reason all of us prefer walking home through the direction of the front school gate.” she side-eyes me, “You really don’t know? If I tell you, you’ll be too scared to walk home anymore.”

I scoff. I hardly doubt a scary story or a rumour can stop me from a simple stroll, “I bet I won’t be.”


The girl grins and leans forward, like that’s all she was waiting for. She found another eager listener to get a reaction out of. “Because you’ll most probably have to walk past the house.” her voice is lowered to a whisper for effect. It’s annoying because I can hardly hear her.

“What house?”

“You know…the big beige one with a black gate and a dark brown door? It’s surrounded by creepers and there are so many weeds and it looks like no one lives there.”

Of course I know that house. I see it everyday, since I live in that direction. I have never found anything scary about it, but before I can say as much, a boy flops down on the grass next to us.

“House surrounded by creepers?” he snorts, “You’re talking about that house again? Why? It’s creepy enough that we can see the roof from the school auditorium”

It seems to be some inside information that everyone knows except me. I am impatient, and the girl notices.

She points me out to the boy, “Her house is that side and she takes a shortcut.”

“Are you for real?” he does a double take at me, “You walk past that place everyday?”

“She doesn’t even know.” the girl’s eyes sparkle, eager to tell a story and receive a reaction, “Listen, kid. So basically, there used to be this family there- a husband, wife and their child. And one day when the mom and child were out the dad just mysteriously…died.”

“Like, it was super sudden.” the boy interjects, “And the scary part is, nobody even knows how it happened.”

“What’s worse is that apparently the mom and kid still live there.” the girl shivers, “I guess they can’t go anywhere, but imagine living in a house where a person died mysteriously. It wasn’t even an illness- it could have been anything! How do they live in that house not knowing how the dad died, or what could come at them next?”

“It could be haunted for all we know- it probably is, that’s why we all know to avoid it. The kid and the mom sound just as crazy. I heard they hardly go out.”


I zone out a little as the boy and the girl continue their back-and-forth. It is weird, but not scary. I barely hear their continued dialogue.

“I heard that he was found with a half-empty smoothie and the TV on, and that’s all they know.”

“Do you think it was because of something he ate? I doubt it, smoothies are harmless.”

“I heard they only found him because a neighbour saw him passed out through the open window.”

“My brother wonders how the mom and kid live. Nobody’s ever seen them, I think. They’re like…always inside there, they don’t come out”


They drone on, and when the final bell rings, I leave them there. It is hardly scary to walk home, no different than any other day. I stop in front of the large beige house with the dark brown door and the creepers all around. My fingers curl around the back gate as I think back to the girl’s and the boy’s words. I can’t help it, when I end up pushing in and going inside  I can’t help it, when my face is obscured from the outside world to a certain extent by the rough creepers.

“You’re finally home.” it is my mother’s voice.

As I hand her my backpack, I tell her, “You know, kids at school are scared of our house. They think it’s haunted.”

“How strange.” she smiles faintly, and I follow her inside.

I look just like my mother. The same eyes, lips, hair, face. It’s a good thing I don’t look like my father- I used to think my mother despised him. From the way they used to fight day and night, before the incident, I thought it was good I looked like her, or else she might fight me, too.

I must have been wrong, though. Despite their clashes, she seemed to have presented an expected level of grief and sorrow at his funeral. I don’t know how she truly feels about it, or about him- she never says. She manages things alone now, me and the money and the house and the work. She goes quietly and comes back quietly. She does not come for any school events. Simply arrives at home in time to make dinner.


Today’s dinner includes peanuts- my favourite. I’ve always loved it, but I don’t recall having much before. It seems to be a more recent habit to include peanuts in my dinners. Highly appreciated. I mention as much and wonder why, and my mother responds almost nonchalantly, “We never used to buy peanuts before- your father was extremely allergic, didn’t you know?”

I pause. It strikes something in me, but I can’t say what. My mind flashes to the conversation at the playground and then to a smoothie. And then all the thoughts vanish and I am left blinking, mind blank.

How strange, I murmur to myself, spooning some more peanuts into my mouth, how strange indeed.




Author’s Bio


anjana ashok

Anjana is a Psychology major at university, with a huge passion for writing and literature (and dessert). While continuing to explore her writing style, she especially enjoys working on reviews, first-person drabbles, and articles. You’ll most likely catch her with a book (or a coffee) in hand- bonus points if it’s contemporary fiction.






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