In a very small house lives a very small family. The Hollows. It was a strange name but it was their strange name.
There lived a mother and a father named Kathrin and Henry Hollow. Henry works in a computer store and Kathrin works in a knitting shop with her friends. They have two children named Matthew and Phoebe Hollow.
Matthew was the oldest. He was a boy who kept things to himself. He mostly spends his days indoors watching TV, reading his favorite superhero comics, or playing violent video games. He wanted to buy a game called “Dragons”. It is a game where the player can kill so many dragons and sell them to buy more weapons. Matthew asked his parents if he could buy the game. They said no, he was not old enough to play it.
“But Dad,” wined Matthew, “All of my friends are playing that game. It’s not fair.”
“Matthew,” said his father who was busy fixing a computer, “It’s a rated M game for grown-ups. You have to wait till you’re older. We’ll talk then.”
Matthew hated when his parents use words like ‘grown-ups’ or ‘big kid’. He felt they were treating him like a small boy.
Then there was Phoebe. She was the youngest, a child of nine years old. Unlike her brother who stays inside, she likes to play outside, in the warm weather. Sometimes she plays with her Ugly Dolls or colors in her coloring books if she’s bored. Phoebe was very sweet and stayed out of trouble, most of the time. She even took the responsibility of the family pet fox, Zoom- Zoom.
The family may seem perfect but there’s one problem. Matthew and Phoebe don’t see eye to eye, in fact they don’t get along at all. They fight over the TV or sharing their things. They fight about whose turn it is to play with Zoom-Zoom and it frightens the poor creature. Sometimes Phoebe tries to get along with Matthew. She tries to be nice to him and showing him kindness, but her plans always backfire, ending with her brother shouting ‘leave me alone’. One time, Matthew hit her on the head and was grounded for making her cry.
“What are we going to with these kids Henry?” asked Kathrin worriedly, “We can’t even put them in the same room together.”
Henry just shook his head disappointedly and said, “I’m sure they will come around. There will come a day when they will realize how important they are to each other.”
One day the family decided that it was time to buy a new house. The house they lived in was getting too old and too small for them.
One example, Kathrin bought new clothes for Phoebe, but her closet was full of toys and other clothes. Phoebe explained to her mother, “Sorry mom, my closet is full. I didn’t know where to put my toys.”
“That’s all right dear,” said
Kathrin, “I think we’ll store your toys in boxes from now on.”
Henry lost his glasses in a pile of his books from his collection. There were so many books in his office that there was no more room on the desk. He eventually found his glasses on top of the newest books.
Then Zoom-Zoom got stuck on the dog door. He had out-grown the small door and the family had to call a neighbor to get him out.
On a bright autumn day, Henry picks up the mail from the table and looks through it. There’s nothing particular of importance but bills and advertisements. He was about it away when something caught his eye. It was an orange envelope that he hadn’t notice the first time. He pulls the envelope out of the junk mail and looks at it closely. It was addressed to him from a place called ‘Hollow Springs’.
“Hmm…why does that name sound familiar?” Henry said to himself. Carefully he opens the envelope and pulled out a letter and a key. He looks at the letter and begins to read it.
Dear Mr. Henry Hollow,
I have some unfortunate news about your great, great, great grandfather. Edger Hollow, has passed away in his sleep on September 12th. We wish for you to come to Pennsylvania as soon as possible so that we can make preparations for Edger’s funeral. We have also found a will amongst his documents in which we discovered your name. It is with honor to inform you that you are the only heir to inherit his house. I have enclosed a copy of a map for you to find Hollow Springs and the key to your new home. I am looking forward to meeting you very soon. If you have any questions I will answer them for you once you have arrived.
Phoebe and her mother were in the kitchen, Kathrin was trying to fix the leaky sink. The pipes in the house were very rusty. Henry called to her again, “I think you need to look at this, it’s important.”
“Okay. Phoebe would you put a cup under the sink and get the tool box in the basement for me?”
Phoebe nodded as she watched her mother leave the room. She went to the cabinet and found a bowl to put under the sink where the pipes were dripping. She watched the water drip in the bowl and listen to the drip–drop –drip–drop rhythm for a moment. She got up from the floor and slowly walked towards the basement.
This part was hard for any nine year-old. The basement was dark, it smelled funny, and is known to be the home of monsters. Phoebe knows there’s no such thing as monsters, but going down in that room still upset her.
She stopped at the door and takes a deep breath before opening it. The basement was dark as she expected. Phoebe flipped the switch but no light came on, so she flips it again but the light wouldn’t turn on. Her eyes went wide and looked into the dark room. Just staring the darkness gave her chills. She has goosebumps on her arms and you can see them as clear as day. She expected someone to jump out any moment, but she gulped her fear and took another deep breath.
Slowly she goes down the stairs, step by step. Each step that she takes the wooden stairs gives out a low squeak…
Every squeak makes Phoebe’s heart beat faster. She stopped for few seconds and looked up back at the door, seeing the only light source coming from behind the door. She turns her head around and continues down to the basement. As Phoebe gets closer to the floor, she heard noises that sound strange to her. She could have sworn she heard what sounded like splashing and drip-drops. Maybe she was hearing things.
“I’m not scared,” she thought to herself, “It’s all in my head that’s all.”
She was almost to the last step when suddenly she heard a DUNK!
Her foot hit some kind of huge water puddle. The coldness of the water gave her shivers so much that it sends her rushing back up stairs. She slammed the door shut. Not just her foot but also her shoe is completely wet.
“What happened sweetie?” asked her father. Kathrin and Matthew follow him to see what all the noise was about.
“I went to get the tools and there was water and-”
“Oh-no what did you do?” Matthew rudely interrupted.
While Kathrin tired to calm the kids down Henry rushes downstairs with a flashlight. They hear splashing and him cursing to himself. Later he returned with his feet and pants soaking wet.
“The whole basement is flooded!” he said.
Now that the door is fully open the kids could see the water below. There were boxes, junk, garden tools and their old toys floating in the dark waters. It looked like a creepy muddy lake.
“Well,” started Kathrin, “We don’t have to worry about that anymore.”
Phoebe and Matthew look at their parents confusingly until their father tells them about the letter.
“Kids, we’re going to have a new home.”