In the very small house lived a very small family, the Hollows. It is a very strange name but it fits for the strange family.
Kathrin worked in a holiday knitting Shop with her friends while her husband Henry delivered chocolate and candies for a living. Both of them have asked a few days off for an important task that needed to be done. They were coming home from the store, after buying a few appliances to fix their small home. Henry and Kathrin Hollow have lived in the house for almost twenty years. After they had their kids Phoebe and Matthew, it seems to grow smaller and started falling to pieces.
They noticed it when they didn’t have any more room for their closets, the windows would crack easily from frost, and their pet got stuck on the dog door one time. He had out-grown it and the family had to call a neighbor to get him out.
Because of this, the couple decided to look for a new home. They were supposed to look at a few houses after shopping, but the trip was cut short. Now the family is not entirely perfect, and that was because Matthew and Phoebe don’t get along. They would fight almost everything. They would fight over the TV or sharing their things. They fight about whose turn it is to play with their pet fox and it frightened the poor creature. Sometimes Phoebe tries to get along with Matthew, she tried to be nice to him, but her plans always backfire. One time, Matthew hit her on the head and was grounded for making her cry.
This time, however, the brother and sister were fighting about who will help their mom with fixing the sink. Kathrin had to pull them away and explained they can both help. But then Matthew walked away from his family to cool off.
Matthew, the oldest, mostly spends his days indoors watching TV, reading his favorite superhero comics, or playing violent video games. He would try to play the rated M games but his parents would always say no, he was not a big kid to play it. Matthew hated when his parents use words like ‘grown-ups’ or ‘big kid’. He felt they were treating him like a small boy.
“Can I go to my room?” asked Matthew.
“Don't you want to help with mommy?” Kathrin replied.
“I changed my mind.”
“Aw c’ mon Matt, don’t be like that,” said Phoebe, “I’m sorry I made a big deal out of it.”
Her brother rolled his eyes and grunted, “It’s fine.”
Phoebe was the youngest child of nine years old. Unlike her brother who stays inside, she likes to play outside, in the warm weather. Sometimes she would play with her Ugly Dolls, collect odd-shaped rocks or color in her coloring books. Phoebe is mostly sweet and sometimes stays out of trouble. She even takes responsibility for the family pet fox, who she named Zoom- Zoom.
As the family opened the front door, the fox was there ready to greet them. His tail waged as he barked happily. Matthew ignored the fox as he rudely enters the home first and rushed up to his room. Phoebe went to the kitchen, trying her best to carry the heavy shopping bags. Henry and Kathrin looked at each other with worry and they both sighed.
“What are we going to with these kids Henry?” asked Kathrin, “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.”
Henry goes to pick up the mail from the table and looked through it. There’s nothing particular of importance but bills and advertisements. He was about to throw them away when something caught his eye. It was an orange envelope that he hadn’t noticed the first time. He pulled 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 opened 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 the IV 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.
Henry called out, “Hey Kathrin!”
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 toolbox in the basement for me?”
Phoebe nodded as she watched her mother leave the room. She went to the bottom 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 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 took a deep breath before opening it. The basement was dark as she expected. Phoebe flipped the switch but no light comes on, so she flipped it again but the light wouldn’t turn on. Her eyes widen as she looked down into the darkroom. Just staring the darkness gave her chills. She has goosebumps on her arms and they can see them as clear as day. She expects someone to jump out at any moment, but she gulped her fear and takes 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 was making Phoebe’s heart beat faster. She stopped for a few seconds and looked back at the door, seeing the only light source coming from behind the door. She turned 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 moving water. She told herself she was just 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 hears a Dunk!
Her foot hit some kind of huge water puddle. The coldness of the water gave her shivers and her so much that she rushed back upstairs. She slammed the door shut. Not just her foot but 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 tires to calm the kids down Henry rushed downstairs with a flashlight. They hear splashing and him cursing to himself. Later when he returns his feet and his pant were soaking wet.
“The whole basement is flooded!” he said.
While the parents talked, the kids could see the water below now that the door is fully open. There they could see that the basement was indeed flooded. 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 looked at their parents confusingly until their father tells them about the letter.
“Kids, we’re going to have a new home.”