The weeks passed by quickly after the family announced their move to Pennsylvania. Already the moving day has come, the movers grabbed their boxes and bags carrying them to the truck. One by one they carried the heavy couch, chairs, and tables out of the house. Once they have everything out of the house, the movers drove away. The Hollows stayed behind, so they can say all their good-byes to their old home.
“Bye house!” cried Phoebe.
Matthew just simply stared with an unreadable expression.
They all got in the car and slowly pulled out of the lot. Phoebe was the only one who glanced back. She was understandably a bit scared about moving. She grew up in that house and had good friends in school. Matthew, on the other hand, didn’t look back. He had the same feelings as his sister but he refused to show it. He occupied himself by putting on his headphones to his iPod and ignored everything around him. He thought the move was stupid but he put up a deadpanned face, showing he doesn’t really care.
It was a six-hour drive to Pennsylvania. The family would stop for food or a gas station along the way. Matthew and Kathrin fell asleep but Phoebe stayed awake. Zoom-Zoom had fallen asleep on Phoebe’s lap while she pets him gently. She was a bit drowsy, but she wanted to see the small town that will be her new home.
“Hey daddy, are we there yet?”
“We’re almost there sweetie,” said her father, as he drove, “Are you happy we have a new house?”
Phoebe thought about that question and said in an unsure voice, “I guess it’s a good thing…”
“I know it’s scary, but you and your brother will make new friends. Mommy will have a new job and I heard there is a forest by the house.”
“Really?” Phoebe loves to adventure out in the forest with her parents.
“Oh yeah, we can take walks there. There’s also a park near the house too, you can find all kind of rocks there. I promise it will be a great home, Phoebe.”
Phoebe smiled for her father knowing that he meant well.
After the six-hour drive, they arrived at the small town of ‘Hollow Springs’. It was around seven o’clock and the sun was going down, creating beautiful pink clouds mix with the orange and purple in the sky like a watercolor painting. The town was quiet and not many people were outside. Phoebe could see the little stores and dim lights as they drove by. They continued to drive through the forest until they finally made to it their new home.
The movers were just loading off the last boxes and furniture. Henry woke up the kids and his wife. They all gazed at the house but it was too dark to see all of its details. Phoebe hid behind her mother, something about this new home gave her an eerie feeling. It didn’t look like a family home. The movers helped Henry and Kathrin carry in the beds and the last heavy boxes before leaving. Their fox, who was most curious, was sniffing in every inch of the room. They put their mattress on the floor of the living room.
“All right, we’ll sleep together in one room until we have our own rooms,” Henry said.
“But dad,” Phoebe squeaked, “This place looks spooky.” She examined. The rooms were very dusty with spider’s web on every corner and the floorboards smelled like wet wood and mothballs.
Matthew rolled his eyes and walked to the couch with his pillow and blanket, “It’s not spooky, it just hasn’t been cleaned that’s all” he said annoyed.
“I’ll be honest with you Henry,” Kathrin said, “I had no idea your relative lived all the way out here.”
“Heh, neither did I.”
Everyone fell fast asleep, Matthew slept on the couch while his parents slept on the mattress with Phoebe. Zoom-Zoom slept in a small cardboard box. All was quiet in the house except for the sounds of crickets making music outside.
Suddenly, Matthew was awoken by a strange noise in the house. It didn’t bother him at first but then it got louder. The noise sounded like a soft creek from the ceiling as if someone was tiptoeing. There were stairs that lead to the second floor, but no one was sleeping up there. His sister was also hearing the same noise. She looked really frightened and mouthed to him ‘what is that?’
Matthew only shrugged.
Then the creaking got louder like pounding footsteps. They were surprised that their parents were sleeping through all the noise. This startled the fox and Phoebe, not wanting to wake her parents Phoebe slowly got up and hurried to her brother. Zoom-Zoom also followed wagging his tail behind.
Matthew looked around for the source of the noise but saw nothing out of the ordinary. He couldn’t see in the dark, but he did see the lamp that was on top of some boxes. He crawled out of his blankets and went to turn on the lamp. In an instance, no other noises had accrued.
A few seconds passed and nothing else happened. Zoom-Zoom went back to his sleeping spot, but the kids just looked up at the ceiling and nervously at each other. “Where was that noise coming from?” whispered Phoebe.
Matthew didn’t know how to answer that question, He slightly spooked himself, “There are probably rats in this stupid place.”
“That’s too loud to be rats.”
“Whatever, just go back to bed. We’ll leave the light on just in case.”
Phoebe did as she was told. She went back to sleep with her parents. She wearily drifted into sleep. She slept without any nightmares and that was good for her.
When Mathew and Phoebe woke up they found their parents busy putting their things away. Phoebe picked out some clothes and went to go change. She didn’t have much of an appetite for breakfast, she couldn’t stop thinking about the events of last night. She wanted to tell her parents but they didn’t hear any of it. Besides they were busy organizing their house, she didn’t want to bother them. She helped by putting her boxes in her new room.
Now that there was daylight in the house Phoebe could look at the house better.
It was more like a victorian house.
The living room was a big room and had old beautiful red wallpaper. The ceilings had patterns of hexagon, there was a hanging chandelier, and it had stained glass windows with many colors and when the sun shined through them the colors danced on the floor. Phoebe liked the stained glass windows, it gave her a warm feeling like the house was welcoming her. It didn’t feel eerie anymore. As she went upstarts the floors gave out a squeaky noise that sounded the same noise from last night.
She quickly ignored it as she heads to her new room. She saw Zoom-Zoom following her and said good morning to him. When she opened the door, the room amazed her.
The room was big, much bigger than her old room. The wallpaper had flowers and light green leaves surrounding every inch of the room. The closet door was painted white with a beautiful picture of a woman. The floor was cherry wood with a pink area rug in the middle. Her parents already put her bed in place and some of her clothes away. She put down the boxes she was carrying so she could explore her new room.
“I kind of like this place!” she said to herself glancing all around the room. The fox barked as if he was agreeing with her. There was a chair near the window and she saw she had a nice view of the forest, which made her smile.
Zoom- Zoom made himself at home by sleeping on her bed and Phoebe giggled at her silly fox. Phoebe went to get more boxes but stopped to see her brother exploring his room. He didn’t look too thrilled about his room. The wallpapers in his room were dark green with brown-red like stripes. His closet and desk had an oak color painted on them. His bed and boxes of comics were already in his room.
“Man, this places sucks…” he mumbled.
“I like it!” Phoebe said cheerfully behind him, “It’s bigger and colorful.”
Matthew turned to his sister and gave her a bored look, “Of course you like it because it looks like a dollhouse.”
Phoebe didn’t think of it as a dollhouse at all. She followed him to his room, “Matt, do you remember the sounds we heard last night?”
Matthew hesitated a little, looking down at the floor and answered quietly, “Let’s not talk about it all right.”
Phoebe looked at him confused but mostly concerned. “Why?” she asked, “Did it scare you?”
“No!” he snapped but realized he was too loud and looked down again. Phoebe stepped back a bit, afraid they would start fighting again. She tried to smile, “It’s okay to tell me I was scared too.”
There was silence, then they heard their mother calling them.
“Kids come and help me put these boxes in the attic.”
Matthew and Phoebe carried small boxes as their mother led them upstairs to the attic.
The attic was the dirtiest and less colorful room in the house. There were dust bunnies and thick cobwebs dancing everywhere. A huge stained mattress covered half of the wall. Old newspapers covered the floor, old toys were scattered everywhere, and lamps were organized in a straight line from wall to wall. And a broken grandfather clock inches away from the door. There was a small amount of light coming through the stained glass window.
Kathrin switched the lights on and put the boxes on the far corner of the room. Matthew did the same and helped Phoebe stack the boxes together.
“I think I’ll clean this place first,” said Kathrin.
“Hey mom, what’s that over there?” asked Phoebe.
There was a big gray trunk in the corner by the window. Phoebe quickly rushed to the trunk while the others followed her. The mother looked at the trunk suspiciously.
“I wonder what’s inside?” said Phoebe as she tried to open the trunk but there was a side lock attached to it. “I’m not sure honey” her mother answered.
Matthew saw a flat paper on top of the trunk, he picked it up thinking it was instructions on how to open the trunk. Instead, it was a very old faded picture of a man with a long beard and standing next to him was a tall man with a goofy grin. It was so old that there were orange spots on the edges of the picture.
“Who are these guys?”
Phoebe and her mother looked at the picture Matthew was holding. Before Kathrin could get a better look at the picture there was a call from downstairs.
“Kathrin! Kids! Come down we have company!”
As the family gathered in the living room, Henry asked the visitors to come in. An old man wearing a bowler hat, with a dark grey coat, dark pants, and shiny brown shoes, greeted them. The other guest was a young woman, who was very beautiful. She had a red summer hat, a dark red coat, and fancy boots and smelled delightful.
“Hello Mr. and Mrs. Hollow,” said the old man, “I am Mr.Hoyurpants the mayor of this town and this is Ms. Angels. We came to talk to you about your grandfather’s will.”
“Hello, it is a pleasure to see you sir”, Henry said as the men shook hands, “What was your name again?”
“Hoyurpants, Mr. Hollow.”
The kids quietly giggled at the name but soon stopped when their mother glanced at them.
“And I thought our name was weird,” Matthew thought to himself.
Ms. Angels, who had not said a word, just smiled at Henry and his wife. She noticed the children next to them.
“I see you have children.”
“Yes um, this is Phoebe and Matthew.”
They both waved at the visitors.
Their parents and the guests walked into the kitchen to talk. Phoebe and Matthew stayed in the living room, sitting on the couch. They could see and hear Mr. Hoyurpants in the other room. He took out what look like files from his briefcase.
Their parents were looking at the will and started reading it while the old man was explaining. He said the town was named after their great, great, great grandfather, Edgar the first when he was once the mayor. He passed on his job to his son who in turn passed it on to his son. The line of succession stopped when Henry’s father decided to move away, not wanting the job. Edgar the IV stayed as the mayor for a while but he was too old to continue, leaving his good friend Mr.Hoyurpants in charge of everything. This explained why Henry didn’t remember much of Hollow Springs, he was barely a toddler when his father took him away. Although he was still shocked as to why his father didn’t tell him much of their family tree.
Matthew grew bored listening to the grown-ups' conversation. He looked at his sister who was still looking at the picture they found. He sighed deeply, “Why are you still looking at that?”
“I want to know who’s in the picture, it could be dad’s great grandfather but I don’t know who the other guy is.”
She held the picture in front of Matthew, who pushed it away. “That man looks nothing like dad and how do you know if it is him?”
“She’s right you know.”
They both heard a soft sweet voice in the room, they turned to find Ms. Angels standing in the room. She smiled at them and walked over to the couch and sat next to them. She pointed to the picture and said “That is Edgar Hollow the first. Edgar the IV looks just like, he was a dear friend to me.”
“You knew him?’ asked Matthew who raised an eyebrow at her.
“Oh yes,” she said, “I would come by and check on him. He was very old so he couldn’t move around much. I remember the stories he would tell me when I would visit.”
“Stories, what kind of stories?” asked a curious Phoebe.
“Stories about when he was the mayor or how proud he was being a Hollow. Sadly, the older he got the more he would forget those stories. He would work around the house so burglars wouldn’t break-in. He told me that he was guarding something important.”
“Like what?” asked Matthew.
“I don’t know sweetie, he never told me much about it, but before he passed he gave me these.”
Ms. Angels took two necklaces from her purse. The necklaces had a rope tied around shiny pearls. “They use to belong to his wife and his son. These are supposed to bring projection. I believe I should give them to you since you are his family.”
“Thanks but I don’t wear girl’s jewelry,” said Matthew and went to his room.
“Sorry about my brother he’s a very grumpy person. I’ll wear it for my great, great, great grandfather.” Phoebe took the necklaces and smiled at Ms. Angels.
“Thank you, Phoebe, it would mean so much to Edgar.”
“Your perfume smells nice Ms. Angels.” The woman blushed a bit and thanked her for the compliment.
They heard the three adults coming into the living room, Mr. Hoyurpants informed Henry that the funeral was tomorrow and the will was for him to keep. “It will start at about 11:30, and again I’m sorry for your loss.”
“Thank you, sir, so the will states that all the land and the house goes to us?”
“Yes, that’s correct.”
“But what about that mayor thing, am I the next mayor?” asked Henry, “I mean I wouldn’t mind continuing the family tradition.”
“Well, Edgar didn’t write that down in his will, only that you are his heir to the house. Since your father left Edgar sort of left it blank. I’ll find more information.”
The old man signaled to Ms. Angels that it was time to go. Phoebe tugged her coat. “Wait I have one question,” she held up the picture to the woman, “if this is the first Edgar then who’s the happy guy?”
“Oh, he’s just one of his many friends back then.”
Phoebe titled her head a bit and asked: “What’s his name?”
Phoebe followed Ms. Angels to the doorway where Mr.Hoyurpants was waiting. Ms. Angels thought about the question and turned to the little girl and simply smiled, giving a wink. “His name was…Benny.”
Phoebe was confused by the answer she was given. Ms. Angels acted like she knew the other guy, even though this picture was from a long time ago. She wanted to ask more but the two visitors left. Phoebe went back to put more boxes in her room and later play with Zoom-Zoom.