The Old Gardner Place
“Whoo stooole myyyyy golden arm?”
I rubbed my wide chin, totally unimpressed.
Meanwhile, my friend Russel McKeley, ‘Rus’ to his friends, groaned loudly, making his characteristic eye roll.
“Whooo stoooole my goool-den aaaarm?”
Yawning, I started cracking my knuckles. The noise startled the audience, including the werewolf girl Ruth Welsh, who was slouched in a decrepit chair, looking bored out of her furry head. Amused, I continued my sound effects, watching with a satisfied smirk as people cringed at the pop, pop, pop of each cracked knuckle.
Oblivious to my popping bubble wrap impression, Rus continued on with his griping.
Kevin Tullugaq, obviously mistaking the nervous jittering of the audience as noises of approval, continued on with his wailings.
“Whooooo stoooooole myyyyyyy gooool-den aaaarrrmmmm!”
“Well…Whoopty freakin’ doo,” Rus muttered under his breath. He clawed his hands through his crew-cut hair until it stood out in disheveled tufts.
“Whooooo stoooooole myyyyyy gooool-den aaarrrmmmm!”
Eventually, the werewolf noticed my antics and grinned, revealing gleaming white rows of canine teeth.
I smiled back, though I didn’t show my teeth and I promptly quit my knuckle-cracking game.
Rus sighed heavily. He glanced irritably out of the old house’s window. Following his gaze, I soon noticed one of Faerie’s many radiant moons peeking behind a towering stand of rowan and mountain-ash. The stand wasn’t a natural barrier, rather something that was purposely planted there years ago to keep whatever inhabited this old human structure contained and sealed tight. Through the thick fruit-laden branches, I could just barely make out the distant lights of the former hippie tree house commune now turned summer sleepaway camp.
Turning back, I blew out a weary sigh of my own and rubbed my tired, watery eyes. I now regretted the decision that I made earlier that afternoon, of accepting Kevin Tullugaq’s offer to spend the night in the old Gardner Place.
“This sleepover will be really cool,” Kevin explained excitedly as the three of us surveyed the house. “I promise.”
The sharp, pointy-nosed, elfin face of the Korrigan boy regarded us with a wide-eyed, appealing gaze. We eventually caved at such overwhelming despairing sincerity (you had to have a granite-thick heart of stone not to give into a face like that), plus we were rather impressed with the place.
It was the very epitome of horror movie creepiness. Squatting at the end of the disused town road behind the camp, the dilapidated three-story structure resembled a weathered skull—double casement windows on the second floor stared hollowly like empty sockets while the triangular porch roof jutted above the door like a nasal cavity. Age-wise, it wasn’t very old; commissioned and built around the early 80’s by some upper yuppie family out of Orange County, who wanted to go all “New Age Native” and be like the Faire Folk, while at the same time, trying to make an instant profit selling mail-order homeopathic remedies and “miracle spring water” from nearby hot springs. However, their idyllic Faerie paradise soon came to an abrupt macabre end when their mummified corpses were discovered, three and a half years ago in their living room, sitting on the couch. No one had seen the Gardner family since early 1988. No one ever bothered to check up on them either since they were an obnoxious snot-nosed bunch who pretty much alienated everyone in town including many of the ex-hippies.
The fact that the corpses were also wearing clown costumes and were grouped around a staticky 50’s TV set seemed to make the mystery even more bizarre and ludicrous.
No one was even arrested for the multiple “Clown Murders” as they were called, and no weapon was ever found. To this very day the Gardner case was still open and had never been solved.
Over the years, many people had bought the Old Gardner Place, only to move out within a month due to the various forms of paranormal activity. And this included the still shadowy figures watching roaring white noise on the telly. Eventually, the house was taken off the market and pretty much abandoned to the elements, although it still held a sinister fascination for various daredevils and thrill seekers, many of them, like me, of the under 18 variety.
Somehow, Kevin managed to get nearly half the camp in on the sleepover scheme, as well as some of the neighborhood kids. Various excuses were given to inquiring grown-ups from camping out with close friends to Mummer’s Night—an old style custom similar to Halloween where people dressed up and paraded through the streets, driving out evil spirits and begging door-to-door for candy and trinkets.
I figured if you were a descendant of one of the first settlers of the Erskine Valley Basin, and your families also own a lot of property including a fancy tree house camp/tourist resort…Well, you were bound to have some influence.
So here we were, huddled close together in a tight circle, surrounded by yet another circle made entirely of sea salt.
I think Kevin’s last minute idea for a demon-deterrent might have saved everyone’s life, including Rus’s, but I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
The living room was fairly large with a huge fireplace on the left side and across from that sat a big rugged couch (not the same one that was at the scene of the crime, of course. The police got that one). In the far right hand corner directly behind the couch was a narrow doorless closet with old toys along the floor and square crawlspace in back.
At first things were great. A few people brought food and punch; there were even some Japanese snacks courtesy of the Sayuko Twins and the Satori Triplets. Kevin told some jokes that were a bit on the raunchy side. There were even some pretty cool scary stories, but after a while, things started to go wrong.
It started shortly after we explored the rest of the house. At first, we didn’t find much of anything; just bugs, some rat nests, still more crummy furniture. Then we checked the attic and found probably one of the scariest things you would ever come across in an old abandoned house. All these pretty horrifying motel room paintings that were stacked up on shelves, showing these things like creepy and soulless circus animals; the kind that looked as they would slip out of their paintings during the night and eat you the moment your back was turned. If that wasn’t creepy enough, there were also paintings of these goddamned clowns; there were dozens upon dozens of these creepy painted devils doing whimsical and silly fun stuff. Seriously, it was like something out of an 80’s slasher flick. All that was needed now was an ice cream truck playing that creepy circus music, over and over again, and being driven by that Pennywise guy from Stephen King’s IT, and the nightmare would be complete.
Well, we got out of there fast, but I think just looking at those things jinxed the party combined with that other jinx that was hiding in the corner closet, but that would come much later. But the stories from then on were boring old stuff I heard back in primary school and like every campfire story, urban legend and Halloween themed recording I ever listened to when I was wearing Pokémon-themed shoes & accessories. Cripes! It was like a cloud of dreary dullness was hanging over our heads and sucking out all the fun and originality, and replacing it with lame old rehash stuff. Pretty much everyone was probably thinking the same thing—it was all those freaky clowns’ fault, they probably scared the hell out of any Gardner ghosts still living here and they probably all left to move into a quaint Victorian mansion…unless they all got eaten by the clowns.
Oh well, I thought, making the best of a very difficult situation in which I was stuck. At least the food wasn’t bad, and the Sayuko Twins and those clique centaur-girls got freaked out over a house centipede. That was kind of hilarious.
Meanwhile, Kevin continued on with his mournful wails. He held a flashlight to his face, making a big effort to scare us silly. It wasn’t working. It just made him more like a goofball than ever.
The only people that really acted scared were the little kids like Rus’s brother Nate, for one, who spent most of story time, hiding underneath his blanket and pestering either Rus or me with forty-odd questions.
Nate: “Is there really a hook-handed killer?”
Me: “Actually yes. But the original guy was some innocent WWII veteran who had his prosthetic limb stolen by two teenage delinquents, who later went on a killer spree and the poor ole dude got blamed for it all.”
Nate: “And what about the ghost girl haunting the school bathroom?”
Rus: “That’s only in Asia. Back in the States, we got something called ‘bathroom lampreys’ that hide down in the toilet drain.”
Nate’s eyes widened in horror and amazement, “Ba…ba…bathroom lampreys?”
At this point, I felt obliged to step in and save Nate from a lifetime of bathroom phobias and having to use a chamber pot for life.
“Yes, but they’re only found in really filthy places,” I explained, “such as privies and service station restrooms.”
“Oh,” said Nate, still looking unsure. “Kinda like those sandwich worm things that Futurama guy ate?”
Having never seen the "Parasites Lost" episode myself, I merely shrugged. “Yeah, I guess.”
“Gross,” Nate grimaced in disgust. “Not eating anything out of a service station…or a vending machine.”
He returned to cowering under his blanket, and was quiet for a while until—“Are we at the ‘You Got It’ part yet?”
“No,” Rus muttered, finally growing fed up with Kevin’s growing uncoolness. “At the rate this story’s going, the ghost lady will probably get bored waiting and go back to her dirt nap…plus I think Kev might be turning into an owl.”
I and several other people snickered at this, and we also had a chuckle at Nate’s comparison of Kevin to a goofy fox. All the while, I was wondering what person in their right mind would want a golden arm. Not only would it be really expensive, it would be utterly useless as a prosthetic device. Also, it would be rather heavy and more likely to cause back problems. And why would anyone want to be buried with the blasted thing, when their spouse could surely use the money to pay off the creditors and the burial tax?
“Whoooo? Whoooooo? Whoooooooo? Whooooooooo stole my golden arm?”
I frowned as I folded my arms. “Chez! It’s going to be midnight by the time we get finished here!”
As the Sayuko Twins and Satori Triplets voiced their disapproval, I happened to glance over at the corner closet. I nearly swallowed my tongue. There sliding slowly around the corner of the door, was a pale puffy hand. The sort of hand you’d expect a clown to have.
My mouth suddenly felt dry. I felt ice-cold sweat on my brow and the back of my neck. So the stories we heard about the Gardner House were true after all! There really was a Gardner Family! They really did get murdered and turned into fun house props and now they're coming after us! Oh why did I agree to come to Kevin’s party? Why didn’t I just go to the Mummer’s Night thing where there would be plenty of goodies and ghost-deterring company? Oh, if only I signed up for Writer’s Camp where I would be writing about ghosts instead of getting by the damn things?
Then a face slowly crept into view like a crescent moon behind the hand, just barely visible in the dim light. Even in the shadows, I immediately recognized it—the poodle-like, ginger-blonde hair, the pouty pink lips, small bunny nose, the chubby baby cheek and anime doll-like eye. I didn’t see a horrific girly-girl fashion ensemble, but I knew who was and I didn’t like it one bit.
Nellie Oleson, one of the worst behaved kids imaginable; she was the reason why Rus and several of his buddies started hanging out at my place in Hogan’s Gap. Unlike Curtisville, my hometown’s bristling with a lot of security and defense spells, powerful enough to ward off any evil menace, human or non-human. I guess that also applied to special snowflakes hell-brats from Crapsaccharine Worlds such as Hualau-Urth. Yep, you heard me right. Nellie Oleson was an alien, not an alien-alien, but an alien human from parallel Mirror Earth where sky-rocketing crime, religious zealotry, and crappy reality shows were all the rage, an oppressive bureaucratic regime had taken over the United States, with pretty much everyone else in the world in a state of hostility with one another.
Eventually, people started escaping to our world through a secret network of wormhole jump stations. Most of these refugees were good, honest, hard-working people, but occasionally you get a few with a lot of mental issues, people like Nellie Oleson, for instance.
Personally, I think her behavior problems were the result of rampant pollution, crappy fast food diet and her academic parents’ general lack of discipline.
When I was in the first grade, I was diagnosed with ADHD. My parents didn’t subscribe to that Indigo Child New Age crap; instead they fixed my bratty behavior the old fashioned way—with spankings, groundings, revoking privileges, etc. And guess what, I turned out okay and so did my sister, although Ethel was usually the best behaved one.
The Hualau hell spawn that was currently hiding in yonder closet got no such discipline. I figured it was because her parents couldn't bring themselves to do it since they believed that scolding and spanking would actually harm her angelic free spirited nature.
They only actually did something when Rus’s family threatened to file a law suit against the Olesons for their daughter’s harassment of their son; in other words, stalking and ‘intentional perversion.’ Maybe back on Hualau-Urth, that’s how morons expressed affection, by giving their object of their affection a hard time.
However, back in my buzzkill logical universe, stalking, like cannibalism and inbreeding, is heavily frowned upon in much of the civilized world.To make the story short, the suit was soon settled out of court, and just as the McKeleys were seriously considering moving to French Canada or even Hawaii for some much needed peace of mind, the Olesons unexpectedly left town, taking their devil spawn with them.
So that part of the story is over—there’s no more to be said about it other than Rus Won. The Alien Hell Brat A. K. A. Nellie Oleson Lost and Got Exiled to Parts Unknown. End of Story.
Fast forward a couple years later.
I was staring across the crowded room, wondering how the hell this Rattus brattus wound up of all places—here. And why would anyone want to invite her to a party in the first place? Not only was she seriously messed up in the head, she was also a mega dispenser of bad luck. Something I learnt firsthand when she unexpectedly showed up at Rus’s 13th birthday party at the Oriental Buffet. Not only did she manage to alienate everyone there by overeating and then vomiting all over the table across from us, but there was also an infestation of bottle ants as well as lice, and then the very next day, Nate came down with a nasty stomach bug and had to go to the hospital. So you could imagine Nellie’s popularity level after that.
I was wondering whether I should alert Kevin of his uninvited guest when Rus suddenly nudged me and whispered, “Dude, you think he’s going to do it?”
“Do what--?” I started to say, before I remembered the Golden Arm “You Got It” Jump Scene. I looked at Kevin’s increasingly pale and sweaty face, his desperate, almost pleading expression as numerous frowns appeared on everyone’s face. “Either that,” I replied worriedly, “or collapse from exhaustion.”
My glance again darted to the corner closet, but Nellie apparently had ducked back into her hidey hole. I decided to not to tell Rus about her—let the poor guy enjoy his summer fun without the fear of this crazy freak hanging over his head. I doubt she would try anything with so many of his friends and camp staff about. Anyway, such a kid with her record would never be allowed to step foot in such a first class establishment as Ville des Arbes du Monde. Only the kids with exceptional grades and social graces got to go to Faerie for holiday.
Kevin’s eyes were now fixed on the closet directly behind him. From his vantage point, he should be able to see Nellie hiding in that tight, cramped space.
The Korrigan was quivering slightly, and everyone was staring at him and making derogatory comments as they tried to comprehend what they were seeing.
Geez Louise, Kevin, I thought as I wrinkled my brow in bafflement. Nellie’s just some spoiled rotten rich kid. It’s not like she’s a slimy monster with fangs and claws. I jumped a bit when Rus nudged me a second time.
“Hey, you don’t think he’s on something, do you?” he whispered nervously. “It’s like he’s having an epileptic fit or something.”
I bit my lip, shrugging. “I don’t know, man. It’s more like a panic attack to me. My sister had one once when she playing Dorothy in this fourth grade version of The Wizard of Oz.”
I didn’t mention the part where Ethel also lost control of her bladder and had to be taken off the stage in tears.
Rus continued, “Geez, you don’t think he’s forgotten the rest of the story?”
I looked at Rus then back at Kevin still looking at the closet. I made my usual shrug. “Hell, I don’t know,” I mused. “You got to be a real idiot not to remember the entire Golden Arm story.”
Rus stared at me. I couldn’t really tell if he was just worried or scared.
I continued, “Now I’m not saying that Kevin’s a major bonehead and an epic failure at everything, it’s just that sometimes…” I paused when I once again noticed Nellie, now crouching among the cluttered pile of toys. I narrowed my eyes, but continued on. “Well, people tend to get a little tongue-tied when it comes to speaking before a huge audience.”
Rus continued to stare at me as if he didn’t really understand what I was saying. For a minute, I wondered if he knew I was holding something back. Then he glanced back at Kevin again, who had quit his moaning and started a weird woo-ahh sound.
“Yeah,” he said finally. “Well, it seems like Kev’s speaking in tongues right now.”
“Woo-ahh…woo-ahh…woo-oh…woa-waa?” Kevin’s bizarre babbling reminded me a bit of a dog attempting human speech.
Rosalind McKleary, one of the prettiest Faire Dale girls, said prissily. “Yeah, and what else happens?”
“Hmmmm,” said her studious, be-spectacled friend/secretary Monica Holbert disapprovingly, “probably nothing at all…like his brain.”
The red-haired, freckled-faced Austin kid Ralph Henley stood up. “This party’s stupid!” he laconically declared as he grimaced at Kevin. “Everyone hates you…including the faceless kids.”
A chorus of grumbling and agreement immediately rose up from the Nopperabo section.
“Yeah,” Ralph’s friend Herb Marshall nasally whined, heaving his huge bulk into a sitting position. “This story sucks,” his wide nostrils flared as his slitty piggy eyes squinted around the room. “In fact, this whole sleepover idea sucks! I’m going to barf all over everyone due to boredom.”
There was a mad scramble of feet as Herb’s neighbors got out of his way.
“Ugh, I totally agree!”
I turned in the direction of the Valley Girl drawl.
A blonde palomino centaur girl in the latest haute couture summer dress gave a sniff of utter disdain as she adjusted a long braid. “This sleepover is a freaking drag on the tail.”
Her reddish-gold, ginger companion rolled her emerald eyes before whispering into the palomino’s tufted ear. “I bet he’s stuck like a scratched record.” She gave a snide, little chuckle. “Maybe all he needs is a good whack.”
A silver dapple in sequin stripes glanced back and forth between her clique friends and then murmured, “Or a good kick in the butt.”
I shifted my attention back at the increasingly quaking Kevin. I really started to feel bad for the guy and Rus must have felt the same way I did, because he was hollering over the irate crowd. “Hey, Kev, your story’s bombing big time! Sit down before you get hit by rotten tomatoes or eggs or flying hooves or paws or whatever!”
My gaze drifted past Kevin’s shaking head to the back of the closet. Instantly, I froze. Slowly, Nellie stood up but she didn’t move any nearer to Kevin. She seemed afraid of him. But that was not what made my heart lurch violently. Now she was facing forward and what had been obscured by shadows and toys, any maybe a bit of illusion was in full grisly detail. Her Shirley Temple pink outfit clung to her in blood-crusted patches, not bullet holes or stab wounds, but claw and massive teeth marks; her shredded right arm hung loosely at her side, nearly twisted out of its socket; half the right side of her face was gone, now just a mangled mess through which parts of her cheekbone and teeth gleamed exposed. The still intact left half that I had glimpsed earlier and had seemed so alive now seemed rubbery and mask-like, the lips hung loosely open, twisted crooked since the lower jaw was now completely unhinged on the right side, the single eye was sunken and stared fixedly ahead. Whatever animated her now was no longer human life since the torn corpse moved in twitching and jerking steps much like a marionette.
I couldn’t move, just sat fear-frozen as beads of cold sweats and goosebumps covered me from head to toe.
''It had to be a ghost'', I thought frantically, ''or else, an Deadite Demon. And only Kevin and I could see it. Poor Kev, no wonder he’s having a massive fit. The poor sap’s gone over the deep end…or else he’s getting possessed by the thing that turned Nellie into a zombie.''
My sister’s yelling suddenly snapped me out of my icy trance. Not yelling out of fear, but out of frustration.
“Ahh screw this!”
I looked over my shoulder as Ethel and several other people got up and gathered their stuff. She gave me a peeved look. “Seriously, this is getting much too weird for my taste…I’m outta here!”
“Yeah,” I muttered dully as I watched the group disappear out the front door. “I’m about ready to get the hell out of here myself; your friend’s really weirding me out.”
I still haven’t mentioned the Other Thing that already got me badly freaked out.
Rus looked at me and shook his head. “Hey, I hardly know the guy,” he replied as he stood up. “It was my parents’ idea that I should spend summer break with him in the first place!”
Oh, cripes! I thought, feeling a sudden rush of panic. He’s going to check Kevin out! I gotta warn him!
“Dude!” I rasped. “Watch out for any projectile vomiting!”
“Yeah, yeah. Okay,” Rus muttered.
“And if he starts levitating or spider-walking up the walls—run!”
“Gotcha,” Rus replied, his voice shaking slightly.
I watched tensely as Rus walked up behind Kevin and tried to get his attention.
“Ahem! Uhh…Say, Kev, I know you’re trying to be a good host in running this camp party and all that, and you’re really trying your best at telling a scary story …”
Nervously, I shot a glance at the closet. Recognition flickered over the Nellie-Thing’s dull, remaining eye, I stared as the ruined mouth formed a silent word—Rus. Even if sound was possible in the limbo dimension she was in, I still don’t think she was capable of producing any since there was a large jagged hole where her larynx had once been.
“…but you’re really freaking people out with your Paranormal Activity pantomime stuff…”
Shaking, I watched as the Nellie-Thing lunged forward, only to leap back the moment her bloody, scratched up feet touched the salt sprinkled outside the entrance way.
“…and I really think you should stop before someone panics and gets hurt, and then their folks decide to sue your folks for not running a safe enough summer camp.”
She can’t get out, I thought, the chill of sudden realization dawning as I slowly stood up. She can’t get out because of the salt circle blocking the closet!
The Nellie-Thing probably came to the same realization as soon as I did. Frustration soon gave way to despair as she scrabbled around with her one working hand at the base of the doorway. It was pretty gut-wrenching to watch, and I wondered what sort of animal it was that did that kind of carnage. No one deserved to be torn up like that, no matter how despicable they were in life.
I also wondered how she ended up haunting a small closet in the first place. Maybe the afterlife was a lot like in the movie Beatlejuice—an IRS-type scenario where the deceased have to wait like 125 years before being able to completely transfer to the Other Side…or if they were “lucky” to get put in an administrative position or else assigned to a “haunting post.” You would think that Nellie Oleson would have gotten a lucky break seeing that she was still a kid.
Meanwhile, Kevin wasn’t answering Rus’s pleas to “snap out of it, man!” Now he was croaking out coherent words, “What…is…that? What…is…that? WHAT…IS…THAT? Oh my gods! We gotta run. We gotta run!”
A shudder ran through the crowd. Even the faceless monster kids were scared.
“Dude!” One of the Nopperabo yelled. “Is he like tripping out on something?”
“No, he’s not on anything!” Rus yelled back. “His parents would kill him if they even found him with a small joint!”
All during this time, I kept my eyes fixed on the closet and its nightmarish occupant. Then I saw a flicker of movement in back and my eyes instantly snapped in that direction. What I saw next made the chill fear rush through me again. Hands clasped every visible part of the window-like frame of the now opened crawlspace, not human hands, but taloned Velociraptor-like ones with five fingers instead of three. The fingers were now tapping a light tempo on the frame as it whatever was inside was growing impatient or bored. Two large bluish-green lights surrounded by several smaller ones glowed faintly in the darkness of the opening. Eyes. They never blink even when they stared in my direction and then at Rus shaking Kevin by his shoulder. They then fixed themselves on the hideous figure that stood swaying in that narrow coffin-like space.
It wasn’t the Nellie-Thing that Kevin was seeing; it was this multi-limbed freak. And now by the way its eyes were flaring like search lights, it seemed furious; not at us, but at the blood-soaked ghost girl now clutching a toy duck.
Her despairing look had suddenly given way to silent fury. I watched as the pudgy portion of her undamaged face tightened into demonic-doll mask. Cripes! I half-expected her remaining eye to also blaze and for her to grow fangs as well. Maybe a devilish shape-change might even have been a big improvement to her damaged Two-Face, Hacked-Up Chucky the Doll look.
Clenching both her hidden and exposed teeth, the Nellie-Thing threw the toy at the salt barrier, but it was aimed too high and it sailed over the salt, landing finally against Rus’s skate shoe.
I watched as Rus frowned, wondering how that toy came to be there. I watched as he then noticed Kevin’s face now contorted in sheer terror, his eyes the size of silver dollars and his lips drawn tight over his big bucky teeth. I watched as the stunned audience the n noticed the unexpectant new visitor at the party. Yet they didn’t even see what that creature did shortly after the Nellie-Thing threw that fateful toy.
They didn’t see how that crawlspace immediately sprouted more clawed hands, each with a squirming mass of liquorice-like tendrils sprouting at the center of each palm like a grotesque stigmata. The tendrils began swarming out like a living candy rope, wrapping around the revenant’s blood drenched form, coiling tightly around her as she silently howled, whether out of pain or terror or even both, I don’t know nor do I even want to know. When she was completely wrapped in an ornate woven pod, the tendrils broke off. Then the hands gently drew the still writhing package into the dark depths of the crawlspace. The toys soon followed.
I would have stayed and watched the monster finish its mysterious task, but that was when the audience decided to make a break for it. Everyone, except Rus and Nate, raced and dashed for the front door. I suddenly found myself surrounded and dragged along by the screaming crowd I panicked, feeling suffocated among the panicked throng, wondering I was ever going to live to see Rus or Nate or even my family again. The next minute I was hoisted up by the back of my shirt and then dropped onto this jolting sequin striped thing which I soon recognized as a dress-covered equine-like back—I had been rescued by the silver dapple centaur. I never had though the centaur girls were even capable of lifting someone of my hefty girth, but apparently they were strong and durable as a mule. As we plunged headlong into the woods, I quickly glanced around, but the Old Gardner Place had already disappeared from view.
I later found out the name of my rescuer—Jodie Cydnee Hylonome. She wasn’t an official member of the popular girls’ clique, though she was still considered “cool” and they let her hang out. Turned out, she also saw Nellie and what later happened to her, although Jodie was just as baffled as me as to the exact nature of the Thing in the walls, and the possible fate held in store for Nellie Oleson; captive forever in the crawlspace of a cursed house, or having her ghostly innards sucked out by something even more terrifying than her current undead form, or mailed off to some possible Netherworld where butt ugly Krampus wardens wait for any horrid spoiled brats, damned to Hell. Best not dwell over such stuff, even during the daylight hours.
Rus and Nate came out okay after our abrupt departure from the house. Nate pretty much missed the whole thing, hiding under that old blanket of his, listening to his favorite rap artist Snoop Dog. Rus really wasn’t sure what he should tell his kid brother, probably wait till he was a little older, he later confided in me. I later told him about the whole Nellie Oleson episode and although he looked rather shocked about the whole thing, at the same time, he looked rather relieved. I could hardly blame him; that girl had felt a manic compulsion to torment Rus ever since moving to Curtisville, making his life extremely miserable to the point where he had to flee his hometown to the safety of the Faerie Territories.
It was only after we came back home, safe and sound from our summer camp adventure that we eventually found out what really happened to Nellie Oleson.
It was shortly after her move to the town of Boulderville, that she and another horrible brat girl were attacked by a mountain lion. While her friend barely survived, Nellie, however, died en route to the hospital.