What the Snow Brings (excerpt) by Chisto Healy

The following is an excerpt of the short story: What the Snow Brings by Chisto Healy, which you can find in the anthology The Hawthorne Project. Inside you’ll find ten dark and creepy stories written by him and other amazing authors. I hope you enjoy this little snippet. Oh, and click any of the links below to buy.

The air held a chill but it wasn’t cold for the area. A gentle fall breeze rustled the leaves of the oak and elm trees that lined the sidewalk of the Hawthorne Drive cul-de-sac. Just past the old stop sign that wasn’t so much cemented in anymore and creaked when the wind blew, the first house on the left side of the street was 981. The old man in the rocking chair coated in chipping white paint on the front porch of the beige house with white trim that didn’t fare much better than the chair, was as much of a fixture as the trees. At this moment he was chewing on a toothpick and staring across the street at house number 104. His brow was furrowed and his eyes hard.

The screen door slammed open behind him, caught by the wind and banging into the siding of the house. A young man in his early twenties stepped out of the house with a frown. He inspected the hinges before facing the old man rocking gently in his chair who had yet to so much as look his way. The young man sighed. He walked forward and rested his elbows on the porch banister and faced the old man whose eyes were still glued to the house across the street. “It’s supposed to snow this weekend, Pop-pop. Maybe you should get some practice sitting inside the house before then.”

The old man waved him off. He spoke to the boy without looking at him. “I’m telling you Aaron, I seen it again.”

Aaron McCallister rubbed at the tension in his face. “Come on Pop, don’t do this.”

Finally the old man looked over at the man who could have been a younger version of himself. He glared at him, as if his eyes held stingers. “I know what I saw, boy. Listen. You know them folks over there are religious zealots and whatnot. I bet they’re in a cult. Maybe they used their voodoo or whatever to call forth a demon from Hell or something other.”

Aaron reached into his pocket and dug out a pack of cigarettes. “I just can’t even…” he said, lighting one. “They’re just people, Pop-pop, our neighbors. You should try leaving the porch and talking to them one day instead of sitting here spouting cultural inaccuracies.”

“Don’t patronize me. I’m not too old to kick your ass. It came from down the road at the end of the cul-de-sac. It had no face. Just a shadow thing it was and it walked right through the wall into their house.”

Aaron opened his mouth to discourage his grandfather again, but he couldn’t help looking at the wall of the house across the way. He swallowed a lump in his throat and then shook his head. “No. Nope. I’m not doing this. Come inside. Have you even eaten dinner?”

“I’ll eat when I’m hungry. Don’t try to parent me, young man. I came out here from Alabama to raise you when your Daddy took ill. Your momma was long gone and I foot the bill. You talk to me with respect.”

“I appreciate all you’ve done, Pops. That’s why I want you to eat and not catch cold out here. I’d like to keep you around for a while.” He took a long drag off of his cigarette to calm his nerves.

The old man pushed himself up from the chair on trembling arms. Aaron watched him, ready to catch him if his unsteady legs couldn’t hold him but the younger man knew better than to offer him help. He stubbed his cigarette out on the porch railing where the paint had already chipped away and then set the unsmoked half down on the ledge for later.

“Don’t look at me like that. I’m not handicapped. I’m just old for God’s sake.”

Aaron frowned but offered no rebuttal. He just stepped aside to let his grandfather have room to pass by. Aaron watched as he hobbled his way into the house. “I know what I saw,” he said as he crossed the threshold.

You can find Chisto’s story, along with nine additional ones, in The Hawthorne Project. Each creepy tale interweaves with the others for a week of terror on Hawthorne Drive, a small cul-de-sac in Greenfield, Wisconsin. Buy it at lulu, Amazon, or on your Kindle.

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