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Chapter 5 The Herbs

  • The satisfying groan of that old heavy wooden door swinging open allowed me to take a deep breath. With rush of fresh oxygen to my brain and the door slamming shut behind my back, the intense creepy feeling finally faded away. Lavender and an undeniable sense of comfort settled over me like a warm blanket, replacing the dread instantly.
  • My sight was filled with the warm, rich wooden walls covered in curiosities and oddities that the Great Aunt Matilda Gomez had collected through out her whole life. A taxidermized bat in a dome jar, picture frames filled up with different local insects and dried flowers of every kind were the ones in the house.
  • A smile lit up my face as I remembered fawning over Aunt Matilda's collection every summer. I dropped my bag on the bench in the front foyer and made my way through the old house that always felt like a true home for me. As a kid, this was favorite place to visit during the summer.
  • It was heartbreaking when I got older. Mom and dad refused me to come back here and told me that they were going to pick up aunt Matilda from this place. They only accepted me to come back all because of aunt Matilda. She always kept telling them that 'There must always be a Gomez in Willow Wood".
  • Halfway to the kitchen, my fingers traced over a faded picture of my Nana and Great Aunt with many little kids in the photo who l didn't recognize. I sadly didn't know most of them and I didn't have any details about them. I was never told that any of them died. So many faces in the picture were looking at me but I was only inwardly asking myself where the hell they all went.
  • It was nostalgic being here again after so many years away. I didn't realize the extent that I missed this place until now. As l entered in the kitchen, l saw the mixer where Aunt Matilda taught me to make cookies and the massive old school hearth where she would make her special tea concoctions.
  • That fireplace was always one of my favorite things about this kitchen. It was the original one built with the house and we'll preserved over the years. As happy as I was to be here, it was terribly disappointing to find the kitchen barren. The house has been empty for a pretty good time.
  • There was nothing to find. No more of Great Aunt Matilda Gomez's special tea or warm gooey chocolate chip cookies. Just as my stomach grumbled from being empty for hours, suddenly there came a tapping. My heart instantly lurched into my throat as soon as I heard it. It was as if there was someone knocking gently, rapping on the front door.
  • After pondering how empty the town was , l was now more scared. It seemed strange that not even an hour as passed after getting here but then there was someone on the door knocking. Perhaps I was simply paranoid but there was a twist in my stomach that wouldn't untangle. "It's just some visitor knocking on the door. Just a visitor nothing much,. Yes just a visitor", Muttering under my breath, l attempted to reassure myself.
  • The slow steady knocking continued and I took a deep breath. "Just s visitor, or a neighbor something like that", Despite the tremor in my hand, l took a step toward the hallway leading to the front of the door. My breath stuck in my throat and I could have sworn the hallway looked darker than it did a moment ago.
  • It all seemed like the world was narrowing and warning me not to go in that direction. After a brief pause the knocking picked up again and stronger this time. "Coming", l called shaking my head to clear the odd fogg settling in my mind. "It's just a neighbor or something", l mentally repeated.
  • Through the foggy glass oval on the thick door, l couldn't see anyone. There was darkness there and nothing more. Only feint traces of sunlight illuminated the hallway. I stopped for a moment wondering if whoever had been knocking gave up and left. However a flicker of shadow across the glass and three more solid knocks made me to quickly jump. .
  • I swallowed hard and pushed my legs towards the door. All l could focus on was the sight of my hand reaching for the door as the silhouette outside remained unmoving on the porch. Once the door clicked and swung open, l released the breath l didn't think I was holding. A young man in sunglasses and a red hoodie took up my vision with curly blonde hair spilling out of the sides.
  • He slightly hunched over away from the setting sun in a distance. When he had a second to take me in, his brows shot up over the rim of his glasses. I had a brief thought for a moment. It was really strange for him to wear sunglasses at this time. That thought quickly faded away from my mind when an excited smile split his lips and a breathless chuckle left him
  • "Scarlett? is that really you?", He asked. My mouth opened up to answer but then before I could do it, he was already talking again. "I thought it was you when I saw someone walking down the street, it has been years", He spoke out and for a split second he seemed to step forward, his arms reaching out as though he would embrace me however before he could do it, he instantly stopped dead in the doorway.
  • By the look on his face it seemed like there was something on the doorway that couldn't allow him to step in the house. His head tilted back and at that angle l could see that his eyes were scanning the door frame between us. His eyes stopped at Great Aunt Matilda's tricket of twine and dried herbs in the corner of the doorway.
  • He shockingly scowled at the sight of the herbs.