It was her usual Saturday afternoon. Little Samantha was walking home from a trip to the local store. Her family called her Sammy. She had shiny blonde hair which she always kept in a ponytail, with a clip at the top to keep her baby hairs from tickling her face. She was chewing her many pieces of gum all at once, while at the same time sipping on a freezie and reading the comic strips that served as the gift wrap to her chewy treats.
She was a good girl but quiet and withdrawn, never quite feeling like she belonged with the other kids at school. It was not that she didn’t want to belong; she just always felt awkward around them and never quite knew what to say. She was quite comfortable walking home from the store alone, chewing her gum, sipping her freezies and reading her comics.
Suddenly she sensed that uncomfortable feeling in her tummy that she would usually get when she walked by the house with the green door. It was an old dark house with boarded windows. There was no lawn like the other homes on the block. Just a jungle of tall unkept grass and a planter by the front door, that for years had only ever been filled with dried up dirt and the remnants of what might have been a flower before its sad demise years ago. However, the most unusual thing about the house was the shiny emerald-green door, which never quite seemed to fit in with the rest of the house. Sammy never saw anyone walk in or out of that front door, which she always thought was strange. But even stranger today was the fact that the door was open.
She stops for a minute to see if she can see anything in the house but all she sees is darkness. She knows she should just keep walking on her way, but something about the house has her wanting to go in. Scared but curious, Sammy enters the house. The inside of the house is even more unwelcoming than the outside. It is dark and cold, despite the warm summer day outside, and the house is plagued with the smell of old wood and moth balls. She tip toes slowly through the front hall as the planks creek beneath her feet.
As she sees the battered and tilted stair case to the second floor, she notices a little girl sitting long faced on the bottom step holding an old, tattered doll. The doll reminded Sammy of one that she had and loved, but lost last summer at a family picnic. The doll was dressed in a yellow cotton dress and had eye lids that would blink when you moved her. However the one lid on this old doll was broken and seemed to remain closed shut. The little girl remained fixated on her doll. Sammy wasn’t even sure if the little girl noticed her enter the house.
“Hello” said Sammy to the sad little girl, who didn’t even look up. “Do you live here?” she asked.
Without so much as a word or a glance, the little girl ran up the stairs and disappeared, as did the sound of her footsteps stomping through the halls of the house. With a heavy gulp, Sammy continued to walk through the house. On her left, she noticed a room with nothing but an old torn up chesterfield. The stuffing from the chesterfield had been ripped out and scattered all around the room. As she looked on the floor she saw three large black birds, eating what appeared to be the carcass of an old dead rat. Sammy screamed in horror and ran down the hall towards the back of the house, constantly looking back to make sure the birds were nowhere to be seen. When suddenly she felt the clutch of two very cold hands grab her bare arms. In her shock Sammy, stopped screaming. She turned her head slowly forward to see an old woman staring coldly back at her. Sammy felt the blood rush from her body as she became paralyzed with fear.
Everything about this woman was grey. Her hair, her cloths, her eyes…even her cold wrinkled skin was all grey. As Sammy’s eyes widened with horror, the old woman began to drag Sammy down. Sammy felt herself starting to sink through the floor, beneath the creaking floor planks, as the old woman dragged her down with her strength. Sammy couldn’t move, she couldn’t scream. All she could do was tremble at the sound of the old woman’s breath gurgling as she pulled her down with her weight. Then suddenly, as Sammy lost the feeling of the floor beneath her feet, she screamed. She screamed and threw the old woman aside and quickly ran toward the back of the house. She ran as fast as she could towards the sun that seemed to be coming in through the back door. Somehow, Sammy knew that she would be safe the moment she got out of that house. She ran and ran and ran down a corridor that seemed to never end, still hearing the gurgling of the old woman close behind her. Just as Sammy got to the back door, the same cold hands wrapped around her leg causing her to fall to the ground. Sammy was half out of the house and the old woman was gripping her tightly trying desperately not to let her go. Screaming and pulling, Sammy struggled to break through, reaching out as far as she could to escape. As her hand reached farther forward, she could feel the warmth of the sun on her fingertips. But the old woman’s grip was growing stronger and stronger. Just as Sammy thought she could not fight anymore, she heard a soft and soothing voice whisper “open your eyes Sammy”.
A trembling and sobbing Sammy stopped crying and slowly opened her eyes. The cold hands that were dragging her back into the house were gone, as was the old woman. She saw it was bright again and she could feel the warm sun on her cheeks. There were big beautiful flowers as far as the eye could see and the birds were singing and dancing from tree to tree. Beyond the trees was a playground filled with the laughter of children. There Sammy saw three little girls that she recognized from school who were playing jump rope. When they saw Sammy they smiled as though they had been expecting her, and immediately gestured her to come over and join them. As Sammy wiped the tears from her face she heard the voice say “hurry up Sammy…go on. Always remember what you faced to get where you are right now, and that within you was the courage to walk through the door that I left open for you”