Many families enjoy getting together for Independence Day, throwing parties, picnics and BBQ’s across the country. My family is no different as we made sure that every year, we celebrated by rotating the hosting responsibilities. When I was nine years old and my brother Mark was seven, it was my Aunt’s job to do the honors.
Back then, she lived on the outskirts of a suburb which was bordered by a lush rural area, so she planned a big picnic.
Not a family that usually enjoyed haunted stories, we were enthralled when my Aunt told us a strange tale.
Backing onto the park where we had our picnic, was a property that was owned by a family of Italian immigrants.
The property had been home to the family's matriarch, who'd been considered a shut in after her husband died.
My Aunt told us that when the woman eventually died, her family continued maintaining it but left it vacant.
Apparently some unscrupulous people had trespassed for the purpose of vandalizing it, but soon fled in terror.
My brother and I were fascinated with the story, especially the part about the woman still haunting the property.
It didn’t take long for us to sneak off to go and explore, even though we were secretly scared, but quite excited.
When we jumped over the fence, the scary vibe was palpable
As we broke through the line of trees along the fence, there was a sense that we’d crossed over into another realm.
I nearly turned back but Mark raced ahead of me, making a bee-line for the old house that stood on a slight hill.
It wasn’t long before I was following him up the steps, but we soon discovered that the front door was locked.
Not one to be deterred, Mark ran around until he found a window we could climb through and we slipped inside.
The air was thick and dusty and the house was dark, as all the heavy drapes were drawn and the lights didn’t work.
We crept through the back room, making our way to the kitchen, when strange shuffling sounds came from nowhere.
Stopping in our tracks, I whispered “What was that?” Then we heard a disembodied voice grumbling loudly.
We hugged each other as the shuffling closed in on us, yet we couldn’t see anything. The grumbling continued.
I screamed when the table suddenly moved, like someone had bumped into it. Then Mark broke away and fled!
I was incensed that he didn’t wait for me, but for some reason I couldn’t move, as I heard him run out the back door.
Now I was inside one of those haunted stories!
The shuffling and grumbling wouldn’t stop as the chairs around the table began to shift - one after the other.
When the chair closest to me moved, I finally ran back out the way we came and tried to climb out the window.
I was half in/half out, when I felt old dry hands grab my ankles! I yelled for Mark to help but he was already gone.
Doing my best to scramble through the window, I heard the voice say something in Italian – angry and menacing.
Finally, the hands let me go and I tumbled onto the ground. In no time at all, I began to run across the long grass.
Before I got to the trees, I turned and gasped when I saw the grass move like someone was stomping after me!
As I raced through the trees, I heard the voice muttering in Italian like a grumpy old woman as she chased me off.
When I approached the fence, I saw Mark’s terrified face as he pointed to the space behind me, yelling “Watch out!”
I spun around and saw the silhouette of a stocky woman standing in the tunnel of trees, shaking a walking stick.
We could both see right through her and heard her voice, finally in broken English saying, “No come no more. Go!”
We raced over the fence and ran back to our family, promising to each other to keep the event a secret.
We had no idea that a seemingly harmless exploration of an abandoned house would lead to a terrifying encounter with a grumpy, private and solitary spirit.
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