White Picket Fences Chapter 2

White Picket Fences Chapter 2

A Chapter by Gabalicious!

            Adrenaline coursed through my veins. My brother was already out of the yard, running down the middle of the street screaming. I followed him, images of the old wrinkled woman in the box shot through my mind. I was able to see the woman from on top of the fence. I had never seen a dead person before, but the person in the box didn’t even look real. She was so skinny, her grey hair curled around her wrinkly face. Her skin almost seemed translucent; I could see every vein in her entire face. The strangest part of the image was that she was wearing a very bright red dress with a white dog on the bottom part of her dress.. Pete, after yelling at us, returned to the box and held the dead woman’s hand. We ran back into our yard and collapsed on top of our front porch. Eddie and Gavin looked at us like we were crazy.

            “Hey Jessie, why were you screaming?” Eddie sat down next to us on the porch.

            “Light off the end game rockets.” I was breathing heavy trying to catch my breath.

            “But the games not over.” Gavin eyed me curiously.

            “Just do it.” Gavin walked over to the middle of the front yard and put three bottle rockets in the loose dirt. After a few seconds the sound of lift off and three pops of the rockets ended the game. Slowly the kids started gathering in the front yard. Mike and Tommy were the last to arrive.

            “Why did you call the game?” Mike looked at me.

            “It’s old Pete. He killed his wife and is burying her in his back yard.”

            “Yeah right.” Tommy chimed in.

            “No really, ask Jessie he was there to.” I looked to my brother for support.

            “he was sure burying something back there.” Jessie looked like he had seen a ghost.

            “Well I’m gonna go see, I don’t believe you.” Mike started walking towards Pete’s house.

            “Wait Mike, we will show you how to get into his back yard without being seen. Follow us.” I slapped Jessie on the shoulder and we walked towards Mr. Davidson’s back yard. Looking back I saw all 15 kids following us wide eyed. Mike and Tommy were whispering to each other. No doubt they didn’t believe my brother or me.

            We all filtered down the Davidson’s driveway. As we rounded the back of the house Mr. Davidson was walking into his house carrying a tray of hamburgers when he stopped dead looking at all of the kids moving down the driveway. “What are you kids doing?”

            “Sorry Mr. Davidson we just need to get our flag out of Pete’s yard.” I tried to look as apologetic as I could.

            “It takes all of you?” He wasn’t buying it.

            “We need to look for it, I don’t remember where I put it.” I raised my eyebrow.

            “All right be quick. Pete doesn’t like people around.”

            We all wandered over to the fence. I jumped as high as I could and grabbed on. I began to climb and so did mike and Tommy. I looked down and Jessie had moved to the back of the group. I understood why he didn’t want to come over. He was always the first kid picked on, the first kid that got scared, and the first kid to run away. I didn’t blame him for that though. He was little maybe seventy pounds, he needed to be taken care of, it was a good thing I was big enough to take care of him to.

            I stopped on the top of the fence. I waved my hand for Mike and Tommy to stop at the top as well. I looked into the dim yard looking for any sign of Pete or his home made coffin. “It was right in the middle of the yard.” I looked over to where I last saw Pete. What I saw nearly made me fall off of the fence.           

            “Dude, what are you talking about. There’s a flower bed there, he didn’t bury his wife.” Mike hopped down off of the fence laughing. “Tom, let’s go home.”

            I hopped off of the fence. “Now I’m not lying, Jessie saw it to.” I looked to the back of the crowd to find Jessie had left the scene.

            “Whatever, I’m gonna go home and play basketball. Anyone else wanna come?” Mike looked around the group of kids. Most of them agreed while others said they were just gonna go home for the night.

            I hung my head and started walking home. When I got into the front yard I found Jessie sitting on the front porch of the Davidson’s. “Hey, why’d you run off?”

            “I don’t know, I guess I was afraid Pete would be back there and eat me. I’m always the first to get hurt.”

            “Oh don’t worry about it. There wasn’t anything back there. He put in a flowerbed over his wife. He wouldn’t eat you anyway, your to skinny he wouldn’t get any meat off of you so don’t worry about that.” I put my arm around his shoulder and began walking back to the house.

            When we arrived we sat down on the front porch. Looking out into the summer night I couldn’t get the image of the little woman in a red dress stuffed in a plywood box out of my head.

            “Um what is this?” Jessie moved around and pulled the yellow towel that we left in Pete’s back yard out from under his butt. “Did he leave this here for us?” We got up and ran into the house.


The descent of the sun did very little to alleviate the heat of the humid night. I laid in the bottom bunk bed with my legs spread and my arms out at my sides dangling off of the bed. I stared at the ceiling fan and tried to rotate my eyes with the speed of the fan. Even the slightest breeze cooled the sweat on my forehead.

            “Do you think we didn’t see what we thought we saw?” Jessie peered over the bar that kept him from falling out of the top bed.

            “What do you mean? I’m sure I saw the lady in the coffin, didn’t you?”

            “I never saw her, I just saw the box and the shovel.”

            “I’m sure I saw what was there. I couldn’t be wrong.” I sat up and leaned back on my elbows. “Besides, how do you explain the towel? We left it in the back yard,”

            “I know. I was hoping Pete didn’t know who we were. It’s pretty obvious that he does.” Jessie seemed to be getting more scared as he spoke.

            “I wouldn’t worry to much. What’s he gonna do, kill us?” I laughed.

            “I hope not.” He flopped back on his bed,

            “Hey! Go to sleep, no more talking.” My dad shouted from his bedroom next to ours.

            “Yes Dad, sorry.” We chimed in together. I rolled over and tried to go to sleep.

            The next morning we rolled out of bed at 6. The morning was my favorite time of day in the summer. The grass was still damp and, even on the warmest days; the air had a chill to it from the darkness that came before. We stumbled down the stairs and gathered around the kitchen table. I could see the garage from where I sat. I could hear the sound of the circular saw churning through wood coming from its bowels. My Dad had probably been up since about 4. He was in the middle of remodeling the house. Most of the walls were stripped down to the studs and the downstairs bathroom didn’t have a throne.

            I poured Jessie and myself a bowl of Wheaties, and added a spoonful of sugar to his. He didn’t like plain cereal, but my folks refused to buy any of the sugared ones. I carried the milk container to the table and splashed each of our bowls with milk. “So what do you want to do today?” I looked at Jessie who still looked like he was asleep.

            “I don’t know. I think I’m going to go to church with Mom.” He played with the floating flakes in his bowl.

            “I think I’m going to go to Gavin’s house. You want to go to the batting cages with us tonight?”

            “Yeah, if Dad lets me.” He took a bite from the bowl in front of him.

            “Cool, I’ll tell him I promised I would take you. When you finish you should get dressed for church. I’ll go turn on cartoons.” I swallowed the last of the milk from my bowl and left it in the sink. As I plopped down on the couch I could hear Jessie putting his cereal bowl on the floor for our dog. He had no appetite. At dinner I had to make my food last at least twenty minutes while Jessie had to eat in under twenty. I flipped on the T.V. and changed the channel to G.I. Joe. Jessie came wandering in and sat on the floor in front of me. “Did you finish up?”

            “Yep, I like it when you put sugar on it for me.” He didn’t take his eyes off of the tube.

            “I’m glad. Hey you want a fruit roll up?’ I looked down at him.

            “Yeah I would.”

            “Be right back, tell me what happens.” It probably wasn’t the best thing for him to be eating, but at least it was something. We were only aloud one fruit roll up a day, but he would eat in front of my parents. I grabbed two out of the box and brought one to him. I opened the wrapper and pulled out the thinly pressed fruit. He rolled the whole thing up into a ball and shoved it in his mouth. He pushed it over into the side of his mouth and started sucking on it. He looked so funny. His face looked lopsided, it reminded me of dinner. My dad usually had to poke him in the cheek because he didn’t want to eat so he would hide the food in his cheek.

            “Hey, you want mine? My stomach hurts.” I lied.

            “Yeah thanks!” He unwrapped the second fruit snack and shoved it in his other cheek.

            I could hear my mom moving around upstairs. “Hey Jessie, Mom is gonna be down in a minute, is everything cleaned up in the kitchen?”

            “Uh huh.” He didn’t break his gaze on the T.V.

            I got up and went into the kitchen. Jessie’s bowl was still sitting in the ground. The dog was sniffing around it looking for more leftover treats. I picked up the bowl and put it in the sink. If my folks saw the bowl on the ground they would know Jessie hadn’t finished breakfast. They would sit him back at the table and not let him leave until he finished. Now that he had the fruit roll ups there was no way he would finish. I did the dishes really quick. Most likely not as well as my parents would have liked and put them away. I rejoined my brother on the couch as my mom made her way down the stairs.

            “Morning Mom.” Jessie looked up during the commercial.

            “Morning guys. Did you eat breakfast?” She walked through the room in her dress for church.

            “Yep.” I looked into the kitchen.

            “Jessie, did you finish your breakfast?” My mom looked down on him.

            “Yes.” He looked at the ground.

            I nodded assuring her that he finished. She headed into the kitchen and started the coffee pot. I followed her into the kitchen. “In a little while can I go over to Gavin’s?’

            “Will his parents be home?”

            “Yes.” I rolled my eyes.

            “Well ask you Father if he needs any help and finish your chores and I don’t see a problem with it. As long as you come home for lunch.”

            “Sure.” I ran outside and into the garage. Dad was bent over a piece of plywood trying to use his snap rule to make a straight line.

            “Grab the other side for me.” He motioned to the other side of the board.

            I moved over and held the metal tab at the end of the string. He went to the other side and pulled the string taught. Reaching out he pulled up on the string and let it fall against the wood. It left a thin red line to guide him when he cut it.

            “Do you need a hand with anything?”

            “Not right now.” He picked up the piece of wood and moved it to the circular saw.

            “Okay, I’m gonna mow the lawn and go over to Gavin’s.” I moved towards the lawn mower.

            “You need to pick up after the dog to.” He didn’t look back at me.

            Cleaning up after the dog was the worst job. I hated doing it. I grabbed the short and tall shovel and headed out into the yard. I cleaned up the four piles of waste and returned the shovels into the garage. I almost gagged three times cleaning it up. I grabbed the mower and gassed it up. Pushing it out into the yard I started it up and began mowing the lawn. I didn’t mind mowing the back yard. There were a few trees to move around, but the ground was flat and there weren’t many divots. It was the front yard that was a pain. Besides having to mow around a fire hydrant and four trees, there was also the problem of a few roots sticking out of the ground and it was uneven.

            After about a half hour of struggling with the lawn I finished up. I ran the lawn mower along the driveway letting the air from the blade push the clippings back onto the grass. I went back to the garage. My hands were numb from the vibrating handle of the mower. “Can I go now?” I walked up to my dad.

            “Sweep the rest of the grass off the driveway and sidewalk and you can go.” He returned to sanding a rough edge of a two by four.

            I grabbed the broom and began to sweep. I watched my mom pull away from the street with my brother. I never really liked church, and now that I had been confirmed my folks made it my choice whether I went or not. I only went when my dad did, major holidays. I finished sweeping up and put the broom back in the garage.

            On the way by my house I shouted to my dad. “I’ll be home for lunch Dad. I’ll see you later.”

            “Be good.” Came his response.

            I started walking down the block. I looked across the street and saw that Pete’s garage was open. It was filled with newspapers filled to the ceiling. Picking up my pace I noticed that Pete was in the garage watching me walk by. He didn’t say anything to me at all, instead he just followed me as I walked down the street. I started to run down the block and didn’t slow down until I could no longer see his house.




© 2008 Gabalicious!

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I really like this story. Again, it has a very nostalgic feel to it, like something from your own boyhood. The part about always looking out for the younger brother is very endearing. I love that you show everything instead of just telling and end each chapter on a tense note.

Could this be a ghost story? The flower bed couldn't have been there so quickly! Did they do a temporal thing and see something from the past and he saw them in the past too? Maybe that's why they always got the creeps from him... he was giving them the evil eye before (from their perspective) they even saw him do that! I'm very intrigued.

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Added on February 9, 2008
Last Updated on February 14, 2008



Denver, CO

I was born and raised in Chicago, where my family still lives. Thanks to them I have a large amount of material to draw from in regards to my writing. I have finished several short stories, one of whi.. more..