Virago: Part the Tenth — Expiration

First chapter: Fire & Rain

Previous chapter: Dreams

“We are all monsters. It is the ones who deny that who end up being the most monstrous of us all.”

Kelsey couldn’t remember where she had heard this quote, but she liked it. She had come to terms with the fact that she was strange a long time ago. But boring people like her coworker Josh and her sister Hannah were the sort of people who would never admit to their own private monstrosities. Perhaps Barbara was one as well.

Kelsey chewed her lip. She wasn’t keen on accusing Barbara of anything. Especially if she didn’t have anything but a bad dream to go on. But Barbara had been popping into her life lately, and it couldn’t have been pure chance that Kelsey ended up in Barbara’s yard one rainy evening. It could have been any other nutcase neighbour.

Grabbing her hoodie, she stomped downstairs. Arthur was midway through a greeting when the front door slammed in his face. Kelsey pulled the drawstrings tight around her face and shoved her hands deep into her hoodie’s pockets. It wasn’t a long walk to Barbara’s. But it was cold.

It didn’t look like anything from the outside. Barbara’s house was simple. The paint on the porch railing was peeling. The windows were smudged. Newspapers were accumulating on the welcome mat outside the screen door. Kelsey peered in through the curtains to see if there were any signs of life.

Her snooping was interrupted by another elderly neighbour.

“Excuse me,” a wheezy voice cooed out. Kelsey turned around to see it belonged to an old man walking a tiny dog. The dog looked just as exhausted as its owner. “Are you a friend of Barbara’s, little lady?”

Kelsey shrugged. “Kinda. Do you know if she’s in?”

“Oh, she won’t be in for a long time. Some of her family members put her up somewhere else.”

“Like an old folks’ home?” As soon as the word left her mouth, Kelsey remembered to whom she was speaking.

The elderly gentleman laughed. “Yes. Precisely like an old folks’ home. They were worried she wasn’t able to continue living on her own for much longer.” He tapped the side of his nose with a twinkle in his eye. “But you and I both know that probably wasn’t the real reason.”

He continued on his way, slowly ambling along while he whistled a tune to himself. His last words intrigued her.

Kelsey bit down on a hangnail. She wondered what happened to Barbara’s dog. However, she was more curious about what answers she could find inside the abandoned house. People were always breaking into houses to find shit in the movies. There was nothing to it. Kelsey looked around the quiet street. She wasn’t fooled. She knew that spying on neighbors was some peoples’ only hobby.

Kelsey ducked behind the house.

Next chapter: Answers

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