Taking Ten. Again

Take Ten for WritersIt’s been awhile since I last did one of the 10 minute writing exercises from Take Ten for Writers. My goal was to do one of these exercises every day. The book says there are 1,000 exercises. That’s enough for 2.7 years! They only take ten minutes but, as usual, I initially resisted doing one. But once I get into it, it wasn’t so bad.

Writing is a lot like exercising (something I really need to get back to, by the way!). The more you do it, the easier it gets.

Well, I’ve got two exercises down out of 1,000. Today’s and this one from January 13th.

Only 998 more to go.

houseI stood in front of a house I had thought never to see again. Tall and dark, with shutters hanging off the windows, a roof that looked as if it had been struck by lightning over and over, and a yard in which the grass and weeds were fighting each over for dominion, the house had been abandoned for many years.

It had been some time since I had come back to this part of the old neighborhood so I was way out of touch. My parents had told me not to come back to the city, for they knew there was nothing here but bad memories, but nothing could keep me away once I’d heard the news about the Mosley twins. Who would have imagined that both of them, Jill and Janet together, would commit suicide at the same time and, worst of all, choose this particular house to do so in

I pushed aside the rusted gate and walked up to the front porch. The stairs were sagging and I was almost afraid to walk up them for fear they would give under my feet. But I couldn’t get the gruesome image out of my mind as it had been described to me by my parents.

Both women had been found inside the house, up in the attic, swinging from ropes they had tied to the rafters on the ceiling and then, standing together on identical chairs, had kicked then from beneath their feet.

I entered the house. I had walked some distance to get here, and I was out of shape. I flicked the light switch, but just as I had feared, the lights were out of order or, more than likely, the electricity had been shut off when the last tenant left the house.

As I moved through the front room, dust rising around my shoes, I could not help but wonder why the Mosely twins had chosen this house to kill themselves in. As kids, when Mr. and Mrs. Kingston used to live here, we had told ourselves that not only was the house haunted, but that Mrs. Kingston was a witch and Mr. Kingston was the devil himself.

Everyone in the neighborhood had feared the Kingstons. How could you not? They’d not only kept to themselves, rarely venturing out of their home, but anyone who had dared to walk up the path to their house or was caught on their lawn or in their backyard was set upon by those two huge dogs they had owned. Monstrously big those dogs had been with their long, snarling mouths and eyes I had sworn were the color of blood.

But when we were kids me and the Mosley twins had always dared the other to run up to their door, ring the bell and then race off the porch before the Kingstons had time to set their dogs on us. And now, both Jill and Janet were dead. In this very house. Why? Why here of all places? I had to find out. 


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