1. The Sweater


    Date: 5/22/2020, Categories: Fiction / Fantasy Author: TonyaL, Source: LushStories

    I sat at the table re-reading the letter for the tenth time. I still couldn't believe it. My dad's sister, Marie, whom I'd never met, had passed away. According to her lawyer, she left me her house.
    
    My dad rarely spoke of Aunt Marie other than to say she was a bit eccentric. He had told us stories about her when we were kids. She lived alone in the countryside, in a large house. She had lost the love of her life before they could get married. They planned their future in that house, so she never moved out of it. She also stayed away from the family after that. The story was that she could never move on after losing her love and kept his room exactly as he had left it. To her dying day, she spoke to him as if he was there in that room with her.
    
    I put the letter back in the envelope and wondered why she left the house to me and not to my brother. He was the eldest and definitely had more sense in business and life. However, this couldn't have come at a better time for me. I'd just got my eviction notice, and no-one seemed to want to hire me. Even if this house was in the middle of nowhere, at least I wouldn't be homeless.
    
    *******
    
    I pulled my car onto the dirt road that my GPS had directed me to. I had been driving all day and the sun was beginning to set. I just wanted to get inside and relax. In the distance, I saw a roof and hoped this was my destination. Finally, after what seemed like forever, I went over the last bump in the road and pulled into a clearing. The lawn was overgrown with weeds and some wilted flowers in front of a ramshackle two-story house. I stepped out of the car and looked up at the windows. I could swear I saw a figure standing there beside a curtain on the second floor, but I thought my eyes were just tired and were deceiving me.
    
    Hauling my suitcase and a bag of groceries, I walked up a couple of steps and to the front door. A chill crept up my spine at how eerie this whole situation seemed to me. An isolated house and my mind playing tricks on me did not lead to feelings of comfort. As ominous as this was, I put the key in the lock and turned it. The door wouldn't open, I tried the key again, and this time I pushed hard until it burst open with a groan. Entering the kitchen, I set my bag on the table and went back to grab my suitcase which was still on the porch. Once everything was inside, I pushed the door closed. The wind was picking up outside and the house felt cold and damp. It smelled musty and felt old and abandoned.
    
    I looked for the thermostat to get some heat into the place and hoped it would cut the chill. I went from room to room as I turned on the lights and looked around. Through grimy windows, I could barely see the waning light of the sun. Cobwebs festooned the ceiling and dust was settled in a thick mantle on every horizontal surface. In the living room was a fireplace with a stack of wood beside it and some rather old but what seemed to be serviceable chairs and a sofa facing the ...
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