Authors: Eric R. Johnston
9111 Sharp R
Eric R. Johnston
Also by Eric R. Johnston
An Inner Darkness
A Light in the Dark
9111 Sharp R
is a work of fiction. All events are either products of the author’s imagination, or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events is either due to the fact the author does not live in a vacuum, and therefore, real life affects his creative output, or it is
9111 Sharp R
Eric R. Johnston
All Rights Reserved
Cover Image Courtesy of
Not long after
Mom told us we had to go live with Gramma
She said we couldn’t afford our house anymore.
Gramma lived in a big, old house
in a far off village I had never heard of called Orchard Hills
—just like in an old photograph—
two stories tall, big windows that looked like giant eyes, and
foundation of mortar an
d stone, it
the creepiest house
I had ever seen
Just something about it made me think there was something stra
nge lurking behind every window, things even older and creepier than Gramma herself.
We weren’t that close to Gramma. In fa
I had never even met her. Mom always said she had a few screws loose, that maybe she wasn’t all there
in the head
, perhaps suffering from dementia
ut we had nowhere else to go.
Coming into Orchard Hills
on our moving day, the first thing
was there didn’t seem to be anything in this village that was separate from the cemetery. There were tombstones as far as the eye could see.
,” I asked from the passenger seat,
“is this entire town just one big grave yard?”
began crying, but didn’t answer me
umed she was thinking about Dad
This was going to be tough. I really missed Dad, and I was going to miss all of my friends. I could feel the tears beginning to well in my eyes. I looked away to hide my face.
“Mom,” Lori said from the backseat, “Amanda’s crying.” Sometimes I just wanted to punch her little face in.
“I’m going to kill you!” I screamed, unbuckled my seatbelt, and turned around. Tears were streaming down my face, m
y eyes, swollen. I couldn’t see
but that fact didn’t stop
me from trying
to land a punch
“Help me! Help me!” Lori cried and undid her own seatbelt. She was trying to open the backdoor.
“You’re not going anywhere!”
And then I was flung against the dashboard, my head cracking into the windshield.
“Listen, both of you!” Mom
yelled, crying. “I am not having this. You two will behave yourselves or else. You got it?”
We never pushed Mom to be specific with her “or else” threat
. It used to mean “or else Dad is getting involved.” Now it meant “or else you’ll have to live with the fact you made me cry.” Both Lori and I shut up, turned around, and sat back in our seats.
in silence. This road seemed to be as close to Main Street
, in fact, I think it was probably the only road in this entire town
. According to a sign we passed
, it was called Sharp Road.
came to the house as the gravestones thinned out.
“Ninety-one eleven Sharp Road,” I said, reading the house number. “That’s our new address. Sounds creepy.”
with rain threatening
to wash us out as we ran our stuff from the
to the house. The lawn
appeared as though
it hadn’t been mo
haps centuries, making
between the car and the house
difficult. The weeds
reached up to my chest.
The front door opened up into a dining room with wooden floors and white, plaster walls
Directly to my left, I saw something most peculiar. There was a toilet and an old-fashioned bathtub in what looked like a closet not ten feet from the dining room table. How odd. The
thought of an open bathroom next to where we were expected to eat our meals made me want to hurl.
“Come in, come in,” the woman I
assumed was my gramma greeted us
, wearing, strangely enough
what looked like sheepskin died pink
. She grabbed me in a tight squeeze, pushing the breath from my lungs.
The perfume she wore stunk
worse than anything I had ever smelled before
. I tried to push her away, but my hands just pushed into rolls of fat and sweat.
“Nice to meet you, Gramma,” I grunted
She finally released me and looked at me in the queerest fashion. “
you look just like your father.” Everyone said that. I had long brown hair just like my father.
room is mine?”
i shouted from behind me
. She was carrying a pile of pillows and blankets
that were taller than she was.
“Whoa, Lori, what are you doing
?” Mom said, rushing in from behind her
She managed to save the falling tower of pillows just before
they spilled over everywhere.
“Good save, Mom,” I said, finally managing to pull away from Gramma. I immediately went to her aid
. Not because I wanted to help her, but because
I just n
eeded an excuse to get away
“What room is mine?” Lori asked again.
Before we could venture off to find bedrooms, Gramma bounded upon us with arms wide open,
I wanna hug you both
How are my grandbabies
Get ready for round two,
I thought as I braced myself.
both into a fanatical hug, s
seeming to offer n
she would ever let go.
“I could just
eat you both
For a second, I thought she was actually going to
make good on her “threat
Maybe my mind was just playing tricks on me, but for a second,
she had my entire ear in her mouth.
“We’re good,” I grunted.
om wasn’t exaggerating.
She squeezed us a bit harder, pushing my face into her armpit. It was disgusting. All that
disgusting taste of s
with salt and
bacteria. I couldn’t breathe. Lori struggled
too, but s
he was smaller, so she managed to duck out from under Gramma’s beefy arms. I cried for help,
but my voice was muffled by jelly rolls.
Mom, can you let her go, please?
Gramma held on
for another few seconds and then finally let go. I breathed heavily, as if I had just finished a five-mile sprint.
“What a couple of lovely, de
licious children you have here
Her choice of the word “delicious” concerned me a bit, especially when I looked into those crazed eyes.
Mom and Gramma began
talking about things I had no idea, nor
any interest in learning,
family room off to the left of the dining room. There was what looked like a
stove to my left,
with a couple of rocking chairs
in front of it, and a rack full of logs beside it.
There were at least fifteen deer and coyote heads mounted on the walls. Disgusting.
called back to her
, “this place is weird.”
“Honey, your gramma and I are talking.”
Her voice was somber and lonely. I really wished Dad were here.
Across from the stove was a doorway that led to a set of stairs heading up to the second floor. Mom had said on the way here that our room
s would be on the second floor.
There really wasn’t any point in going up to my room empty-handed.
“I, uh, need to go get more stuff,” I said
under my breath
and headed out the
didn’t have a lot
. Moving into a house where someone already lives creates the issue of excess furniture. Mom insisted we leave most of the stuff at
so there were mainly
of books, some video games, and
Gramma and Mom were still talking as I came back in. Lori was standing there with pillows and blankets in hand, having recovered them after hugging Gramma. She looked like she was waiting for directions to our bedrooms.
I told Lori to ju
st follow me upstairs, that we
would just choose our own rooms
, since I was
sure Mom wouldn’t be in the mood to help us, and I wanted to stay as far away from Gramma as possible
e went up the stair
case. Walking up those steps produce
the most amazing sort of echo; the sound of
steps down an empty hall.
It just sounded so cool
, yet it made me a little uneasy
The upstairs was a rather large
corridor with five
rooms off of it.
It looked as though Gramma hadn’t been up there in years, if ever.
webs filled every corner; dust
coated the floor. There was even a door that led directly outside, not onto a balcony, just outside to a thirty-foot fall and a broken leg or two.
“Is that the door to the hospital?” Lori asked, dead serious.
“What? No, it’s….” And then I realized she was joking.
Door to the hospital, ha, very funny, Lori.
“Yeah, because if you walk through it, you’re going to the hospital.”
“I know, Lori, I get it.”
I had to admit that it was a pretty funny joke, especially for a
“I guess we’ll just have to call this ‘the door to the hospital,
“Never mind. It was your joke. If I lost you, that’s your own fault. Hey, why don’t you take that room down there?” I pointed
to our left
past what must have been the smokestack from the wood-burning stove.
junction of the L
just past that
or as I would think of it, “the door to nowhere.”
had green wall paper covering broken plaster. I had never seen a house this old, and I had no idea before moving in there just how strange old houses could be.
The windows, too, were strange. Everything looked wavy, as if the glass was defective.
threw down my bag of clothes.
There was a bed set up in the room already, and by the looks of it, it had been in
here for quite a while. The covers were neat, the pillows fluffed, but a cloud of dust billowed into the air
as I sat on the bed. Gross, but tolerable
, I supposed
. I laughe
d out loud as I thought about
disgustingly awful it was