Writing Catalog

Haiden Whitney

Grade: 12

Shaker Heights High School

Instructor: Carole Kovach

The Ladies

Short Story

The Ladies

Every day, I drive to work past a row of little old houses, really old houses. Some of them have had the same families in them for more than a century. It's kind of cool, when you think about it, all that history. That's just about the only thing Avery has going for it, lots of history. Some of the houses are abandoned, and most of them are half way to dust at this point. But there's this one house that always looks brand new, like someone's been keeping it clean, only, I've never seen anyone in it.

Well, I hadn't, until one day, I was driving past the row of houses, and glanced at the clean house in the rear-view mirror, and well, I didn't believe it at first, but I swear, for a second, there were two old ladies sitting there on the porch, and then they were gone. The next time, a couple weeks later, I got a better look at them, and not only were there most definitely two old ladies sitting on the porch in my rear-view mirror, but there were two old ladies sitting on the porch in my rear-view mirror wearing full-length pink and purple Victorian hats and dresses who disappeared when I looked back behind me a second later.

And that was how my commute suddenly became the most interesting part of the day. Every time I drove past the row of little old houses, I started looking out for the little old ladies. And the more I looked, the more they were there, but always in the mirrors. I never saw them in front of me, and I never saw them glancing out the window.

So one day, I decided to walk up to the house and knock on the door. I didn't know what my excuse was going to be if anyone answered, "Oops, wrong house," or "Sorry, I'm from out of town," or "Does so-and-so still live here?" or something like that, anything but, "Hi, have you seen any ghosts on your porch lately?" or "Are you alive?" Luckily, I didn't have to say anything, because when I knocked, the door just swung open. And not like I knocked it open, the thing swung of its own accord all the way open to reveal a cozy little living room that was just as neat and well-kept as the outside of the house. The lights, which appeared to be candles and kerosene lamps, were on, and the whole room had that yellow-orange comfy glow, big, overstuffed chairs, nice fireplace, the whole nine yards.

"Uh, anybody home?" I called.

"Right here, dear," an old woman's voice replied.

"Okay…," I scanned the room, but didn't see anyone. "Where is here?"

"Rose, you old fool," came a second voice, presumably to the first. "Over here."

In the mirror over the old fireplace, the figure of one of the old ladies appeared, and smiled at me. She was at least 70, with curly, grey hair pulled into a neat little bun, dark, wrinkled skin, and a magenta dress. She leaned over and pulled the other woman over to where I could see her in the mirror. Their fingers intertwined. She had a matching bun, though her hair was looser, pale skin, as wrinkled as the other's, and a salmon dress.

"Better?" the magenta-dress woman asked.

"Yeah," I responded in a disbelieving breath. "You two are the ones I saw outside."

"The name is Madeline," said the magenta-dress woman, "and this is Rose."

Rose waved. "What brings you here?" she inquired.

I was step-hopping back and forth, fascinated by the mirror, watching the images of the women appear and disappear at different angles.

"Oh, me? I was just curious."

"We haven't had a visitor in a long time," Rose said.

"A very long time," Madeline added.

"Would you like to stay?" Rose asked. "We can make you some tea."

"Why not?"

And that was how every afternoon, after work, I ended up in a little old house, having tea with two little old ghost ladies who I can only see through mirrors. It's a little weird, but the tea is super good, and somehow they can bake? Don't ask me how. I don't know. I just take cookies whenever they're offered.

The end.

You don't…

What do you mean you don't believe it? It's true!