Penny’s Birthday Surprise

Penny looked up at the worn white house, with its dirty, chipped paint.  Ivy crawled up its sides.  Every window was broken, except for one, the upper right hand window.

“Grandpa, how come that house is so dirty?  Penny said.

“Because no one has lived there in a long time so it got run down,” Grandpa said.

“How come no one lives there?”

“Because of Old Maid Micknely.”

“Who’s that?”

“Old Maid McKinley was the last person to live in that house.  People say she went crazy.  My dad used to tell me stories about her from when he was a little boy.

“Oh tell me Grandpa, tell me!” Penny begged.

“Well, when my father was a little boy Old Maid Micknely and her daughter used to live in that house.  Great Grandpa became could friends with both of them and he and Old Maid McKinley’s daughter used to play together all the time.  Then, one day, Old Maid McKinley’s daughter was going to come over to Great Grandpa’s house to play, but she never showed up.  When they called Old Maid Micknely she said she hadn’t seen her since she left the house.   The police searched and searched, but the 8-year-old girl was never found.  It was then that people thought Old Maid Micknely started to go crazy.  She used to sit by that window in the upper right hand corner of the house with a candle all day and all night, rocking back and forth in her chair.  Everyone said that she was waiting for her daughter to come home.  She waited for years and years, but her daughter never came home.  Then one day someone noticed that the candle in the window had burnt out.  So they went to check on Old Maid Micknely.  That was how her body was found, upright, in the still rocking chair.  The townspeople decided to bury her in the front yard, so she could keep watching the road.  She had no family, no one to mourn her, and no will. So the bank seized the house, but no one wanted to buy the house that Old Maid Micknely died all alone in.  No one wanted their children playing over her dead body in the front yard.  So there sat the house, alone and empty for years.

One day, when I was about 16 years old me an a few buddies decided to go and explore Old Maid McKinley’s house.  When we went inside everything was exactly as Old Maid Micknely had left it, just a little dustier.  We went upstairs to the window and found Old Maid McKinley’s rocking-chair sitting by the window.  It was so strange; the chair wasn’t dusty at all, everything around it was, but not the chair. On the windowsill was a candle and a box of matches, just like Old Maid Micknely would have had. So one of my pals decided to light the candle and right when he did chair began rocking back and forth.  We could her the chair creaking against the floor as we ran down the stairs and out the door.  We never went back, but that candle burned for the rest of the week.  Great Grandpa joked that Old Maid Micknely was home because the candle was glowing, but he didn’t even know the half of it.

“Did anything ever happen after the candle went out Grandpa?”

“Only once, on your mother’s 8th birthday.”

“What happened?”

“The day your mother turned 8 years old Old Maid Micknely must have been home because a candle glowed in the upper right hand window of the house all day and all night.”

“Oh Grandpa,” Penny said, “that’s silly.  You’re just trying to scare me, because it’s my birthday too, but I’m too big to believe in ghosts.”

“Suit yourself, but that is a true story Penny.”

“Sure it is Grandpa,” said Penny doubtfully.  As they began to head for home Penny turned for one last look at Old Maid McKinley’s house and she suddenly started to believe her Grandpa’s story.  It would seem that Old Maid Micknely had come for a visit on Penny’s birthday too.

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