The Martyring of Emily Glenn Pt. 1
The neighborhood watch of greater Bull’s End housing development swore that the house was haunted. Their darkling mindset, clearly appealing to a greater mystical power, settled in about the neighborhood.
One resident spoke to another—people talk, who can say why. The details grew with each mouth-to-ear leap, until their spook-and-horror-filled narrative had gained enough energy to transcend alleyways, empty lots, and the other dead places in their sprawling suburban landscape.
Curious folk, who walked by or briefly laid hands on the raw-timber fence surrounding the supposed “first house” of the area, absorbed its menace. Their mutual fear germinated shockwaves of anticipation that spread throughout the conjoined living spaces, condos and apartment homes.
It was at this point, Mr. Goodly Boring—captain of the neighborhood watch—called a mandatory emergency meeting. He had admitted to himself what the others living on his block were attempting to rationalize: Evil had embedded itself in that old house, and so it was up to him to eradicate it.
“My earnest neighbors,” Mr. Boring bellowed, “we are the front line!”
In the community building’s main room, he then waited for everyone to settle down on the hastily placed metal chairs.
Most had skipped dinner to rush over. Sensing this, Mr. Boring had raised both arms, palms down, in the universal gesture of silence. He was a tragedian at heart, or so his ex-wife liked to say at dinner parties. Secretly, he knew it was true. Plus, he took great pleasure in being so.
“Bardic skills,” Boring’s grandmother had told him, were rooted in the necessary twin evils of showmanship and fear mongering.
“We are the front line of this coming war on horror,” he began again, “and possibly our community’s best hope of evading eternal darkness and despair.”
On hearing his words there was a communal jump in blood pressure. Every bit of attention now focused on Boring. The quivering room was his to command.
He continued, “Think first of our children and of future generations of Bull’s End. It is to them we owe our concern. If we fail at this, they will suffer and many will surely die.”
“But what shall be done?” called one indistinguishable voice from the crowd. “Yes, Goodly, what can we do? Tell us.” others of the same ilk joined in.
There was a general resettling of the room, chairs adjusted and looks exchanged.
“Ghouls are at the gates,” Boring replied. “We have precious little time, my fellows, so I’m breaking you into two groups.” And then he ordered, “Group Alpha will be our engagement force. The remainder will fortify the area outside the house.”
Fear-propelled replies of “What’s this?” and “How’s that?” ricocheted as Mr. Goodly Boring stubbornly set about arranging his neighbors into groups. They didn’t need to like or even understand his orders to follow them, and they would follow them, no matter what.
Here ends part one, part two will follow tomorrow