A frequent visitor to the house on Ellis Street was my stepbrother Blair. He lived with his mother in Baxley, Georgia, but spent every other weekend and a few weeks through the summer with us. Two years younger than me, Blair and I got along pretty well. With our similar coloring, we even looked like brother and sister.
It was during a summer visit that the next major bit of weirdness happened in that house. My stepfather was working the three-to-eleven shift. My baby brother Joe was asleep. Mom and Blair were watching TV. I decided to wash some of the South Georgia sweat off in our old-fashioned claw tub.As I mentioned in Part 1, the bathroom and enclosed back porch/laundry room were at the back of the house. The bathroom doors opened to that back porch and my brothers’ bedroom. Because we didn’t have air conditioning in the house, it was the norm for me to close the door to the bedroom, as well as the door between the kitchen and the back porch. The porch’s wooden door that opened to the outdoors was left open with the screen door latched and allowing evening breezes in. The position of the bathtub meant I had plenty of privacy.
I took my bath, enjoying the break from the hot, sticky humidity that hung on even after sundown. Finished, I stood up, facing the back porch. And froze.
Grinning so hard that every tooth in his head showed, his eyes on me, Blair walked across the back porch. He crossed from the kitchen to the back exit, his slight frame disappearing behind the open wooden door. He didn’t make a sound as he trod the wood plank floor.
“Hey!” I yelled, grabbing my towel and wrapping it quickly around myself. There was no answer. And that unpleasant leering smile Blair had given me chilled my veins. He was a practical joker with an offbeat sense of humor, but this was really out there for even him.
There was no sound at the back door. Wrapped in my towel, I crept out to the porch. As I neared the door, I noted the kitchen door was closed, just as I’d left it. It was an old house and everything creaked, especially the doors when they were opened and shut. There had been no sound when Blair had come through.
I had the sudden suspicion I had not seen my stepbrother. I didn’t know what that had been grinning at me, but I felt sure it wasn’t him. I looked around the open back door and there at the screen door was … nothing. No one. The door was still latched from the inside.
I got dressed in a hurry and headed to the front of the house where my mother and Blair stared at the television. “Did anyone go to the back porch just now?” I asked.
You guessed it. The answer was no. They had both been in the living room the entire time. And there was no way I would have mistaken my dark-haired (and slumbering) toddler brother Joe for long, lanky, towheaded Blair.
Creepy? Oh yeah. And then some. But the freakiest thing had yet to happen, and it didn’t happen in the Ellis Street house. What was there followed me all the way to my dad’s house in North Carolina.
But we’ll get to that next time.