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HOLIDAY HEARTH STORIES: On the Fifth Day of Storymas, Parliament Gave to Me...

Happy Holiday and happy last day of Holiday Hearth Stories! As we bring this spooky story writing adventure to a close, we here at The Parliament House want to wish you all a happy end to a tumultuous year, and a wonderful beginning to 2021. We are so grateful for all of our readers, our authors, and for the many exciting adventures that we have embarked upon and that are in our future!

The routine is, I am sure, familiar to you by now, and it is time to announce our final giveaway winner for the holiday season! Congratulations to Chelsea Poff! You have won the art commission certificate!

Read on, dear reader, and Merry Christmas!

There was nothing unusual about Talulah’s skating route. She always took the same shortcut home through the paved walkway in the cemetery. However, today presented a variable: a steaming pile of dog crap in the middle of her path. She noticed it at the last second, swerved overdramatically, and went right to the ground. While her upper half benefitted from the soft, wet grass, her lower half greeted the pavement with tremendous force.

Talulah rolled over and sat up. She winced in pain. From her ankles to her kneecaps, there were bits of gravel embedded into her pale skin. Her mother yelled at her that morning for wearing shorts. But the TV weather girl, dressed like she was ready for a racy club, informed the locals that it would be a hot one for October.

Talulah tried to stand, but realized that she needed an additional moment to get her bearings. She scanned the cemetery. No activity. Thankfully no one witnessed her epic fall. Or so she thought. Someone could have recorded it without her knowledge. By dinnertime, she could be on YouTube or Facebook! It wasn’t her fault. An entitled person didn’t care enough to clean up their dog’s doo-doo, and they didn’t care enough about this sensitive environment—the land of the deceased—to keep it clean as multiple signs requested of its visitors.

Talulah’s eyes landed on the headstone in front of her. Even though she didn’t believe in ghosts, she got the immediate creeps. Maisie May, a supposed witch from the 1700s, was the town specter that haunted those that dared to say her name three times, those that dared to speak or think negatively about her, and those that vandalized her grave. The only reason Talulah knew all this was because her teachers, from middle school until her current standing as a high school sophomore, played up the legend for all it was worth during the week leading up to Halloween.

Talulah immediately noticed that the grass in front of the headstone was disturbed. She pushed the dirt and grass together in a feeble attempt to make it look better.

“Relax, Maisie May. It wasn’t on purpose.” Then, under her breath, she added, “Stupid witch.” Talulah laughed and quickly regretted it. She didn’t believe in the legend or that this deceased woman could harm people in the present. Regardless, she felt uneasy speaking to a dead being, and a legendary one at that, in this tone.

Talulah stood up, massaged her knees and shins, and then put her longboard at her feet. She put her left foot on the front of the board and pedaled with her right. She let her right foot join the left, and she rode, like she did Monday through Friday, down the serpentine path that ended at the one-hundred-yard mark and led, via a wooded area, to the backyard of her neighbors’ home.

Less than ten seconds down the hill, Talulah recognized one problem: she was going too fast. Her familiarity with the hill’s descent and its random turns allowed her to remain on the board. But something didn’t feel right, and she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. When she lowered her right foot off the board in an attempt to use it as a brake, it was forced back next to her left foot. Not good. She tried to hop off the board entirely, but her body, held in place by an invisible force, wouldn’t go anywhere.

Talulah screamed for help. She tried to pivot the board in the direction of a grassy area. If she were going to lose control, she would find a soft place to land. But she couldn’t alter the direction of the board either. Someone else was in charge, and she was at their mercy. What was happening?!

Right as it dawned on Talulah why this skating ride from hell was occurring, she was propelled forward, face first, into a Please Clean Up After Your Pet sign. As she lay there, spitting up blood, she formed the words, “I am sorry, Maisie May. I am so sorry.”

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