By Shawn Cropley
Sep 6, 2019 · 563 words · 3 minutes

From the author: A small town, a haunted house, and a supermarket that threatens it all.

There’s a house situated on a large flat piece of land where the grass never grows tall enough to obscure the countless stones that litter the grounds. Many years ago the town somehow came into possession of the house, but due to rumors of rotting supports, poisonous paints, and other less common worries, no one had set foot in it for as far back as even the oldest among the folk could say. 

“It’s whispering.”


“The house.”

The time had come, as happens to all fine small communities, for the eyes of capitalists to fall upon their humble town. A supermarket was planned to “serve” the nearby small communities, and a large, flat, stony location with naught but a solitary house was found to be the perfect central property to profit from the surrounding people. Preparations had begun.

“How do all of the doors and windows just disappear?”

“I don’t know.”

“There’s no way out.”

A couple of men were hired from town to go make sure the house was empty. You can’t just tear down a building without making sure no ones inside, of course.  Those men never made it inside. If you’d be willing to hear their side of the story, they’d tell you that before they even stepped foot on the front porch, every window of the house from the largest to the very smallest, all opened at once, like a crowd of gaping mouths, and slammed shut with such force that it rattled the keys in their pockets. They passed on the opportunity.

“Call someone.”

“My phone won’t even power on.”

“Mine neither.”

When the supermarket couldn’t find anyone locally to even step foot on the property, they sent some of their own men. Low ranking boys in suits they couldn’t afford but wore for the illusion they could, corporate peacocks reaching for the next ladder rung by any means necessary. Nothing was going to keep them from clearing this house, not when there was a chance to make themselves look good. So in they went.

“What’s wrong with you?”

“You don’t hear that, that screaming? She was whispering, she wouldn’t stop, now she’s screaming and she won’t stop!”

No one saw them after that. The police were sent to investigate. They found footprints in the dust, recent footprints made with dress shoes. They heard the click-clack of oxfords on the old floorboards in the farthest part of the house from them no matter where they stood. One of them even said he saw a man in a business suit walk across the hallway in front of him, from one room to another, but each room was empty. They couldn’t for sure say the house was empty, not with everything they witnessed.

They never built that supermarket. Not much else was done about those missing boys in suits either. Some folks from town believe the house is haunted, some don’t. Some believe there’s a presence there, but it was protecting the town from the fate so many small communities had suffered in the grip of corporate greed. Every year, around the same time, a scarecrow gets put up in front of the house. It’s turned to face the house, arms pinned to its burlap head as if in awe or terror, and it’s wearing an old thrift store suit.

Shawn Cropley

Shawn Cropley writes stories that make readers want to keep the lights on.