The House At The End Of The Road — Part 5 Of 7 Parts

Part 6 will be posted on Sunday and Part 7 soon after. Either Sunday or Monday, don’t know yet which it will be.



We watched the storm. It was loud. But it was brief. We watched it end and the sun return and the birds and butterflies come back out and the day become once again beautiful and sunshiny and wonderful in every way.

“Go.” I shooed Caleb towards the door. “Enjoy yourself.” I examined the kitchen floor that was still covered with water and mud. “I’ll deal with this.” And then I’d think about dinner and look for that missing chocolate cake and do a few other chores that meant nothing but took time. “I’ll join you later.”

He agreed and soon the door slammed behind him and he disappeared but I didn’t worry as I once would have because this was the country and he seemed to already know his way around.

So I sternly made myself stop worrying about him and set about putting my new house in order as the sun grew even more glorious and called to me to go outside and play. I never did find that chocolate cake and wondered how sick Caleb would get from eating an entire cake and decided I’d find out when I found him barfing in the bathroom.

But I did get the kitchen clean and the house in order and then I went to find Caleb because I was determined to finish the day the way it had started. Gloriously.

I didn’t find him. I called and then I yelled and then I screamed. No answer but he’d demonstrated that he knew his way around our new, acres and acres large country neighborhood. So where was he?

I sucked in my breath because I knew. He’d gone back to the house at the end of the road.

I took off running as fast as I could, knowing even as I charged ahead that he probably had taken a shortcut only he knew across fields and over hills so no matter how fast I ran he’d get there before I did.

I was right. I rounded that curve and plowed through all that underbrush around the house and was just in time to see him standing before the door, chocolate cake in his hands, as it opened.

I redoubled my pace and came up behind him with the intention of snatching him from whomever was about to steal my son. Instead I skidded to a stop as an elderly man with a smile sweet enough to melt ice accepted the cake from Caleb. With thanks.

“We were here before.” Caleb’s voice had only a touch of accusation and I held my breath and hoped that our neighbor wouldn’t react negatively and do something horrible to my son. Instead, he simply leaned closer to hear better as Caleb continued. “We came twice. We knocked and everything but you never answered.” Caleb stared accusingly at the elderly man. “Your cat was here. Your dog barked. Your music played.” He stood up straight and stared at the man who had a wreath of white hair and wore the kind of suit that went with cities instead of the middle of the country. “But you didn’t answer.”

I held my breath.

Had Caleb said exactly the wrong thing?

What would happen to us now?

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