The House with the Lemon Tree-Part 4

Here’s the final part. I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know what you thought in the comments ^_^

 

There was a friend in Chicago. Olivia hadn’t talked to her for years but she was better than her mother, and grandmother. She would have called her but she was too ashamed of letting her own voice be heard, so she wrote a letter and packed that night. There was something she wanted to do, though, before she left, so she went to bed and waited till morning. Morning didn’t come easily, however, when around three o’clock she was woken by shuffling sounds. Those sneaks who always tried to break in were terrible at concealing themselves, unless they wanted her knowing they were there. She got out her rifle and went to the front door. There was a soft thumping sound, and she knew they had just stepped up onto the porch. She opened the door and came entirely out, standing in full view and pointing the gun to the left. The silhouette froze, and a voice spoke, innocent and simple, yet as irritating as fingernails on a chalkboard.

“Ms. Olivia, I was just-.”

“I’m going to shoot you if you don’t leave right now.”

“I just had a question-.”

“No you don’t, and even if you did I wouldn’t answer. Don’t bother coming at a more seemly hour either. Get out of here.”

The body jumped off the porch and ran away into the darkness. Olivia let the rifle fall to the porch before stepping back inside. She would have left then, but the thing she still wanted to do was too important, because it was the only thing she liked about living in this house.

Olivia rose early before the sun and took her favorite childhood whicker basket outside to the lemon tree in the front yard. Never would she be able to make such delicious lemonade again without these lemons. She would truly miss this tree. The air was cold and silent as she picked, and with each passing minute Olivia’s heart swelled. She thought about what the town would think when they find her gone. Perhaps their perverted minds would assume she was murdered. Ironically, she smiled at the idea. It would certainly satisfy gossip for the next few weeks. That would be a going away gift for them.

As Olivia stretched to reach a lemon high up, she knocked the branch, and the fruit tumbled down. She bent to pick it up, but then something else caught her attention. The earth at her feet was different than the earth all around her. It was scattered, dark, and slightly concaved. She concluded that it couldn’t be empty underneath like the ground everywhere else. Olivia’s ears pounded as she knelt and began to clear away the dirt. All her life there was the story of a treasure at this house, something her grandmother had hidden. It was the essence of the hatred and desire that the town had towards this place. Everyone had different ideas of what it could be. Some were luxurious or frivolous, others were boring or highly intriguing. But whatever it was at all, everyone wanted to know, and everyone wanted it. So they played nice and patronized the owner, attending her fake dinner parties and drinking her prestigious lemonade.

Olivia’s hands were clammy as she brushed away dirt from the worn photo box. Could that be it, a box full of old photos? She yanked it out and placed it gently in her lap. Something inside her shook as she slid the lid off. When she saw what was inside, she didn’t know how she was to react. Nothing natural came to her. Inside were a diamond ring, an old newspaper article, and a pile of bone fragments.

Olivia went for the ring first. It was definitely vintage, and so fragile it felt like it would crumble in her hand. She recognized it. In an old picture of her grandparents, it was on her grandmother’s finger. It was her grandmother’s wedding ring. She dropped it back in the box like it was nothing but a pebble. Next she picked up the newspaper article. Most of the words were smudged and illegible, but she was more focused on the picture. It was a photo of her grandfather. The article title read: “Harvey Myster missing, presumed dead.”

Olivia dropped the box. Everything was written plainly in front of her. She didn’t dare touch the bone fragments. She remembered what her crazed grandmother was capable of. She remembered what their marriage was like. She remembered the words she read in that journal. And she remembered how much she missed her grandfather when he was gone. She loved him, he was the only pleasant thing. And he was a fool for falling in love with a woman out of her mind, out of her mind enough to do crazy things and kill.

Olivia left the lemons. They were tainted now because of that box being there. Now even the tree was cursed. She made sure to rebury the box, but she didn’t care if someone else found it. She wanted to put that house and her past behind her and forget everything. She did that to her best ability, but of course, she knew not everything could be done perfectly.

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