We always thought the big white house was haunted. My friends and I would sneak through the yard on the way to school despite this association with the underworld, but that didn’t mean I didn’t walk quickly and keep one eye on the windows. I know I saw a shadow in one of the upstairs windows several times, and I’m not afraid to say that I broke into a sprint at the sight. Fright made me fast I learned as I ran through, over, and past my friends, nothing short of a pell-mell every-boy-and-girl-for-themselves charge to school.
So when my grandmother came by that Saturday to watch me and told me that we were going to an estate sale, I had no idea. No idea that the estate sale was going to be at the haunted house.
I trembled as we walked up the walk. “What’s wrong with you, Harry?” she asked me. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
I stuttered something about the house being haunted and that I didn’t want to go. That the ghosts were going to catch us and eat our brains with salad forks.
She stopped on the walk. “Harald William Watson! Where did you get such a fool notion?!”
“Tommy is a fool, Harry. This is the widow Archer’s house. Her granddaddy was General James Archer.”
“General Archer. Don’t they teach you anything in school these days?”
“I got an A on my multiplication test.”
“Oh, never you mind. Just settle down. There might be some old Civil War things in the auction.”
I wondered why she hadn’t started there, but suddenly this was starting to sound vaguely interesting. “Think they have any swords?” I asked.
“Maybe. You be a good boy, maybe we’ll find something for you.”
“Okay, Meemaw. I’ll try.” I was pretty sure I could save us both against the ghosts armed with a good sword. They weren’t going to eat my brains with any rusty old salad forks.
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