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J.R. Buchanan


Jenny's Road

When I was about eleven years old we moved from a house on the north side of Indianapolis to a house on the east side. During the time that the new house was being built, we lived in a house on the west side of town, on a street called Jenny's Road.

My parents rented it from a friend that my sister and I only knew as "The Major".

It was a three level house, and seemed to evoke the fabulous '50s.

There was a crawl space under the ground level that could be accessed through a little door on the lower level. The entire crawl space was floored in cement, unlike our previous house, or any I've seen since.

My sister and I used to spend a lot of time playing down in that crawl space.

There was a screened in porch off of the family room, nominally ground level, but as the house was built on a hill, it was a floor above actual ground level.

One day in spring, a tornado took out a bunch of trees downslope from the house. One barely missed the screened in porch, and took out the fence where we let the dog run.

What, to the best of our knowledge, was the same tornado, touched down on the east side of town and knocked a tree down on our new lot, hitting the house and damaging it. What are the odds?

Since the screened in porch was above ground level, the area below it was enclosed to make a tool shed. We didn't use it, we kept everything in the garage.

I played in the shed as well, but it was always cold , dank, and a bit creepy. The shade from all of the trees on that side of the house didn't help.

I frequently dream of that tool shed. I dream that I find a door in the back of it that opened up into a marvelously equipped workshop. A place where you could make anything. Rows of toolboxes filled with the finest of tools.

Or at least that's what I used to dream. As I get older, I have a dream that starts out the same, but when I open the drawers in the toolboxes, I find scrap, broken tools, low quality tools, and other debris.

Often I dream that there is another door beyond the workshop. It opens into a duplicate of the main house, but one built one level below.

Something is very wrong in this house. Just being in it drains your energy. It is hot and dry, like a desert. If you sit down on the dusty sofa, you can't get up again. You drift off into sleep and die. I wake up at that point.

It's very much like the Barrow Wight's mound in the Lord of the Rings. I really wish they had included that in the movie.

In the family room of this house, there was a fireplace. Next to it was a closet which held wood. The back of the fireplace opened onto the screened-in porch for cleaning, and the back of the wood closet opened up to load wood in.

In this closet, my sister and I found an old whisk broom. I took a liking to it, and appropriated it. Now, as I type this, thirty two years later (has it been that long?), that whisk broom is hanging just a few feet from my computer.