CHAPTER 2

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But I did get the feeling the realtor didn't tell us the whole story. That there was more to it than that. Besides these "isolated" incidents happened many years ago, nothing recent. Maybe we shouldn't have come here after all. I got up and decided to explore the neighborhood. I put on my jacket and brushed my hair. I locked the door behind me and started on my way.

I saw the same neighbor sitting on her porch, the one that had watched us intensely the other day. I walked by her house. She got up and walked over to me. She didn't take her eyes off me. It almost seemed like she was afraid to.

"Hi, my name is Paula Harris. My family just moved into that house on the corner over there," I told her. "Do you know anything about the people who used to live there?"

The woman hesitated for a moment. She looked to be in her sixties. She looked stern as if she was the type who did not take any mess. I figured if anyone who might know something about the place, she'll probably be the one. Her expression softened.

She smiled. "Hello, there, I'm Anna Smolley. I lived here for over thirty years. I saw your family move in the other day. How old are your children?"

"My youngest daughter, Tasha, is eight. I have a son, Antonio, he's ten, and my oldest daughter, Melinda, is thirteen. She just had a birthday yesterday."

"Oh, okay. How old are you? You look so young to have three children, especially a thirteen-year-old!"

I smiled. "I'm thirty-five. I don't let the whole world know," I laughed.

"I'm the same way, Paula," Mrs. Smolley told me. "My husband and I first moved here back in 1965. He's deceased now. God bless his soul." She performed a little cross. "Anyway, we didn't know the families that moved into your house through the years. Most people keep to themselves around here."

"Oh, okay. The realtor that sold us the house told us that some murders took place years ago."

"Yes, but those were isolated cases, I believe. I remembered one of the incidents happened when, Sal, that's my husband, and I was on vacation. A family was brutally murdered. I don't know all the details of it but...."

Another woman appeared behind her. She looked to be in her twenties.

"Grandma, are you ready to go?" the woman asked.

"This my granddaughter, Sadie. Sadie, this is one of my new neighbors. Her name is Paula Harris. She and her family just moved into the old Watson's place."

"Oh, nice to meet you," Sadie said to me.

"Same here."

"Grandma, we have to hurry because Richard's has taken another turn for the worse."

"I'll be right there," Mrs. Smolley told her granddaughter, who ran back to her car in a hurry. "Gee, I'm sorry. I must go. I'm in a hurry. Sadie's husband is terminally ill and we're flying to meet him. The doctors tell us that he doesn't have much longer, so we have to hurry."

"I understand. I'm deeply sorry," I replied.

"Thank you. I'll see you later," Mrs. Smolley called back to me as she headed to the car.

I watched them drive away. She was about to tell me about that family that was murdered. I continued my walk through the neighborhood. I didn't know many famous people who came from Waxahachie, Texas, other than the fame Aviator Bessie Coleman. Most of my family came from Saint Louis and Travis's family came from Portland.

I didn't see anyone out. The Cedars was a quiet neighborhood we moved into. We only had each other, no other family. I walked for about half an hour, then walked back to the house. I don't know, but for some reason, I did not want to be in that house alone. But I went. I locked the front door and made some double, butter popcorn.

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