The house at the end of the block had lace curtains on all the windows, though there had been a For Sale sign on the lawn for as long as Blanche could remember and all the adults said no one lived there. They said it as though it were fact, and Blanche had never asked a follow-up question, but she did wonder. If it were true, why did the curtains behind the lace open and close with the sun.
It was difficult to see through, of course, but the lace let her see enough to know the large window on the main floor, which she assumed was to the living room, had dark blue curtains behind it and that the kitchen (or what she believed to be the kitchen) had yellow. There was a room on the second floor with green, and another she thought might have orange, but that one was on the back of the house and therefore could only been seen from the trees that ran behind the houses, and she hadn’t been able to get a proper look.
She had, however, been able to conclude these interior curtains were opened around 6:30 in the morning and closed at 5:30 in the evening, and that was just not the sort of thing that could happen without someone being in the house to do so. At least, she didn’t think it could be. There were all sorts of interesting robots being made nowadays, she supposed, but the curtains had been opening with such regularity since she noticed them on the way to a field trip in kindergarten, and she was positive there hadn’t had such things eight years ago.
Her parents did their best to keep her curious mind away from the house and its curtains (whether lace or otherwise), but there was little chance of that happening. Even if she wasn’t the sort to focus on a problem until she solved it—and she was—there was still the tradition of children’s fascination with the creepy house on their block. Her street might only have three children, being an older neighbourhood, but all of them had studied the house at length from the safety of the opposite side of the street or from the trees behind. Blanche was proud of having been the only one to notice the interior curtains, though they had confirmed her observations which was a relief. She hadn’t wanted to think she was seeing things.
It was Julian, however, who noticed the strangeness of the sign. The For Sale sign on the lawn, always positioned proud and upright, was also spotless. Though it older than any of them, and had a design to show it, the sign itself showed no signs of wear or fading, or anything that else that my tell prospective buyers at a glance just how long the place had been on the market.
“It’s not on any of the listing sites, either,” Emmy had said, one day when they were discussing the peculiarities of the house. Her parents had recently started looking into moving—something none of the children wanted and hoped they would talk themselves out of—and had grown familiar with the use of realtor sites. She’d done a search, and while the Burston’s house which had been listed only the month before was there with a walk-through and everything, the house at the end of the block did not appear at all.