It was the kind of night baby Frank N. Stein would have chosen to be born into. The moon was an unnerving sort of yellow; dogs were howling as dogs usually do upon seeing something in the night that should have been confined in that dreaded portion of the mind where the only way out is barred with 400,000-terawatt chains of electricity, a three-headed starving hellhound en garde, and a neon sign for any fool who might trespass saying, “HELL’S REGULARS: Do Not Disturb If You Want Limbs Intact”; leaves were doing a weird jig with the wind; and no single human soul was in sight.
Except, of course, for a suspiciously stooping, cloaked figure with a wicker basket that makes a maniacally evil queen/stepmother/witch from a fairytale involving seven (used to be three hundred, but that was before the Dwarf Massacres of the Very Dark Ages) nose-picking, foul-mouthed dwarves come to mind – unless you’re only familiar with such better-sold “fairytales” where everyone eventually burst into cheesy songs, or become sensitive yet possessive teen vampires for that matter, which for certain, none of what I just said would make any sense.
But, oh yes, back to the cloaked lady; for indeed it was of the female of your kind (assuming, of course, you are of human type; females of “other” kinds [i.e. tree-dwellers] would have entirely different, if not better, descriptions, believe me…) who was half-walking/half-skipping as only old ladies could try to trot on the paved sidewalk that night.
It would have fitted much nicely in the dry recesses of your imagination if she were walking in virgin, grass-/animal shit-strewn ground, or at least of the cobblestone road type romantic settings love to use. But you see, not all cloaked figures exist in a fifteenth-century romantic tale. Some of them, like this particular lady, get stuck in the ostensibly boring and stubbornly “rational” present.
And after more blurry little lady steps than you could possibly count, she finally reached her destination.
A house (of course!).
At a glance, it would seem like any other house you could expect to see in a suburban neighborhood. But that is only its guise. For if, on rare occasions, your self-preserving defense mechanisms actually allow yourself a second glance and a very close look, you would notice that it’s a house whose architect has clearly been working under the influence of very high doses of opioids, alcohol, and too much fascination with the face of someone who has individual features so strikingly beautiful but has a horrifying, opposite effect if joined together in one canvas like, say, a face – a house’s face.
The predictable and inevitable result is a house with a façade enough to warrant a spot at the top in The Search for the World’s Most Traumatizing Eyesores.
But of course, that’s only possible if you give it a second glance, which is, I repeat, a rarity.
And if you should have enough idiocy to make that glance, well, don’t let the ugly fool you. Sometimes, they really have a special kind of beauty underneath that battered exterior. Well, sometimes.
Now in that house’s porch, the cloaked lady climbed, leaving her dripping footwrappings behind, and entered through the door, which, if things weren’t already odd enough, seemed to produce a sound similar to that of a giggle only eighty-seven (or was it seventy-eight?) year old women could execute convincingly. Or perhaps it was the old lady making it herself.
Why, if you think of it, it wouldn’t be a strange thing at all for an old lady of her sort to do if something meets her sight like what stood, or perhaps squatted, by the armchair before her that night.
No, not an old bearded bullfrog.
It was rather a blue-eyed, innocent (well, you know how devious these little devils could get), flaxen-haired boy.
At that particular point in this long tale, the old lady lowered her cloak, revealing what is to be expected when wrinkled, toothless old ladies inside a house with a chuckling fire fit to roast a dandruff floating a foot away, are presented with a warm and tender, healthy, defenseless child of five.