Hello, Neighbour

by Leon Caluzzi

Hello, Neighbour

A new family had arrived at the street. It was a nuclear one. Father, mother, daughter and son. They, along with 2 other men and the duration of an hour, unloaded the contents of the van in their driveway into the house opposite to ours. Though they seemed innocent enough, I couldn’t shake the feeling that they were… different. Perhaps it was due to me being aware of their existence for all but an hour but I felt like it was something more, a slight malice if you will. I have nothing against newcomers, don’t get me wrong, but their presence made me uneasy. All thoughts I had of them were just assumptions though, so I decided it best to give them the benefit of the doubt.

However, my suspicions were piqued on the following Sunday.

During my morning prayer I caught I glimpse of the newcomer’s living room window and the scene that played behind it. The children had planted themselves in front of the television with the father on the couch behind them. The mother was not present so I came to the conclusion that she was either asleep or preparing breakfast for her family. Nevertheless, it surprised me to see that not a single member of the household was in any way fit for a proper morning prayer. They may have some special exemption from this normal routine, or perhaps they were just atheists. Either way, I decided to investigate. Within two minutes I was dressed, or at least dressed more formally for conversation, and was across the road.

I knocked on the door, three heavy notifications of my presence.

The father was the one to open the door, still in his sleeping attire. The aroma of fresh pancakes wafted through the open doorway.

I was correct, the mother had been preparing breakfast.

I decided to begin the conversation as the father would not.

“Hello, neighbour.”

His eyes darted from point to point but never reached my own. He just stood there observing me, scanning me. Perhaps he was just surprised to have a visitor at 9:17 in the morning.

After a moment of silence he replied to me.

“Um yes, sorry. Hello, how… how can I help you?”

His speaking was stilted and unkind to the ear. My feeling of uneasiness returned once more. I wanted to finish this conversation as soon as possible.

“Sorry for the rush, but are you a member of the Arkon belief?”

His manner changed drastically, as if I had insulted him.

“What, no, of course not. I, nor my family for that matter, want no part in any cult. Thank you.”

He made an attempt to close the door, but I wasn’t going to let them get away that easily.

I began to smile. My suspicions were correct.

“What a shame.”

I acted quickly. As an Arkon Prime it is my responsibility, if not my divine duty, to make sure that this street remains pure.

About the author

Leon Caluzzi is an avid horror enjoyer based in Australia. Whilst a majority of his personal experience in the genre stem from mediums such as videos and games, when struck with inspiration he is quick to put fingers to keyboard. Influenced by a swathe of styles, structures and subjects, Leon finds writing to be a compelling and relaxing pastime in the midst of his studies.

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