Monet didn’t mind, she loved it outside at her cousin’s new house, hidden in the woods. Her cousins claimed the house was haunted and Shya stayed up half the night telling her ghost stories rather than sleeping. It was fun, not scary.
Outside was the most fun. Her uncle even built a large jungle gym, on the other side of the front yard, where all the other children played. Monet turned her attention back to the woods, low grasses covering the floor. Cream, white, and light grey tree-shrooms dotted several trees. One in particular caught her fancy, looking like a spiral staircase to the canopy. She imagined fairies played on it, hopping from shroom to shroom on their way up to the lush leafy canopy. Surely the edge of the woods was okay? Monet looked back over her shoulder, no one watched and she heard the other kids playing in the backyard now.
She weaved through the trees, exploring the edge, pretending she lived there. It was her forest and she danced with her trees, humming to herself.
“Monet, com’ere.” Her youngest cousin, though only a year younger, half whispered, interrupting her imagination. She looked to see him beckon her over and then sneak toward the tall bushes out front. They structured a wild privacy fence around the driveway in. Both children, so alike in appearance they could be twins, glanced around, making sure no one followed as they pushed into the bushes until they reached a clearing hidden within the branches.
“It’s my hideout,” Evan confessed as he began sharing hidden treasures with her.
“No one else knows?” She examined the pretty stones and marbles in his stash.
“Jus’ you. It can be your hideout too. We can both hide here.” The children both giggled as they peered out of the bushes, watching the other children play, oblivious to their whereabouts.
“Okay.” Monet grinned and started stashing some of the acorns and stones she found earlier in the day.
“I know where we can catch tadpoles!” Evan held out a tupperware bowl he grabbed from the branches. It was empty.
Adventure. “Where?” Monet followed behind him again as they snuck across the deserted road to the woods on the other side, stopping only ten feet in at a large puddle of rainwater that trickled away slowly through piles of dead leaves and sticks. The fattest tadpoles Monet ever saw swam around within. “Wow!”
They spent what felt like hours giggling and chasing tadpoles; catching and releasing, playing with the baby frogs. Finally they settled on a bowl-full to keep, mascot pets for their little hideout.
Fictionalized version of several memories compiled into one day from when my cousins had the most awesome house/property ever. I don’t remember much about the house, but I loved the area, the yard, the woods. I presented it as a memory of the main character from my new side project So You Want to be a Villain, but all the details are from my memory, just compiled into one day rather than several visits, names changed. We were only about 7 and 8, younger than 10.
Is there a special place from your childhood memories? Haunted or not, I’d love to live in this house now.