Nella stared at the house. It was huge. Massive. Enormous. It had also wandered out of Gone with the Wind. It had clearly once been the heart of a plantation.
The house looked just like a classic plantation house should. It was towering and rectangular, its white facade lined with elegant Greek columns. A sweeping porch made of red brick wrapped around the sides of the house, and a veranda did the same on the second story, lined with black, rose patterned iron balusters. Four chimneys and several dormer windows rose out of the steep roof, and finally, most noticeably, was the widow's walk enclosed by a white railing.
It was a magnificent house. But there was something off about it too, something queer and strange. It was, like the rest of Antlers, run down. Its white paint was peeling. Its windows were dark and dirty, and vines crawled up the sides of the house, ivy and some kind of flower. Leaves had gathered on the porch and the veranda. An old swing, also painted white, swung slowly in a slight breeze on the front porch. In the silence that surrounded them out here, away from everything, Nella could hear the chains creak.
Daisy barked and Nella jumped. They were still sitting in the Jeep. Slowly, Nella opened her door and slid out, still staring up at the house. It was so huge, so beautiful, yet something about it looked wrong.
Daisy bounded out behind her, hitting the gravel drive and immediately dashing into the field, or yard, Nella didn't know, to sniff around.
Nella realized her mother had lived in this house, had probably died here. She didn't know. Her father hadn't told her all the details, just that her mother had died when she was four.
She squeezed her eyes shut and tried to conjure an image of her mother, something she could associate with this place. But there were no pictures, nothing for her to remember by. Her father hadn't kept any. The only thing Nella knew about her mother, what she looked like, was something her father had let slip once. She and her mother had the same green eyes.
Nella opened those green eyes and stared at the house again. Why had her father kept her from this place?
His warning echoed in her mind--it's dangerous.
But this place didn't seem dangerous. Just sad. There was a melancholy hanging about the house that couldn't be shaken. Nella also felt like someone was watching her.
No, not someone. The house. It was watching her, with its dark window eyes and towering columns. It was waiting for her to make her next move.
Nella took a step forward, hesitantly, toward the massive oak front door.
Slowly, the door began to open.