Hilter Rd; or, Anyhwere Else
Just looking at the name of the road, you expect some evil intention. And when you get there, you see strange beasts scurry behind the house. Someone lowers the shades. You think you see devil horns behind a tuft of grass. And those eyes peeking at you from the second story window remind you of the monster you used to imagine hiding under your bed. Is this house Pandora’s box? Holding all manner of evil inside? And are you the hapless Pandora, who will unleash horrors upon the masses?
You bite your lip, take tentative steps forward, and try to talk yourself out of your paranoia. But then you hear something as quiet as the rumbling of a hungry belly, as soft spoken as poverty. It’s a shushing that, on any other day, might remind you of wind rustling through trees in spring or the collective settling-in of an audience before a symphony. But today, it evokes authoritarian teachers and knees scraping on gravel. It’s gone now, but you heard it coming from within the house. You’re sure of it.
You cannot enter. You simply cannot. So you turn to go; you gaze out at that horizon of possibility and tell yourself that you can be anywhere else. And just as you’re pondering why any road would have such a horrid name, you realize your mistake. The door creaks open behind you. “This is not that road,” you say. And your friends shout surprise and jump from their hiding places. They’re carrying cake and paper plates and balloons and noisemakers. And now, funny enough, you don’t want to be anywhere else but here.