Her name was Dorothy but she went by Dotty, never quite getting the double meaning, or the pleasure everybody seemed to take in using it.
"How goes it, Dotty?"
"How's that collection, Dotty?"
She was Swedish or maybe German and I never saw it spelled, so it could've been "Dottie," or "Dotti." Anyway it wasn't intentional the way everybody said it like that, with the emphasis on her name and the little internal wink toward the way that word also means "just plain nuts." At least, you'd be hard-put finding somebody who'd admit to it.
Dotty wasn't crazy, exactly. More... prickly, in a slightly off-kilter way way. Like the Red Ryder BB gun she kept for shooting children who came stealing apples. Or how protective she was of all those wind chimes she'd hung around that big, creaky old house of hers—on the porch and in the windows, but also from the branches of the trees outside, so thick they were like Spanish moss almost. All kinds of chimes: bamboo and glass and clay, some shaped like animals and some just geometric and prismatic, flashing and spinning in the sunlight.
One chime is a lazy, idyllic thing—the sort of sound that'll round out the bee-buzz and wind-whisper of a summer day. But dozens? Hundreds, even? Dotty's hillside clanked and tinkled fit to raise a graveyard of ghosts, and if it weren't for that orchard of hers there wasn't a kid around who'd have ever have gone near.
And that's how I would've left it, too, except for that day when me and Billy thought she was off at the ladies' auxillary but she wasn't, and had to run and hide behind that shed of hers nobody'd ever seen her go in. Then there was that loose board we pulled aside and crawled through and, well, if I hadn't seen what was in there my own self, I never would have believed it, either.
- - -
And that's it.
Annoying, isn't it?
Well, I agree. But as much as I'd like to re-institute "Fiction Fridays" and give you a whole new short story every week, I don't think I'm up for it this year. Instead, I'd like you to get involved.
So... what do you think was in the shed?
Your answer can be as simple as one word, or as long as a novella. Me, I'm dying to know and I absolutely promise you, I haven't thought that far ahead. So jump right in and give your answer in the comments. If you enjoy it and we have fun, we'll do it again next week.
Let's not leave the mystery of Dottie's boarded-up shed un-solved.