Aunt Missy's Strange Garden. By Michael Leclair

A/N: I'm trying to separate chapters, the first 2 are just a prequel.

Chapter 1: Missy's house.

*Creek~ Clatter clatter.* When Missy opened her back door she looked out at the bright morning, and was about to wave to the rock angel when her father called, "Where are you going, Mellissa?"

"Oh, just fishing." Missy called back to her father as the screen door shut behind her, then she took her fishing pole, hopped onto her bike and rolled down the hill toward her fishing spot.

As Missy was waiting to cross the road, she watched a moving truck turn the house across from the park and groaned.

She always liked that house, it might have been because some of the kids considered it haunted, it wasn't the common things like lights flashing on and off, no, it was the uncommon things like every time that she would walk past it, she saw someone waving to her in the window.

"I know his name…" She told herself, then smiled as she remembered what one of her teachers had let slip. "Joey used to live there, and after he got sick and his family moved away, he would wave to me every day."

"I'll still get it." she told herself when she looked down the road at the rock angel and told it, "and then always watch over us."

She walked her bike across the road and started to see interesting things to photograph, a wide lawn where her parents could set up things and thought about the many memories they all could make.

She looked at the covered bridge, the old mill and thought about some tunnel system that she could have built so that her mom wouldn't get board and most of all, "Then she'll never have to go in that terrible nursing home."

Missy set her bike beside the old mill that stood hidden in the shade and brush and walked inside to look at the strange drawings that were painted on the floor and walls.

"I know most of these are just graffiti," She passed by some names of people that had announced that they were there, "But…"

She stopped in front of one of the drawings that stood out so much that they even seemed to glow when she pointed a flashlight on them and said, "Some of these are so… Distinct."

She looked around at some circles where people had tried to draw magic symbols like in horror movies, 'But those symbols are so different that I doubt if anyone even knows what they mean...'

"Maybe there is some magic here." She laughed when she walked toward a broken window, to look at the hole in the floor, then sighed, "But… They're probably just really old..."

"You know," Missy crouched down to look down into a dark opening in the floor, "I really wonder what's down there."

She imagined hopping going down the tunnels like Alice in Wonderland and not being able to get back out, then she reached into her pocket for a flashlight and grumbled, "I probably should've brought a flashlight..."

"Shouldn't go down there anyways." Missy stood up and told herself, then she looked at the sun spots on the walls and continued, "I'd get dirty, stuck, and they might not let me go out alone anymore. Unless," she started to smile, "I become a "Bad Girl."

Missy hopped off of the steps and grabbed her bike. She started to walk it across the bridge and imagined hopping on and riding off of the path to run away through the bushes, all the way to the ocean, then she would hop onto the cargo hold of a ship and sail all the way to Bermuda...

'Now is your chance.' Missy told herself when she came to the end of the bridge and dared herself to hop onto her bike, then she remembered how her father acted last time that she talked like that.

"Run away from home..?" He slowly asked Missy with tears forming in his eyes.

"He isn't supposed to cry." Missy grumbled as she dodged branches and walked down the stone steps to the sandbar.

"My best friend ran away," Missy's father explained, "I was supposed to go with him... But when they found him, they blamed his parents and took him away..."

Missy understood, 'I can't run away and follow whatever fancy that WON"T ever come my way,' then she let the bike fall onto a sinking tree and told herself, "I'll play it "nice and safe."

She looked at the house on the other side of the creek and mumbled, "I wish we could live there." then she watched some people bring furniture into the house, and instead of feeling discouraged, she gleamed and announced, "And when the ghosts drive them way, I'm going to buy it!"

As Missy started to tie her fishing hook, her eyes followed a garden dragon flying across the river to her neighbor, Randy and watched him exercising by swinging from a tree with one arm, so she chuckled and waved to him.