• I sighed as I plopped a cardboard box on the chair. Pair of scissors in hand, I slit open the opening and ripped open the sides. I gently pulled the contents out.
    I placed each porcelain unicorn gingerly on the shelf, making sure each horn is sticking out correctly and none are about to fall over. Each gleaming white coat shimmering with sparkles, and I sighed with my hands in a cup on the side of my cheek.
    I held up the box with both sides up into the air. “The last box!” I announced. And then I, very dramatically, crushed it and roared like Godzilla. I slammed the crumpled box to the ground, for all my unicorn friends to see.
    I looked around. Ever since moving out of my parents’ house, I’ve been all stressed out. Unpacking took a lot longer than anticipated, and my new neighbors are very nice, bringing me house warming gifts, but there are so many, as soon as one leaves, another comes! “Neverending,” I murmured to Majesty, my favorite stuffed unicorn. I looked it straight in the derpy eyes and its sagging horn, and then it fell over, off my bed, and a loud rumbling shook the house. I wobbled on one leg, and my bangs covered my eyes, temporarily blinding me. I fell, my head landing in the doorway. A cool breeze shot through the house, ramming into my door, and sending it flying into my face.
    “Goddam-!” I exclaimed, hopping up onto my heels, my hands grabbing my nose. It hurt, I bet it was bleeding. “Oh god I have a broken nose!” I screamed as I fled to the bathroom. As I entered and stared at my reflection, I saw that my nose was a little bruised, but that’s all. I rolled my eyes at my ridiculous assumption.
    The doorbell rang as I held a tub of icecream, given to me by Mrs. Cram, to my face. I plopped it back into the freezer and made my way across the eerily unpacked kitchen, hopped over miscellaneous boxes filled with spoons. I have a lot of spoons.
    Still rubbing my nose, I grabbed the doorknob and opened it up, careful not to wrinkle the door mat. An old woman stood in front of me, holding yet another meatloaf.
    “Hello!” she squeaked, her beady eyes magnified beneath her inch-thick glasses. “Welcome to the neighborhood, dear!” Without warning she bustled past me.
    Her small feet shuffled across the linoleum, her bony neck twisting to and fro as she looked around. “My, my. Not much of a place yet, huh, dearie?”
    I followed her. “Well, I not exactly done yet, but I’m sure it will be fairly roomy whence I finish unpacking.”
    She moved her glasses up and done Conway style. “Oh, my. Are you with that emo bunch up the street?”
    “Why does everyone keep asking that…?” I moaned, and then explained, “My hair is naturally black, I haven’t gotten out lately, so I’m pretty pale, and I just happen to be wearing black today. I’m far from them.” I added, thinking of my unicorns.
    “Well that’s good. Those kids are creeps. They’ve been around ever since I was a young lass. How old are they now? In their forties?” I pondered at this. “Well, I Mrs. Mullen. I live next door, a couple houses down. I see you’ve met the others?” She asked as she gestured to the innards of the fridge, which was full of meatloaf and noodles, with one shady bottle of wine some creepy dude in sunglasses gave me.
    “Uh, yeah. They came earlier this morning.” I hoped I didn’t leave my door open for her to see my unicorn collections.
    “What’s your name, again, dear? I must’ve missed it.” Her eyes were turned straight on me, and it reminded me of the blue old lady from the Cobbler movie.
    “Jade.” I admitted.
    “What was that, dear? Jeb?” She cupped her hand around her droopy ear.
    “Jade!” I shouted.
    “Well, Maze, did you hear that earthquake before?”
    I recalled my broken nose moment. “Yeah. Does it happen often?”
    “Whenever he’s at work.” She answered.
    I paused. “He? As in God?”
    “Oh, no!” She chuckled. Pointing out the window, she went on, “She that big mansion over there?” I peered around her to see an ominous castle, hidden in shadows. “Well, a freak lives in there.”
    I waited for her to go on, but she just sat there, looking content. “Um, is he some kind of mad scientist?” I paced my words carefully.
    “How did you know?” she chuckled. I wondered if she was being serious.
    My obnoxious cuckoo clock bounced in and out of the doors, and Mrs. Mullen jumped. “Oh my, look at the time! I must be going.” She almost vanished, she had escaped so fast. Even though the clock was wrong, I just sat there, staring into confusion.
    * * *

    I walked up the crooked and cracked walkway, passing dead, leafless trees. I looked back as I reached the peak. The quaint little village sat humbly below, and as I turned, I faced the manor that towered and loomed menacingly over us.
    Clutching a re-gifted fruitcake, I marched up the concrete steps up to the maroon, willow door. I grabbed the knocker and slammed it across the front door.
    All was silent for a few moments. Then a crash, the crinkle of glass, and a small explosion. Then angry steps clomped up stairs, starting below the ground but arriving at my level. I shivered at the thought of who might it be.
    Rumors around the neighborhood pointed out this man to be a monster to be some kind of monster. Elderly women claimed that he once tried to eat their kids.
    I feared what would happen when that door opened, but I also daydreamed.
    I mean, what if it happened to be some kind of hot guy who was too scared to show himself into public because he didn’t want to accidentally seduce everyone who saw him. Or he could be a self-conscious hot guy who was afraid to show himself into public because he didn’t think it would be good enough. Or he could be some kind of hot guy who was just waiting for an equally hot lady to come along and slip on a golden boot or something.
    Or he could be ugly. He could have a beard as long as a python and eyebrows like rats. His teeth could be twisted and his eyes swollen. Or he could be a lady.
    “All these possibilities!” I breathed as I waited for the sinister clomping to subside. My heart was pounding uncontrollably as the handle on the door twisted and the door slowly creaked open.
    Then it stopped. It was only open a couple inches, a chain lock stopping the door from opening fully. I moved in closer when nothing happened, then jumped back when he appeared.
    All I could see was an eye, a creepy, sinister eye. It was sunken, a ring of shadow around it definitely jumping out from his pale face. It glared at me.
    I jumped back with a gasp, and almost dropped the cake.
    “Who’re talking to?” He spoke; his voice was, almost weak, with barely a hint of an accent. It’s that kind of voice that seems like it would crack a lot.
    “Huh? Um…” I stuttered. “Myself?”
    The eye squinted suspiciously at me. “Oh really?” His eye brow rose.
    “Y-yes. Yeah? Uh, yeah!” Why am I stuttering so much? “I was new in the neighborhood and I, um-”
    “I will buy nothing and fill no surveys. Now, if you’ll-”
    The door threatened to close and I stuck in my foot by reflex. “Wait!”
    His eyebrow rose even more.
    “Uh,” I was surprised at what I had done. “I was hoping to, y’know, deliver this fruitcake as an act of kindness,” I thrust it out at him, “and maybe we could, y’know, be friends, and-”
    He laughed. At me. I felt ashamed, and my face grew hot.
    The eye glared at me again. I think he didn’t smile when he laughed.
    “I’m sorry. I have a busy schedule to uphold, and I have to get back to work.”
    “Please!” I exclaimed. “Let me in! You seem to, uh, not have any friends, or, uh, family and, uh, no one really likes you, but I was hoping to be friends with everyone in the neighborhood, y’know. Start a new leaf to turn over?”
    He raised his eyebrow more as a rumble shook from underground. He glared at me and said, “Too bad.” Then he slammed the door on my toe.
    “Fu-!” I started, grabbing my toe. “Douche!” I called under my breath.
    I heard him go back downstairs and listened for more explosions. None. After a couple awkward silent moments, I tried the door without even thinking. The handle moved, but the door itself was still caught on the chain.
    I reached my bony arm up through the crack and barely unhooked the lock. The door creaked open when I let go. I peered curiously inside, then, looking side to side to see if anyone saw me, I stepped in.
    Spiderwebs hung from the interior and plastered against my face. I spat at them when they entered my mouth, and I think a spider went in there too. I shuddered. “What a creep.” I muttered to myself as I tiptoed across the wooden floor, careful of creaking floorboards.
    To my right was the door he went down, I’m pretty sure. It was locked, but I wasn’t ready to go down there and have him see me. He would probably sic his Frankenstein monster on me or smother me in flubber.
    I passed the door and absent-mindedly crossed over to the staircase. A light beamed in from the top, and I figured it would be a nice change of pace, compared to this dim-lighted creep-house. The steps whimpered under my weight as I climbed, and many times I had to pause when the creaking was too loud.
    Gripping the rail until my knuckles grew white; I bounded up the last step and looked down the hallway. A dank, gloomy passage greeted me. Various doors were scattered along the sides of the hallway, cobwebs in full bloom, but at the end was one single door. It was barely propped open, but from it leaked the only source of light.
    I walked down the aisle and clutched the doorknob when I came upon it.
    “What a freak.” I kept telling myself. “What’s wrong with him?”
    I took a deep breath, held it, forgot to let it out and started choking, then sighed when I finished coughing. I pulled on the door and it flew ajar.
    Unicorns were everywhere in this small room. Posters, figures, pictures, toys, replicas, accessories, CD’s, paintings, candles.
    I think I’m in love!