What's Your Next-Door Neighbor Story?

Stranger than Fiction

Remember when you were a kid and there was a house in your neighborhood that you avoided at all cost? It was the creepy house that never had porch lights for trick or treaters. It was the dark abyss that swallowed the baseballs that were accidentally hit in its direction. In my neighborhood, it was the house where the witch lived -- and it was right next door. We KNEW that the woman who lived there was a witch. Occasionally we'd see her face peering out behind old lace curtains, but we'd run away screaming before we were captured by her -- or her evil cats, who could turn us into toads as easily as the witch could. A man lived there, too. We figured he was a prisoner, captured, tortured, and probably, a zombie. The moms in the neighborhood, young and friendly, also avoided the witch. She did have a name, that witch, and it was Hilda -- I swear. We called her Hideous Hilda, voiced with trembling , low pitched tones. One day, we realized that we hadn't seen The Man -- that was HIS name -- for a long time. We knew Hilda killed him, and she'd kill us, too, if she ever captured us. I can't remember exactly how the real story all came out, but the bottom line is that the man WAS dead, died of natural causes, but WAS STILL IN HER HOUSE! Shades of Faukner's Emily Grierson! The coroner, I guess, came to get the body, and this made Hideous Hilda even scarier -- a long black car in her driveway, 2 men coming out with a body --- she was a killing witch! Poor Hilda. My mom told me later that the man was her husband, and he had been dead for a few weeks before anyone found out. A dead man! Living right next door! Hilda's house became scarier than ever. She "left" soon after, I think, and was sent to the local mental hospital. Her house was eventually torn down, replaced by a standard, middle class, four bedroom colonial. But every time I have to drive down that street, I see Hideous Hilda peeking out a window, broomstick in hand, black cat at her side, cackling madly. I'm still traumatized!


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Have a Next-Door Neighbor Story?

As part of our new webcomic, Next-Door Neighbor, we thought it appropriate to have a little contest. Tell us your best true next-door neighbor story, and the winning tale will be matched with an artist and transformed into a webcomic and included as the final installment of Next-Door Neighbor.

About Next-Door Neighbor

No matter how close or how far, we all live next to someone, and we all have a Next-Door Neighbor story. With that in mind, editor Dean Haspiel asked some of his favorite storytellers and cartoonists to create their favorite NDN stories so we could share them with you.

The Fine Print & Contest Rules

By submitting an entry, you are granting SMITH the right to reprint or republish that entry online or in print, as well as make any necessary edits. See SMITH's terms of service for complete details.

This contest ends September 1, 2008. Prizes are not redeemable for cash and must be accepted as awarded. Winners are decided at the discretion of SMITH judges and all decisions are final. SMITH reserves the right to change the contest rules. Enter as often as you want. SMITH reserves the right to reprint or republish all entries.

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