In the closing of the story, the hedge and the man next door have been destroyed, and things in the neighborhood slowly return to normal. Unlike the unhallowed ground of Stephen King’s Pet Sematery, it was important to me to have the house and land next door restored to health once the malevolent forces had been banished.
The young couple embodies this theme of renewal, as what better symbolizes Spring and rebirth than the love shared between two people?
I hope you enjoyed this episodic adventure and stay tuned for future episodes of other stories soon.
George and Charles knew they didn’t have much time. The fire department would soon arrive, and they would ask questions.
They forced their way inside the house next door with a crowbar. It was filled with a heady vegetable stench. They found the remains of the old man in the cellar, hard and blackened as if he were mummified. They wrapped the carcass up in a blanket from one of the upstairs bedrooms and carried it out the back door and left it behind a pile of bricks in the Thomas’ back yard.
The various authorities arrived and asked about the fire and the disappearance of the old man, but the Thomas’ and Middletons’ played dumb. Late that night George and Charles heaved the hard, woody thing into the back of George’s van. They drove to a deserted road in some nearby woods. There they burned the corpse and watched as its scent of wood rot and hickory drifted through the trees. They watched until there was nothing left but ashes. Those they scattered.
The authorities came again and again, and for a short while the old man’s mysterious disappearance was a hot media topic. The woods surrounding Sun Terrace were searched extensively with no results. Finally the story lost its fifteen minutes of fame and things began to cool down in Sun Terrace.
A year later a new couple decided to move into the house next door. The woman had an interest in gardening, and discovered that the strip of land between the two houses was especially fertile.
One night in the early spring Billy was awakened by sounds beneath his window, crooning sounds of delight or relief. Looking down from his window, he saw the two lovers embracing on a blanket under the moon. He realized that his parents had been right all along.
Sometimes folks needed their privacy.