The Scariest Thing, story by Kaci Skiles Laws at

The Scariest Thing

The Scariest Thing

written by: Kaci Skiles Laws


The scariest thing about our old farmhouse is not our ball that bounces all on its own down the linoleum hallway at night. It is not that when we ask our grandma about it, and she lies and says it is our dog, Roly, jumping on and off the porch, we know it’s a lie.

The scariest thing is not the attic door that has almost an entire roll of duct tape covering its edges; it is not that the last time it was left open the light kept coming on even after the light bulb was removed. The scariest thing is not the lie about the reason why it was meticulously covered and forgotten, the lie that says if it is left alone the draft is too terrible, too cold.

The scariest thing is not the black widow hiding in the crevice of the brown car’s window that never does drive very far. It is not the wolf spiders that if I turn over the rug in the hallway run in every direction, and I lose count of them.

It is not the grasshoppers that won’t let me walk an inch without covering me with their long bodies and sticky legs or the rat snake stretched across the second step of the porch with its jaw unhinged, eating a toad; it isn’t that my grandma steps over it multiple times before she hears me call out to her.

The scariest thing is not the grease trap that almost swallows my sister whole in her faux fur coat. It is not that, my sister, at night can see holograms of connect-a-dots and clowns and trains that pass right through her and disappear on the other side.

It is not the family that came long before us who cut a hole into the middle of the living room floor and sacrificed goats, and God knows what else, to Satan. It is not the people who come after us, the man who stomps my grandma’s little dog to death, or the woman screaming outside at night but no one can find her.

The scariest thing is not that some houses are born bad or that long after the house is torn down the debris will go on living, rotting into soil, or will be burned and the smoke will seep into something else.

The scariest thing is that no one will remember the grace within those walls that once stood, that the house, no matter its final resting place, will keep every secret just like the ones who lived there, the ones that came to laugh and love and cry and die there.

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