At the very end of the road was a house with boarded windows and faded paint, a house with overgrown grass and a rusty gate. The walls were thin and the roof was gone at some places, holes gaping like mouths waiting for the rain to fall. It was a very broken house, but a house nevertheless.
No one had lived in the house for many years and no one had called it home since the last family moved out in 2003. A gang of teenagers had used the house as a hideout briefly in 2006, but none of them had dared to call the house home. Yet was the kitchen bin flooded with candy wrappers and uneaten licorice and their porn magazines were still stashed beneath the sofa.
The teenagers hadn't stayed for very long, only a month or two, before they decided to find a new hideout. They had quickly started to believe that the house was a haunted one, since they sometimes could hear floors creaking despite no one being there and they swore that they could sometimes hear the sound of what might have been childrens' laughter.
All the furniture were still there, seemingly forgotten by the family who had moved. Most were covered in dust and ruined from the years that had passed, now only used for throwing crude shadows across the floors. The sofa was missing a cushion and one of the kitchen table's legs had been broken of, but no one was there to care.
The wallpapers, that had once been considered fashionable, had long since faded. No photos or paintings adorned the walls and the only artworks that graced them now was graffiti, racist symbols and meaningless words. Every once in a while another artist would enter the house, searching for a new canvas.
Sometimes people would visit, people that wasn't just artists who wanted to doodle or teenagers looking for a hideout, but rather people who was there thanks to a dare or were simply there to drown their own curiosity. They would walk around, look at the sofa and the cracked mirror in the bathroom. They would take a quick peek down in the basement and they would all lift the newspaper on the bathroom floor, dated to the 10th of Mars 2003.
The visitors would all walk around, never longer than 40 minutes. They would laugh and they would say to themselves that it wasn't that scary after all. But none of them decided to walk upstairs, always remaining on the first floor. Most would say that it was simply because of the fact that the stairs looked as if though it would break any second, while in reality they were just scared.
No one had seen the second floor for fifteen years thanks to this. No one had seen the bug eaten beds nor the hole in the bedroom. No one had gazed at the faded bird posters in the children's room and no one had looked through the binoculars at the bedside table.
But the house on 29 Neibolt street was no haunted house. It was many things, tragic, forgotten and so on, but never had it ever been haunted. No spirits had walked the halls and no person had ever died tragically there.
But there wasn't a singl person in the small town of Derry that wouldn't shudder at the sight of it. They would all pick a faster pace and look away, for they all wished to get as far away from it as quickly as possible. Though they all had different reasons for it.
The children had all heard stories of the place. Their parents had told them so many times that it was dangerous, that a place like that was filled with things that could kill or hurt you. The older children, the teenagers, would tell them about the ghosts and demons that haunted it, all said with a grin and a glint in their eyes. When the children walked past, they would all think of the monsters that lurked within those walls.
The adults would all pass it with a sinking feeling in their gut. They would feel guilt, thinking about the children who had disappeared from there throughout the years. Most of them would remember the Uris boy and if they were old enough they could even remember the one before that. And if they had passed their seventies, they would also be able to remember the other two.
The Uris family had been the last to live there. A Jewish family who had moved into the house in the winter of 1996 and moved out in the spring of 2003.
The father had been a cold looking man, with thinning hair and thin lips. But despite his cold appearance, was he quite kind and caring. Most would remember him as Derry's Rabbi between 1997 and 1999, while others would remember him as the father who screamed the loudest during Derry Elementary's baseball matches.
The mother would always smile brightly when you met her at the store and you would stop for a minute to talk. But not many knew her, since she had few friends and those she had she held close. Sometimes you would pass the house of Neibolt and you could hear the radio singing, sometimes she would sing along and other times not. Other times she would be out in the garden and other times she would sit in the shade, reading something.
But not many remembered the boy, Stanley Uris. They could only remember the stories he left behind and the long searches that so many had been forced to live through. When they walked beneath the thin tree branches, bathing in the pale moonlight. They were not quite sure as to what they were searching for, since they only had a faded picture to go by.
A red tennis shoe, the father would say.
Just something, whispered the mother.
A body, the police would state.
But nothing was ever found and the boy never returned on his own accord. It was finally presumed that the boy had ran away.
Those who would remember Stanley Uris as something other than the missing kid, would remember him as the bullied one. The one Jewish kid in town who dared to wear yarmulke, the prude and the teacher's pet.
The boy was dressed somewhat like an adult. With his pressed khakis and his perfect polo shirts. The red tennis shoes were always spotless and neatly tied, despite the fact that Stanley always walked across wet grass and mud. Most times a yarmulke was perched on his head, though it had sometimes been used as a frisbee. Thrown between laughing children, who just continued to chant and chant.
During the breaks he would sit beneath the tree, the branches throwing shadows over him. A book would always be opened in his lap, but never the same page, and to his eyes a pair of binoculars were pressed. Not many kids knew what Stanley was doing during those hours, when he was perched beneath the same old tree.
Among themselves they would laugh and joke about it. Speculating what he was actually doing. Some of the kids would speculate that he was playing adventurer, that he was daydreaming about sailing the sees or searching a jungle. Some of the boys would speculate that he was looking at girls, because that was what they would have done themselves.
Truth was that Stanley wasn't looking at girls at all nor was he dreaming about adventures in faraway places. Neither of the topics really interested Stanley and his binoculars were directed elsewhere. No, Stanley was watching birds.
Stanley liked watching birds and he liked his books about birds, where the birds were painted in the right colors and where they were sorted by family first and letter second. He also liked when he and his father would go far away with the car and find a place to sit, where they watched birds in silence.
If it was summer or spring Stanley would be found out on the field, pitching or batting along with a few other kids. Stanley enjoyed it since he was excellent at it, so excellent that when he turned eleven he was asked to play for the team. They won a few times and Stanley could be found beaming at a camera in the school's "hall of fame".
But some breaks, Stanley wouldn't spend his time beneath the tree and he wouldn't be out on the field. Those breaks Stanley was behind the school's gymnasium, where a couple of upperclassmen would kick on him and hurl slurs at him.
It was no secret that the boy was bullied, but none of the other children seemed to care and neither did the teachers. Despite the fact that he often came home with bruises gracing his skin and bloody noses, his parents would never try to solve the problem and truth be told, neither did Stanley. He had learned to accept and take the kicks.
The 14th of December 1998, the very first day of Hanukkah, things had escalated. It had been snowing for five days and the snow had laid across Derry like a blanket. The school had let the kids out earlier and all of them had ran out in the field.
Snowballs had been thrown and sleighs had been ridden. Some built snowmen and a group of six had even tried to build an igloo. They had managed quite well, until the thing had caved in while Eb Steensen had tried to build the ceiling and it had resulted in that the poor girl had had to walk home with wet socks and a cold on it's way.
Laughter had echoed loudly above the trees and shrieks had been heard all the way in to centrum. Everyone had been enjoying themselves, all except for Stanley Uris.
Most of the neighbors had looked in between their curtains and watched as the poor boy had limped down Neibolt street. His bike had been thrown in the river and there for loosing one of it's wheels. His bag's content had been spread across the schoolyard and all of his papers and a drawing of a pileated woodpecker, one that he had been quite proud of, had been scattered with the wind.
Slowly he had walked down the street, his feet dragging behind him. Blood had run down his face, feeling just like rivers for the young boy, giant, wide and hurting rivers. Slowly the drops had dripped down on his once pristine jacket, now muddy and torn.
Stanley Uris didn't often cry, but this day he did. He had often been told that crying was only for wimps and throughout his life only three people had seen him shed tears.
They were no pretty tears, they flowed too quickly and were far too big to be called beautiful. Stanley thought himself somewhat as a bucket, a small and overfilled bucket, who had been filled for far too long and now the water inside finally started to pour out.
The tears had rolled down his cheeks, mixing up with the blood. Every once in a while he would lick his lips and he would feel the taste of salt, copper and snot on his tongue. He would sometimes try to dry the tears away, but it only resulted in the blood being smeared across his face, looking like a crude face painting.
Stanley had known how he'd looked, with his snotty nose and his red eyes. Blood that had dried on his face and in his curly hair. He was a mess and all he had wanted to do was to go home, but the way home seemed longer than ever.
Twenty minutes it had taken for Stanley to go from the school to the gate that led into his yard. For the longest of time he had stood there by the rusty gate, staring at the menorah in the window that had yet to be lit.
Suddenly the door had started banging and Stanley had been embraced. His mother had rushed out, still dressed in her purple bathrobe and her bare feet crunching against the snow.
Once he had been brought to the bathroom, he had been standing infront of the bathroom mirror staring at himself, all naked and with bruises blooming across his skin. Then a bath had been taken, he had rested there for hours, staring at the wide crack that traveled across the ceiling.
The water had been pink when he had left the bath and his fingers had been wrinkled like prunes. Rainbow colored bandaids had then been put on his wounds and Stanley had been put in his pyjamas, there after he had been put to bed. But the boy didn't sleep, he only laid there, staring at the bird poster and listening to his parents arguing loudly down in the kitchen.
The next he had gone to school. No one said anything and no one seemed to notice the rainbow colored bandaids. The teachers didn't ask and the bullies were never confronted.
Nothing was ever done, yet Stanley became happier.
His mother had noticed that her son smiled more often after the incident and he also laughed louder than before. It didn't really matter to her, that he disappeared more often and he often left the table the exact same moment he put down the cutlery. During dinner times he would often talk about three other boys who he played with and about their shenanigans. He would smile so brightly and tell them about how Richie had licked a pole on the street, despite the other three's protests.
Stanley's new behavior hadn't upset his mother or father, they had been quite glad that their son had gotten some real friends after have spent three years in Derry without them. Friends who did things that children were supposed to do and sometimes the things children were supposed to do were stupid and reckless.
Stanley played more and more with these boys and he often came home late in the evenings. His parents had eventually grown used to it, but on the 5th of Mars the boy didn't return home. At first his parents hadn't been worried but as the hours passed their worry only grew.
For the longest of time they sat in the dimly lit kitchen, waiting for the door to open. Eventually they started to call everyone who might have known their son's whereabouts, but no one knew. The boy was neither at school nor with his friends.
When the clock above the kitchen door showed five past eleven, they decided to search for him. They looked at his usual bird spotting places and they drove all the way to the quarry outside of Derry. The police was contacted, but they didn't manage to find the boy either.
Quite quickly there after the searches begun and flyers were put up all across town with a photo of the curly haired boy. On the bottom if it were words printed that no one bothered to read and a number no one ever called.
His fellow classmates were interrogated and so were the teachers, but no one could answer the questions that were asked. No one could tell the police nor the parents who the three boys Stanley had played with were, no one had ever seen Stanley with any other children except for those who he had played baseball with either.
The months passed and soon did so the years, neither the boy or a body was ever found in the forests around Derry nor in the quarry. It was finally concluded by the police that Stanley Uris had ran away along with the three boys he so often mentioned.
But despite the fact that the case got put to rest, the rumors continued to pass around from mouth to ear in the town of Derry. The Uris boy had either been murdered by the bullies or some sick pedophile or he had ran away, they would all say.
The house on Neibolt street eventually became empty four years after the son's disappearance, for the parents hadn't been able to see their son's empty room nor the empty seat by the table anymore. One day they had been there and the very next day they were gone, presumably had they moved back to Georgia.
Most of the furniture were left behind, being one of the few reminders that the house had once been called a home by some people. Many things that had once been called Stanley's still remained in the children's room, the mother and father had only taken a couple of photos and drawings as reminders from the boys room.
Many times they had tried to sell the house on Neibolt, but the house never got sold. The few people who had been interested thanks to the house's size and it's location, had turned disappointed when they saw the faded paint and when they noticed the rats. Those who managed to look past that, were quickly put off by the disappearance of the boy and some were put off by the rumors.
The documents were therefor left to collect dust at Derry's Real Estate Agency. The pile above it grew slowly larger and larger, eventually forgotten by the secretary at the real estate agency. The signature made by Donald Uris and Andrea James Uris had faded and the papers had turned from a crisp white to a dirty yellow.
It was first fifteen years later that it was removed from the pile again, noticed purely by chance by the new secretary. This time the house got sold to a woman from New York, a woman named Arlene Hanscom.