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    The Haunted House on Rio Vista Drive

    The neighborhood of Rio Vista Drive had two parts to it. On one side of Riverside Avenue were about 14 houses. Each house had approximately three bedrooms, two baths, an extremely grand living area, kitchen, washroom, and most often a small office area. The backyards were all chain linked hurricane fences of around 1.2 acres with a covered garage, back driveway and security locked gate. Most of the front yards were unique to themselves and had a theme which was painted on a plaque on the outside of the house itself. The realtors said that the architect had named each house as he had built it and decorated the fronts to match the names.

    However, on the other side of Rio Vista Drive at the end of the block- a dead end, stood a rickety two story house assumed to be about 50-75 years old. This was dubbed the Haunted House. There was an old woman, Widow Crankston, who lived there. The kids all say she would come out in the evening and sit on her porch. Several thought they saw her carrying a black cat and presumed she was a witch of sorts. Briars grew up along the fence line and sidewalks. The windows were covered in cobwebs and the like. It had been years and years since the house had been painted or anything in the yard taken care of either. Many a dare had been made among the neighborhood kids to go and ring the doorbell or knock on the door. Most dares were made on Halloween or around that time.

    So it was on the night before Halloween that Howard, Ernie and Edward were riding their bikes down Rio Vista Drive. Up one side and down the other, quickly turning around before they reached Widow Crankston's Haunted House! Suddenly, Howard came to a screeching stop right in front of the house.

    "Ok, dare ya' to do it!" He hollered at Ernie.

    "No, dare you!" Ernie screamed back.

    "Scaredy Cats!" Laughed Edward!! "I will do it!"

    So off he went, straight up to the front door. He rang the doorbell, but no one answered. Hurriedly he turned around and was running down the steps when he heard a tiny voice behind him.

    "Yes, young man, may I help you?" Inquired Widow Crankston, as she peeped out the massive door. "Is today Halloween, I thought it was tomorrow. Let me get you some chocolate brownies and a caramel apple. Do your friends want some, too? Haven't had young- ins come here in ages. Please sit on the porch while I get y'all treats and some cold milk."

    Edward stopped in his tracks. She wasn't an old witch, but just a kind hearted little old lady. He motioned for Howard and Ernie. Both came running up the sidewalk just in time to eat the goodies!

    Now the other kids in the neighborhood aren't sure yet what to think. There are no more briars, no more cobwebs, and the fresh paint on the house looks wonderful. The boys have a part-time job cleaning and painting while enjoying good company and great snacks!

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