Marigold’s stomach was knotted. The other children had refused to let her play with them again, but now she had a way to earn their respect. They had dared her to enter the old house on the outskirts of town, a place the townsfolk called the House of the Heretic.
A foreign man was said to have lived there many years ago. The man did not follow the customs of the land and was shunned by the town. No one had seen the man leave the house for a long time, and strange noises came from inside its boarded up windows.
As Marigold approached the house, she heard those noises. She heard a groan, and a banging sound, like someone had knocked something over. She felt even more frightened than before. Marigold reached the door, and out of courtesy knocked three times. No one came to the door. She started to push on the door, but it was locked from within.
She turned around to face the mob of children that was standing at the roadside. One pointed out some boards that were loose at the right side of the house. Marigold’s heart sank; she had thought she might not have had to go in after all. The boards were easy to pull away, but the hole that appeared looked ominous: no light shone from within and Marigold smelled an awful stench.