Hunchback of Oakview Avenue
By Laryssa Landale
9-year-old Maggie lay motionless in her bed, she heard it: the slow,
steady sound of footsteps making their way up the stairs. A shudder
ran down her spine as her eyes darted over to her bedroom door.
She willed the footsteps not to stop outside it. But they did
Maggie normally left her bedroom door open just a trifle so that
the hall light could penetrate the darkness. It helped her sleep.
Now, the door was slowly creaking open. Maggie held her breath.
The door closed again leaving just a sliver of brightness to cut
across her room. Then the dim light from the window illuminated
the shadow of a figure small in stature, hunched over and
moving slowly along the wall toward the closet. The door to the
closet (which housed the entrance to the attic) swung silently open
and the shadow was gone.
Maggie was frozen with fear. She lay in her bed for what felt like
an eternity, until she mustered enough courage to leap from the
concealment of her bedsheets and bolt down the hall to the sanctuary
of her brothers room.
Shortly after her family had moved to the house on Oakview Avenue
in Toronto, Maggies night visits had begun. They continued
for years not every night, not consistently, and sometimes
more frequently than others.
Amazingly, Maggie grew used to the sights and sounds of her guest.
Her parents, busy in their adult world, chalked it up to youthful
imagination with nonchalant comments like, Thats interesting,
dear. Her second oldest brother, Henry, (two years her senior)
found the story useful ammunition for frightening and teasing her.
However, one night, a few years after her first eerie encounter,
Henry sprinted into her room with a terrified look on his face.
His eyes wide, he whispered, I saw the hunchback man!
When Maggie was about 17, her girlfriend, Elizabeth, came to live
with her family on Oakview Avenue. Elizabeth stayed in Maggies
oldest brothers room as he was away at college. There had
been a long lull in the ghosts appearances. Maggie hadnt
remembered seeing it for nearly two years. Several months after
moving in, Elizabeth commented you know you have ghosts in
Maggies jaw dropped. Then she asked her to explain. Elizabeth
described the same hunchback shape that had been so familiar to
Maggie. The ghost was back.
Until she moved out of the home on Oakview to attend college in
September of 61, the hunchback man continued to appear to
Maggie every now and then. Over 40 years later, she has not seen
or heard of him since, but will never forget her encounters with
Maggie now lives in Windsor.