TITLE: Oliver and the Underlings
GENRE: MG Fantasy
Oliver Bradshaw stared wide-eyed at the blood-red colonial house hunched over the parking lot. The top floor overshot the bottom floor in the front, making the building look like it had an overbite. A sign reading "Fred's Variety" dangled like a broken tooth from the overhang. The entire house looked ready to gobble them up as they sat in their little rental car.
"Why are we here?" Oliver asked.
"To see about an apartment."
Oliver looked at the second floor again. "I was afraid you were going to say that. Mom, don't you find this house creepy?"
"It's not the greatest looking building, but fully furnished apartments are hard to come by."
His mother had a point. They didn't have any furniture. How could they when they'd moved three times in the last five years?
"Besides," his mother continued, "it's just a house. Houses can't hurt people. Only people hurt people."
Oliver wasn't sure this particular house shared her point of view.
As much as his mother claimed the house didn't bother her, she still looked plenty nervous as she exited the car and walked toward the front door of Fred's Variety. She looked back over her shoulder at least ten times between the car and the store's front door, probably assuring herself Oliver was still walking behind her and hadn't suddenly disappeared.
The landlord, a tall, wiry man with silver hair growing in a half circle around the back of his head, met them under the sign.