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Rise of the House of Culligan is one boy's journey being bullied in and out of school while dealing with the peer and social pressures of the neighborhood.
|Product dimensions:||8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.12(d)|
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Rise of the House of Culligan
By Adam G. Goldman, Tami Boyce
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2016 Adam G. Goldman
All rights reserved.
Summer in Glen's hometown was full of joy and excitement. Glen always had his hands full participating on the swim team and reading new books by his favorite authors. He also did chores in and around the house, which weren't so fun! In his neighborhood, front doors were rarely locked, except when nighttime approached or no one was home.
But all the kids avoided the house two doors down the block from Glen's home. His friends and classmates considered it to be haunted. Based on all the stories people told, it was by far the scariest house in the neighborhood. It belonged to Mrs. Culligan.
Glen had never spoken to her and had only seen her a few times. The once stately house was now dilapidated, tarnished, and faded. The original three-foot white picket fence that surrounded the perimeter of the spacious corner lot barely held itself upright.
Grayed with age, the white-and-gray two-level house could barely be seen behind a mammoth, green forest. Foliage of various shapes and shades of green surrounded the house and created an urban jungle.
Glen lived on the same block as Mrs. Culligan's house. So he had no choice but to pass it — especially when he walked to and from school.
Sometimes, Glen avoided passing her property. Instead, he would bike around the block in the opposite direction on the way to his friends' houses or the local pool. He spent many summer days swimming and basking in the sun with friends.
Ever since Glen could remember, rumors had spread about Mrs. Culligan and her house. Most of the rumors were that the house was haunted. Rumors also had spread that she would sit in a rocking chair and watch the neighborhood from her living room window all day long.
Whenever Glen walked by, he had the feeling that an ominous stare came from all of the windows at once. It not only freaked him out every time, but he felt an icicle running down his spine and penetrating every bone in his body.
He knew Mrs. Culligan's house was the oldest house in the neighborhood. Her husband had built it at the turn of the twentieth century in what became the town of Franklin Square. Although Glen barely knew Mrs. Culligan, he had never met her husband. Mr. Culligan had passed away before Glen's family had moved into their house way before Glen was born.
The fence that surrounded the property was as old as the house and in serious need of painting and repair — just like the house. The trees to the left of the house were so dense that the next-door neighbor had no view of the Culligan house at all. Grass and weeds lined the path outside the fence on the front walkway and all around the property. On either side of the walkway to the front door, where most yards had grass, the Culligan's ground was blanketed with ivy and small bushes sprouting here and there. It looked as though the garden had never been tended.
The front porch included three white columns. Over time, ivy spread from the garden onto the porch and creeped its way to the roof. To Glen's mind, the house resembled an ancient Mayan temple in the jungle.
Every window was covered from the inside with curtains of different gloomy colors. The neighborhood kids gave the house the title: the haunted jungle.
One lazy summer afternoon, Glen was walking home from the pool. His swimming trunks were still dripping wet, and a towel was draped over his shoulder. He held his goggles and pool pass in his left hand. About to walk by Mrs. Culligan's house, he saw a small group of kids led by a local bully. They came up from Grange Street and moved in his direction. The largest of the boys kicked in a fence post, and Glen saw this hideous act.
Even though Glen went to school with the boys, he really did not want to get into a tangle with them. He knew that Jeff, the lead bully, saw him coming.
Jeff, however, halted his pack at the sight of Glen. Giving one final kick to a fence picket and cracking it in two, Jeff stared Glen down.
Seeing what the boys had done, Glen felt a pang of disgust — a reaction that Jeff noticed. Glen walked toward them and tried to pass quickly without incident, but he realized it was going to be impossible. With no chance of evading them, he tried to walk right pass them.
Jeff stood in his path and gave Glen an extremely awful ultimatum: kick in and destroy a fence picket or be kicked. Defending himself against Jeff and his pack of juvenile delinquents would be nearly impossible. One was a son of a martial arts teacher in town.
Glen heard his father mowing their lawn. He knew he could outrun Jeff's pack and make it to his house to the safety that only a father could provide.
Still, Glen knew the right thing to do was walk away with his dignity intact. However, it was probable that his body and ego would be bruised and beaten. Something inside him knew it was the right thing to do, but he just couldn't. He knew the following months would be torture at school. However, if he showed his weakness, his reputation would be challenged every day.
Giving in to peer pressure, he gave a soft and aggravated push to Jeff's shoulder. Glen then squared himself with the fence and gave it a swift, front kick with his right foot to break a faded, off-white picket. At that moment, he felt a resounding pain and knew the sound of wood breaking would stay with him forever. The cracking of the wood created an inner turmoil and lack of self-respect.
Turning toward his house, Glen staggered home. Hearing the cackling and hollering from the pack of boys made him feel worse. He even felt the welling of tears as he walked up his driveway. Instead of talking to his parents, he entered the house and went straight to his bedroom. Feeling horrible and depressed about the day's events, he pulled off his wet swim trunks, crawled into bed, and took a nap.
Glen didn't know it, but Mrs. Culligan had witnessed the entire event. She took the time to talk to Glen's father and related what had occurred earlier.
Glen's father waited until after dinnertime to ask how his sons' day had been. David told the family about his friends and their swim team practice. Glen also went into great detail about his swim team practice — and then he hesitated.
Feeling remorse and regret, he was welling up inside. Looking at his father, he mentally and spiritually broke down. When his father asked what happened, Glen told him the whole story. He gave every detail and explained that he felt horrible about breaking the fence. Even worse, he felt awful about succumbing to malevolent peer pressure and not coming clean immediately when he came home.
Glen knew he could have lied about the fence and blamed it all on the other boys. However, he had no idea that Mrs. Culligan had already spoken with his father.
The following afternoon, Glen checked his computer for e-mails. He wanted to know if his grandparents were coming up from Florida. Seeing a poke, he thought it was from a friend. When he opened the website, he saw a picture of himself kicking out the fence post. It had been enhanced with a forest frame, purple hearts, and yellow smiley faces.
Glen felt horrible — not only for the picture, but for the posts that will soon follow. Not only would he would never live this down, but it would be on the Internet forever! He imagined his friends razzing him at school. He had no chance to see who posted it because his father was calling him.
Glen followed his father to Mrs. Culligan's house. When his father opened the front gate, the un-oiled hinges creaked as the gate swung all the way open. Glancing to the right, Glen saw the broken fence pieces. A sharp twinge fell upon his conscience. Walking up to the front door, he felt a shiver of horror. He was about to walk into the house of Culligan, which had haunted many of his dreams.
While his father knocked on the door, Glen looked at the three stately columns with overgrown and tightly wrapped ivy. He imagined the ivy wrapping itself tightly around him as it pulled him toward the columns to live as a captive of this old house forever. This mental image chilled Glen to the bones.
Excerpted from Rise of the House of Culligan by Adam G. Goldman, Tami Boyce. Copyright © 2016 Adam G. Goldman. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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