A young man kicks an old half deflated football around the well-manicured lawn of his grandparents’ country estate. Yuma had asked to come stay with them over the summer holidays because as a small child he was never invited to stay, neither did they make any effort to visit him. The only contact he had ever had from his estranged relatives was through cards at birthdays or Christmas with polaroids of them and the beautiful views of the forest from their house. To his youthful eyes, the acres of trees which stretched in every direction looked like a playground ready to be explored. However he had always been told that it was “a dangerous area” for a such a little boy like him. Finally, at the age of 16, he had convinced his mother to let him drive up to his eccentric, native-american, hippie grandparents’ estate in rural Utah to surprise them. Yuma not only wanted to finally speak to his grandparents face-to-face for the very first time, but he was also keen to learn more about his heritage and they were the only ones in the family left that grew up following native-american traditions. Once his mother was born, they moved into a modern house and slowly drifted away from their roots. As soon as Yuma’s mother had gathered enough money from working odd-jobs in the nearby village, at aged 17 she moved away all by herself to California. This caused her parents much heartbreak and soon communication between them ceased. It was only when Yuma was born they began to send each other the birthday or christmas card. Despite being pleased the family was finally coming together again, she was hesitant to let him go alone, her excuse was that it was easy to get lost on the road up the hill through the woods but after much persuasion she caved and let him set out on his long-awaited adventure.
Once he managed to navigate the never-ending, winding dirt tracks, that his poor 1967 Morris Minor convertible was definitely not designed for, Yuma finally caught sight of the house. To say it politely he was very disappointed. He had severely underestimated just how off-grid the place was and as he stood in front of the dilapidated mansion, he took in the spectacle that was the once white crumbling stone walls. A woman that looked to be in her late seventies came racing around the corner of the building with a hunting rifle pointing straight at him. He recognised her as his grandma, Enola.
“Who in the hell are you and what are you doin’ on my property?!” She shrieked. Once he explained she lowered the gun and took a closer look at his face, she apologised for her rude welcome, saying something about how there is bad things out here on the mountain. He noticed her word choice of things rather than people, he thought that was strange. She hugged him tightly and ushered him inside, shouting on her husband to come downstairs. She smelled of lavender and pine and home baking. Once inside the house the boy felt safer but there was still something off about it. A thick layer of dust coated every surface and there was a strong scent of mold which tarnished the torn floral wallpaper. The house didn’t look lived in at all. Half of the windows had been boarded up, his grandmother explained that some kids from the local farm like to throw stones and that they even had the cheek to return to spray paint their names onto the chipboard like an artist signing their work.