The House
by Faye Sizemore
forum: The House
speculative fiction for the internet generation.

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The House


       I was gone most of the day with Grant (my locksmith other-half) on a lock job to a beautiful old house in the country east of here. Grant set to work and Mr. Turner, the new owner, told me he has no idea how old the house is, but it was moved to its present location in 1935.

       It has the old south style open porch with great pillars holding up the roof. All of the inside rooms have polished hardwood floors with beautiful carved fireplaces with marble mantles in each room.. even each of the six bedrooms.

       There was a small side patio roofed type porch on the side framed by lattice work covered with yellow climbing roses under a smaller pillared roof. It was lovely and romantic.. and I think.. haunted.

       While Grant was working on the locks, I wandered here and there and got some very strange vibes.. especially in one room. It was a well lighted sunny room with large windows, beautiful woodwork and with a door that opened on a small porch that overlooked a little playground with a swing and monkey bars set, a merry go round and one of those big wooden fort type playhouses with a twisting slide.. any child's dreamworld. It entered my mind as strange because Mr. Turner had said the hardwood floors were still in such good shape because the former owners had lived there for years and had no children to mar them up.

       The owner had just bought the house for his fiancee, who wanted an older fixer-up house with atmosphere, as he put it. He confided that this was his first love, and he was almost forty, as was she.. neither ever having been married before, and no children.

       He was a pleasant talkative man, busy pulling up tile off the kitchen floor, as they were going to replace it. The kitchen seemed to be the only dark room in the big old house. I think that was because the walls were covered with beautiful old dark oak cabinets with porcelain handles.

       I asked if I could snap a few pictures of the outside and of the interesting old fireplaces. He told me to go ahead and mentioned that he had lost his putty knife that he was scraping up the tiles with and must look for it. He assumed it was mixed in with the tiles he had removed..

       Going outside, I walked aways down the huge lawn to get most of the old house in my viewfinder. I also snapped some pictures of the side porch and lawn. It was very hot and sunny outside, and I was glad to get back inside. I proceeded to take a picture of the fireplace in the living room, but the camera would not work.. same thing in the other rooms, even those the sun was streaming into through the huge curtain-less windows. My camera acted as if there was not enough light. Strange.

       Checking to see if Grant was almost done re-keying the outside doors.. I found him in the room facing the playground. He said he was having a lot of trouble with that door because the lock wasn't right and probably hadn't been for a long time. There were two slide bolts on it and a chain lock besides the keyed knob lock.. Why so many locks on this one door? Something to ponder.

       I noticed the rooms all seemed extra huge and airy, very open, with no carpets, curtains or furniture to muffle sound or take up space. I could only imagine how breathtaking most of them would look furnished.

       I returned to the kitchen and Mr. Turner told me he still could not find his putty knife so he was going to drive to town and buy another one. I asked him if I could go upstairs and look around. He assured me it was all right and mentioned to make sure I saw all the fireplaces in the bedrooms, as they were as old and beautiful as the ones downstairs. One could see he was proud of his purchase of this old house.

       I stepped outside and took another pic of the side of the patio garden and the yellow roses as the new owner's car left the driveway. My camera worked perfectly this time.. I tried another. Perfect again. I smiled as I went back inside, happy the camera was all right.

       Looking up the dark oak stairs with the long curved railing, polished by many hands, I was wishing it was a shorter walk to the upstairs, for the heat was terrific, as the power wasn't on and there was no air conditioning. I wanted to see the fireplaces, though, so taking a deep breath, I started up.

       The hallway was well lighted and sunny, as were all the bedrooms, by the same type of huge old windows as those downstairs. There were two lovely old bathrooms with claw footed tubs.

       I tried to take pictures of the beautiful old fireplaces in each of the five bedrooms, but still, the camera would not work..

       The sixth bedroom was at the far end of the hall away from the rest, and its door was closed. As I put my hand on the knob, I felt a thrill as if I was very happy and was going to be greeted warmly and presented with something great, like a child expecting praise or a reward and not being able to wait a moment longer.. Sound strange ? Yes, I`m sure it does, but that's how I felt, and I remember the feeling vividly..

       The door swung open to a lovely, large windowed, white walled, dark wood-worked bedroom. My footsteps echoed, hollow, in the silence, on the hardwood floor as I walked to inspect the fireplace. It was beautifully carved with leaves and flowers and topped with a slab of marble. I tried repeatedly to take pictures of it with the same results as downstairs.. Something was wrong with my camera.. I wasn`t sure what..

       I tried one last time, and as I was about to give up, I saw a glimmer of something shiny through the viewfinder. There was a metal object lying on top of the marble. Walking forward to see what it was, I was surprised to see a putty knife.. I wondered why I hadn't seen it before. Oh well. I picked it up to take to Mr Turner. Perhaps he could use it..

       Making my way back downstairs, I stopped in where Grant was working. He was white faced and asked me to stay in the room until he was done with the lock.. I did as he asked as his voice had that 'don't ask questions, just do it' tone..

       He finished, and we returned to the back of the house and the kitchen where Mr Turner, having returned, was busily again removing tile with his brand new scraper. I gave him the putty knife I had found upstairs, and he asked how it got there. He said he had not been upstairs since yesterday with the real-estate agent. He thought I may have picked it up by mistake before I went upstairs.. I knew I hadn't and pointed out that he had already left to go buy a new one before I ever went up those long winding stairs.

       Grant gave him the bill, and we were on our way. At the foot of the driveway by the highway, Grant asked what I thought of the house. I replied that I loved it.. such an old beauty, it was..

       Giving me an odd look, he told me that several times he had thought he heard me walk up behind him as he worked on the door lock. Each time as he turned, no one was there, but he said he could feel someone behind him in the room, and it was very unnerving. That's why he had asked me to stay near while he finished..

       It was then that I decided to tell him about the putty knife and my camera being unable to take pictures inside the house.. It was strange to him, too, because it was so well lighted.. It was then that we both realized that it was much lighter and brighter inside the house than it was outside...


copyright 2005 Faye Sizemore.

Faye Sizemore:

I am an imaginative grandmother, loose with pen in hand, who just loves a mystery from the unknown.