Italo Calvino said: The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts.
House of Skeletons by Linda Nelson – © June 12, 2013
Tara loved the house she grew up in, she hadn’t been back home in over twenty years. How time flies and things change.
She pulled up to the curb and put the car in park. Tara could see the property from her car. A rickety For-Sale sign hung on a wooden post. She wondered how long the property had been for sale. How could the home that she had loved so much fallen into such disrepair?
“There it is,” she said to her best friend Maddy. “That’s where I grew up.”
“That is the house you are going to buy?” Maddy asked. “Your kidding me. You can’t fix that unless you plan on bulldozing it down.”
Tara got out of the car and walked briskly toward the rundown home, Maddy followed close behind. “I’m not going to plow this house into the earth. I can fix it, I know I can.” She poked her head in the doorway where the door was off it’s hinges and leaning up against the wall. Dirt billowed in the front door, spilling across the floor.
Tara stepped over the threshold to look about the building. The Real Estate agent would be there any minute.
The back part of the house was missing where the kitchen and the dining room used to be. All that remained of it was the broken caved in bricks. She had helped her mom bake many a cake and cookie in that kitchen. Her mom passed away while she was in her second year of college.
She could still picture her dad sitting in his recliner in the living room. The chair was no longer there, but her memory was, there he sat watching many a ball game on Saturday afternoons. None of the furniture remained, just the memory of it in her mind. A single tear streaked down her cheek.
Tara’s dad passed away six months ago from a heart attack. Being an only child now meant being alone. But she had Maddy, her best friend and the closest she had to family. Maddy was like a sister to her.
“Hello,” A voice called from outside the house.
“The Agent is here Tara.”
“Okay, can you tell her I will be right out?”
Tara waited for Maddy to step outside the doorway before she crossed what was left of the living room and stooped before the dusty fireplace hearth. There she found the loose brick and underneath it the ring she had hid when she was five. How her mom had gotten into so much trouble for reporting her engagement ring missing. Her dad was rip shit. Tara never told anyone that she had taken the ring. Today she couldn’t remember why she had taken it and not given it back. It was just water under the dam, and all she had left of a memory from a time long ago.
She left the home and stepped outside to greet the Real Estate Agent whom Maddy was now questioning about the price of the property.
“I’m sorry to say. I can’t sell it to you. The property is taken. It was sold last night.”
“Can’t we counter the bid?” Asked Maddy. She looked toward Tara out of concern.
“I’m sorry to say, the owner has already accepted the sale. The property has been paid for in cash up front.”
Tara’s eyes welled with tears. She was too late. She clutched the ring in the palm of her hand that was thrust deep inside her pocket. At least she had that. “It’s all right Maddy.”
“Can I show you another property?” the agent asked.
“No never mind. I only wanted this one because it was where I had been born and raised,” answered Tara. “Thank you for coming out to meet us.”
“Are you sure, I have other properties like this one.”
“No this was the only one I wanted. But can you tell me who bought it?” Tara asked.
“Oh yes, a very nice elderly man. I think he said his name was Barry Cooper.”
Tara felt the blood leave her face. She had no idea her uncle Barry was alive. Her folks told her that he had died when she was five and was never allowed to ask about him ever again. That was until she had entered college and had done a little bit of investigating that turned up a hidden secret. Apparently her Uncle Barry was her real father. No one knew except her dead parents and her. So the skeleton was about to return home and look in the closets and Tara would pay him a visit when he did.00
>The rain poured from the sky. Kitty Sampson forgot all about being Ruby Angel and sniffed the air under the porch. Shinning in the dark before her were these big yellow green eyes. The eyes blinked at her. Kitty crouched close to the ground and readied herself for attack.
“Who there,” she called out to the eyes.
The eyes backed away further under the porch. The rain splashed underneath the porch, creating small puddles. Kitty shook her front paws. She just hated it when she got her feet wet. The dirt would become mud and the mud would then stick to the bottom of her feet. And mud, well that was just nasty tasting stuff. She could not stand the grit getting stuck between her teeth.
Again she called out to the eyes. “Who are you?” Kitty crept closer to the darkness. “Why don’t you come closer so I can see who you are?”
“Ne… deep…please don’t… Ne…deep…eat me,” came the reply.
Kitty crept even closer, following the porch siding wall toward the deeper, dark depths of the underside porch. Her eyes were beginning to adjust to the low lighting. She could now make out a dark image sitting against the wall, deep in the shadows.
“Why would you think I would eat you?” Kitty asked the shadow. “I’m not even hungry.”
“Ne…deep…because…Ne…deep…you are bigger than me…Ne…deep…and…Ne…deep…I am just a frog.”
“Play maybe…I would play with you. But not, eat you. I am Ruby Angel, the super model heroine cat…I am the great protector of the poor-poor unfortunate ones.”
Kitty found a dry patch on the ground. She decided this was a good place to lounge while she waited for the rain storm to stop. Her people would be home soon. They would be looking for her and calling her to come eat her dinner. She licked her chops thinking about the dish of cat food they would present to her. Along with a small bowl of milk.
“Ne…deep…good to meet…Ne…deep…you.” The frog blinked. “Ne…deep…my name is…Ne…deep…Bernie…Ne…deep.”
“Nice to meet you Bernie.” Kitty giggled a small purr. “Are you a super hero too?”
“Super hero…Ne…deep…No…Ne…deep…What is a…Ne…deep…Super hero?”
Kitty licked her paws. “You don’t know what a super hero is? Well my boy told me; he is one of my people, he told me a super hero is someone who saves someone from something.”
“Ne…deep…you have a boy and you have people? Ne…deep…I have seen…Ne…deep…that boy before…Ne…deep…he tried to catch me…Ne…deep….but I jumped away from him…Ne…deep…as fast as I could….Ne…deep.”
“Oh he would not have hurt you. It is the girl you have to watch out for.” Kitty warned.
Just the other day Kitty watched the girl catch a grass hopper. She held it in her hands and shook them as hard as she could. Then she had spoken something to Kitty, something to do with check this out and then, the girl opened her hands right in front of Kitty’s face.
The poor grasshopper was so dizzy from the shaken, it did not know which direction it was going in and jumped out of the girls hands as soon as they were opened. Kitty immediately pounced on the poor thing and pretended to eat it. Meanwhile she hid the grasshopper underneath her body so the girl would not find it.
The trick seemed to work. Kitty’s apparent meal grossed the girl out, making her lose interest in torturing the bug. She ran into the house, yelling, “Mom, Kitty just ate a bug. A big bug. How gross.”
That was the day, Kitty Sampson decided to become Ruby Angel. She would set out to save the world from the girl. Then again, maybe she could save others too. There were other dangers besides the girl.
Kitty thought for a moment. “Bernie, would you like to be a super hero like me?” She flicked her tail to and fro. “It is a lot of fun.”
“Oh I don’t know,” said the frog. “How do I become a super hero?”
“Well, first you need a super hero name.” Kitty licked her paws. “Then you will need to decide what kind of super powers you have.”
Kitty and Bernie then began to talk about name. There was Bernie Hopper and Super Frog. At one point Kitty even suggested the name Fast Tongue Bernie, but he did not like any of them. She was about to give up when she thought of one last name. “How about Jade Brown.”
“Oh…I do like it. Jade Brown is a very catch name.” Bernie flicked out his tongue and snatched a lonely mosquito from the air in front of Kitty’s face. “And my super powers are that I can jump really high and I do have a lightning fast tongue.”
So, that is how Kitty Sampson and Bernie the Frog became friends. From that day on they became a super hero team, finding adventure all around them in the back yard. The underneath of the porch became their den or home base. A special secret hiding spot from the girl in the house.
Copyright © February 2011
Lydia rustled through the paper work on her desk. She really hated doing the monthly bills, but they were piling up again. The last bill to pay was her phone bill. First she needed to check her balance to make sure she had enough money.
Her addition sucked. She shoved the papers out of her way in search of the calculator. It was hidden under the paid pile.
After punching in the numbers she determined a shortage in her account. The phone bill would have to wait another month. Hopefully they would not shut off her phone before she could come up with the money needed to pay the bill.
Lydia noticed the time. She had better hurry or she would be late for work. Another day another dollar she thought. Did that mean another dollar less or more, she wondered. Lately it seemed like a dollar less.
She picked up her purse and keys along with a few paid bills and hurried out the door. Lucas was already waiting with the rest of the car pool.
Lydia waved her handful of envelopes at his window before taking a spot in the backseat. She felt crowded with three of them stuffed in the backseat. They were always fighting for a window. An hour ride to work every day, and sitting next to Allan was not her favorite thing to do. He was one of those people who had a problem with sweating and his deodorant did not always work.
This was one of those days. How wonderful, and it was her day to sit in the middle. “Hey Lucas, I hope you don’t mind…but could you stop at the nearest mailbox? Got some bills that need to go out.”
“ Lydia…I got you a coffee this morning.” Carrie handed the hot drink cup to her.
“Thanks.” Lydia said. She exchanged the envelopes for the cup of coffee. The cup was still really hot. One road bump would be all it would take to toss that hot coffee on everybody in the back seat including herself. She would have to wait until they got to work before she dared take the lid off.
The office was not her favorite place to be. Not every one likes their job and Lydia was one of them. Ugh…she thought as she sat in her chair, stuffing her purse underneath her desk out-of-the-way
Lydia had a feeling that this would not be a good day. She took off the lid to her cup of coffee and almost dumped it all over her papers. That would have been a disaster in its self.
Patrick, her boss approached her desk and set a stack of files down for her to go through. “I need these people called immediately.”
“All right. I will get right on it.”
Lydia looked at the first file. It was for a woman in the state of Maine. The woman owed five hundred dollars to a credit company. This call went well with the woman agreeing to send in a substantial payment to cover the bill for one month.
The next file was for another woman living in Florida. She owed three hundred dollars for a doctor bill. This turned out to be another successful file taken care of.
The last file was the moment she had been bracing for. It was for a man who owed fifteen hundred dollars for some sporting equipment. She argued with him, for a good fifteen minutes, over the bill itself.
“You have the wrong number,” he kept stating. Finally he demanded to speak to her supervisor.
“Hold on one moment.”
Lydia found Patrick in his office and she explained the problem with the account. Patrick said he would handle it. She went back to her desk and forwarded the call to his office.
Five minutes later he stood in front of her desk. “ Problem with the account you just handled. It turns out to have been a wrong number listed in the file. If you had double checked the number before calling it you would have noticed the discrepancy in the number.”
Lydia pursed her lips together and made a silent Oh.
“ I have spoken to you about this for the last time. I have to let you go.” Ryan said sternly.
“But…but…” Lydia tried to plead.
“ You need to gather your things. You no longer work here.” Patrick moved the chair exposing her purse below the desk.
Lydia finally got the words out of her mouth. “ But I did not drive here today. I can’t leave until Lucas leaves.” She hoped if only she could get him to let her finish out the day. Maybe then he would change his mind.
“It does not matter.” He picked up the phone and punched in the numbers. “ Hi there…could you send a cab to 247 Office Park Drive. Great. Thank you.” Patrick hung up the phone. “They are sending you a cab. Get your stuff and let’s go.”
Lydia bit her trembling lip. She wondered why this could not have happened to Allan instead. Why did this have to happen to her.
She slipped the strap of her purse over her shoulder and followed Patrick out of the building.
The phone bill was going to have to wait. Maybe in a few months Allan would be calling her in an attempt to collect the payment from her. She never liked bill collectors anyways. This must have been why she never liked her job in the first place. She had become one of them in the end.
Copyright © December 2010
Howard and Lorna just moved into their new home. They have come to learn they are not the only inhabitants of their new home.
“I never would have purchased this house if I’d known that…” Howard said to his wife.
“Known what?” she asked.
“About this house being infested.” He replied.
“Is that what you think the problem is?” Lorna held up her arm to examine the rash. Red marks covered her right arm and she had more of them on her right leg.
They just moved into the house on Friday. After spending the past three days in it, both of them were now covered with some sort of strange rash. The rash was itchy.
Howard ripped the sheets off the bed to expose the mattress underneath. It was clean. He then lifted the bottom of the mattress seperating it from the box spring. A couple of small bugs crawled closer to the center of the mattress.
“What are they?” Lorna tried to peer closer, helping him lift the mattress higher.
“I don’t know, but look there is a mess of them there in the corner.” He pointed to the far corner which had slid off the box spring.
Small brown bugs which looked like small beetles clung to the corner of the mattress. Howard grabed a can of bug spray and squirted it on them. There was no sign of them being effected by the spray.
“How do we kill them?” Lorna grabbed a kleenex and wiped them off the corner. She missed a couple and they fell onto the floor beside the bed. They scurried away under the bed.
“I’m going to go call an exterminator and see what he says.”
Howard left the room. Lorna followed him into the den where he searched through the yellow pages, searching for local exterminators. He found a couple of them and called them.
He told the exterminators of their problem with the bugs and the rashes. He tried to describe the bugs as best as he could over the phone.
“Bed bugs!” he said to the exterminators. “You say I have bed bugs?” He listened again to the exterminator.
“But how can my mattress be infested like it is? We have only been living here for three days now.”
Lorna listened patiently to the one sided conversation. She began to wish they had never moved out of their home they had lived in for the past fourteen years. A bug problem, they never had a bug problem before.
“When can you come out and take care of this infestation?” Howard asked the exterminator. This was the third exterminator he called. So far they were all back logged with current clients with extermination issues.
“In two weeks? I will keep looking then. Thank you for your time.” He hung up the phone and called yet another exterminator.
This exterminator was also booked up for the next month.
“This is rediculous.” Howard sat down on the sofa in the living room. He had called about ten exterminators in the area and they were all backed up for the whole month. Apparently every one was having a problem with bed bugs.
“Oh my God!” Lorna said. She noticed a bug crawling on her leg while she sat back on the sofa with Howard. “They are every where!” She smacked the bug on her leg, squishing it dead.
She lifted the cushion to the sofa and there were several bugs underneath the cushion. Lorna looked around the room. There seemed to be no where they could sit in the living room with out risking being bitten by the bugs. They would not be able to sleep in their bed either.
“I can’t live like this,” she told her husband. He looked just as distraught as she felt.
“I know…” he replied, “I can’t either.”
“We should never have moved.” Lorna said angerly.
“Well we are not going to deal with this problem much longer. I will take advantage of the home owners insurance. They can pay to for the removal of the bugs from this home.”
“But the homeowners insurance does not cover for infestation.” Lorna stated.
“I know… That’s why tomorrow I’m setting it on fire.”
Copyright © July 31, 2010 by Linda Nelson
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