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Rated: E · Short Story · Mystery · #2260279
A home inspector meets the Georgian at 666 Spooky Lane
The Georgian
WC 829

A home inspection on Halloween night seemed a bit odd. Oh well, it was my job, and I needed the money. I was to inspect this one-hundred-year-old, two-story Georgian. It had been vacant for a while, but a potential buyer was interested in the property.

I worked my way through college as a licensed building inspector, so I knew the ropes and liked the job. I felt like a detective, uncovering problems before they became trouble for the buyer.

Once I became a teacher, I hung up my measuring tape, hammer, and clipboard. Unfortunately, I lost my teaching job at Connor College a month ago and couldn’t seem to find another. My Aunt Maddie, a real estate agent, took pity on me and hooked me up with Private Eye Home Inspection.

I pulled up in front of 666 Spooky Lane and parked the Private Eye panel van. I locked the truck and slipped the keys into my coverall pocket. The note from Aunt Maddie guided me to the Jack o lantern on the front stoop where I found the hidden key.

As I put the key in the lock, I could hear a faint, eerie moaning coming from the bowels of the house. I stepped back and assessed the situation. This was an old house and probably had old plumbing. Sometimes old pipes moan. I scribbled a note in my report.

I turned the key in the lock and opened the door. The first thing that hit me was the smell, musty and dank. Black mold? I put on my mask, just in case. I added this finding to my report.

As I entered the foyer, a door slammed from somewhere above.

“Hello”, I called. “I’m here to inspect the house. Maddie Sloan gave me the key.”

I got no response. The only sound I heard was the noisy plumbing in this relic. If the door had been left ajar, it probably slammed when the front door opened, so I continued toward the second story.

A new sound was added as I headed for the second floor: creaky stairs. One more item to add to my report. The list was growing.

I traversed the hallway toward the light that was coming from under the door in what was probably a bedroom, or maybe the bath.

“Hello? Private Eye Inspection,” I called again. “I’m here to inspect the house. The real estate agent gave me a key.”

Again, nothing.

I opened the door to what seemed to be the master bedroom. I was greeted by the strange sight of flickering candles.

In an abandoned house?

Squatters? It happens all the time in vacant houses. I had my phone at the ready to call the police, and my hammer in hand, just in case.

I blew out the candles and noted the fire hazard on my report, as well as the possible squatters. I shined my flashlight in every corner as I exited the bedroom, which now smelled like the extinguished candlewicks.

I had two areas to go: the attic and the basement.

My hand hovered over the attic door’s knob. I had never felt apprehensive while doing a home inspection. This was a first. I never thought I might be in danger or would not have taken this job. However, I found myself about to enter a spooky attic in an ancient, abandoned house with just a hammer for protection. This I did not note in my report.

The stairs to the attic creaked and groaned as I ascended, flashlight in one hand, clipboard under my arm, hammer at the ready in my other hand. A stale, putrid smell attacked my nostrils as I entered this neglected upper floor. I searched for a light switch; there was none to be found. I made a mental note to add that fact to my report.

I shined my flashlight around the room. There were items from a time gone by stored in this dusty time capsule: assorted porcelain dolls, a hobby horse, a gilded lamp, old trunks…

I suddenly knew I wasn’t alone in the attic. I felt what I can only describe as a ghostly presence in the north corner under the rafters. I shined the light. I can’t prove I saw a pair of eyes caught in the flashlight beam; all I know is I did—or something that resembled eyes, anyway.

I dropped my clipboard—I dropped everything—and got the hell out of that house. I flew down two flights of stairs, through the musty foyer, out into Halloween night, and to the safety of the Private Eye Home Inspection van. I tore away from the curb, then slowed down when I realized trick-or-treaters were on the prowl, darting around in the night.

The company insisted that I go back and check the basement. I said, “No way!” They fired me. Sorry, Aunt Maddie.

I am now looking for another teaching job if you know of any openings.

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