by D R Evans
a first draft of a start of a book about the preternatural happenings around an old house.
The early morning light began its usual trip across the dusty attic.
Normal activity that had been around for a long time began to resume.
The scurrying of little feet, the rustle of feathers and the slithering of bellies.
The attic had been the home to many creatures of the local area.
Life was not always easy in the attic.
There always seemed to be a new danger, as soon as one goes away a new one arrives.
The owl that frequented the uper breams of the roof room had always made the night dangerous.
Before that the big grey tabby made life hard for the residents of the attic.
The owl had stopped visiting its favourite eatery some time ago while the cat had gone looking for better hunting grounds.
It had become a lot less dangerous when they had departed, but that was never going to last.
The young python had arrived earlier in the winter.
He had been a small snake then but that was 4 months ago.
He had grown, now the danger had returned.
Just like it always had, just like the house liked it.
A blast of stale air fought its way out of the just opened door. A door to a house that had remained nailed shut for 15 years.
“Wow” said Wiley “what is that smell?”
“Get out my way, Wiley” Shouted Ted.” we don’t have all day for you to complain about smells”
“Well then you go first”
Ted stepped past the younger man, pushing him roughly out the way”
“Hey, watch it!!” Said Wiley
“Then move quicker, “said Ted” you are 10 years younger but move like you are 20 years older”
Ted pushed the door some more, it opened half way. He gave it another push. The door opened further. He moved back to see in the house. Before he could move in, the door moved back to half way. He tried again with the same result.
“well don’t just stand there. “ said ted “hold the door open while I go inside to see what is blocking the door”
Wiley threw his 75 kg frame against the door, wedging his foot at the bottom to block the doors retreat.
Ted leant forward to look into the house. The look of strain on Wiley’s face caused a change of heart.
“Wait here” he said
Before Wiley could respond the door threw him backwards, he slipped on the first step and ended up sprawled across the four stair entrance to the house...
From the second step he looked up at Ted, the embarrassment covering his face like a blanket.
Ted shook his head, then carried on down to the driveway.
He stopped for a few seconds to admire his new company Truck. The white 1 ton Ford Ranger sat in the driveway, sparkling and new. He had fought hard with the money hoarders to approve his new vehicle, but it had been worth every cent. His last one was nearly 10 years old and spent more time at the mechanics than on the road.
He took the keys from his pocket and pressed the “open” button. The doors unlocked with a high pitched “bleep”.
Ted opened the canopy door, then leant in, to emerge quickly with an extendable pole with notches to lock the pole in different lengths.
Ted closed the door, took two steps away turned, pushing the “lock” button in one fluent, practiced move.
The car locks engaged with a “bleep bleep”.
Ted turn back looking around to see if anyone had seen him trying to act like an overweight James Bond. Seeing that no one had seen him he walked over to Wiley.
Wiley was now sitting on the top step throwing stones at the old gnome lying covered in grass and dirt, next to the overgrown path way.
“Ok, Wiley let’s try this again”
He pulled Wiley up by his arm pit.
“Ok ok no need to get pushy” said Wiley
“Push again and when it is open enough I will put the jack in and secure the door.”
Wiley put his shoulder gingerly against the door.
The door moved 200 millimeters, he pushed again the door opened 300 millimeters.
A third push, heeded no more gap, he nodded to Ted.
“Ok ted, now!”
Ted moved in, placing the one end of the jack on the door, then extended the jack to fit against the door frame. When the jack had clicked into place, he stood back.
“Ok Wiley, slowly move away.”
Wiley released the pressure on the door. The door moved till the jack took up the slack. He moved quickly to stand next to Ted. After a tense second they felt happy that the door was now secure.
“Good let’s get in there. Big Bill will be here soon and he’ll need an update.” Said Ted
The mentioning of the bosses name got the required result. Wiley opened the tool box, taking out two torches, handing one to Ted.
The smell of wet rotten mold were first aromas to creep up Ted’s nose.
They moved into the foyer of the house stepping over fallen wooden beams. Ted pointed to all the dark spots all around the floor.
“Step lightly Wiley” he said “there are lot of rotten boards. You can see the wet wood by the dark patches.”
“Ok Ted” said Wiley “where we going to start?”
Ted placed his torch on the window sill near the door. He took out his cloth from his back pocket, then slowly wiped his forehead. He then folded it neatly back up, then pushed it back into his back pocket.
“Well, I think we must start here with the foyer, get it cleaned out. Mark the bad spots then move through the downstairs getting all the clutter out”
“Good thinking Ted. I will start by opening all the windows.”
“You do that”
Two hours later the bottom floor of the house was empty of all rubble, old wood and rotten carpet.
“Ok” let’s get upstairs. Big Bill will be here soon.” Said Ted “but be care Wiley, no one has used these stairs in 15 years.”
They moved up the stairs testing each one with a pole as they went up.
Wiley heard a sigh from Ted as they put their first step on the upper floor.
The first floor looked a lot less messy than the ground floor.
“ah good” said Ted” not too bad up here, this should not take too long.”
“Ted. Wiley!” a voice boomed from the ground floor.
Ted looked at Wiley, Wiley looked at Ted.
“Well don’t just look at me, go down and tell Big Bill where we are” Said Ted
Wiley hesitated but eventually pushed himself to his feet. He put down the crow bar then left to find Big Bill.
Ted moved the last bit of rubbish to the corner to expose the rest of the room.
The sound of heavy footsteps came up from the stair case. They moved down the passage then stopped at the door.
Ted looked up to see his boss filling the door way.
“Hi boss, you a bit early?”
“Nonsense Ted, you are a bit slow.” Said Bill
Ted tried to keep his bosses glaze but looked away, pointing to the room he was standing in.
“Well as you can see, this is what we have had to deal with. Every room has been the same. Rotten floor boards fallen wall strips and collapsed roof beams. It is going to take quite a bit of money to resurrect this old gal.” said Ted.
Big bill kicked at a section of wall trim, his foot went in till his boot disappeared to his shin. He grabbed onto Teds arm then pulled back with his leg.
His leg broke free from the wall. He turned to Ted.
“You say the whole place is like this? “He asked
“Worse, this room was the best one in the whole house.” Said Ted “it took us all day just to get to here.”
“Well I have to get a buyer for this house. So let’s just get the old wood out, replace it and cover all the holes.”
Tom and Jill stopped outside 66 Malone drive.
“Is this it? This cannot be it” said Tom
Jill checked the Navigator.
“No the navigator says 66 Malone Drive”
“Well it’s sometimes a few numbers out. What is the number on the house behind us?”
Jill craned her neck around to see the number on the gate of the house they had just driven past.
“64 Malone Drive and the house over there is 65, so this can only be 66.” She said “let’s get out and look around”
Jill pulled the handle of the Jeep Cherokee.
“Aaaa stuck again” She said
“Just be gentle, don’t force it.” Said Tom leaning over to pull the door handle.
The door did not open.
“Shit” he said
Tom opened his door then ran around the front of the car. He pulled the door handle with a click. The door opened.
“Not a word,” he said.
Jill turned the imaginary key to her lips then smiled.
Tom held out his hand’
“Mi. lady” he said
“Why thanks you, kind sir” she said
Tom helped his wife out.
Jill climbed down from the jeep. She flattened out the dress carefully pulling her jersey over the ever protruding belly. Tom smiled placing his hand on his soon be third family member.
“Well let’s hope this will be your first home” he said
“I am sure she will be happy where ever we are” Said Jill
“Yes but here would be perfect”
Jill smiled rubbed her belly then turned to look at the house.
“It’s very big, do you think we can afford it?” She asked.
“Well Big Bill said it was a very good price for what you got, and when the royalties of the novel start to come in, we should have no problems paying. You could even start your own legal practice, if you wanted to.” Said Tom.
“First things first, let’s get the checks in, pay for the house then we can make more plans. My schooling will not pay for itself.” Said Jill.
“I know, I know” said Tom “ok the house first.”
He took Jill’s hand, guiding her around the vehicle to the cement path that led up to 66 Malone Drive.
The front of the house was a brilliant white with the afternoon sun enhancing the beauty.
“Wow” said Tom “it really is big when you get close up”
“This must be the wrong house” Jill said “this looks new”
“I agree, but let’s see what big Bill has to say, when he figures out that it is the wrong house we will have already had a look at this house, just for fun” he said.
“We don’t want to waste………” Jill began
A loud blast of a car horn stopped her in her tracks. She turned round to see a big white Mercedes pull drive past their jeep then turn into the driveway of 66 Malone drive.
“Talk of the devil” said Jim
The cars stopped with a small screech of the tires. A big man dressed in a white suit pant climbed out of the driver’s seat.
Big Bill waved at the couple before leaning in to his car to retrieve his jacket.
He walked up to the couple standing in front of the big brown door.
Jill could see the white of his teeth from twenty feet away. The effect at two feet was mesmerizing.
“Hi you guys must be the Rogens?” he said extending a meaty hand.
Tom put his hand to reply to the hand shake. He had hardly raised his hand from his side when Bill grabbed it and pulled it closer.
Tom who was six foot plus was dwarfed by Big Bill.
“William McKenna, but my friends call me Big Bill” he said “I hope we can be good friends”
Tom tried to open his mouth when big bill turned to Jill.
“And you must be the missus” he said “and who are we expecting here?”
Jill put her hand on her belly before Big Bill could reach out to pat her baby.
“Hi Mr. McKenna, “she said “yes Jill Rogen, a pleasure to meet you”
“Ok, let’s have a look at this house then” he said.
He pulled out a ring of keys from his pocket. He browsed through the ring till he found one with a small note hanging from the key. “Front door” was written on it.
He pushed the key in then turned the lock. The big door opened silently.
“Ladies first” he said
Jill thanked then she entered 66 Malone drive for the first time.
The first thing to catch her eye was the size of the entrance hall, it reminded her of the Victorian entrance she had seen on her trip to London after she graduated high school.
The door to 66 Malone drive opened again three months later. Tom walked in dropped the two bags he was carrying then raised his.
“Hi honey I am home” he shouted into the belly of the house.
“Tom, stop messing around, you daughter needs your help.”
He turned to move out of the house. Jill was standing on the cement path with little June in one hand and the pram tilting over with one wheel on the grass.
Tom ran up to Jill grabbed his daughter and turned back to the house.
“Tom” said Jill
He turn back to her.
He grabbed the pram pushing it back on to the path. He moved the baby to his other hand in now practiced motion, gabbed Jill’s hand dragging her giggling to the front door.