10.12.2019 | First Farmers Financial Corp.

The House - Chapter 2

Welcome back to part 2 of The House…
With a deep breath, I stepped inside the house again. For a moment, I was lightheaded. Everything was exactly the same, or seemed that way. I might have traveled back in time, once again a rebellious twelve-year-old with more bravery than sense. Even the light filtering through the dusty windows was the same orange hue, painting the inside with its fiery touch.

Once again, I was stunned. A couple dozen years hadn’t stripped the beauty from the woodwork nor the dignity from the gracefully ascending staircase. The fireplace stood in the far room, its mantle cracked but somehow still welcoming, only needing a loving hand to restore it. I pictured the Christmas tree in that room, having friends over for coffee and long conversations. To the right of the entrance, another room separated me from the kitchen. I could see the edge of the cabinets stretching up to the ceiling.

This house reminded me of my grandmother’s stories. She’d grown up in a house like this. Her friends had knocked on the door during Halloween for candy and hunted in the backyard for Easter Eggs. Maybe that was where this sudden wave of nostalgia came from. When I was a child, I was as scared as I was fascinated, but now my heart was racing with anticipation, not dread.

I toured the home from room to room. The dining room, with its wainscoting and tray ceiling, begged for a fresh coat of paint. The kitchen had heavy oak cabinets. Some of the doors were crooked, and a pair were missing, but I wouldn’t consider new cabinetry. There was history here, and I was loathe to remove it.

The stairs creaked alarmingly as I ascended to tour the upstairs. I added some minor repairs to my to-do list. The bathrooms were almost a complete demo, but a clawfoot tub stood in one corner, an unexpected treasure. The master bedroom featured its own small fireplace. I glanced out the window into the backyard below, overgrown and unkempt, but still large.

Back downstairs again, I found the door to the backyard and stepped outside. The porch was breezy and gorgeous, needing only some paint and elbow grease to bring it back to life. I could imagine gatherings in the backyard, patio furniture and fairy lights and laughter. I remembered my grandma saying that every porch could be improved by a couple of rocking chairs and added those to my mental shopping list.

I sat down on the porch steps, thinking back to my memories from childhood, when this house had been the setting of so many ghost stories and campfire tales. I didn’t know it then, but that day when I was twelve, this house had put its hooks in me. The beauty was part of it, of course, but the mystery and excitement played its own role. I was a little disappointed that I hadn’t seen any shadows or heard any bumps during my tour. I didn’t believe in any of that nonsense, of course, but deep inside, my 12-year-old self had been holding her breath.

Oh well, I thought. There aren’t any ghosts here, but there are so many memories. I’d loved old houses ever since that day marked my childhood, and they always seemed to have their own personalities. This one was no exception. I couldn’t wait to get to work.

And then, just as I had chalked up my memories of loud crashes and mysterious figures to an overactive imagination, I was once again transported back in time. From somewhere inside the house, a sudden bang rung out. My heart started up again, but I was no 12-year-old, and I had no intention of running away. Inside, I found a closed door I hadn’t explored yet. Crashes and bangs continued to come from behind the door.

Something was in there. I definitely wasn’t alone.