10.16.2019 | First Farmers Financial Corp.

The House - Chapter 3

Welcome back to part 3 of The House…
As I stood outside the closed door, listening to banging from inside, I heard something else. Fainter than the tremendous crashes, somehow timed with them, I realized what it was. Yipping. Gasping, I grabbed the handle and yanked the door open. Squinting into the gloom, I saw him—a puppy. Skinny, with filthy, matted fur.

 As soon as I opened the door, he pulled himself into a small, trembling ball. I knew I should call animal control, but he looked so pitiful. I crouched down, offering the palm of my hand for inspection.

“Come on, little guy,” I cooed. “It’s alright. How’d you get in here?”

The pup slowly moved towards me, his tail giving a hesitant wag, big brown eyes peering up at me. Here was my ghostly resident, weighing in at an estimated 10 lbs and minus the rattling chains. As I sat on the floor, getting to know the puppy, a cool breeze brushed past my face. Spying a broken window, another mystery was solved, although why anyone would toss a small puppy through a broken window was beyond me. I was just glad I’d found him when I did.

I called the realtor from my cell. “I’ll take it,” I told her. “How long until I can get in here and get to work?”

She was thrilled, and having already been pre-approved for a mortgage, I knew exactly what budget I had to work with for the repairs. It was time to get started.

I looked at the puppy now curled in my lap, still trembling but obviously resigned to whatever 
came next. “What am I going to do with you?” I wondered aloud. He looked up at me. He was almost platinum blonde and looked like a Golden Retriever mix, with just a spot of black on his forehead that looked like a cartoon ghost, the kind you can dress up as with an old sheet and a pair of scissors.

“I’ll call you Boo,” I decided. “I guess we’re in this together. After all, you were here first.”

Thanks to the pre-approval, things moved quickly after that. Within a month, I was back in the house with my dad and Boo. A trip to the vet, regular meals, and a few baths had worked magic. He was a beautiful puppy, and after weeks of attention, he no longer trembled or cowered from people. As we opened the door, he darted inside, yipping happily, apparently as excited as I was.

My dad is a contractor, and he walked through the house with me, taking notes, giving me advice on what could be done and where.

“Start with a good cleaning,” he said, running his hand along the stairway banister, swiping away the dust. “We’ll replace the missing cabinets. Sand and stain the floors down here. She’s a beaut.”

I looked around, somewhat surprised to find myself here, in this house, planning a remodel. “I used to be scared of this place,” I told my dad. “We thought it was haunted.”

Winking at me, my dad made a low “Oooooooo” sound. We grinned at each other until from upstairs, we heard someone, or something, answer.

The sound carried down the stairs, raising the hair on the back of my neck. We heard footsteps running above, and Boo, suddenly fierce, barking and growling.

“Wait!” my dad yelled, but it was too late.

“Boo!” I called, and charged up the stairs, my dad on my heels. The eerie moans continued, and I found my dog, hackles raised, barking at my master bedroom. Once again, I was faced with a closed door, but at least this time, I wasn’t alone.