They agreed doing that much work would make the house look much better to prospective buyers.
With Nick staying behind, Leslie went back into town. She had a title search to do. At the courthouse, she wasn’t completely prepared for what she found. There had been over 35 separate families that had owned the Walker house. None had stayed longer than 5 years.
***Nick looked at the old house. It was a real mess that would take a lot longer to clean up than the time he quoted Leslie. He under bid the job, but it was Leslie.
She needed the break and to be honest, Nick appreciated that she always treated him as an equal; never talking down to him. She listened to his advice and always treated him nicely by bringing lunch.
He grabbed his saw and started working on a shrub near the front porch. He’d leave the one shrub right by the steps, but take out all the ones down to the corner of the house. The saw bit into the soft wood of the overgrown boxwood. With the first cut, he thought he heard a faint sound.
“The wind through some loose tin,” he thought making a mental note to look for loose metal on the roof.
He tossed the limbs of the shrub into the back of the truck. He got his pick ax and started working on the root ball. As the pick ax struck the ground, a groan sounded from inside the house.
Nick stopped and looked back at the front door dropping his ax. He carefully walked to the front door not fully trusting the old porch, He called out “Is someone there?” The only sound he heard was the wind in the trees.
He stepped into the house and called out a second time. Again, no answer. He walked to the living room, his boots raising little clouds of dust as he walked. Again, he called out. No answer.
He heard the door slam. He turned to look back at the door. As he turned, he heard the sound of a song coming from the parlor. He went to the parlor doorway and realized the radio was playing.
“But there’s no power,” he thought. He knew he needed to get out of that house.
He reached for the door, but the knob felt hot. He’s skin burned as if he had touched a hot stove.
Nick dove out the window and ran to his truck. He poured ice water on his now blistered hand.
Leslie’s research was interrupted by her phone. It was Nick.
She stood stunned by Nick’s words, “I quit!”
She jumped back in her car and headed back to the property. When she got there, she found Nick in the yard by his truck. The truck had a few limbs on it, but not much work had been done. He was visably shaken, swearing that he wouldn’t work at that building.
“Calm down and tell me what happened,” Leslie commanded.
“You’ll think I’m crazy.” Nick replied.
“No, just tell me.”
“When I started trimming the bushes, the house started making sounds. There's something wrong with this house.” Nick stammered.
Leslie had never seen him like this. He wasn’t making sense.