Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Walker House Mystery (part 1)

Gravel crunched under the car tires as Leslie pulled on to the remains of the driveway and up to the old Walker house. It was almost dusk and her instincts told her not to come so close to dark.

But this was a quick errand. She just needed to put a ‘For Sale’ sign in the yard; then she’d be on her way.

The chill autumn breeze made her shiver as she opened the trunk of her car. Piled neatly in the trunk were her real estate signs and a hammer she’d use to anchor the sign in the yard.

Reaching for a sign, a gust of wind rattled the branches overhead dislodging a torrent of leaves which rained down on her and into her trunk. A dead limb crashed to the ground ten yards from her making her jump, then laugh with relief.

"I’ll have to get a yard crew out here to clean this place up before ever showing it," she thought to herself.

She looked around the yard. It was a nice big piece of property; over two acres; with out buildings and an old Victorian styled home. It would have been a real find in its heyday back in the 20’s.

The original owners, the Walkers, had moved out back around the turn of the century. No one Leslie knew remembered much about them. The house had had a string of owners over the years; none ever staying for very long.

Rumor around town said that the house used to have a sordid reputation being used as a speakeasy and house of ill repute during prohibition. But those rumors swarm around many old houses.

But she knew one story was true. The last people to live in the house, back in the 70’s, were all found dead in their bedrooms. The house stood empty ever since.

She looked at the old place. There was no paint left on its wood clapboard siding; some of the windows were broken out; the front porch sagged and the front door stood wide open.

The county just recently located some distant relatives of the last owner who accepted the deed to the property. Sight unseen, they agreed to sell the property to pay back taxes and hopefully have a tidy sum left to spend.

Leslie couldn’t imagine anyone buying the place, but she needed the listing and agreed to try to sell it.

She once again reached for her sign; carried it to an open space near the road and hammered it into the ground.

From that vantage point, she looked back at the property with its massive old trees, overgrown bushes and collection of dilapidated buildings. She thought to herself that the best thing to do was bulldoze the whole place and start over.

She walked back to her car just as the last rays of sunlight disappeared behind the horizon. As she looked at the house, she was bothered by that open door.

"A good real estate agent would protect the owner’s property even if it is a falling down piece of crap," she thought.

Deciding to close the door, she walked on to the porch. The old boards groaned and creaked under her feet. They felt as if they would give way any minute, but she made it to the door. As she reached for the handle, she thought she heard a faint sound from inside.


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