Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sunday on a Bike Trail with Moose

Hi and thanks for stopping by. We had a low key weekend.

It rained for most of last week which forced us indoors. Normally, we love to be outside in the fresh air and sunshine. We ride our bikes, walk around a nearby lake, work in our yard and play with our rabbit who doesn't really like the outside as much as we humans do.

It's funny, but we have to force Buddy Rabbit to stay out for an hour a day. He takes that time to use the bathroom and run a bit, but he wants to go back in the house pretty quickly, even if we're outdoors. He spends his time outside thumping his displeasure.

Yesterday, though, I left Buddy inside the house. He likes to snuggle under the computer desk and nap during the day; so he was happy.

In North Carolina during the fall, it seems we get a lot of rain. We get very little during the summer months, so we need the water by September. But I hate rainy fall days. They are gloomier than when it rains during the summer. Also, during the summer rains, there is the possibility that I can be entertained with an occasional bolt of lightening and roll of thunder.

We still get a bit restless though being closed up in the house and after a solid week of rain, cabin fever set in. But the rain finally left by about lunch time on Sunday.

To celebrate, I grabbed a quick sandwich from a nearby shop then headed out to the bike trails.

My favorite bike trail follows a creek through a low lying area. Most of the trail is paved, but dirt accumulates in spots from flooding of the creek. Erosion adds the mud because the trail is much lower than the neighboring subdivisions. My point is that, after a week of rain, the bike trail was very messy; wet, dirty, muddy with spots of standing water. It was perfect for a dirt loving country boy.

The only real issue with riding in such wet conditions is the snakes that normally stay closer to the creek were out on the trails seeking the safety of higher ground. There is nothing like running up on a copper head unexpectedly to put a tinge of fear in me.

With all the water on the trails, the ride was a bit steamy so I ripped my t-shirt off to cool down a bit after riding about six miles. The sun felt good on my back as the mild September air cooled my chest as I continued to ride.

Like I said earlier, the trails were pretty wet, but the knobby tires on my old mountain bike gripped the dirt and in many places, mud; flinging it in wild abandon back on me and the bike frame. I didn't care. I was just so happy to be back on my beloved bike and on these trails I've ridden hundreds of times; I didn't mind looking like a mud monster.

It was a great ride, but I couldn't help to think about the coming months. Months where it will be too cool to ride outdoors. Months where it will be too dark when I get off from work to ride. Months where I'll have to get my exercise in the confines of a gym. But Sunday on the bike trail was a little piece of heaven, even if I did get pretty dirty.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Walker House Mystery (part 6)

Then she looked at the floor. The boards were buckling and heaving. The house shook violently. It grew darker in the house every moment, she tried the door knob again, but this time it opened. She ran, as best she could with only one shoe, back to her car.

The wind had picked up and tree limbs fell around her car. She put the car in gear; she thought reverse. But the car lurched forward and rammed the porch. She felt the front wheels lift up as the hood pierced the side of the house. The roof of the porch collapsed on to Leslie's car as the car came to rest at the foot of the interior stairs.

Leslie was shaken up, but she pulled herself together enough to crawl out the passenger door. She stumbled from the car, not hearing any sounds. The limbs had stopped falling. All seemed eerily quiet as smoke began to pour from under the car's hood.

Leslie made it to the road and sat there in a daze until the buyer drove up and called the fire department and police.

By the time the fire truck arrived, the house was fully engulfed in flames and the roof had collapsed. Leslie was still badly shaken and made little sense when the police chief asked her what had happened.

She babbled about the house locking her in and shaking. The officer had heard the ranting of a drunk before, but he didn't smell alcohol on Leslie's breath. He figured that he would have to get the details tomorrow.

He had one of his men take Leslie back to her home. She lay on the couch for a long time to collect herself. As she lay there, the events of the last few days raced through her mind. She felt she had to calm down, so she went into the kitchen to pour a glass of wine.

As Leslie pulled a wine glass from the cupboard, the kitchen door slammed shut behind her and all the lights went out.

A neighbor heard a scream come from Leslie's house, and thought she had the TV awfully loud. Then the neighbor went on her way.


Walker House Mystery (part 5)

Nick told her about getting locked into the house and the door knob burning him. Leslie glanced back at the old house. The door stood open. Together they went back to the porch. All looked normal. There were no sounds.

Leslie still paid Nick a bit for removing the one shrub and a bit extra. They agreed that it was best to call it quits on the house repairs. They parted ways.

Leslie went back to her office and listed the property on the company website. But she couldn't forget the strange events. She went online and queried the building's address. Some old newspaper articles popped up.

She found that previous owners had called the police to report strange things with the house, but the police never found anything. There was the murder in the 1970's. Those people had been the ones to remodel the house. She even found their original permits for the job. She also found that a bar fight in the 1920's had resulted in the death of the owner who converted the house to a speakeasy.

She dismissed all the articles as just coincidence. It was her job to sell the place and collect her commission, which she needed badly.

She put the Walker house out of her mind and went home for the evening. She didn't think about the place for several days until she got a call from a real estate speculator. He thought he might be able to use the land for some condos. She agreed to meet him at the property to show him around.

Leslie went to the property twenty minutes ahead of time. She had to look around to find something positive about the place. There must have been something there she could talk up to the prospective buyer.

She went back into the house; not with the idea that anyone would live there. She looked around for architectural elements that could be salvaged before the house was torn down. Those salvage items would be money in the buyer's pocket above the sale of the condos. Who knew, she could maybe be the listing agent for the condos as well.

She felt pretty happy at the prospect of making a good bit of money as she walked through the house, forgetting all that had happened to both her and Nick during their previous visits.

She made note of the few items in the house that she thought could be salvaged. The remodel in the seventies had removed any of the charming items usually found in Victorian styled houses as old as this one.

She thought that if not for the remodel, there might have been a chance that a new owner wouldn't plan on tearing the place down. Just as the thought crossed her mind, the light streaming in from the windows grew noticeably darker. "Just a cloud," she thought. She continued to her search as the front door slammed behind her.

Leslie, jumped, remembering the previous incidents. She called out thinking maybe the buyer came early. No one answered.

She took a step closer to the door, but the floor boards creaked loudly under her feet. They suddenly felt weak and sagged noticeably under her weight. With her second step, the board snapped catching her foot as it went through into the crawl space below.

Leslie yanked her foot out of the hole, losing her shoe and cutting her foot on a nail that happened to be there. A tear rolled down her cheek as she felt the pain. With her heart beating wildly, she rushed back to the door finding it stuck.

In desperation she cried out, "I hope they do tear this place down and soon!"

No sooner than the words left her lips, she felt the old house shake. She knew that there were no earthquakes in that part of the country, but that was exactly what it felt like. She glanced around with wide eyes to see if the house was really moving. Her back to the door, she saw the dishes topple out of the curio on to the floor.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Please accept my apology. I have been super busy and have not had the time to write more on the mystery that I started.

Some may be aware that we decorate a lot for Halloween and that consumed all of Saturday. I posted pictures on the twitpic site

There has also been tons of stuff going on with my job that is taking a lot of time. I hope to continue the mystery this weekend.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Walker House Mystery (part 4)

Leslie and Nick stood in the living room and discussed what needed to be done. Nick agreed to trim the shrubs in the yard and pick up fallen limbs. Inside he was to dust the furniture and sweep the floor. Also, he was going to box up the contents of the drawers and closets for the new owner to collect.

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.


Friday, September 18, 2009

A picture

Walker House Mystery (part 3)

The next morning, Leslie returned to the house. "You don’t seem so creepy in the daylight," she said to no one in particular.

After she made a few mental notes of what needed to be done in the yard, she called a maintenance man to meet her. Leslie then went to the front porch only to find the front door open.

She figured she forgot to close it after all the previous night and went into the house. The entry was just as she remembered, so she continued toward the back of the house into the kitchen.

"Definitely a remodel," she thought when she spied the hideous avocado green appliances that were popular in the 70s. She pulled open a drawer noting a bit of resistance.

The drawer was still filled with flatware from the previous owners. She couldn’t believe it. She pulled open a few more drawers to find more belonging of the deceased family.

She made a mental note to call the seller to see if they wanted any of these things before heading back toward the front door and the stairs.

The sunlight shining through the front door glinted off specks of dust that circulated in the air and her movements raised more dust making the air thick and chalky. She grasped the banister and placed her foot on the first tread of the stair. The stairs creaked and popped in protest of her weight.

She walked carefully up the stairs, not just because of fear of them giving way, but also remembering the horrendous crime that had taken place in the bedrooms. The stairs creaked louder with each step, but eventually she reached the second floor.

The stairs opened on to a long hallway; two doors on the right, one door on the left. The floor was made of wide wood planks lit by the light from a single window at the far end of the hall. The walls’ light blue paint peeled off in sheets, the plaster crumbling underneath it. Her years in real estate made her to recognize that there was a water leak, but that was to be expected in a house that had been abandoned for so many years.

Leslie approached the door on the left. It opened on a large master bedroom. Sunlight streamed in through the windows and threadbare curtains. Like the downstairs, it was fully furnished with the exception of the bed which had no mattress. But the room still had the dresser, night stands on both sides of the bed with old matching lamps, even clothes in the closets.

Leslie noticed a man’s watch on one night stand and an old style clock radio; the clock permanently displaying 3:20. It was as if the people had just stepped away from the house.

She noticed another door and there found a small bath. It was typical of an old house that had been remodeled. The previous owners had had to squeeze in the bath where they could. The bath was adequate with old fixtures attached to a single sink, but she knew it would never sell in the current market.

While she inspected the bath, Leslie heard a crash from the master bedroom. She rushed back into the room to see that one of the lamps lay smashed on the floor.

She couldn’t figure out what had caused the lamp to fall, but she felt ting of fear creep into her heart. She wanted to finish up and get out of the house.

She repeated the tour across the hall where she found two bedrooms in similar condition; still with furniture and clothes, but no mattresses. Between the two bedrooms, there was another bath for those rooms to share.

Leslie, startled by a voice calling out from downstairs, remembered the maintenance man, Nick, she called earlier. She called out to him as she carefully descended the rickety old stairs.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Walker House Mystery (part 2)

Leslie peered into the dark building, but couldn’t see anything. Remembering her flashlight, she rushed to the car; pulled the light out and returned to the porch. She stood at the threshold and shown the light into the darkened house.

The beam illuminated dust specks floating in the air and a few cobwebs as she swept the beam across the open room. Just then, a rat ran from the old house, through the doorway and almost collided with her leg.

She yelped in surprise, but the animal was gone. "Probably heading to one of the old barns," she thought. But she was shaken; her heart beat wildly.

She stood in the doorway and heard nothing except for the wind in the trees behind her. She continued to shine her light into the house, illuminating its contents.

It was if someone still lived there. The furniture was in place, dishes in the curio and rugs were on the floor. She stepped into the house. Everything was covered in a heavy layer of dust, but the house seemed frozen in time.

She stood in an open entry way, stairs went up the left side wall. To her right was a small parlor with a fabric covered loveseat, a velvet side chair, a couple of spindly looking tables and a radio. Just beyond the entry was the living room with a large sofa and side chair clustered in front of an ancient TV. The coffee table still had an ashtray filled with cigarette butts on it.

The living room opened into what would have been the dining room. "This is obviously a remodel" she thought. She knew the original house would have had separate rooms for each purpose. The curio stood in the dining room with fine porcelain plates ready to grace a Thanksgiving table.

She began to change her mind about the old house. It seemed somewhat inviting. She stood imagining what it would look like cleaned up with modern furniture when she was startled by a sound. She jumped and turned to look back at the front door which had slammed shut.

"Must be the wind," she said aloud. "And now I’m talking to myself."

Feeling a little foolish, she went back to the door which was stuck tight. She pulled the knob for several minutes, but pulling with all her might, she couldn’t get the door to open. She reached for her phone, but realized that she left it in the car when she got the flashlight. She stood there wondering what to do, when the door finally creaked back open on its own.

Visibly shaken, she went back to her car. The old house would have to wait until daylight for further inspection.


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.


Friday, September 11, 2009

A Deer in Headlights

Ok. I admit it. I’m a sucker for bad TV.

I’ve watched "Big Brother" since the first season. It’s my favorite "reality" show. My only complaint is that the show rewards the best liars, screamers and bullies. Those are the ones that ultimately get a half million dollars.

Spoiler Alert!

Last night’s show with Jordan winning the second round of competition allowing her to play for the final Head of Household just delighted me.

It was the ultimate good vs. evil drama with "good" going all out at the last minute to dig down deep and finally win something.

Natalie is the one that I consider pure evil. She, in her own way, is worse than Evil Dick from several seasons back. Evil Dick did his worse right in the other players faces. He yelled, banged pots and in general acted like a crazy person.

Natalie, on the other hand, went into the house and the game telling a lie. She claimed to be 18. It was part of her plan to appear innocent.

And lying turned out to be her strongest ability. She has the ability look anyone straight in the eye and smile at them while lying to their face. That’s evil.

She, with the help of Kevin, told lie after lie. Kevin was really used by Natalie to do all the dirty work. Kevin won competitions which gave him power to carry out plans. But it always seemed like Natalie was pulling the strings.

And between the lies of Natalie and Kevin, they got people out of the house. They made people distrust Michelle which was her down fall. They lied to Jeff to make him put up Russell. They lied to Jeff saying he was not going home the week they voted him out.

I’m really proud of Jordan, a waitress from Matthews, NC.

She has floated along in the Big Brother house since the beginning acting naïve and non-threatening. Now, I wonder how much of that was a total act. But when the chips were down, she gave her all and won. Granted, she has to win again on Tuesday of next week to be the ultimate winner.

But the reason that I like her is that I don’t think she’s lied.

Last night, when she won the competition, she looked a bit like a deer in headlights. She was all wide eyed and innocent, not believing that she won.

Kevin’s look was priceless. He couldn’t believe that Jordan won. Kevin’s eyes popped wide open, jaw dropped in disbelief. Natalie immediately went on the defensive trying to blame the defeat on bad luck and confusion.

So, I think there may still be a little chance for good to defeat evil in this world. At least I hope so.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Ok, You are probably wondering why I haven't continued the Wright Tale story. I'm just stumped.

I thought that I had an outline, but after posting the first segment, it just didn't seem to go anywhere.

I'm thinking about it and have written a new outline, but I still don't like it either.

Now, I think I'm beginning to realize what people talk about when they say "writer's block." But that's not right either, because I continue to review and revise the outline. I just don't like it.

So for now, Wright Island Tale is on hold.

Maybe I should just post pictures of kittens or something. But when I start doing that, you can be sure that I'm totally brain dead and just can't do any better.

So for now, Hope you have a great day. I'm not abandoning the blog. Just a little stumped.