I live by myself in an old house. It was the cheapest thing I could afford after my divorce. The roof leaks in the living room area whenever it rains, and the bathroom lets out an old sewer smell every once in a while when the toilet bubbles. Other than that, it’s been fine.
Less than a month after moving in, the new neighbor at the time invited me to a barbecue at his house, and the whole family seemed nice. They kept asking me about my house and what I thought about it. I told them about the issues, but they seemed very interested in that house. When I asked them if they’ve ever been inside, the neighbor and his wife were more than interested in the offer they assumed I was making, and pretty much invited themselves to go check it out right then and there.
I was definitely not ready to have visitors over. I’m a messy person by nature, and I had old Chinese food take out boxes and empty ketchup packets all over my couch. I didn’t even have a coffee table or a television yet. Too late to tell them, I guess.
They stepped in and walked around, looking at the corner of the ceiling and the wall, a particular spot that had some stains running down the wall that I never bothered to clean since I moved in.
The neighbor’s wife was entering the hallway as her husband and I awkwardly stood in the living room without much to say. Suddenly she screamed and fell to the ground, desperately trying to crawl toward us, but something was pulling her back. Her husband ran toward her, helped her up, and yelled at me to help with her missing shoe a few steps down the hall.
I didn’t know what to say. I went out to the front porch to see what was happening. I never found her shoe.
The woman had already ran back to her house, and the neighbor was making his way to his house too. I decided not to go back to the barbecue, but I also didn’t want to go back inside.
It was around 11pm when my cell phone’s battery started dying and I decided to go back inside, when I heard the voice of someone calling out my name. It was another neighbor, from two houses down.
He told me that pretty much everyone knew of what had happened, and he felt it was right to give me an explanation. The whole neighborhood was aware of the house’s story already. The house had seen many new owners come in and leave. Mainly young couples.
As it turns out, the house was the home of several gruesome events back in the 70s, where a man murdered two women and hid their bodies in the attic for weeks before the smell of the corpses brought the attention of the neighbors. He too was divorced. Good man.
He was getting ready to kill his next victim, but she managed to escape and tell the police. He ran away, but was later found dead, floating in a lake. Nobody knows how he ended in there.
The story didn’t scare me for some reason, and I could tell that the neighbor felt uncomfortable at my nonexistent reaction to the story.
Oh well. I feel at home.
I rarely leave this house now. I don’t think I can leave. I don’t want to. I feel like a different person when I’m here.
It has been almost a year since the neighbor’s barbecue. He never invited me again. It’s that woman’s fault. I have an undeniable hate toward her. I don’t like seeing her when she gets home from work, I don’t like her hair, her face, or the tapping her heels make when she walks up her steps and onto her porch.
I don’t like to see her breathing.