by Gerald F. Heyder

Real estate, or unreal estate?

If walls could talk
The tales they’d tell!
Pictures are eyes
In rooms they dwell!
Ponder thy deeds
Both lady and sir,
The haunting of house
Could some day occur!

     The preface you have just read is an excerpt from a longer poem. Perhaps you don’t believe in the message it conveys. Perhaps some of you may be tempted to ponder it. The fact is, there are unsettling things in existence, though stories and movies portray them for purposes of entertainment. An ancient wise man once said, “Fiction is a curtain that conceals the truth!” Perhaps that statement is factual, you be the judge.

      I inherited a residence on the outskirts of town, the property coming to me from an uncle who never married, never had children, and never cared for other relatives, with me being the sole exception to that rule. He took a shine to me through the years; why, I’ll never know. Perhaps fate dictates inexplicable happenings or occurrences to grant things to people who could never obtain said things any other way. I guess I’m one of those people ordained to receive a gift horse, though it turned out to be a Trojan horse, as you will see. Bear with me if you can.

      The house is a two-story dwelling, well-kept and maintained by my late uncle Oscar. All the furnishings plus his belongings are included, a package deal. There’s a large yard surrounding the building with an unattached two-car garage in the rear containing a late model Cadillac. The driveway is a long paved lane leading to the street in front. The perimeter of the property is defined by an   ornately designed steel fence, giving the impression that this place is somewhat like a cemetery. So be it. Uncle Oscar was considered to be something of an eccentric, shall we say. Perhaps he just wanted privacy, which can often be misconstrued as a different facet of human behavior.  Whatever, this is the kingdom that I inherited.  I left my former abode and moved to 5788 Pinecrest Road.

      To give a thumbnail sketch of myself, I’m divorced, have been for more than six years, the reason being that my former wife preferred the company of a co-worker she snuggled up with at her place of employment. I wish her well, seeing how we were never madly in love with each other to begin with. We didn’t have kids, so that prevented a potential problem for the future. I work for an insurance company as a claims adjustor, and, therefore, I’m not in the office enough to duplicate my ex-wife’s behavior as previously described. I’m not a bar hopper, and I never was. Once in a while I go see a movie.  Apart from shopping, et cetera, I’m pretty much a couch potato homebody, to put it in a nutshell. I enjoy living in my new home, that is to say, I did initially.

      The first several months were quite uneventful. That didn’t remain the case, however. At first little things began to occur. I would switch lights off in a room, leave, then return to find them on again. I would close the blinds, leave, then return to find them open again. More than once in the bathroom the toilet would flush, but not by my hand. One time I closed the overhead garage door; the next time I looked, it was open. These are just little pieces of the puzzle.

      Eventually I took a full stock of everything my new dwelling contained, and discovered, hidden in a closet, a very strange inhabitant that my Uncle Oscar left behind. A mannequin. Not a male, not a female, but both combined. The top half, WOW!! The bottom half, masculine! In the form of poetic verse I will describe what I experienced in regard to this him/she aberration.

I hear footsteps
Is someone behind me?
I turn to gander
But there’s nothing to see!
Footsteps! Footsteps! I hear them all the time!
Who do they belong to?
They’re certainly not mine!
I live alone in this home
So why are there footsteps?
I have yet to sense a ghost!
Tables and chairs can’t walk!
My word, how absurd the thought!
The only thing with legs
My mind begs me to consider
Is the doll left behind
When I moved in here.
It doesn’t stay put.
Whenever I look
I wonder what the book
Is on that?
Perhaps I should see
If it’s where it should be
The last time I saw it?!

     The window is open, it’s gone!!! There will be no footsteps any more!

     There’s more to come. If you believe walls can’t talk, then I inquire of someone out there to explain the following. One day I walked into the parlor upon hearing a loud utterance of moaning and groaning. The north wall was cracked in half, expanding, then contracting. I could not believe what I was witnessing. I departed the room momentarily, then returned to find that wall in perfect original condition! Now, how does that grab your tote bag?

     It became apparent that Uncle Oscar was not a church-going religious zealot. As I took further inventory of contents in my castle, I came across some strange relics and books pertaining to the occult. The realization was dawning that my late relative was involved in practices not condoned by the Vatican. You better believe my nerves were beginning to shred.

     The coup de grace came one evening as I entered the driveway heading for the garage. After parking my vehicle inside, I aimed my stroll towards the rear entrance of my abode, and then it happened. All the windows began sliding up and down tantamount to eyelids opening and closing. It seemed as though all the lights inside were switching on and off simultaneously to the windows’ shenanigans. Then came the ultimate shocker. The rear door began opening and closing rhythmically, identical to a mouth delivering speech, uttering the chilling words, “Depart these premises”, repeatedly!

     I now reside in a motel room until I regain my sanity, if that’s possible.

     “Domiciles are biographers of the inhabitants who dwell therein!”