Patrick Wells could not believe his dumb luck. He always knew that bad luck seemed to follow him wherever he went: it was his destiny. He knew from the beginning that this project would be a challenge, but never once did he imagine that it would be anything like this. Usually, he didn’t have any trouble selling fairly priced, family sized homes. The Baxter house though; well that took a set of balls that were larger than the ones he currently possessed. Any real estate agent worth their salt knew that the Baxter house was a test. It means that your firm is wanting to fire you and this is your last chance. The task wouldn’t be so daunting if the house hadn’t been abandoned nearly 40 years ago.
The owners wanted this house sold for half a million, and they wanted it on the market in a week. He gave his word that it would be. That was before he stood on the front lawn and witnessed for himself just what he gave his word to.
“What in the world did you get me into Patrick?” A voice called out from behind him.
“I am so glad to see you.” He said as he turned around and breathed a sigh of relief.
“I bet you are.” The woman said.
Carol Cook was the top closer in the entire state of Illinois. With nearly thirty years of experience in selling high end homes, Patrick needed her help but not her real estate expertise. Given the demographic of the area, Patrick felt that he needed a woman’s touch. She would do most of the work and he would collect the fees. All she had to do was stand there and take the applications. In other words: In order to sell the Baxter house, Patrick needed a nice pair of tits; and Carol Cook had the best any man could ever wish to see. Her legs were the type that most women half her age had to work hard for. But her greatest quality was behind her. At fifty years old, Carol Cook had an ass that was referred to in some circles as a dinner table.
Yes Patrick Wells was a pig – a gaunt sickly little man with a permanent limp from an infection in his foot at a younger age. What was left of his hair was gray and stringy. His glasses were thick and heavy and did nothing to help his eyesight. He had no chance of selling a house like this by himself. But with Carol on board, he could do it.
They walked up the broken flagstone steps together and took in the yard from the porch. It wasn’t much of a yard. The grass was dead and brown. The only green to be seen was weeds. Carol made a mental note to call Lawn MD. Patrick fumbled through his pockets and found the keys. To the astonishment of both of them, the front door pushed right open. What they found inside was beyond anything either of them had ever seen before. The floor wasn’t much other than dirt with a number of broken planks of wood scattered about. There were mice and rats everywhere. There were bags of garbage thrown about, and the smell was intolerable.
“Let me see the sheet on this place.” Carol demanded.
A red brick Tudor style with five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a two bedroom servant’s cottage, and a driveway that encircled the entire home; built in 1921 by Nathan Thomas Baxter, as a wedding present for his wife Ethel.
“Are you serious?” Carol asked. “This is so bad.”
After their son William was born two years later, Nathan found that he enjoyed the company of other women to his wife, many other women. In a jealous rage, Ethel got out of bed early one Sunday morning, dressed herself in her best finery, walked out to the garage where her husband kept his shotgun, and loaded it. She stopped in the kitchen for a glass of wine then walked easily upstairs where her husband lay sleeping. She placed the muzzle to his forehead and pulled the trigger; blowing most of his head into his pillow. Ten minutes later and after a nice breakfast: Ethel turned the gun on herself.
“Have you read this?” Carol asked. Patrick hopelessly nodded then they both stepped inside. He felt as though he were walking through the carnage from some overseas conflict. They stepped lively through the entranceway and into what appeared to be a family room. Wax from decades old candles covered the mantle above a hand-carved stone fireplace. Newspaper and unopened mail was scattered about the entire floor.
“What do I need to read that for?” Patrick exclaimed without looking. “I’m right here in it. Plus, I loathe reading those historical side notes. Who cares?” He bent down and snatched up an envelope. The writing on the outside was illegible, and the paper itself deteriorated in his hands. The sound of a crunching twig broke the silence and they both stepped towards the greasy window to see who had arrived, but when they peered out onto the yard, there was nothing there.
They turned and instantly froze at the sound of someone whistling on the stairs in the next room. No one was to be in this house but with the front door being unlocked there was no telling who might be sneaking in here.
“I’ve seen enough.” Carol said and walked back outside.
“No Carol, please!” He ran after her and tripped over one of the several loose floorboards; sending him through the air and landing directly behind her. Moldy ash and splinters of rotten wood exploded into the air as Patrick dropped through the floor. A deep moan could be heard coming from the newly formed opening as Carol knelt down beside it.
“Patrick!” She yelled. “Are you alright?” Nothing but a painful moan could be heard.
Without having a clue where she was going, Carol carefully ran towards where she thought the stairs leading to the basement might be. At one point she thought she might end up falling through the floor as well. Along the hallway leading to the kitchen was a locked door. Once again the wood was so rotten that she was able to simply open it with a small amount of force.
“Patrick!” She called out into the darkness as she made another mental note to suggest to the owners that they condemn this building, have it torn down, and take their losses.
Once she reached the bottom step into the basement she felt something crawl across her foot and assumed it was a rat. There was no light source of any kind; not even from outside. She was standing in complete darkness. The thought of going any further did not appeal to her, so she took one step backwards towards the stairs when she heard the door begin to close.
“Hello?” She hadn’t heard anyone else come in so perhaps it was just the wind. There was no answer and the door continued to close.
Still standing and the bottom of the steps, Carol felt an irresistible urge to vomit. She raised her hands to her mouth in an attempt to block the smell of death. But it wasn’t just the smell of death; it had permeated all of her senses. She heard rustling on the dirty floor in front of her and hoped it was Patrick. She bent down and felt for him, her hand felt something viscous and she instantly recoiled. She reached out again and found his arm.
A banging noise began from somewhere near the other side of the basement. To Carol, it sounded like a hammer pounding metal. Fear froze her in her place as she thought she saw something moving in the darkness. The pounding got louder and she wanted out. She hoisted Patrick up to his feet; draping his arm around her shoulders, and carried him up the stairs. Once she reached the top of the stairs she kicked through the door and pulled him into the kitchen.
The floor of the kitchen appeared to have the fewest amount of holes. She placed him gently onto the floor and pulled out her cell phone. No service, but that was no matter. The scream that came from Carol as she turned was loud enough for someone to call the police for her. She had turned to get a better look at Patrick but was horrified to see that not only was it not Patrick but Carol wasn’t even certain it was human. The body was stained in dried blood, with most of its skin gone. The hair was long so she assumed it was a female. The police reassured her that the woman was more than likely homeless. Taken in account the amount of decomposition, she’d been dead for about five to six weeks.
“That’s impossible.” She told them. “When I picked her up, she was alive.”
She attempted to explain to them what she had seen and heard but they were not interested in ghost stories, they were only interested in the whereabouts of Patrick Wells: and so was she.
After that day, Carol Cook gave up real estate and settled down into a house of her own; alone. She never wanted children. Men would come and go but she no longer preferred the company of others. She simply wished to live out her days in peace. She would have done just that had it not been for the loud knock on her front door.