by Peggy Le Johnson © 2006
“This has to be the place, check the directions again Lee.”
Lee pulled the old crinkled paper out and unfolded it.
“Of course I'm sure, 69 Layback Dr. Yep! That's what the lawyer wrote down, this has to be it!”
They parked in the drive, the lower two front windows were boarded up in the two story house.
Justin opened the car door and looked up. “Well Aunt Neese sure knew how to pick them, I'll give her that. I bet there's fourteen bedrooms in that monster. Just think, its all mine!”
Lee headed up the stairs onto the wide immense porch and slowly turned the doorknob. You could hear an eerie creak as it slowly swung open. The interior looked like it had never been vacant. A small black cat sat in the middle of the hallway eyeing them both as the sunlight made it's coat shine like black diamonds. Lee backed up a step and cocked his head with, “So tell me, was this aunt of yours a witch?”
Justin laughed, and stomped his foot, expecting to scare the cat. It sat there quietly. Occasionally blinking. Then stood up, turned and disappeared down the hallway.
Lee slapped Justin on the shoulder and grinned. “Sure, sure. You go on ahead. She wasn't my Aunt you know. I am not in the mood to get turned into a frog. I saw way too many of them haunted house movies. Be my guest. Age before beauty. Follow your auntie, she went that way!”
Justin fiddled with the light switch and was surprised when the room burst into view. The couch and chair sat next to the boarded up bay window and the huge center rug was sparkling clean. The coffee table was dust free, nothing seemed out of place.
Turning down the same hallway where they had seen the cat, he stopped at a door.
“Lee, want to make a bet? Ten to one this is the kitchen. I bet the lawyer made sure all the utilities were on. That's probably it, I'm sure of it. Why else would he get big bucks for reading wills?”
The heavy oak door swung in, exposing a brightly painted kitchen. On the table were two plates and assorted silverware. Justin walked to the stove and opened the oven door. Inside, brown and delicious looking, was a huge turkey, the smell now circulating through the entire kitchen. Justin bent down and peered into the oven.
“Okay, so the lawyer cooks. Damn, he must've charged her an arm and a leg to arrange to do all this .”
Suddenly the entire house echoed with banging noises. Justin slammed the oven door and headed back out into the hallway. The lights were off now. They could hear stomping noises throughout the house. Lee's face paled; “Justin, this is getting weirder and weirder man. Lets just go find your Aunts room, get her shit and get out of here. This is stupid!
Justin was now laughing. “Since when have you ever turned down a meal? There's no such thing as ghosts, moron. Let's just head upstairs and find her room.”
The lights flickered and again the interior shone like a freshly cleaned showroom. Persian tapestries lined the winding staircase like paintings. At the top of the stairs was another long hallway, five doors, all closed, lay in front of them. Lee again patted Justin's shoulder. “Like, it's your aunt. Which door holds the prize? Door number four?”
Justin eyed the choices lying in front of him, shook his head and turned the first knob, the door swung wide revealing a large white room. Sewing table, linens and crafts of all types lined the tables. Not a speck of dust, anywhere. “Nope, let's try number 2 then. Your turn Lee. See, no creatures grabbed me. It's an old ladies house. Pick a door.”
Lee nodded and passed the second door walking all the way to the end of the hallway. “I'll go for number five if ya don't mind.”
Slowly he turned the knob, pushing the door at the same time. This room was black inside. No lights. “Oh good Lee. You had to pick the one damn room with no lights. Did you bring a flashlight? See if there's a lamp inside.”
Lee bowed towards Justin, “After you.”
Justin slowly let his eyes adjust to the darkness, the only light was from the hallway, eerily centered over a desk. The roll top was closed, but there was a small table lamp. Justin fiddled with the switch, the light flicked on. There was a small computer table, with a telephone across from the desk. “Looks like you lucked out too Lee. Let's open the others and get this over with. That smell from the kitchen is making me hungry.”
Lee walked to the doors he had passed, opened each and moved on. “It's your Aunt. There look. I opened them, you go check them. Let's get out of here.”
Justin peered into the next room and then the next. “Damn man! None of these is Aunt Neese's room. We must have missed it. She was an old lady, she wouldn't have been climbing stairs.”
Lee headed down the staircase. “I am way ahead of you! It has to be down there somewhere!”
Almost halfway down the steps the lights flickered again, this time they stayed off. The front door slammed, the house became dark and silent as a tomb.
“Justin, this stinks. I'll see you in the car.” Lee ran for the door, the light flooding the stairs as he disappeared.
Justin stood there on the stairs and looked down, there below him stood the cat. It's bright yellow eyes blinked and it almost seemed to smile. Justin slowly reached down to pet it. It's ears flattened against it's head and a deep growl emanated from its tiny body. “Listen cat, she was my aunt too. Can't we just get along?”
The growling stopped, the cat walked to the hall door and sat down. Justin slowly turned the knob and swung it open. The room was alive with color and flowers and life. The cat jumped on the bed and curled up. It looked up, blinked then began to purr.
“Sir can I help you?”
Justin jumped, quite startled. “You scared the shit out of me! This is my Aunts house, who are you? What kind of shit‘s going on here, who is that cat?””
The tall slender woman smiled and took his hand her hers. “Oh I am so sorry if Muffy scared you. Your in the wrong house I'm afraid, my house number is broken, I'm 66 Lay back Dr. you must be Neeseys nephew. She lived across the street. Bless her soul. I thought you were the window company. Rash of vandals broke all my windows.”
I told her I'd be sure to have a meal ready for you, I knew you were due to come today. I‘m Sarah. Been in the basement trying to fix a bad fuse. The lights keep going off and on, banging on it doesn‘t help I‘m afraid.”
Justin felt her small hand in his, the air felt very warm in the hallway all of a sudden.
“Let me help you with that. My friend Lee is outside waiting for me, scared of ghosts you know. He‘ll wait.”
You could see a questioning look on her face. Jason took the flash light from her hand. “Show me the way fair lady, show me the way.”
Lee watched from the car, the lights blinked on and off. The black cat strode onto the porch and stretched, looking for the world like an ornament from a Halloween party. He slid into the drivers seat and turned the key. “Don't worry Justin, I'll save you! I'll be back Justin, I'll get the cops!”
The night only got better after that.