I Have A Chat with the Neighbors.

We only had one close neighbor. The family had four boys– the oldest was 14, a set of 12 year old twins, and a 6 year old. The 6 year old and my son became fast friends.

Their mother, Pat, was about as level-headed, no-nonsense, as they come. One evening I finagled an invitation for dinner – bringing the dog too – because I wanted an opportunity to pick her brain. Afterwards her husband headed off to a meeting. The boys went outside to play – my 3 year old daughter had a huge crush on the twins and they were really responsible kids so I let them take her to play on their swing set.

I held my baby on my lap while Pat mixed up a batch of cookie dough. (Pat gave me her top secret Heart Attack Bar recipe.)

“So Pat, did you know the people who lived in our house?”

She shrugged. “Not well. They kept to themselves.”

Me – “Did they have kids?”

Pat – “Four. Two boys and two girls.”

Me- “Why’d they move away?”

She sort of hesitated. “Well, I’m not sure, but I think they had some problems.”

Me – “What kind of problems?”

Pat – “I don’t know, exactly.” Mixing cookie dough. “It was kind of odd how it happened. I mean, I don’t really know what happened. They bought the lot. He designed the house, drew up the plans himself. He oversaw the construction. They moved in, but I really didn’t get to know them before they moved out. She took the kids and left after six months. He followed her a few months later.”

Me – “Do you know why she left?”

Pat – Another shrug. “I’m not sure. I heard a lot of yelling.”

Me – “Yelling? About what?”

Pat – “I don’t know. We really weren’t friendly with them.”

Me – “Where did they go?”

Pat – “I think she took the kids and went to stay with her mother in Nevada. As far as I know they’re still in Nevada.”

Me – “Um, Pat, when they lived there did anything weird ever happen? Did they ever mention anything strange about the house?”

Pat looked at me. She stopped mixing. “Like what?”

Me – “Oh, well, like for instance the garage door going up and down.”

Pat – “I’ve noticed that. It’s only started since you moved in. I’ve seen it going up and down when you aren’t home. I probably should have said something to you.”

Me – Girding my loins – “Uh, Pat, I’m pretty sure the house is haunted.”

Pat – Never missing a beat – “Doesn’t surprise me. He built it over a grave.”

(I’m not sure which troubled me more, the fact that he built it over a grave or the fact that she didn’t bat an eye at my statement.)

Me – “What?”

Pat – “Yes. When they were excavating, because you know the basement goes way back into the bench, they found a skeleton. Not a new skeleton or anything, but some old bones. He had to call the coroner.”

Me – “Uh, what? What bones? Whose bones?”

Pat – “I don’t know. They were pretty old. The coroner said they were probably from some trapper or trader. Maybe an Indian. The Northern Shoshone used to pass through this area to trade.”

Me – “Oh my god… I mean gosh.” (Pat was LDS.) “Where did they put the bones? Did the coroner haul them away?”

Pat – “No, they reburied them beneath the house in case they’d disturbed an Indian grave site.”

Me – “Did he call someone from the tribe to come and do something? Like settle angry spirits or anything?”

Pat – “No, just covered them over.”

And I am thinking, oh shit I am so screwed. I am so so so screwed.

Tomorrow:  The Ghost Throws A Tantrum.


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19 Responses to I Have A Chat with the Neighbors.

  1. Curiouser and curiouser. Hangin’ out til tomorrow

  2. What about your aunt?
    You took the kids and even the dog, but where’s your aunt?
    (somebody needs to worry about your family here, Julia…)

  3. Ooops. Sorry.
    How did I miss the one where your prim aunt who could make lemonade out of lemons didn’t seem bothered and just went home?
    Could you have gone with her?
    Hey, I’m hell on wheels protecting my daughter, my grandchildren, kids in general, and my whole family, but Julia…not to doubt your abilities or determination, but what if you’d fought the ghost and…lost?
    Okay, tell us more.

  4. Yes, she went home, Marylin. My lovely aunt was surprised but kept her feelings to herself. She never said a harsh word about anyone or anything. I never once heard her utter a complaint. She and I talked about the episode later, when all was quiet. We had a good laugh. She never forgot how we were trying to roast a turkey and somehow something kept shutting off the oven. Took us forever to get that sucker cooked.

  5. Penelope says:

    Uh oh. You are so screwed!

  6. Tom Stronach says:

    Yes Marylin my sweet, I think we are all worried too and just so you know Missy this story had better end on here cos I am gonna haunt you when you say,

    “That’s it folks, now buy the book to see how it ends”

  7. anny cook says:

    Well. Learned my lesson. Waited until morning to read this…

  8. Katalina Leon says:

    This story just keeps getting weirder!

  9. Yeah, wouldn’t you know it, Kat… buried body. Could not be more trite!

  10. No book, Tom. Although I have used pieces in Incorporeal… Oooh, next you’ll want to hear how I outwitted a serial killer – which is really and totally true!

  11. Penny, Amber… yes.

  12. I can’t believe they just buried the bones under the house. No wonder you had a ghost. If those were mine, I’d be pissed off too.

  13. Well, yes, Stephanie, plus he seemed like a pretty bad dude. Not a nice man at all.

  14. Ray Plasse says:

    They buried the bones back under the house?????? Don’t these people go to the movies or watch TV(I’m assuming this is pre -’Supernatural’! My admiration for you grows and grows Julia. While I am very sorry you had to live thru this it’s a truly mesmerizing story. (I say sitting at the edge of my seat with holy water and salt ring around my chair!)

  15. Ray… I KNOW! All I could think at the time was, it figures, it just so figures and it’s soooooo stupid. How horror noir-ish can you get???

  16. sandra cox says:

    Pretty spooky, Julia.