Stupid Ghost or Stupid Human?

The following is a true story.

When my kids were little, as in six, three and six months, we moved to Utah.  Well, actually we didn’t all move to Utah simultaneously.  My husband had to stay behind in Phoenix to finish up his job, thus he moved me to Utah and left me there alone with the kids for three months.

Since we weren’t sure of the area we decided to rent a home rather than buy. We contacted a rental agency and rented a home sight unseen, a new home built on one of the benches.

A fault line lies beneath the eastern benches of the Wasatch Mountains, and it was on one of these benches that a man designed and built this house for his family. They lived in it for a single year before suddenly abandoning the house and moving away, leaving a rental agency in charge of the property. We never met the owners, we never spoke with them. We never learned their names.

I didn’t even meet the rental agent. Everything was done by mail before we arrived– the rental agreement, a check for the first and last months’ rent. A set of keys to the front door and two electric garage door openers were waiting for us in the mailbox when we arrived.

My first impression of the house? A prison. The brick house looked tiny, dwarfed by an attached garage the size of an airplane hangar.

So here was this small squarish house sitting on a slab of cement. Two windows facing the driveway like eyes. No trees. Some grass.

The small size was an illusion. Most of the living space was underground.

And it was vast. Or some of it was vast. Some of it was just plain creepy.

My husband and I entered the house, kids in tow. New house smell. New beige carpet. New ecru paint on the walls. We looked at each other. Weird design. Very very weird design.

The front door opened onto a tiny square entryway. To the left was a sliding door opening into a cavernous kitchen. A kitchen built to serve an army. Off the kitchen, leading to the garage, was a narrow laundry room. Again off the kitchen, via a second sliding door, was a tiny formal dining room. Too small to hold our modest-sized dining room table. Off the dining room was another room too small to hold, well, pretty much anything.

To the right of the front door was a narrow hallway. It led to a master bedroom and bath which barely had room enough for our queen-sized bed, not the dresser. There were two additional closet-sized bedrooms and a half bath on the main floor.

At the back of that weird useless room off the dining room was a winding stairway to the basement.

Here’s where it gets really weird.

At the base of the stairway was a door leading to a storage room. This was not your average storage room. Think inky black winding tortuous tunnel leading to the mouth of hell. Okay? Think that.

To the right of the stairs was a large family room, which is where we put our living room furniture, dining room table and television set.

A door from the family room led to an enormous workroom. Sort of like the garage/airplane hangar. This room was a cavern. A big empty cavern… and another weird room.

To the left of the stairs were three huge bedrooms and a military style utilitarian bathroom – a row of stalls and a row of sinks and two showers. Interesting to say the least. But once again weird would be a better description.

We reluctantly assigned our six year old one of the basement bedrooms, the three year old the other, and put the baby upstairs in the tiny bedroom closest to the master bedroom. I say reluctantly for obvious reasons. I didn’t like having my children in bedrooms so far away, but the bedrooms upstairs were too small to hold a regular sized bed.

So I’m telling you, weird-ass house.

The house all by its lonesome would have been bad enough. I wasn’t prepared to deal with what came next.

I think Eddie Murphy said it best:

Hey, it wasn’t me. I wanted to get out.

Tomorrow – The Ghost Introduces Himself.

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16 Responses to Stupid Ghost or Stupid Human?

  1. I was getting tingles just reading your description of the house. Weird weird weird.

    Next installment, please

  2. Greta, my husband says the ghost does not like this post and is messing with his computer. Which is weird because my computer shut itself off the second I uploaded the post.

  3. Amber Skyze says:

    The house definitely sounds weird! I’m with Eddie…get out. :)

  4. Penelope says:

    Yay! Another serial by Julia Barrett! *Penny waits for next post* LOVE THIS! Even though I am slightly scared out of my mind.

  5. Katalina Leon says:

    Tell Stephen King about this rental. It sounds ideal for his needs.

  6. William Ockham says:

    I am surprised that this house hasn’t made an appearance in your fiction. But you don’t usually write the creepy stuff.

    Let’s think this through. Small aboveground footprint suggests owner who wants to disguise the number of people on site.

    Two small windows facing the driveway suggests owner wanted to see who was coming, but not worried about sneak attacks (otherwise would have windows in all directions).

    Inappropriately large garage suggests a couple of possibilities. One, lots of vehicles, meaning lots of adults. The other, needed to store/hide something large or large quantities of something. Assuming the garage wasn’t climate-controlled, that rather limits the list of things that could be stored.

    Large kitchen, small dining room and master bedroom suggests one man in charge. The other “bedrooms” upstairs clearly weren’t bedrooms at all. Nobody designs bedrooms too small for beds. The below ground was very clearly a barracks.

    There seems to be a distinct lack of accommodation for children. I am especially curious about the laundry facilities. Were there any laundry hookups in the underground “work room”?

    Based on the information you provide, I’m positing a man, perhaps with a wife, living in the top floor. The rest of structures were for some sort of “last stand” survivalist meetup. Not a doomsday prepper, but more of “the government’s coming for our guns” type.

    [These are my thoughts while operating on very little sleep after suffering from a sleep study gone horribly awry.]

  7. Jaye says:

    I’m with William. Sounds like a bunker for paranoid people.

    But now I want to hear about the ghost.

  8. Yeah, Amber – Eddie was so right!

  9. Oh Penny, you think you’re scared now? Just wait…

  10. Oh Kat, I don’t think even Stephen King would like it. This was awful! He could make a good story out of it though!

  11. It was too scary, William. Even blogging about it makes me nervous. I think you make some very good points and I suspect that cavernous workroom in the basement was used to store weapons – the storage units, hooks, shelving on the walls would seem to indicate that. And the weird labyrinth? Bomb shelter. Food and water storage and perhaps a secret tunnel to…

  12. More tonight, Jaye. Scariest ghost I’ve ever met. And I’ve met a bunch.

  13. I would have turned around and said sorry I am out of here…I want my money back…

  14. Oh Savannah – I sooooo wanted to do that! Dang husband!

  15. Sandra Cox says:

    Oooh, very eerie. I’m with Eddie on this one.

  16. Yeah, Sandra. Believe me, I’m with Eddie too.