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.