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.