Friday 13th, 10:26 am . . .
It’s really a perfect day to visit a supposedly haunted house. Ricky, Ms. Josephine and I, we’re driving out to a semi-new housing development in Flower Mound where they have those billboards that say, ‘Homes starting from the mid-300s and up.’ So, they’re pretty nice.
We’re on our way out for our initial consultation which, from what Ricky has explained, is a lot like calling a plumber. We’re going to walk around, listen to this guy’s fanciful story of horror and late night terror, then quote him a price on phantasm relocation and removal.
I like that because it sounds like we’re going to gather up all the wandering spiritual entities and move them to a different place. We’re like those people from the bank that slap eviction notices on the door, only for ghosts.
You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.
His plumbing analogy is fairly accurate because about 99% of these hauntings are probably going to turn out to be faulty wiring and noisy plumbing. At night, even normal, sensible people can be turned into panicking children by completely rational things.
Since Ricky doesn’t see the dead, he’d sure like to find some poltergeists floating around leaving ectoplasm.
Ms. Josephine hears the dead speak to her, so she’s probably hoping for a little quiet.
Me, I see the dead, commune with an angel, fell in love with a dead chick, and work with creepy little monsters. So, I’m not expecting much out of all this. After what I’ve been through in the last month, I’m not sure a living room wall that bleeds at 2 am., red eyes in the garden, or babies screaming in the attic would give me much of a rise.
Ms. Josephine brought her big purse full of creepy, crawly curiosities. I try not to stare at it, but I can’t help it. I’m always waiting for hairy critters with way too many legs to start a mass exodus and disappear in the seat cushions.
I’m a bit phobic about bugs right now.
See, the last time I was in Deadside, when I was undoing everything God had designed and intended, my body started to give up on me. I was deteriorating into the final stages of hypothermia. And the way back was to find my shell of a body and climb back in my open chest cavity. But I couldn’t make it all the way back to where I’d left myself.
That only left my safety button. Ms. Josephine gave me a necklace with a pouch on it. She said that if I ever got lost, or stuck, or found myself freezing to death, that I should empty the contents into my mouth and swallow. Well, the contents were all varieties of spiders and centipedes and they seemed to come right back to life once I poured them into my mouth.
I’m talking about all kinds of red hour glasses, and brown fiddles, and green dots—the bugs they warn you about in camping magazines—are stinging and biting the inside of my throat and mouth, and I started to choke. My throat swelled completely shut and I pretty much was drowning without actually being in the water.
And drowning is my worst, most horrible, can’t imagine anything else more awful kind of dying. See, with drowning, you’re dead way before you actually die.
Stuck in Deadside, I had to die just to get back to my earthly body, which itself was freezing to death.
Long story short, I’m a bit nervous around insects with lots of legs. And I know that Ms. Josephine probably has her purse full of them. Something about utilizing their life-force and whatnot. I just get a full body quiver when I think about it.
Billtruck is set-up at the ALG office, putting the finishing touches on the computer system. We hope to go online tomorrow and then the research for strange death footprints begins.
There’s this kind of excited energy among us as we approach the house. It’s like we’re all kind of hoping we find something here. And as we pull into the driveway, Ricky looks at me in the rearview, “You know that billboard that said, mid-three hundreds and up?”
“Well, this is the and up they were talking about. This is a half-mil, easy.”
This place is huge, and it looks brand new. The driveway is paved with flat grey stones. Spiraling Junipers flank the driveway, leading to a large eggshell and white, two-story house with dark red Spanish tiles on the roof. It’s like something that you might see in Europe, or Latin America. Like a drug dealer’s house.
As we pull around and stop near the large front doors, an athletic looking guy comes out wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans, and flip-flops. He’s waving at us, a big smile on his sun-burnt face. He’s got curly blond hair and a stubby nose that looks like it might have seen the inside of a boxing ring.
When we get out he introduces himself, “I’m Travis, thanks for coming out so quickly.” Then he glances nervously around and lowers his voice. “Things don’t start getting dodgy until the sun goes down. Follow me.”