Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
Joyce Ann Brown would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Life

By Joyce Ann Brown All Rights Reserved ©

Drama / Mystery

The Investment House

“We could use it as a haunted house for Halloween,” I told my husband, after we bought a dilapidated sixty-five-year-old house to renovate.

The kitchen appeared dark with its scarred wood cabinets and greasy filth-filled grout lines. Paper hung off walls. I shivered in the murky walk-out basement. The back yard resembled the city dump.

Its saving grace—an appealing neighborhood, well-kept houses and yards near a popular parochial school. The next-door neighbors seemed disappointed when we told them we weren’t planning to live there.

“Why did the previous owner let it get so run-down?” I asked.

The wife looked at her husband. He frowned.

“I noticed the kids weren’t supervised,” she said.

“We didn’t get to know the people,” he said. “There were various comers and goers over there.”

The wife looked around, came close, and said in an undertone, “We suspected drug dealings.”

Over the next few months, we worked evenings after our day jobs, weekends, holidays, and vacation time to bring the big house up to its potential. My handyman hubby and I painted inside and out, removed piles of trash, nailed loose floor boards, and installed new drywall in the basement. The house needed more than TLC. We paid to have a new roof, new air conditioner, and foundation pilings installed. Our jubilant high-fives punctuated the progress.

At one point, I designed a logo and had a sign made to advertise our enterprise. We hoped to sell the renovated house by owner.

One summer afternoon, I was struggling and failing to remove a stuck vacuum cleaner plug from an old outlet when a balding man and a woman carrying a large handbag came to the door claiming to be a Realtor and his client looking for a house.

“I’m with J.D. Nichols,” the man said. “I’d like to show your house.”

I knew agents sometimes showed For Sale by Owner houses and asked for half commission if they sold it. Maybe some Realtors wore T-shirts? After a little hesitation, I invited them in to look around.

The two walked past the living room to the second floor stairway. When they came down, they didn’t pause to look at the kitchen, other first floor rooms, or our amazing new rec room in the basement. The man waved as they left, and I noticed the woman’s purse appeared larger. I shrugged. Nothing up there to steal, I thought.

Wait. I mulled that there was a J.C. Nichols and a J.D. Reese but no J.D. Nichols, for whom he had claimed to work. Who were these people? Did they have drugs or drug money hidden somewhere? I walked outside to peer at their bright red car and its license plate number. Then I rushed inside to write down my observations. Now, what would I do with this information? It might not mean anything.

Contemplating the notepaper in my hand, I left the house and walked toward our neighbors’ door. Perhaps they’d have insight into my suspicions. Before I reached the edge of the lot, the red car screeched up to the curb, and the man hopped out. His tight mouth and the squint of his eyes made my insides quiver. I stuffed my note into my jeans pocket.

He scowled at my pocket as if he’d like to pick it. “I need another look.”

“Oh. Uh, our neighbor asked me to help with something. Can you come back this weekend when my husband is here? He’s the decision-maker.”

Before I could take two getaway steps, the man grabbed my arm. He leaned toward me with a sinister smile. His vice grip made me wince.

“Listen, I know your phone number.” He inclined his head toward our sign. “I can find out your home address, and I know you’re working here alone this summer. You look smart enough to know when to keep quiet. Are you?”

I nodded until my head almost broke loose.

“Then let’s go back inside the house. I’ll have my look, and you can just keep this whole visit to yourself. Or—do you need more convincing?”

I shook my head from side to side as if screwing it back on.

We headed for the front door, and Mr. Mean Eyes beckoned to the young woman waiting in the car. The next events felt as if they happened in time-lapse sequence.

The villain pulled me to the basement door. We heard Ms. Ultra-curves scream, “Cops.” The fake Realtor yanked me into the living room where we could see through the front window. One policeman grabbed the berserk woman, and another proceeded toward the house. I watched my captor calculate his choices for half a minute. He pushed me away, and I fell into my abandoned vacuum sweeper. Its cord pulled tight across the room from the outlet and tripped the culprit as he fled. The officer swept in and cuffed him.

***

Near the street, the shackled woman ranted. “Shit! I told him we should break in at night. But, no, that idiot came up with this dumb real estate agent scheme. We saw the gal watch us. He said we had to come back to be sure we’d cleaned out our basement stash. Make sure the broad wouldn’t talk.”

She shrieked when her accomplice was led out. “Great plan, jacka…!” The policeman helped her into the patrol car.

***

Reporters love to create a big story. But I was no hero. The heroes were the neighbor who dialed 911 when she saw me being accosted and the police who captured that sleazy drug dealer who had violated his witness protection plan. House owned by U.S. Marshalls--no wonder we got it on the cheap.

The relapsed witness and his floozy went to prison, but I felt nervous to show the house as For Sale by Owner. Irrational, I know, but we ended up spending money to hire a real real estate sales agent who sold our renovation without mentioning unsavory past residents.

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Joyce Ann Brown
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

Pille: This has been a bit different genre from what I usually read but a real delight. I like the vamps being different from cliche. I like the intriguing and unpredictable plot and the quirky characters. The only complaint I have is that I want to read more but the book run out. I hope there's going t...

tsolaidowu: I want a continuation dammit....I loved this book and the 1st one. I can't believe this is it. I'm not ready to say goodbye to Jeff and Lorie; and the gang. Great book and storyline. You're a genius Madelyn.

romboili000: As I read this book it made me realize the importance of trusting big God. And believing that you can love even when it feels impossible. This story definitely has made me what to become a better person in Christ and just life. So thank you that's all I have to say because you wrote this story so...

Tavis Ryan King: "What Happened to Charlie Carmine" is a fabulous mo-gee-toe cocktail fuelled midget orgy of psychology, fantasy and sarcasm. I laughed out loud when reading this novel so many times it made the London commuters I shared space with look at me with curious disdain - and I did not care.The protagoni...

ernbelle: When I first started this story I was a little unsettled by all of the information that appears in the prologue, and wasn't sure if I would continue. However, I am very glad I did. The plot was very well thought out and really interesting. There were not any page breaks or markers to acknowledge ...

Felisa Yoder Osburn: I really enjoyed the story. Civil War stories are some of my favorites and the intertwining of the past with current times was wonderful. I look forward to reading the next stories.

Atractivo Sumit: The story is an amazing blend of what we call natural, plain romance along with subtle emotions and interesting twists. The plot is so beautifully interwoven.

allisonflin: Without a doubt the most well written story that I have read on this site. Informative, discriptive, well punctuated. Then we have the story itself, which by the way I am waiting on the edge of my seat for part two of, the characters are more than likeable, you feel them and their emotions...

mindushree1402: It was really amazing.... I was not able to put it down..... just beyond awesome... no wonder writers do play with words... amazing storyline.... addictive too... I was so used to it that even when I'm not reading it story was continously streaming in my mind.... good job... I really liked that f...

More Recommendations

Bernsigns: This is an age old story, but with excellent plot twists that I didn't see coming. I truly liked how the story slowly, but steadily revealed the secrets. There were secrets I didn't expect, which kept me wanting to read. I always love a happy ending, with a little bit of real life mixed in. Th...

zoheusher20: What more can I say? The writing style and little details drew me into the book and for the entirety of the story I was Juliet. I felt her turmoil and emotions and every trouble or triumph as they arrived. This story was very different and had quite a few little but unexpected twists that made it...

Marimar Amieva: Although I found the vampire thing a bit too much, I couldn't stop reading it. The story had a bit of everything: mystery, romance, a huge plot twist and relatable characters. I congratulate the author for this story and hope to read more of whatever he writes.

Swostika Ghimire: Seriously, now I am in love with this story.This story is making me crazy. Beginning was awesome and ending is mind blowing.I loved all the characters of this story. Thankgod I found this story here. I was about to be crazy eating for updates in wattpad.And mostly I appreciate author of this stor...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.