It was hard to see the worn painted letters on a waist-high wooden sign at the edge of the expansive unkept lawn. It was impossible not to notice the raffle that had accumulated in the drainage ditch in front of the property, which had once been part of a sizable farm. Just from seeing the outside of the building, Sylvia’s instinct was that it would be highly unlikely that she could stage this early 20th century home for less than ten thousand dollars. Nevertheless, she agreed to drive out to meet her client at 10 a.m. and finish before noon in time to make it to her next appointment, without having to speed.
Jonah and Ethie had lived their entire married life in this home which had previously been his parents’ home. No one had lived in the three-story edifice for about two years, after it became necessary for them to move in with their son, Porter and his wife, Eduth, a nurse. Jonah’s health was failing and Ethie’s recent diagnosis and lack of strength, were the determining factors for their relocation.
The leaves of the large maple trees lining the driveway twirled furiously toward the ground as the wind blew stronger. Sylvia was careful not to slip on the leaves that were covering the the stone pathway leading to the main entry. After making her way up a flight of ten stone steps to the door, she understood how it would have been difficult for Jonah and Ethie to continue living there by themselves.
Sylvia pressed the old buzzer by the door, even though her client had said, “Just knock when you arrive.” It was second nature to her by now to check out the functionality of each home’s features, even though she was just a stager. After a few minutes, she pushed the buzzer again, but there was still no answer. Just then the door opened slowly and with labored creaking and squeaking and not a body to be seen as she peered toward a dark entryway. The thoughts that filtered through her mind sent chills down her spine, “I wonder if what the kids used to say about ghosts and spirits in vacated houses could be true. Nah. Couldn’t be. ..could it?”