The night air was not quiet for it was full of celebration.
Outside people cheered, shouted, blew horns, and made noise on
noisemakers. They were making noise because it was a joyous time,
the holiday that came every year for them to celebrate their
accomplishments as a country, their achievements as a people.
Everyone was happy, and was looking towards the bright future
that was in store for them.
But it was not the case within the room. It was dark, silent.
There was no furniture in the room, save for one chair that no
attempts had been made to repair. The air was heavy, and still
had a cupric tinge to it that didn't seem to want to leave the
room. The walls and ceiling still had a slight red color to them,
and the floor still had the marks left from what had happened.
This room was silent, there would be nobody cheering, nobody
making noise. There would be no celebration in this room, not
now, not ever.
The air was thick, but not because of environment. The room felt
wrong, there was a feel of evil in the room. As if something was
in the room that had not passed on. The room was silent, but had
a feel to it that something was echoing, like someone screaming
There was no happiness in this room. Only pain.
James walked down the street slowly, kicking a rock along as he
did. His job was getting more stressful, working as a bookkeeper
in a real estate firm. In particular getting all his paperwork
for acquiring several new properties handed to him without them
without even a second glance at them was pretty disheartening.
"Stupid," he said aloud to himself. "There was no logical reason
to reject those forms. I checked them over myself and they were
correct." It was really hard on him, having three whole sets of
acquisition paperwork denied on him, giving him much more work to
do now to have to redo all of those papers as well as do
everything else he had to do. He kicked the rock hard and it spun
He looked around him, there was garbage everywhere in this
residential street, with everything from streamers to paper
shreds to dead fireworks, all remnants of last night's
celebrating that everyone was too tired to clean up the night
before. He picked up a dead firework and threw it in anger. He
had spent most of the night working on those acquisition papers
because new property line information came in from the state and
they had to be redrafted, and didn't get time to celebrate. That
just made him angrier, this would be the second time he had to
draft those papers.
He looked up at one of the houses next to him. This was one of
the three properties the company he was working for was
purchasing, and he stopped his walk home to look at it. It was in
disrepair, nobody had been living in it for years. It was a
large, two story house, but unappealing as it looked. The front
of the house was painted light green, with dark green trim around
the windows. The trim was falling off in some places, making the
house even uglier. Paint was peeling, the shingles looked fine
though. There would have to be some work before it would be
sellable, both on the house and the untidy yard, but that
couldn't happen until the building was acquired.
He turned away from the house, and suddenly found an old man
standing behind him. The man was looking at the house, with a bit
of sadness in his eyes. "You interested in this house?" he said
to James. He nodded, and the man perked up a bit. "That's nice to
hear," he said cheerfully. "It's been so long since someone lived
in that house. And the previous family had left so suddenly."
James looked at the man, and saw he was holding a newspaper in
his hand. "Do you live around here?" he asked the man. The man
turned and pointed across the street to a house there.
"I live over there," the man said. "I've lived here for many
years, the last family there was really nice, especially their
daughter. But they left really fast, and the house has been
unoccupied for nearly ten years. And I don't know if you'll be
able to buy it because I've never seen any signs that the
property is for sale."
"Well," James said, taking out his wallet and showing the man his
work ID, "I actually work at a real estate firm, and they are
intent on buying this property to be able to sell it." The old
man clapped his hands and smiled.
"That's wonderful!" he exclaimed excitedly. "It'll be great to
have this street full again. You make sure your firm gets the
property and sells it to a nice family." James smiled and nodded,
then his face went stern.
"I'm curious," he said to the man. "You say the family left
suddenly? Do you happen to know why?" The old man nodded and
"Yes." He said reflectively. "There used to be a gang in this
neighborhood, up until about nine years ago when the police broke
them up. This gang broke into that house one night, while the
family was away, and stole some stuff and trashed the place. The
family got scared and figured it was too dangerous, and so they
"I see," James replied, then held out his hand. "Well, it was
nice meeting you sir."
"Likewise," said the man, extending his own hand for the two to
shake. "And good luck at acquiring the property!"
"Thank you," James replied. The man went back to his house, and
James continued his walk home. He lived about twenty minutes from
this house, and he wanted to get home soon. He got to near the
end of the property line for the house, when he stopped. He had a
strange feeling as he passed by, one he couldn't explain. He
shivered it off, and continued walking.
He got home and went into his kitchen, and noticed there was a
message on his answering machine. He pushed the button to play it
and then went to pour himself a glass of milk.
"Mr. Millen," played the answering machine, in the voice of his
supervisor. "I thought I'd let you know of the status of the
houses you were working on."
"This better be good news," James said aloud.
"The Rambler house has not passed recent inspections by the
state, seems the original builder cut some corners and the
overall quality of the house isn't good. I'm getting the
inspectors to go check it out tomorrow to see how much work would
be done on whether it would be feasible to try to repair or just
knock it down and have the builders build a new house." James
nodded, that was a logical reason for delay. One less he had to
do papers for.
"The second house," the answering machine continued, then cut
off. End of time for that message. After a moment it beeped, and
the next message played, continuing his manager's words, now
speaking faster as he realized the maximum length and still had a
fair amount to cover. "The Cray house was rejected because of a
paperwork error, some of the numbers on it were incorrect." James
sighed, that would have been his fault most likely.
"The third house, the custom-built green house near where you
live is another case altogether. Apparently the police has an
investigation hold on the property, but they won't release the
details. I'm going to go myself to try to press them tomorrow to
release the information, but until we find that out we won't know
exactly why we can't get that property.
"In any case that's all I had to say. Bye." The message ended,
and the machine went silent, as there was no more messages to
display. He finished his milk and set the glass down, then went
into his living room to sit. He tried watching TV for a little
bit, but he didn't find anything interesting to watch, so he
turned off and turned to his college work.
He worked for about an hour, finishing all the assignments for
two of his classes, before getting to his sociology work. As he
was reading it, his mind wandered back to the house he passed. He
couldn't ignore the strange feeling he had while walking by the
house, and he thought about what his manager said.
"That doesn't make any sense," he said, thinking aloud. "If it
was a simple robbery done while the homeowners were gone, why
would the police put an investigation hold on the property that
would prevent it from being purchased for ten years?"
He reached into his pocket, and found he had grabbed one of the
sets of keys for the three houses. He decided his homework could
wait, he wanted to go look around that house. He hadn't seen the
inside of that house yet anyway, so he would go take a look to
see what it was like. He got up out of the chair, grabbed his
jacket, and headed out the
door. He walked back in the direction of the house.