We knew the house had a high turnover of residents. We were told that no one stayed in the house long because it was small. It was more of a starter house for younger people. Past buyers simply outgrew it once they started a family.
We didn’t plan on having children due to this being a second marriage for both of us and we were in our late forties. The smallness of the place is what I liked about it. It was the perfect size for two people; less cleaning and upkeep we thought.
It wasn’t much to look at from the outside; typical little bungalow with brick half way up and siding above that to the eaves. It was a three bedroom, one bath house built in the early fifties.
The master bedroom was large, but the other two bedrooms were small. You couldn’t put much more than a single bed and a dresser in them. We decided to make one of them an office space for our computers. The other would be a guest room for my son and his wife when they came up for visits. It would be tight with a double bed; but it was justfor sleeping.
Some upgrading had taken place over the years and the price was well within our budget. We were happy to finally move out of our apartment and into a home with a yard and a basement.
The basement was the length of the house, with one room off to itself. It was apparently joined onto the existing basement when one of the owners added another bedroom. It had a padlock on it with the key hanging on the wall beside the door.
We moved all our belongings in one day. I was up late into the night unpacking and arranging furniture. By the time my husband and I went to bed, it was almost three in the morning. We were both exhausted; but incredibly happy to be there.
We slept in until almost ten the next morning. I stumbled sleepily into my new kitchen to put on a pot of coffee. The kitchen was L-shaped with cabinets along the longest wall; a window over the sink area looked out onto a good sized back yard with two large Maple trees.
On the short wall was my stove and fridge, with a cabinet over the stove for spices and other small items. I liked that everything was compact and easily reached.
What took me a bit by surprise when I entered the kitchen that morning was that all the cabinet doors were open. I was tired the night before, but I was certain I remembered to close the cabinets.
Maybe Steve got up during the night to get some tea or something and not knowing where I put it, opened the cabinets up.
I dismissed it from my mind, forgetting to ask him about it as I cooked our first breakfast in our new house.
Afterwards, Steve volunteered to go back to our old apartment and do the final cleaning. I stayed behind to finish unpacking some boxes and hang curtains.
I got the curtains up in the living room and our bedroom; then set about unpacking the boxes. I sat the first box on the coffee table in front of the sofa.
I heard a noise from the basement. It sounded like something being drug across the floor. I assumed Steve must have come back while I was in the bedroom earlier.
I continued my unpacking. The front door opened; it was Steve. He is carrying the vacuum cleaner. I must have had a look of shock on my face because Steve asked if he startled me.
“I thought you were in the basement a minute ago. Are you just coming back from the apartment?”
“I haven’t been in the basement today. I just finished cleaning; the apartment’s ready for the landlord to check out. We should have no problem getting our deposit back.”
“I heard a noise down there. It sounded like you were dragging something. I could have sworn it was you.
“It must have been a noise from outside the house and it just sounded like it was coming from the basement. You’re not getting spooked out in our new house are you?” He smiled.
“No, you’re right; I probably misjudged where then noise was coming from.”
“Well, I’m going down there now to hook up the washer and dryer; so if you hear a noise again, it’ll be me this time.”
I was still unpacking when the front doorbell rang. I opened the door to see a woman appearing to be in her mid-sixties. She was attractive, with short gray hair; and wearing black shorts and a light blue tank top.
“Hello there, I’m Ruthie McCallum from next door. I just wanted to welcome you to Moore Street, “she smiled; holding a large pie out to me.
“Please come in Ruthie, the place is still a mess I’m afraid. I’m still in the process of unpacking everything. Thank you so much for the pie. Oh, I’m sorry; I’m Allison Cloutier.”
“It's apple, I hope you and your husband like apple Allison. Don’t worry about house; I’ve moved a few times in my life; so I know how that is.”
“Can I offer you something to drink, maybe some tea?”
“No dear, I won’t stay long. I just wanted to welcome you and meet my newest neighbors.”
“Well that’s really sweet of you Ruthie. Have you lived on Moore Street long?”
“Oh yes, I’ve lived here almost twenty years. My husband Edger died eight years ago, so I live alone now. My two boys live in Ottawa. One or the other of them comes to visit me on the weekends though.”
“I’m sorry about your husband. My children are in the states; that’s where I’m from. I moved up here when Steve and I got married a few years ago.”
“I thought I could hear a southern accent when you speak; where in the states?”
“North Carolina, I have two sons too, and a daughter. I don’t see them very often; I go down once or twice a year.”
“Oh, that’s too bad. I mean, that you don’t see them often. I’d be so lonely without my boys to visit. Well dear, I won’t keep you from your unpacking; I know how busy you are; enjoy the pie.”
“Thank you Ruthie, I’m sure we will; and thank you for stopping by. It was so nice to meet you.”
“You too dear and I hope you will stay longer than the others have. It seems before I get to know them; they’re moving out.”
“Well Ruthie, Steve and I plan on living here a long time.”
“That’s good to hear. I’m glad you didn’t pay any attention to the stories about the place. Goodbye now.”
I had shut the door before I realized what she’d said. “Glad you didn’t listen to the stories about the place?” What stories; I hadn’t heard any stories about our house?
A little while later, Steve came up from the basement.
“Well my dear, you now have a working washer and dryer,” he smiled proudly.
“Thank you Sweetie’.”
“Did I hear the doorbell earlier?”
“Oh, that was our neighbor Ruthie McCallum. Look, she brought us an apple pie.”
“Mmmm nice, I could use a slice of that with a glass of milk about now.”
I went to the kitchen to cut us each a piece when once again I found my cabinet doors open. What the heck is going on with these cabinets?
“Steve, could you come in here for a minute?”
Steve walked into the kitchen, and stood there looking around the kitchen smiling.
“Forget where you put the plates, honey?” He laughed.
“No, I know exactly where I put them. I didn’t open all these cabinets. This is the second time I’ve walked in here and found them open. Can you please check the latches; they must be loose or something.”
He walked over to one of the cabinets; shutting the door, then opening it a couple of times.
“Hmm, seems ok to me; but I’ll check all of them anyway.”
After repeating the process on all the cabinets, he sighed and scratched his head. “I can’t find anything wrong with the latches honey. If it happens again; I’ll replace the latches anyway, now how about that pie?”