Thursday, July 15, 2010

More Houses of Horror...

Sometimes I get sent to some strange and definitely creepy places.

One place that will always stay in my mind is what started off as a routine document service job on a woman who had missed quite a few payments on her mortgage.

It was a nice spring morning, the sun was shining and it was warm - perfect for going on a nice drive in the country. 

Perfect day for a murder...

Okay, there was no murder, not as far as I know.

The address I was given was just outside a picturesque rural town some 50km from the city. Nice enough place if you like the smell of bovine excrement and you prefer to wear your shirts with the collars up. Yep, not really my kind of place at all, Big-City kind of gumshoe that I am.

The place in question was down a private lane, all shady with trees down either side. With only a few houses down the lane, do you think I could find the one I was looking for? No. I ended up knocking on several door before finally speaking with an older woman at the last house. When I asked which property was the one in question, she pointed back towards where I had come from and said that the driveway was between a couple of trees and that I probably missed it because of the overgrown grass and weeds.

As I thanked them and was about to turn away, the farmer's wife said "You won't find her there. She disappeared one dark and stormy night around 9 months ago, and hasn't been seen since." Her husband nodded and added "...but there's someone, or something, living in that house. We've seen a dark shape coming and going, never using the lane but cutting through the fields along the treeline..."

Sure! Like a big investigator like me is going to be afraid of some country ghost story.

I thanked them again for their time and made my way back down the lane yet, even with the sun on my back, I could feel my hackles rise as I made my way onto the property in question. The house stood in a clearing surrounded by tall grass and weeds and a number of abandoned vehicles, the path to the door now overgrown.

I completed a circuit of the house looking into the windows and it appeared like any normal home. I could see the usual appliances and items in the kitchen, furniture and the like in the lounge, all covered in a thin layer of dust.

Obviously, there was no answer to my knocking at the door so I decided to have a look around the property where I saw a number of trails in the grass leading from the house to the neighbouring fields. Also, there was something about those vehicles... Why would someone just leave all these cars here to rust?

And maybe I was imagining it, but I had that feeling that I was being watched...

With images of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre in mind, I decided that I'd rather not check out what was in the back of the cars. Maybe the remains of the property owner, and I was in no hurry to join her.

Discretion being the better part of valour, I decided that I'd make some further enquiries back in the office. When I got back to town I phoned the local constabulary who told me they were aware of the owner and had been to that property on one occasion and had also spoken to her family.

Supposedly, according to her relatives, this woman was known to just 'go walkabout' from time to time - just upping and leaving without saying so much as a word. Well, it's not a crime to do so, I guess. However, the Police were actively interested in her whereabouts as she missed a Court appointment and had a warrant out for her arrest.

I had to go back to that property a month or so later to post Court documents to the front door. It was just as I had left it last time although, on further inspection, I found a side window to the laundry ajar with black scuff marks on the wall - obviously where someone had been climbing in and out of the house.

Never did learn what happened to the woman though. That's always going to annoy me.

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