The House

A newlywed couple gets more than they bargained for in their new home.

The morning silence was broken by a woman’s scream.

Danny, the husband, recognized his wife’s voice and took the stairs two steps at a time. He burst into the bathroom and shouted, “What’s wrong?”

“I thought you were going to do the dishes after I showered!” said his wife, Regina. “I just shampooed my hair and then all the hot water disappeared!”

“I swear I set a delay on the dishwasher. Let me go check.” said Danny, sneaking a quick peek at Regina before scurrying away from her wrath. When he got to the kitchen the dishwasher still had an hour left before it was set to start. “That’s odd,” he muttered, “better check the hot water tank.”

Danny set off for the basement. The lights flickered as he flipped the switch at the top of the stairs; Danny made a mental note to check the wiring later. Each step groaned as he worked his way downstairs, one or two even bowing treacherously under his weight. Did they do that before? Danny wasn’t sure.

Danny and Regina had bought this house as a starter home. The previous owner, a lovely old woman who called the property “a bit of a fixer-upper,” accepted their first offer before the ink dried. They should have been suspicious given the low asking price relative to other homes in the area but the deal was too good to pass up.

As Danny made his way to the hot water tank he heard the shower stop; it seemed Regina had finished without further incident. The tank looked fine and the hot water pipe was warm to the touch. He jiggled the pressure relief valve and a sputter of steamy water escaped.

Since he was in the basement anyway, Danny checked the electrical panel. That’s odd, the breaker for the tank is off. Even if the breaker had flipped much earlier Regina still wouldn’t have run out of hot water without warning. Danny scratched his head and flipped the breaker back on. As he did, the lights went out.

Upstairs, Regina had just wrapped herself in a towel when she heard a syncopated drip from the faucet. Bit of a fixer-upper, my ass. She dropped a hand towel into the sink to dampen the sound and stuck her tongue out at the faucet.

As Regina brushed her teeth she noticed the walls were… sweating. Maybe because she forgot to turn the fan on. “At least they’re not bleeding…” she muttered. From downstairs she heard a loud crash, followed by Danny yelling. This was not a new occurrence however, so she carried on.

When they met in the kitchen, Danny was holding a bag of frozen peas to his head. “The lights went out while I was in the basement.” he said. “I walked into a post.”

Regina poked at the lump that was forming. “Did you figure out the problem?”

“Not yet.” he admitted, “And right now, I’m all out of ideas.”

“Maybe the house is haunted.” offered Regina with a chuckle.

“Maybe.” Laughed Danny.

Meanwhile, the house was out of ideas too. It had tried everything it could think of but they just wouldn’t leave. A sigh echoed through the vents as the foundation settled.

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