My dead Landlord

Chapter 1; the local legend

The people of Dark Pine California could say without a shred of hesitation that they were proud to call this place home, and why shouldn't they; their town was a wonderful place to live. The town was nestled at the base of a mountain, just a few miles from the beautiful Lake Dark Pine. Dark Pine had a population of roughly twenty-five thousand. The town had pretty much everything you would expect a town to have, churches, restaurants, theaters, hotels, and more, including one of the best colleges in the state, Dark Pine University. Because of it geographic location, the weather of Dark Pine was perfect for most of the year, and the surrounding forest added a feeling of being close to nature. Dark Pine was also a hot spot for summer tourism, but what the people loved most about the town wasn't the weather or the forests or the tourist money. What really made the town of Dark Pine special was the old O'Malley house out by the lake. Even though the house had been abandoned for years, everyone was happy to have it around, after all, how many people could say they have an actual haunted house in their own neighborhood.

The story of the O'Malley house began in the July of 1970, when the famous architect, Samuel O'Malley decided to retire early at the age of sixty. During his career, Sam O'Malley had designed and built dozens of homes for some of the biggest celebrities of the age; Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Clark Gable, Paul Newman and many more, private or other wise. With the vast fortune he made from all his creations, he bought several acres of land by Dark Pine Lake, and began working on building his own mansion.

During the four years O'Malley spent working on his manner, over two hundred workers quit. While O'Malley had earned a reputation as a famous architect, he was also called a slave driver by nearly everyone who worked under him. When it comes to the legend of a haunted house, most would expect a gruesome murder, or an Indian burial ground, but none of these were what gave the O'Malley mansion it's haunted reputation. The house wasn't haunted by a grisly murder or by Native American curse, but by the spirit of the obsessive perfectionist that built it.

O'Malley was never satisfied with his work, even after construction was completed, he had the builders continue to add on to the house, always trying to improve his creation. After his death in 1990, his manner went up for sale. Collectors from all over the world went crazy for the chance to own O'Malley's last great work. The house was first bought for $5 million, but the new owners sold it only six month later. According to them, every night since they moved in, they heard the constant sound of hammering, sawing and other wood-work related noises. The second owners sold it after just three months, saying that everywhere they went in the house, they smelled the pungent oder of fresh paint. Over and over the house was bought, and later sold, each time the new owners saying that they were disturbed by unaccountable supernatural events, all of which related to construction. Eventually, the house went off the market, and was left abandoned by the lake, and turned into a tourist stop. The house had also become a popular spot for the local kids, Elementary to University. However, for one college Freshmen, the house would become much more than just a kinky place to make out.

A white VW Van turned off of the highway. The back seats were full of an assortment of belongings; cloths, books, electronics, pots, pans, cutlery, a stereo, a game station, and a TV. The driver, a slightly overweight young man with curly brown hair was Richard Shaw.

Having just turned nineteen, and graduating high school, Richard wasted no time enrolling at Dark Pine University. He had spent the summer working at a gas station, saving up his money for school, of course, the graduation checks were a help as well.

You are now entering Dark Pine. Population 25046. The billboard said as Richard drove by. He turned the corner, and saw the town of Dark Pine. He could see why the town got it name, the needles on all the surrounding pine trees was a dark shade of green, darker than he had seen on other pine trees. As Richard drove through the town, he couldn't help but take in the sights. He drove past office buildings, a library, restaurants, and dozens of miscellaneous stores. Five minutes later, he found himself at the entrance of Dark Pine University. After finding a parking spot in the "Visitors" parking lot, he found a directory. According to the map, the campus was by far the largest development in Dark Pine, taking up about a quarter of the town's land. According to his registration papers, he was supposed to go to the gymnasium for orientation, which was way on the other side of campus. As he walked, Richard couldn't help but notice a great deal of destruction. There must have been a fire, because one of the building had been burned. The outside was charred black, and the entire complex was fenced off. Richard walked closer, the building appeared to be (or had been) a dormitory. Rich looked at his watch, it was five minutes till orientation, frankly, he was glad he had an excuse to move on, the sight of this burned building gave him the creeps, yet he kept staring at them.

He found the gymnasium next to the football field; naturally. A line of other freshmen was forming at the entrance. Rich got in line, and after five minutes of waiting, he finally made it inside. The bleachers of the basketball stadium were pulled out, and dozens of chairs had been set up as well, all facing a podium. Next to the podium was a projection screen, and a portable projector. Finding a spot at the front, Rich sat down, and waited for the presentation to begin.

"Hello everyone, and welcome to Dark Pine University." The girl who was speaking, must have been a member of the student council. She spoke with a bubbly voice, like she was trying to hard to be peppy. Rich couldn't help but smirk at her performance. The presentation went just like any other school orientation. She told them about financial aid, student affairs, counseling, but it wasn't until the end when she told them what Rich was really wondering about, and when she did, her tone changed from up beat and peppy to stern and serious.

"On a more serious note, I'm sorry to say that over the summer break, a wiring fault caused one of the dormitory buildings to catch fire. Thankfully no one was hurt, and the fire department was able to prevent the fire from destroying the entire school. For everyone who was assigned to Dormitory 17, the school will refund your boarding money, but you will have to find another place to stay this semester." Richard sighed heavily, he was signed up for Dormitory 17.

"We have rooms available, but the rent is $1500 a month."

"Damn it." Richard said under his breath. Since orientation had ended, he had been driving all over Dark Pine, trying to find a place to stay. He had visited at least a dozen hotels and apartments, and each one cost more than he could afford to pay for the semester. Frustrated, Rich left the apartment complex, and drove aimlessly around town.

It wasn't all bad, he was still enrolled, so it's not as if his tuition had gone to waste, but it wasn't as if he could just sleep in his car for the whole semester. He parked at the top of a hill overlooking the lake. He got out of the car, and sat down on a bench. It was a beautiful view, the water reflected the rays of the setting sun, dyeing the lake a bright shade of orange. The needles of the surrounding pine trees seemed even darker in the evening sun. Rich then saw something at the shore of the lake, a house, from that distance it was about the size of a postage stamp. Rich had a good idea of what that house was, but he wanted to confirm.

"Excuse me." He stopped a woman carrying a bag of groceries. "Sorry to bother you, but that house down by the lake, is that..."

"That's the old O'Malley house," and she went about her business.

Rick looked back at the house down by the lake. So that was the famous O'Malley mansion, supposedly haunted by the spirit of it's obsessive creator. Naturally, Rick didn't believe in these silly ghost stories, but he did believe in taking advantage of any opportunity that presented itself. He knew that the O'Malley manor had long been deserted, and people had given up trying to buy it, which meant the place would be empty. It looked like Rick had found the perfect place to stay.