I slam the rubber hammer firmly on top of the wooden stake. The lawn is cut, hedges are round, and the driveway is pressure washed to near perfection, Cold air nearly blows me down as I open the screen door. The gritty dirt particles scraped the rough skin on the bottom of my feet. I check the walls: They could be painted, but I'll leave that up to the buyer.
"Excuse baby," a woman crackles. Her accent is similar to the creole-island old women someone might see in a movie.
"Yes ma'am," I turn around and confirm my assumption. She's old as dirt.
"How you doin'?" she reaches out to me pitifully.
I extend my hand quickly, gently gripping her hand with both of mine. "I'm fine, ma'am."
"I see you got a sign out-dea."
"Yes, I'm looking to sell."
"Well baby, I ain't here for that. I use to stay in this house long time ago."
I raise my eyebrows. I could see the possibility, but when she said she wasn't interested, I didn't really care what she said after that.
"My daddy re-did the floor in here. I see you done took good care of it."
I walk to the living room. I know she wasn't buying, but I thought I'd show the house anyhow.
"This was our dining room," she stands next to me and points to my right, "and that was our living room. You've swapped it. It looks funny that way, but put it the way you want it.
I help her up the steps. They were a challenge. My wife would run up and down the stairs, especially when it rained and she couldn't go for a jog.
"My room was here," she points behind me. "My sister room was in front of mine. And that one in front of you was my poppa's room."
"Didn't your mother sleep there?"
"Oh no," she says. "Momma slept in the room across the hall, but we stopped going in there after daddy locked it up. You ain't been in there have you?"
"Actually no," I walk to the door. "For some reason this door won't open. There are no windows to see in this room. It's very strange."
"I wouldn't want to see in there. Crazy noises always came from that room when poppa wouldn't home, but one day he came home. And let me tell the noises, made my heart beat as fast as ever befoe. We asked poppa where momma went, but he didn't answer. I even remember a smell a couple of weeks later. Smelt like flies on a dead possum.
The woman left ten minutes after she told me that story. So, I hoisted a sledge hammer onto my shoulders and carried it upstairs. A mildewed stench flooded my nostrils. I ignored it and hit the door. It didn't budge. I apply more force and the sledge hammer breaks. It's hopeless, I thought.
As I walk away, the door creaks open. A pale hand slowly comes out in a come-hither gesture. I stare into the door way. An eye stares back, bloodshot. I'm drawn in against my will.