Let Us In
Samantha squinted up at the old house, to what must have been, her new bedroom window. Carrying several bags with her from the car, she started up the front porch, in the late summer heat. It was time to get her key and begin to move her few belongings into the house that she would share with several other housemates and the elderly woman who was the owner. Mrs. Goodwin was a widow who owned this house which sat diagonally across the intersection from the college. The rental price for a bedroom was extremely affordable, but just by glancing at the house from the outside, it was obvious why. For instance, there was, what appeared to be, a back porch that could be seen from the side street. This back portion of the house was literally on a slant, threatening to drop off the back of the home and into the wooded area behind it.
It looked like an enclosed porch, but the new tenant would soon learn that it was actually a bedroom that Mrs. Goodwin would attempt to rent out to some unsuspecting student.
The house had not been properly maintained. The elderly lady who owned it could only do so much. And her two grown children, who rarely came to visit, did not seem to stay long enough to help with repairs or tend to the overgrown yard. And it was depressing to see how the weeds had taken over the property surrounding this house that was spotted with chipped paint and had a sagging roof.
Samantha walked up the steps to cross the porch and knock on Mrs. Goodwin's front door. Through the screen door, It sounded like Mrs. Goodwin was trying to get off the phone. It took a few minutes before the landlady responded to the knock. She knew it was the new tenant and already had the key in her hand.
She did not smile but greeted Samantha politely,
"I've got your room ready, Samantha, how are you? Do you have someone who can help you with your bags?"
"I'll be fine Mrs. Goodwin, I just have a few things," Samantha offered with a kind smile.
In order to get to the tenant's new room, they had to exit from the front door and turn to walk across the porch off to the side. There was another entryway that was not at first noticeable. It did not even appear to be a door, but more like the opening to an outside storage closet. No window and no doorknob. The only way to gain entry was to insert the key and turn the lock while pulling the door open.
The tenants had a separate living space that could apparently only be accessed by this outside door. Even the owner of the house could only get inside through this separate entrance. It was strange and difficult to believe that anyone would deliberately keep one section of the house so inaccessible from the other. Almost like it was all build on later as an afterthought.
The landlady left Samantha with the key at this point, to continue on her own.
Upon opening the door, Samantha noticed immediately that the lighting was poor. Thankfully, the sky was bright. But the light afforded from outside was all Samantha had to work with. Her surroundings were a deep blue, the ancient carpet, the walls… the interior smelled slightly musty. And there was only one way to go. Up. She found herself immediately at the bottom of a staircase. There was no going right or left. And Samantha had already been told her room was on the very top floor. Surrounded by an atmosphere that was close and uninviting, she debated turning around and leaving. But the beginning of the semester was close. She had committed to this place, but made a mental note to look for another option, once she had the time. She got to the first landing as she climbed the narrow, steep staircase. Suddenly, the atmosphere was a little less claustrophobic on the first landing. But there was a hallway immediately to her left that dead ended with the creepy dilapidated bedroom that was hanging on for dear life. And before that, was the common bathroom which potentially five tenants would be expected to share. And next to it, a bedroom for another tenant. The doors were all closed. Immediately to her right was another bedroom next to the base of the stairs that would lead up further.
So, Samantha continued up the next flight of stairs and stopped about four steps up to see something interesting. There was, what appeared to be, a fire door in the middle of this flight of stairs! The door was opened at this time. But it was a small glass door that almost looked like a window, oddly placed in the middle of a staircase. It closed by meeting with the slanted ceiling above the stairs and with the old carpet on the step below. Continuing up the stairs, there was another landing which then directed her up to the top floor. Her bedroom was on the right. Another tenant would be on the left. So, there were the only two bedrooms on that top level with only eight feet between them. She went to open the door to her room only to realize there was no lock on it, but there was, however, a latch for a padlock? Is that how she was meant to be able to secure her room? Samantha frowned as she processed this, then opened the door and was content with what she saw. Despite the creepy dark hallway, her new room was bright and roomy. Two windows from two sides of the room brought light in and fresh air when she opened them more easily than expected. And one entire wall was lined with shelves from floor to ceiling. This had, at one time, been a cozy room and still was. Sighing with relief, the new tenant plopped on the allotted bed after opening the windows. She was also given a table and small dresser to use. Next would be to explore the walk-in closet?
Samantha walked in and pulled the string for the light bulb and saw an opening that appeared to lead to an attic. The opening was so high that even with the light, it was difficult to see if the blackness was the color of the opening of space or the darkness from the attic itself.
She quickly shut the door and descended down the steps to retrieve the rest of her belongings.