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The Voice Rambles On - 3. Are You Sure There's a House in There?

Four twenty-somethings with a little bit of money put aside and a tax sale. Could this be the start of something?

Are You Sure There’s a House In There?


Matt stopped to tie a bandana around his sweating forehead, wondering for the hundredth time why he had agreed to this harebrained scheme of his sisters. He had been working for two hours already and he hadn’t gotten more than ten feet up what was supposed to be the driveway. It was more like a wall of vegetation. As he stood trying to cool himself in the August heat, his phone chimed with a text.

On my way, bringing lunch and plenty of cold drinks. Be there shortly

Matt smiled. Lana might be a bit crazy but she always tried to take care of everyone.


“Come on Matt, we can do this! The house is great. It needs a lot of cleaning up and paint, but we can get it for a song. Once we put a little sweat equity into it we can make a huge profit.”

“Lana, have you had this place inspected? Is it sound? Buried in the woods, abandoned for years…if it’s so great why has it sat there empty for so long?”

Lana looked at the floor sheepishly. This was the part she didn’t want to have to tell any of the family. She was sure it would cause an uproar.

“Well… The old man who owned it didn’t have any family left. Never had kids, and his wife and brother had both passed on long ago. The man passed away, apparently in his sleep, and no one noticed until the bills got so far behind the utilities were cut off, and then the town finally took the property for back taxes. When the inspectors let themselves in before the tax sale they found what was left of him. I didn’t ask for any details other than to be sure the town had cleaned up the room. It’s sad really, that no one missed the guy. The story around the town is the place was haunted. I guess one of the local kids broke in and saw the guy lying there and freaked out. I’ve seen the place, and there is none of the usual damage done by vandals and the like. Other than the place being over grown, and not having been cleaned in a dog’s age, it’s in good shape.”

Roy looked at her with horror in his eyes.

“Oh, hell no! There is no fucking way I am going to be hauling any fraction of a dead guy outta there!”

“You know, for a 22 year old you are awfully silly little brother. If he passed in his sleep the only thing to be contaminated would have been the bed, maybe the floor under it but I doubt things would have soaked thru that badly. The police probably would have hauled the mattresses off as part of the investigation.” Matt smiled at the kid. Roy may be a young 22, and not the smartest of the bunch, but he was strong and dedicated and would be an asset.

“Then you can count me in.” This came from Matt's best friend. Bobby had graduated in May with a degree in electrical engineering, but the job he had been promised fell thru. “I don’t have any cash to put up, but I have plenty of time with the job market so slow right now. It will be good for me to be busy. If this place is over an hundred years old as you say, there is going to be a lot of work to do to bring it up to electrical codes, and that’s near enough my department.”

“It’s agreed? You guys are gonna help me? I’ll put up the purchase money, you three get the renovation money together, and we split the profit 4 ways?” Lana’s eyes were bright with anticipation.

They looked at each other. Lana would pull her own weight with the work ahead. Matt had no reservations about that. He shrugged and smiled.

“I’m in too. Roy?”

“What the hell? Why not?”


Lana pulled up and parked her little sports car in the space I had managed to clear by sheer brute force. Jumping out and smiling at me, she tossed a bottle of water at me and hopped up onto the hood.

“Are you sure there is really a house in there sis?”

“Bobby just called me. He tried to get you but I guess you were cursing me out too badly to hear the ringer. This shit is thicker than I remember.”

“You could have told me you had to walk in to see this place.”

“I didn’t want you balking over something the gravely and sweat would fix.” She referred to the ancient history landscaper’s machine that had collected dust in the back of the garage since dad had passed away. The thing had a dozen different attachments and would do pretty much anything from taking down small trees to mowing the lawn. I was surprised when Roy called this morning to say he had it running. “Roy and Bobby have it in the back of the pickup. Once they get here, this will go much easier. Till then chill out and relax a little.”

They sat talking for a few minutes before Bobby’s pickup could be heard coming up the narrow country lane. This place was pretty far off the beaten track. It was no wonder the old man had gone unnoticed till the bills piled up.

“When are you going to get up the nerve to tell Bobby how you feel? Bout time you stop being a big chicken there big brother.”

“Nope, not gonna happen. I can’t even figure out if he’s gay, let alone interested.”

“You can be so thick sometimes. He hasn’t had a girlfriend since he moved in here two years ago. Not even a casual hookup as far as I can tell. He spends all his time with you. I’m telling you – he is into you Matt.”

“Well he will just have to tell me himself. There is no way I am going to say or do anything might spoil what we already have. Now be quiet – here he comes.”


Three days of hard work and they finally reached the house. It was three days of sweating, cursing, and roughhousing, Lana as bad as the boys. When they finally pulled a truck into the relatively clear yard they all breathed a sigh of relief. Lana plopped herself down on the front steps and swiped at the hair that had escaped from her bun. An oddly shaped honeysuckle bush to the left of the drive caught her attention.

“Hey guys? Do those vines look like something is under them to you?”

The four of them started to poke around the overgrown pile. Roy pushed aside some vines that didn’t seem to be attached like the rest and let out an explosive breath.

“Dang – a homeless condo! Looks like someone slept in one of these old concrete pipes, used a second as his pantry and a third for a dresser. Nice and neat too. Think the poor sod is still around?” He looked up and peered into the undergrowth.

“I don’t think so – maybe he got picked up by the cops in town or something and got a better deal. This doesn’t look like he has been here in a long time”

“I think Bobby is right. This fire ring is pretty well covered with brush growth. If he had been here as recently as this spring it would show more signs of use.” She pushed some of the vines and brush aside to show a neatly built fire ring. “Oh! What a pretty little snake! Sorry little guy, I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“Uh sis? Maybe you should not get quite so friendly with him? Copperheads are poisonous you know.”

Lana snatched her hand back quickly.

Matt laughed at his sister’s reaction. He had to admit – copperheads were pretty snakes.

“Let’s go guys. I want to check out the inside of this behemoth! You didn’t tell us it was a mansion!” Roy was bouncing on the balls of his feet like a ten year old.

“Lana- there is a note pad on the front seat of my truck. Grab it and a pen and we can make a list of things we will need as we go. I’ll start moving that mountain of mail and newspapers on the porch. First thing goes on the list – a garbage can and strong trash bags!”

A response to Prompt 297, word list

garbage can, snake, sports car, cold drink, old pipe

Copyright © 2014 Kitt; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

Cute chapter, Kitt! :)


It's hard to picture the August heat with the snow on the ground and the temps so low. lol We'll get there eventually. =)


Oh, I did notice you kept switching from third-person pov to first person (Matt).

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On 01/28/2014 11:26 AM, Lisa said:
Cute chapter, Kitt! :)


It's hard to picture the August heat with the snow on the ground and the temps so low. lol We'll get there eventually. =)


Oh, I did notice you kept switching from third-person pov to first person (Matt).

A failing of mine. But then - I never claimed to be an author. As long as I don't miss that when editing,,,
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On 02/19/2014 10:49 PM, Timothy M. said:
so when do we get the rest of the story ?? and I wonder if they'll really end up selling it.
Who knows? Perhaps one day I will learn to direct this silly little voice and "the rest of the story" can hit the screen.Thank you.
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