September 21, 2011 12:59 PM
Posted by Jei D. Marcade
Hey folks, sorry the posting has been even more sporadic than usual. Because my living situation + plans for the immediate future changed unexpectedly, Joe and I did some last-minute apartment hunting last month. And because I wanted to move to a college town in September, where most people have signed leases in March, we didn't have terribly high hopes.
But by some miracle, Joe found what struck me as The Perfect Place in terms of location, size, and relative affordability. As it turned out, the previous tenants, who had signed the lease from the beginning of August, had suddenly decided that they badly needed to live elsewhere. Of course this raised red flags. Of course images of rotting floorboards and carpets of black mold and cockroach colonies danced through my head. But Joe made an appointment for a viewing and reported back that the place did not look awful, so we decided to snap up the lease.
I moved in the day before Joe and got to see it for the first time in all its hollowed-out glory -- which was when the terror began. In case you missed the drama as it unfolded on Twitter, here is a fuller account:
The apartment is actually the first floor of a house, and therefore, massive. (Although you should also keep in mind that my last apartment was a shoebox in Seoul, so I still get excited about things like bathtubs and closets.) My da, who had helped me jam his car full of luggage (largely unpacked from Korea and Seattle) and boxes of ephemera and carted me across state lines, was Not Enthusiastic about its admittedly somewhat weathered appearance, but I was genuinely thrilled when I first clapped eyes on the place.
However, I have seen too many marathons of A Haunting not to have been a little suspicious.
Also, I'd very recently watched Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, so those grates were weighing kind of heavily on my mind.
The maintenance man swung by, poor soul, and my da and I held him hostage for a couple hours, torturing him with such demands as plz fix the window that won't latch so the less destructive axe murderers can't crawl in (my da) to plz I need MOAR LIGHT BULBS in every room so
At one point, as we gazed at the fireplace sealed shut with tape, he dropped this chilling little pronouncement:
He means a draft, I told myself. But he said "SOMETHING," a treacherous corner of my mind insisted.
"Why did the previous tenants leave so quickly?" I asked him.
The maintenance man gave me a queer, uncomfortable smile. "I guess they didn't like it."
"WELL YES SO I GATHERED," I tactfully refrained from saying, and did not probe any further. MORE FOOL I.
Then he left. So did my da. I proceeded, whistling merrily like the heroine of every low-budget haunted house flick you have ever seen, to unpack my things. Evening settled in. The sunlight pouring through the curtain-less windows began to dim. Still, no strangeness befell me.
AND THEN ALL THIS:
Okay so that last bit may be something of an exaggeration. But I fled the premises, met some friends for dinner and coffee, and most definitely did not spend that first night by myself on my air mattress as I had previously planned.
Since then, I have closed the fireplace back up and put a dresser in front of it. So far, no further hijinks have occurred. We did discover a creepy Door to Nowhere blocked by the refrigerator, behind which we can sometimes hear a noise like a large creature growling, and the basement wigs us out so much that we will not step foot it in past sundown, but otherwise the house is quite charming. Really. Won't you come visit sometime?