Old houses make great inspiration. Allow me to tell you a little tale. A personal experience of sorts, if you will.
Following a government-backed reason for having to leave the UK, I find myself sleeping on the floor in a friends house, Let’s name them Lon. The plan was to be there only a couple of days. A friend of Lon’s has a house, lives alone and needed someone to help out. I fit that bill.
The plan: Take a 5-hour drive south into deep woods Texas. Spend the night in the new house, unpack the truck in the morning and live out the remainder of my time in the US until I could then return to the UK.
Have you got the back story so far? Good. Let’s continue.
The five-hour road trip was ominous and seemed to take an extra 19 hours. We finally made it: in the dark and exhausted. It is quite possible I walked the final 83 miles, but I don’t recall and highly doubt it.
Once inside the Old House of Doom, I have a look around. It is messy and dilapidated but overly not so bad. Definitely fixable with some elbow grease and an SOS pad. The friend of Lon’s, let’s call her Becky (not her real name) was not what I expected. A little loud and a little overbearing, but I could handle. What I could not handle was the state of the house. The walls were closing in on me and the slime build-up was dripping on my shoes, which, I refused to remove from my feet.
It Was Going to Get Better
Then the bomb went off. Figuratively. Becky said, “Tomorrow we will start moving to the new house.” My heart was a flutter. She was moving to a new place! No dingy walls, no sticky floor, no light fixtures hanging from what appear to be bread ties! I was relieved and elated. I went to sleep on a chair (I already told you of the floor).
The next morning dawned beautifully. Everything was going to be okay. I survived the night after killing a few giant spiders (they had mustaches and wore cowboy boots, I swear) and got into the truck. We drove to the address. Becky wasn’t coming with us, as she had to go to work. Not a problem, we would pull up, unload the truck and I would have my own room and my own bed. No more sleeping on the floor! Perfection.
About half an hour later we find the address and pull into the drive. Well, what was left of a driveway once-upon-a-time.
Folks. Let me Explain About This Old House
How can I say it? Imagine that Clive Barker and Stephen King go to an architect and say: “Here is what we want, however, you can only use the materials found in this unearthed pile of debris from 1882.” Then, further imagine that during the construction Bela Lugosi and Quentin Tarantino show up just for shits and giggles, helping out.
Take that image you have in your head and make it as horrible as possible. Now, realize that what is in your head at this moment is nothing short of a joy ride compared to actual events.
It Didn’t Take Me Long To Discover Hell
As we pull into the driveway, there is a pile of large black garbage bags, probably about 30 of them or more, on one side of the lawn. In the middle are random parts and pieces that fit together into God knows what, a few felled trees and a shed that looks like something out of the mind of Willy Wonka, only from the creepy boat ride, not the wonderful chocolate waterfall.
The other side of the house, if you can call it that, is even worse, more trash, a broken ATV, shattered glass and a lamp, probably from a movie set of a remake of Cabin in the Woods.
I decided I didn’t like it right away. But, trying to be the ever optimist, I was hoping it was better on the inside. I walk up the front porch steps, which sway and creak with every step. I realize that the planks are rotted and the frame isn’t even mounted to the porch. There is a porch swing, and the rusted, tetanus filled chain fell from the open grip of the S-hook holding it to the ceiling. I enter the door, which surprisingly did not creak when opened.
So, I went Inside
I enter the house and well, honestly… it was worse than I thought. I don’t even know that I can describe it to you. There were no walls. Studs, yes, some broken OSB in places. Tarantulae for sure. I saw them. There was one light overhead. I saw one like it before. In a horror movie from 1941. It was bronzed and sharp and didn’t even cover the bulb. It hung even less rigid than did the swing outside. The floors were plank and rotting. Except for the bedroom and the back hallway; there wasn’t any flooring there at all.
Did I mention yet that there was no running water? And wouldn’t be. To use the toilet you had to then go borrow the neighbor’s water hose to force flush the toilet. The roof leaked, the support beams in the attic were broken. All of them… I had to get out.
This house was so bad the sunlight wouldn’t even come in. Of course, that could be because there were no windows. Just holes that were made from a 10 gauge shotgun. Where windows should have been were pieces of plywood and old, used, two by fours.
I Had to Catch My Breath
Back outside, I realized I had been holding my breath. My shoe was wet from the standing urine puddles. Luckily, I avoided stepping in the feces (hoping it was animal and not human). I exhale roughly and take in fresh-er air. That’s when doubled over with intestinal pains, I notice the holes in the skirting around the foundation.
Let me correct myself, I meant to say: “around where the foundation should have been”.
No crawl space foundation, no pier and beam, no concrete. No. The foundation consisted of a few 2-ton car jacks, a couple of cinder blocks and one large pile of two by fours near the center of the house.
I shit you not. Someone moved the house there a few years ago.
I couldn’t take it. Crawling back into the truck, I begged to be to taken elsewhere. I was.
Everything is an Opportunity
It was a horrid experience I don’t wish on anyone. However, the bright side is that during the twenty-three minutes and eleven seconds I was there, I was able to mentally write seventeen chapters in a new horror story I am working on. Expect to read about this house at some point in the future.
Ideas come from the strangest situations. Always keep your eyes open. If you dare.