As I said before, we excitedly opened the door to our first house, with our first house key. I'm not sure we even walked in, I honestly can't remember. I do remember promptly leaving, getting in the car, and driving back up the hill to the neighbors that we'd bought the house from.
Why did we leave, you ask?
My Kitchen Upon Arrival (minus cleaning supplies)
It appeared the previous tenant hadn't moved out! Furniture was still in the house. Everything was still in the house....except for the mask. I forgot to tell you about the mask didn't I? When we'd come to look at the house a couple months prior, hanging on the wall, way high up (another pet peeve of mine, please don't hang your pictures really high, it just really irks me) was this mask. It was leather. It had a couple of eye holes and a zipper mouth. Talk about 'freak you out'. Talk about chain saw massacre. Lord have mercy. That mask cost me about 450 hours of sound sleep when we first bought this place.
The neighbors assured us that the previous tenant had in fact moved out.
We came back 'home'.
Oh dear, what we found. I'm not sure the pictures do it justice. This is just how we found it for the most part. We found cut off deer legs in the kitchen cabinets with large quantities of peanuts in the shell. Bags upon bags of trash on the front porch. Furniture, old car seats, chicken incubators. Some of the photos in this post show the rooms a little cleaned out and the carpets being torn up.
We also found a whole lotta smell. We found SO much smell. Urine mainly.
My Front Porch Upon Arrival
After assessing our new home (I mean, really, where do you start?) we began opening windows and pitching things out. Furniture and carpet went flying out of the upstairs windows! There was an old playpen that was left here, and we would fill it with little stuff that we found around the house, and then drag it to the fire. After all the furniture and 'stuff' was removed, we set out to tear up all the carpets. We had a fire that lasted nearly two weeks. (I know now that we shouldn't have burned it all, but what to do? It was 1988 and we didn't know better).
At this time, we were still living in Chicago and driving out for a few days at a time to work on the house. It wasn't livable. We'd sleep in sleeping bags upstairs. I insisted that we sleep with the bags up against the closed bedroom door, that way, if someone broke in to commit some devilment of some sort, it would wake us up. I also slept with a hatchet. Smart cookie I am! I would always hear the neighbors dog barking in the distance and wonder what it was barking at. "It couldn't be barking at nothing", I'd wonder.
I always though it was the former owner, standing out in the field....in that mask. "shudders"
I was pretty much freaked out for months here. Bugs. Darkness. Barking dogs a half a mile away that echoed in the night. Creatures moving about outside. That mask. The dark. Oh, I said that already didn't I? It was blinding, all consuming darkness.
I happened to be here one day alone, working around the house. A run down van pulled into the driveway and out comes a vaguely familiar looking man. As he approached, that infernal mask kept flashing in my mind.
"Oh my gosh", I thought. "It's him".
He casually states, "I'm here to get all my stuff".
I, pointing to the incinerator, say "It's all right there".