Bit by tedious bit I had scraped up enough money for the down payment on a house. I was so tired of apartment living that my teeth hurt. I was finally going to take the great leap and buy a place of my own.
I contracted with a buyer's agent to do a national search for a house over 100 years old with a price tag of less than $100,000.00 dollars. She obviously thought that I was mad as a hatter and stupid to boot. I wish that I'd had a camera to record her face when a property popped up in Windham New York, near Arkham. Being a writer I don't care where I live, but I do care for my little comforts. I've a fascination with old structures and the description of the place caught my eye. The description stated that it pre-dated the town and the carriage house had been converted to a garage. It had two bedrooms, sat on three acres and came fully furnished and decorated. The picture showed a low rambling building covered in moss and English ivy. I promptly filed an intent to vacate with my landlord and took a trip out east.
The house was incredible—it was built of fieldstone and huge old timbers nestled back among several giant oak trees. The roof was live sod which over-hung the windows to provide a cool, refreshing environment in the summer heat. There were a few quirks—the washer, dryer, refrigerator and freezer were in the garage which was connected to the house by a breezeway. The house itself was powered strictly by 12-Volt DC wiring. The stove, heating and water heater were all gas-powered. I thought it quirky yet quite acceptable. A lead crystal mounted above the front door cast a beam each morning onto a curiously figured calendar carved directly into the wall. It was fully furnished in muted tones of green and brown that somehow worked wonderfully together. The place was carpeted everywhere which seemed a bit odd to me—even the bathroom and kitchen. It felt so nice beneath my feet that I resolved to go barefoot indoors whenever practical. The bathroom was an oddity—it felt like a pool in a forest. A broad skylight brought a beam of sunlight in to illuminate and warm the pool of water within There did not seem to be any way to fill or empty it. The air hung sweet and moist, redolent of humus and green growing things. It somehow seemed the focus of the house.
The price of $67,000.00 dollars certainly caught my eye. Upon making further inquiries I found that the bank which owned the house, one of the oldest in Arkham, was quite traditional in its banking practices. They required ten percent down and ten percent per year with a three percent rate of interest. The contract to purchase had a few strange riders attached, specifying that I must never have the septic pit pumped and never to dig between the oaks behind the house. I inquired as to permission to slab it over for a small patio and found that to be perfectly acceptable. How odd. After signing the contract and arranging for the utilities, I left instructions with a removal company to strip my old place to the walls leaving all the furniture but my office chair to Goodwill and transport the rest to Windham soonest. The garage would easily protect three vehicles so storage was not a problem. I had a local carpenter board up a closet in the garage near the appliances for my electronics. A local Albertson's was convinced to deliver food orders once arrangements were made for payment.
I had to butcher a little wall transformer to plug directly into the 12-volt wall jack so that my little laptop would thrive. I had a small boiled dinner and settled back in the overstuffed dark green leather-covered recliner with a drink, watching the shadows move then soaking in the sounds of an old house settling in for the night. I must have fallen asleep within the arms of that massively comfortable chair. In the dark I perceived whorls and lines of yellow and light green phosphorescence across the walls and floor. By happenstance an illuminated trail seemed to lead me to my bed. I took the wordless suggestion and retired for the night, wondering at the last how the sheets came to smell so spicy, so green.
A new person was here. The house was pleased. It had been a long time.
Upon awakening I luxuriantly stretched then relaxed, taking in the deeply carved figures making up the bedroom ceiling. I had not really looked them over with care before. I made out gnomes, pixies, foxes and badgers. Encompassing all this was a giant face, hairy, horned and covered with vines. It seemed to peer back at me emotionless—judging perhaps. What a queer thing to carve into a bedroom ceiling! I rose, did my ablutions and headed into the kitchen for breakfast. It gave me pause when I realized that there was no toaster so I fried up a bit of bread and bacon over the stove then set a kettle on for tea. I sat at the kitchen table and fired up my laptop, which was wired into the wall circuit for power and the Ethernet cable that I'd run through the breezeway (just off the kitchen). I let all my correspondent friends know of my new digs via an email cannonade then settled down to read the latest online offerings by my co-authors. I follow several serialized stories. Some are simple pleasures and some are guilty little secrets. Such is life.
Life went on in this fashion for some weeks. I wrote, read, published and prospered. I found myself taking afternoon naps in the sun.