Monday, November 16, 2015
Chapter 2 Blood in the Mortar She passed through the coatroom offering her imaginary coat to an imaginary butler. She stepped into the main room. Looking around, she imagined the clusters of people standing about engaged in small talk while two women neatly dressed in white aprons with tight white hair nets held trays of drinks. Across the room, she noticed a man standing in front of the large fireplace with his back to her. His hair fell down across his shoulders. She walked toward him but as soon as she did, he turned toward the stairway. She had to navigate around the clusters of people to get closer. He started up the stairway. Janet nodded to the people who called her without looking directly at them, staying focused on the man. “Miss Janet.” “Good evening, Janet.” “Nice party Miss Janet.” At the bottom of the stairway, she looked up. The man had reached the top. He turned and looked down at her. His hair was parted in the middle and tucked behind his ears. He was slightly tanned and clean shaven. He gave her a boyish grin and winked. He turned and went down the hall. Janet knew that he was headed for a room, one warmed by a flickering fireplace. A room with a large bed covered by a thick quilt and a soft black bearskin rug on the floor. She could feel her heart pounding and a tingle in the pit of her stomach. She knew that beneath that shirt was a muscled smooth chest and that he knew how to use his mouth. He knees trembled just a little. She took a step up. A cold hand gripped her wrist tightly. She ignored it and tried to pull away. “Be careful, Miss Janet.” Janet turned and noticed that the room was empty. She shook her head. The house had sparked her imagination way more that she expected. She left the house and shut the door behind her. She would call the agent on her way home and tell her that the door had been left unlocked. The rest of the night as she tried to balance her accounts, make dinner, even watch TV, she couldn’t erase the image of the man in the house, her thoughts of making love to him on the bearskin rug. In bed that night, she let her imagination run the full course. She shook with her orgasm and wished he had a name she could scream out between her clenched teeth. She relaxed against her pillow and allowed her breathing to slow. “Be careful, Miss Janet.” The words sounded whispered from inside her head but Janet fell asleep before she could grasp their meaning. Janet woke early. She lay in her bed for a moment as she always did, searching out memories of the dreams that always accompanied her sleep. She couldn’t remember any. She smiled. She felt great. She got out of bed and went to the kitchen to get coffee, already brewed. She sat there in the quiet predawn and planned her day. First, she needed to find out exactly how much cash she could muster and how much her lender was willing to cough up. The rancher she was considering would net her an additional twenty maybe thirty thousand. But what about the house on the hill? Even if she could talk them down, could she find a buyer that would want it for the price she would have to ask? Was there a five hundred thousand dollar buyer out there? She could do the lawn herself for very little and most of the inside. The hardest would be figuring out the upstairs bathroom and redoing the kitchen. She needed to go back to the house, go through room by room with a pencil and determine the cost. Maybe the door was still open. Janet got in her car and drove back to Berry Road. The house looked brighter to her, the lawn less ragged. Different angle of the sun she thought. She got out of her car and looked up at the house. How much could she really get for it? She reached back into her car and took out her clipboard. This time she wouldn’t let her imagination take her. Outside or inside? Inside. Janet walked up the steps looking at their condition. For some unknown reason, she hadn’t even considered that the realtor had come back and locked the house. She shrugged and grabbed the large brass doorknob. She turned and pushed. The heavy door swung inward with the expected squeal. Janet stepped inside. She left the door open in case the realtor did show. She didn’t want to get locked in. First was the anteroom. It was big enough to swap out the hooks for a hanger rod and cover it with a folding door. She wrote down two hundred dollars. Hardwood floors throughout, two thousand to refinish. Paint the anteroom, fifty. She would do it herself. She stepped into the main room. The most expensive would be the lighting. Chandelier or skylight? Another two thousand and what about the wiring? She would have to find the electric panel. Janet left the main room and went through the dining room and kitchen to the hallway that ran the length of the back of the house. She was sure she would find it back there. Janet looked along the walls for the familiar box that hid circuit breakers. Not finding it, she returned all the way back through the dining room and main salon. She looked in the library and didn’t find it there. Then she entered the small room. She stood in the doorway and cocked her head. Something wasn’t right about the dimensions. Even with the bathroom, this room should be six feet deeper and a couple feet wider. She went all the way around again back to the rear hallway carefully measuring her steps. The stairs from the second floor down ran across the wall that should separate the hall from the bathroom. Janet stood under the stair and knocked on the wall with her knuckles listening. She didn’t know what she was looking for but she continued. Directly under the landing on the second floor, Janet hit a soft spot. She tapped around it to identify the size. When she did, she saw a crack in the paint. She slipped her fingernail under it and pulled. A big piece pulled away and Janet could see a seam in the drywall under the paint. She pushed at it with her finger and felt the drywall give. She pushed a little more and her finger went through the drywall. She pulled some more away and peeked through the hole. Drywall on the other side. She pushed her hand through until her fingers touched the other side. It also felt soft so she pushed until she felt a piece give away. She bent down to look through the hole she had made. Her eyes were not adjusted to the dim light in the room beyond. She squinted trying to see what was inside. She thought she saw something, it almost looked like a woman in a chair. “Excuse me, Miss,” said someone behind her.