I’m a real estate agent and I sell the American dream for a living.  Suddenly, the tables are turned and I must sell my own house.  I
love this house, not just because I bought it for a bargain, but because it is charming and cozy.  It is a 1915 Craftsman style house
with stucco siding, wide eaves, exposed beams and dark wood wainscoting and moldings.  I moved right in, damaged floors, peeled
paint and all.  The lease was up on my previous dwelling and I had nowhere else to go.  Life just works that way sometimes.

I closed on a Tuesday and by Thursday afternoon the moving company had shown up with everything I owned, dumped it in the
middle of the living room and left.  I sat on the floor of the empty dining room that night with a glowing candle that smelled like sweet
baked apple pie.  I poured a glass of Pinot Grigio and made a toast to my new home. I had been selling real estate for two years and
made everyone else’s dream of being a homeowner come true.  Now I made my own come to life.

I repainted, had new floors installed, bought all new furniture, planted a garden and enjoyed my new home.  I discovered not only the
physical charm and history of the house but the feeling of the past.  During my renovations, I scoured the crawl space attic to see if I
could obtain any memories of past owners.  What I found were old newspapers, empty wine bottles, a pair of children’s ice skates,
black and white photos and a few pieces of vintage clothing.  The photos were mostly of a young couple that I assumed had lived here
once upon a time. One photo in particular caught my attention.  It was a full-length photo of a young man and woman on a beach.
The man had his arm around the woman and was looking down at her with admiration.  He had a tattoo of a dove in flight on his leg.  
It soared with its beak facing downward and its wings spread so that they almost wrapped around the young man’s leg.  The woman
had beautiful flowing hair, tender eyes and a lovely smile.  I tucked the photo into my pocket, forgot about it and continued my
discoveries and renovations.

I made unexpected but pleasant findings all through my house.  But, one night, as I lay in bed, I began to get this uneasy feeling.  As if
someone were watching me.  I opened my eyes but no one was there.  I drifted in and out of sleep that night keeping that feeling in
me that I was being watched.  Days went by and I felt like I was being examined under a microscope every time I walked through the
front door.  The noises followed; the opening and closing of doors, the footsteps upstairs when I was downstairs.  I chalked it up to
the house settling.  But after several recurrences, I began to question what I was hearing.   I know I’m not crazy and it isn’t a figment
of my imagination.

Something was in my home.

The final straw came when I saw something.  There was a blanket of snow outside, the wind was picking up and I sat wrapped in a
blanket next to the fireplace.  All of a sudden the lights in the hall flickered, the door swung open, then closed and a figure appeared.  
To say it was too much alcohol could have been a good assumption had I actually been drinking.  But I know what I saw and it scared
me to no end.  I wanted to know what it was.  It looked like the outline of a person but was more like a cloud of dark gray smoke.  
I called to it.  “Hello?” I said, with a shaky voice.  

The silhouette turned in my direction and moved closer.  It seemed to be scanning me, not certain of what I was just as I was having
my doubts about what it was.  It swirled above me and I thought I heard the words “GET OUT” whistling in the air.  The room
suddenly became cold and, just as fast, I could feel the warmth of the fire again.  I left that night and didn’t come back, until today.

Today is the open house.  I don’t feel comfortable in here so I don’t like to do individual showings.  I decided an open house would be
the best thing.  I pray that only one would be enough to peak someone’s interest and that I wouldn’t have to continue coming back
here.  I open the door very slowly as if I am expecting the figure to be standing there waiting for me but no one is there.

Soon enough, with a little luck, I will be welcoming possible buyers into my home and I won’t be alone.  I would try to sell them on the
architectural details of the house with its original stone walkway and etched windows.  I would explain to them all the work that has
been done, the maple floors, the new patio and retiled bathroom.  I would welcome them as I have done so many times before at
other people’s homes.  I would work harder because I need to sell this house.  I need to keep my sanity.  This is the most important
sell of my real estate career.

To my surprise, many people showed up.  They breezed in, waltzed around, thanked me and left.  I was thankful people had an
interest in the house but I realized no one was particularly crazy about it.  I wasn’t fielded with questions or told it was a lovely home.  
They all seemed to be a little flustered as they left, not saying much, just quick to get out.
Halfway through the day I decided to follow some visitors through the house.   Maybe something was wrong that I was not seeing.  I
chatted with an older couple who fell in love with the outside charm of the house.  We walked through each room, seeing nothing out
of the ordinary.  The woman reminisced about years gone by and how they had been happy in a home very similar to this.  Just then,
standing on the upstairs landing, the figure appeared.  It came as the smoke cloud I had seen not so long ago.  It swirled around us
and disappeared.  The old couple was frozen and I was speechless.

I finally realized this entity didn’t want anyone in its house and I was sure I wasn’t going to sell it.  It was going to remain empty and I
was going to lose my dream all at once.  The couple scurried away and I stood in the entry way just watching them go.  I was heart
broken.  I gathered my things and got ready to lock up one final time.  Just then a young man appeared in the door way.  He startled
me when he lightly rapped on the open door.  I jumped.

“I’m sorry ma’am I didn’t mean to startle you.  I was wondering if I could take a look at the house if it’s not too late.”  He had a slow
Southern drawl and all the manners of a well raised young man.

It was too late.  He was going to see the spirit and run away like everyone else had.  But for some reason, I let him in anyway.  He was
a good looking young man with sandy hair and blue eyes.  He looked vaguely familiar to me but I couldn’t place where I may have
seen him before.  His eyes pierced right through me.  He was wearing a nice suit but, a bit old fashioned for him.  He couldn’t have
been more than 26 or 27 and the jacket looked like something my grandfather would have worn.  

I walked through the house with him.  He was quick to notice the great detailing of a Craftsman home that had originally drawn me
in.  He could see the potential in everything.  His idea was to transform the house back to its original floors, coloring and décor.  He
had seen old pictures of this house and knew exactly what he wanted to do with it.  I prayed the thing wouldn’t show up and send him
running.

We walked the entire house without a visit from anyone or anything.  Not even a curtain stirred.  I felt at ease with this man and he
felt at ease in this house.  The open house had been a success.  He wanted to sign the paper work immediately.

It felt so good the day I handed those keys over. I bought a nice, modern, townhouse in a brand new development, sans ghosts or
entities. I can sleep at night. I want to remove all traces of the memory of that house. I decided that I would pay the new homeowner
a visit to say hello but mostly to see if he was seeing or hearing anything. I felt guilty selling him the house without telling him about
my experiences. But just as my friends think I’m crazy, I figured he would too.   

I climb the steps and ring the bell.  After a few moments the door swings open.  The young man is in shorts and a t-shirt and it looks
like he is painting somewhere in the house.  I look down at his bare legs and see a tattoo of a dove.  I look back up and stare into his
eyes.  All of a sudden his face appears in my memory.  He has the face of the young man in the photo from my found treasures.  He
must the one who wanted me out of his house so he could have it back.  

Could it be?
Open House
by: Lori Martucci