Nothing I do seems to worry this man, Hank, is his name. I don’t know why I can’t frighten him off. Maybe it’s been too long and I don’t remember how to scare people?
I messed with his plumbing and left puddles on the floor in every room imaginable. I even tried to add in some frighting ghostly sounds in the night. ooOOOOooo. Nothing. The man just learned how to fix his own plumbing, replaced the roof, mopped up the puddles, and seemed deaf to my every attempt. I want to be angry like I was before, but I just don’t remember how. So far, I’ve only managed to scare away the girls he brought home.
When I first realized he wasn’t going to be easily scared away, I turned my attention to his girlfriend. I thought maybe, if she got scared, she’d convince him to leave. She was rather easy to scare.
Except it didn’t work. He gave up the girlfriend and stayed in the house. His next girlfriend didn’t last nearly as long. She spent one night in the house and refused to enter ever again. But Hank remained. I’m spending more and more time in my room away from Hank and his annoying presence. He hadn’t changed my room beyond fixing the floors and adding curtains. It looks…nice. I don’t want it to look nice.
The house was coming along nicely in Hank’s opinion. Every waking moment when he wasn’t working, he was working on the house or the yard. His first trip to the library had been fruitful, the librarian had pointed him in the direction of the home improvement section and mentioned that she knew a handyman who did both electric and plumbing for a fair price.
Hank had called him right away and had the man come and see what needed to be done and how much it would cost him. The answer to both was a lot.
Plumbing was the main issue. You merely had to look at a pipe cross-eyed and it would spring a leak. That coupled with old wiring was a recipe for disaster according to the handyman. If the leaking water found a live wire, it would short out and the whole place would be up in flames before Hank knew what was happening. They got to fixing that right away.
It meant that Hank was just now starting the work he’d thought he’d have finished by now. It was a small price to pay for not burning down his house. Once the leaks had all been patched up, the two bathrooms got entirely new fixtures and he was finally able to soak his aches and pains away at the end of a long day.
The tub was particularly useful when a long day at work didn’t end until several more hours of sanding floors and scraping wallpaper had been completed.
Now he was finally starting the landscaping since pulling weeds was free. It was also endless. There had been several decades worth of weeds out there. Yes, the house was coming along nicely.
Hank’s love life on the other hand had more downs than ups. Emmaline hadn’t fully understood why he wanted to buy a fixer-upper house when he could just move in with her. But she’d been semi-supportive. Until she’d visited the house for the first time. In addition to the house taking up all his free time and cutting in on their dating, she swore it was haunted.
She made an ultimatum one morning several weeks after he bought the place. Her or the house. Hank’s decision had been surprisingly easy.
There were other girls after Emmaline. It was easy for girls to fall for Hank’s charm so he was never single for long. But they never lasted. Of all of them, Lilly had seemed the most promising since she didn’t care about the ‘haunted’ house, but once he found out she was already married, he ended it. That had been an awkward breakup.
After Lily, he dated Eliza. She was sweet but was more supersittious than any other girl. After she learned he lived in the “haunted house,” she disappeared fast. She refused to even set foot in the place. Then there was Sharon. And then she too was gone.
Eventually Hank came to see that his days were just him, the house, and Lucas – the handyman. And he only came by on Tuesdays.
The positive effect to that was that he had even more time to dedicate to the house when he wasn’t spending all his time dating girls. By now his “ghost” had even quieted down. Or rather he and Lucas had pretty much patched up all the pipes so there were no more mysterious “puddles.”
“Hank!” A woman’s voice called out as he walked through the library’s front doors. He still spent more time here than any place besides his house and workplace. He couldn’t afford a computer yet so this was the only place he had to research what to do next. He turned and saw the librarian headed his way.
Hank didn’t think he had any overdue books. There was the one that had gotten some water damage in one of the mysterious puddles, but it had dried out and looked almost as good as new. The librarian was smiling though so perhaps he wasn’t in trouble. It was the woman he’d met on his first visit, Hank tried to remember her name.
“Sofia,” she prompted. She was still smiling though so he didn’t think she was upset that he’d forgotten her name. “I wanted to let you know we just got in some new books you might be interested in.”
“Oh!” Hank had pretty much either read or passed over ever book in the home improvement section, but it was a small shelf.
“I ordered some books on replacing windows and shutters as well as a primer on furniture making.” She lead him to the shelf and pulled out the two books. They were exactly what he needed.
“You ordered them for me?”
“Well, you’re the only person I know fixing up a house. But we were lacking books on this topic, so it wasn’t like they weren’t needed. How goes the work? Lucas won’t say much about it.” Hank remembered she’d been the one to recommend Lucas.
“I think we’re finally making progress,” Hank replied. “Lucas says there’s not a lot left he can do that I can’t do myself.”
“You bought the old Hawley place didn’t you? Sorry, I don’t mean to be nosy, but Lucas is my cousin and he might have mentioned it. Well, I might have asked. I noticed it looking less run down on the outside.”
“I did.” He waited. So far he’d only gotten negative reactions from folks hearing he’d bought the “haunted house” down the street.
“That is so cool,” Sofia said, eyes glowing with excitement. “Can I see it? I’ve loved that house since I was a little girl. I used to play in the yard. But I’d love to look inside.”
“Uh, sure.” Hank said, nonplussed. Even Lucas refused to work after 5pm. He was never there after dark.
“Oh, sorry – you probably need to to use the computers. Do you want to check out both of these books? Yes? Then I’ll just check them out for you and you can pick them up on your way out. Let me know when a good time to visit would be.”
She gave him a little half-wave and then headed back to her desk. Hank stared after her feeling rather at a loss. What was that?
* Distressed furniture, floors, walls, and windows from Daer0n, mainly from the haunted house set
* Library Exterior is by pronterus: Wooden Hovel (and is anything but hovel-like on the interior before I gutted it to become a library)
* Challenge details: CitizenErased14’s Ambrosia Challenge